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In most cases, college is exorbitantly expensive. Luckily, there are solutions to help ease the financial strain of obtaining a degree. You have the choice of enrolling in an affordable online university like the University of the People, applying for financial aid, and/or taking a CLEP test.

Here, we’ll share everything you need to know about CLEP tests and why they might be a great choice for you.

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What is CLEP?

CLEP stands for College-Level Examination Program. There are 34 exams in CLEP that test students’ knowledge of introductory college course material.

Over 2,900 colleges and universities in America accept CLEP in exchange for college credits. This means that students with knowledge in a particular subject can take the test, receive a passing score, and potentially forgo having to enroll in a college class to obtain the credit (you can earn three to twelve credits per exam with a passing score).

Students can learn the intro-level college course material in a variety of ways before ever having to be enrolled in college. This can happen in advanced placement (AP) high school courses, online college classes, noncredit courses, on-the-job-training, and even independent study.

Facts about the CLEP Test

Here are some useful tidbits of information about CLEP:

  • The program was founded in 1967
  • It originally started so adult students and those in the military could still earn their degrees
  • CLEP exams are offered year-round
  • Students take CLEP exams on computers at official CLEP test centers
  • Other than the College Composition and Spanish with Writing tests, scores are available immediately upon completion of the exam
  • Tests take 90-120 minutes to finish

Who is Eligible for the CLEP Test?

Are you looking to save time and money in an effort to earn college credits?

If you answered “yes,” then you’re eligible to take a CLEP exam!

High school students, college students, veterans, professionals, service members, etc. can all take the CLEP exam.

In order for it to count towards college credit, you have to find out if your desired institution accepts CLEP exams. Since there are 34 subject areas, it’s up to you to choose which exams you wish to sit for.

Benefits of CLEP

There are many reasons why taking the CLEP test can be a good idea.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Graduate early: Students who take AP classes and CLEP tests tend to spend less time in college compared to students who don’t. This is because the tests are used in exchange for having to take classes, so you earn credits towards graduating quickly.
  • College may cost less: Colleges offer various courses, and depending on the hour of instruction, course credits may differ. The average cost per college credit hour is a whopping $594. A CLEP exam costs $89. So, if your college accepts the passing score, then you can pay $89 to receive college credit as opposed to the much higher average.
  • Focus on subjects that matter: To earn a degree, you’ll have to fulfill required general education courses, as well as those that pertain directly to your major. Instead of spending time and energy in general education courses during college, you can pass the CLEP exam instead. That way, you have more time and energy to focus on degree-specific coursework.
  • Benefits for military personnel: If you’re a member of the military or your spouse is in the military, then you can take the CLEP exam and have the fee waived. You can also take the exam on-base or off-base.

Which Schools Accept CLEP for Credit?

Of course, passing the CLEP exam will only make sense to do if your school accepts the exam for credit. You can use the College Board’s database to find out if your school of choice is on the list.

Details of the Exam

The $89 exam consists of multiple-choice questions with five options for answers. Depending on the subject, the tests tend to take 90-120 minutes.

Tests are scored on a scale of 20 to 80. Raw scores account for the number of questions answered correctly. The scaled score is adjusted based on the test’s difficulty and how other people who took the test performed.

Each test comes along with its own respective passing score. Despite what the American Council on Education recommends to consider a minimum score to pass, each college still has the right to name their own passing score.

If you do not pass on your first try, you have the option to wait three months and then take the exam again.

What to Bring on Test Day?

If you’ve signed up to take a CLEP exam, then you’ll want to bring the following items with you on your test day:

  • A registration ticket for each exam
  • Any documentation that the testing facility requires
  • A current form of identification

The testing centers strictly enforce their policies. Do not bring:

  • Food
  • Phones
  • Calculators
  • Cameras
  • Books
  • Hats
  • Baggy clothing
  • Keyboards

Final Thoughts Worth Sharing

CLEP exams are taken by many different types of students for a variety of reasons. No matter why you are choosing to take the CLEP exam, you have a lot to gain (and almost nothing to lose).

If you pass the exam (according to your school’s passing criteria), then you have the possibility of earning three to twelve college credits, without having to ever step foot in that class.

In essence, you can amass college credits before starting your college educational journey. In the process, you’ll save money and time in obtaining your degree.

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Affordable Education is Your Right

Whether or not you choose to take CLEP exams, you always have the opportunity to earn a degree that’s affordable and accessible at the University of the People.

Our mission is to provide students all over the world with affordable degrees because we believe that education is a right, not a privilege. We offer degrees in Health Science, Business Administration, Education, and Computer Science. All of our degrees are 100% online. If you’re interested in learning more about our tuition-free programs and becoming a student, our team is always happy to answer any questions.

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