Are you looking to earn college credit outside the classroom? The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) offers over 30 exams that can help you earn
real college credit in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost of traditional colleges and universities. CLEP exams test your expertise in a particular
subject, providing an opportunity for you to demonstrate understanding through a standardized test. Passing these exams proves your mastery and
grants real college credit, just as though you had passed the corresponding course at a college or university!
Who can take CLEP tests?
Anyone who wants to earn affordable college credit can take a
CLEP exam — there are no restrictions. CLEP exams are perfect for
military personnel with non-transferrable job training, adult
learners with prior on-the-job experience, students who enjoy
independent study, and anybody looking to jump-start their
Which schools accept CLEP?
More than 2,900 U.S. colleges and universities accept CLEP
credit, but each institution has different policies on the
subjects, scores, and number of credits accepted. You can
search for a school's CLEP guidelines through
College Board's database.
CLEP vs DSST vs AP
If you've considered alternative routes to earning college credit, you may also be familiar with the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests
(DSST) and Advanced Placement (AP) programs.
CLEP and DSST exams are both standardized tests open to the general public. The main difference between these two exams is content,
with the CLEP offering testing in more mainstream courses such as 'American Literature' and the DSST covering a range of distinctive
topics including 'A History of the Vietnam War' and 'Fundamentals of Cybersecurity'. Learn more about the differences between these two
our article comparing CLEP and DSST credit.
Although AP programs may seem similar to CLEP exams since they are also often used to gain college credit, they are actually very
different. Only high school students are eligible for AP programs, which consist of college-level classes that conclude with corresponding
exams. AP tests tend to be more difficult, and exam scores are accepted at most two- and four-year colleges and universities worldwide
for credit and advanced placement. For a more in-depth view into these two tests, check out
our article on AP vs CLEP.
Which subjects are covered in CLEP exams?
CLEP exams cover over 30 subjects in five main categories:
Composition and literature
History and social sciences
Science and mathematics
You can choose from topics ranging from "Analyzing and
Interpreting Literature" to "Principles of Macroeconomics" to
"Financial Accounting." Take a look at our
CLEP exam list
all the tests offered and their corresponding credits.
CLEP test format
All CLEP exams are
administered via an internet based testing platform (iBT)
and are approximately 90 minutes in length. With
the exception of "College Composition," which includes 2
required essays, most exams consist of multiple-choice
questions and some tests include
different question types
like numeric entry. Language tests include listening sections, and
some other exams include optional essays as well.
What is CLEP credit?
Passing CLEP exams can grant you transferrable college credits, recommended by the American Council on Education. CLEP exams are a great alternative
to many college level general education courses, and passing one exam can help you earn three or more college credits, expediting your degree!
How do I transfer CLEP credits?
To earn college credit for your CLEP exams, you must request for CLEP
Services to send the scores of completed exams to your designated
schools. Each institution will then determine if the scores meet their
requirements and grant credits that may be used towards a degree at
There are different guidelines as to how high school students, transfer
students, international students, and military personnel can
transfer CLEP credit.
Keep in mind that CLEP credits are not transferable
between schools, so they must be sent directly to an individual college,
which will then make a decision around awarding credits to students.
You can select institutions you want your scores to be sent to either
during the registration process, when testing, or afterwards by
CLEP Transcript Request Form.
How many CLEP credits can I earn?
You can earn between 3 and 9
college credits per CLEP exam
depending on the test subject. Over 2,900 colleges and universities across the U.S.
accept CLEP credit in place of general education requirements, courses
in a student's major, or prerequisites for advanced classes.
Do CLEP credits expire?
CLEP scores are good for 20 years after the test date.
Take the CLEP exam with confidence
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CLEP test scores
range from 20 to 80 and are calculated by converting raw scores - based on the number of correct answers - into scaled scores through
adjusting for differences in difficulty between tests.
With the exception of scores for "College Composition," which contains required essays that make up 50% of the test, immediate scores are provided
onscreen upon completion of exams as multiple-choice questions are scored immediately by the computer.
The mandatory essays for the "College Composition" exam are graded by two separate readers on a scale of 0 to 6. The essay scores are added together,
weighted equally with the test taker's score for the multiple-choice section, then combined to produce the test taker's final score, reported as a single
scaled score between 20 and 80. Separate scores aren't reported for the two sections, and test takers receive their scores 2 to 3 weeks after the test date.
Optional essays are not scored by the ETS or College Board but are sent to be graded by the test taker's designated institutions along with a copy of the
multiple-choice score results.
What is a passing CLEP score?
The passing rates
for CLEP exams vary, but in general, the overall passing rate is 77%. The recommended
minimum passing score
for most subjects,
according to College Board, is 50 points. However, every college and university will have its own guidelines for awarding credit for CLEP exams, so you
should make sure to check each institution's website to confirm its policies.
Can I retake CLEP exams?
Yes, you can retake a CLEP exam of the same title three months after your initial testing date. Tests that are retaken within the three-month time period
are considered invalid.
Will CLEP scores affect my GPA?
CLEP exams do not affect your grade point average. The test scores will only determine your eligibility to gain college credit and will have no effect on
How to prepare for CLEP exams
Many students want to know how long they should study for CLEP exams along with the best ways to study, and this will depend on various factors such
as previous work experience, classes taken, and test-taking abilities. Test prep is difficult, and it can be hard to figure out what and when to study.
Study.com makes it easy
Practice questions help identify your areas of weakness
Comprehensive curricula are designed specifically for CLEP exams
CLEP practice tests emulate the content and structure of questions on the exams
You can register for all CLEP exams through the College Board website. Once you've registered to take the exam, you have 6 months to contact and
schedule your exam with a testing center.
When and where to take CLEP exams
CLEP exams are
administered throughout the year
at nearly 2,000
many of which are located on college and university campuses. Each
testing center determines its own test dates, so students should search for testing centers online and contact their location to determine available testing
Each CLEP exam costs $89 and in addition to the exam fee, students can expect to pay additional administrative fees to the testing center. Preparing for
the CLEP using online and offl ine resources can be costly, so it is important to
choose the right test prep product
for you. There are also
that students can use to prepare for their exams.
Study.com CLEP scholarship
We believe that all students should have access to great education.
With this scholarship, Study.com hopes to help students accelerate
their college degree with CLEP.
CLEP exams are offered to military personnel, their spouses, and civilian military employees who want to earn introductory college credit. The 2018
CLEP pass rates for military members
ranged from a high of 84% and 82% for subjects like Spanish Language and College Composition, to a low of 13% and 11% for subjects like
Chemistry and Financial Accounting. Using tools like practice tests and a regular study schedule can help improve any test taker's likelihood
of passing their chosen CLEP exam.
How to qualify for free CLEP exams
The United States government offers funding to qualifying military personnel for all CLEP exams through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional
Education Support (DANTES). Military personnel who
qualify for DANTES
can take all exams on-base or at fully funded testing centers free of charge,
and test center administration fees are also waived at specific centers.
Study.com CLEP scholarship for military members
Study.com believes every student has the right to an affordable and
high-quality education, and that is especially true for members of our
military. With our scholarship for military members, we hope to help a
current or former military member get a head start on a college degree
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