Everything you need to know about CLEP examinations


If you have a high school student at home with not much to do this summer, they should consider taking a CLEP examination. CLEP exams are a great way to get ahead and save time and money on tuition. Now that I’ve got your attention, keep reading for the awesome details.

What are CLEP exams?

The College Level Examination Program is a College Board program made up of more than 30 exams that students can take to receive college credits in certain subjects without enrolling in the classes. Essentially, these exams allow students to demonstrate their mastery of introductory college-level topics by earning qualifying scores on any of the exams. Nearly 3,000 colleges and universities accept CLEP exam credit. 

There are CLEP exams for a wide variety of subjects, from composition and history to math and science. However, not all participating colleges accept all exams, so it’s important to check which schools offer credit for which exams before your student chooses the ones they’d like to take. 

Basics of CLEP exams

CLEP exams can be taken at more than 2,000 test centers around the U.S., and some students are eligible to take the test at home with remote proctoring. Most test questions are multiple-choice; others are fill-in-the-blank, order-match questions or shade in an answer. Some exams, such as the composition exam, include essay questions as well. 

College professors review all CLEP exams to make sure the content covered is the same as what would be covered in their classes.

Benefits of taking CLEP exams

There are many benefits to taking these exams. Firstly, it can save your student money on tuition. CLEP exams cost around $90 each, which is far less than the cost of one college course. Your student can earn the same class credit for a fraction of the price. (And military service members may be eligible to take the exams for free.)

Secondly, your student could graduate early by getting some of the introductory class credits out of the way before they even enroll in college. Their schedule will be freed up to take more upper-division courses sooner, and they will have more time in their schedule for a minor, second major or more fun electives.

One other important benefit of taking a CLEP exam is that it will help your student determine how well they really know a subject before they enroll in a college class. By taking a CLEP exam on the introductory material, your student will be able to tell if they’re really ready for a higher-level course on the topic or if they still need more time to master the basics.

If your student is interested in taking one or more of these exams, you can see a full list of  available options here.