Are you a high school student who needs to maximize your college dollars? Maybe you're an active duty military service member or a veteran entering college to gain new skills? Are you returning to college after years in the workforce to complete your degree? In each of these scenarios, what you already know may earn you college credit, saving money on tuition and getting you that much closer to your educational goals.
The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) allows individuals to take any of 33 exams in a variety of subjects that include American History, Literature, Biology, Natural Sciences, Algebra and Spanish. A satisfactory score on any of these CLEP exams may earn you up to
12 college credits.
At $77 an exam, that's just a fraction of the tuition and fees for a typical college course. With tuition at public four-year and two-year universities increasing by about 8 percent between the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school year, being able to reduce the number of courses taken is a great way to save tuition and graduate sooner.
How does it work?
Developed by the College Board, CLEP has been the most widely used credit-by-examination program for more than 40 years. It is accepted by 2,900 colleges and universities, and you can take a CLEP exam at more than 1,000 test centers around the country.
The first thing you'll need to do is find out your college's policy on CLEP. Each college decides which CLEP exams it will grant credit for and how many credits it will award. Talk with your school's admissions officer, academic advisor or CLEP administrator to learn about the credits you could earn.
Next, decide which of the 33 exams you want to take. There are five main categories: history and social sciences; composition and literature; science and mathematics; business; and world languages. The history and social sciences section offers exams that include American government, U.S. history, introductory Psychology, Sociology and Educational Psychology. The second category offers tests on American literature, college composition and humanities.
In the science and math category, you could test your knowledge on topics such as college algebra and pre-calculus, while in the business category you'll find exams on financial accounting, information systems and computer applications. Exams in the world languages category include French, German
Find a Test Center
Once you've selected an exam, you'll need to locate a test center and register. CLEP exams are administered throughout the year at more than 1,700 colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. You can search for your nearest test center at:
Finally, you'll need to prepare for your exam, which are all about 90 minutes long. You may want to check out available study materials, including sample exam questions and other study resources at the test center.
If you're active duty military, there are federal programs that will pay for your testing and your study materials. And some veterans may be eligible for reimbursement of CLEP exams fees through the Montgomery G.I. Bill. You'll need to check your benefits status with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Study hard, and good luck!