Earning a college degree is a significant achievement that can open doors to new opportunities.
However, the thought of returning to school and completing all the required classes can be overwhelming, especially when you already have a busy schedule with work, family, and other responsibilities.
Luckily, there is an alternative that can help you earn college credits faster, saving you time and money. Enter the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), an esteemed program that allows you to showcase your knowledge and gain credits through exams. In this article, we’ll explore how CLEP can help you accelerate your degree and provide valuable insights into this alternative credit option.
What is the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)?
The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) has been widely recognized by the American Council on Education since 1967 as a trusted method for earning alternative college credits.
CLEP offers exams in over 30 subjects, including languages, business, science, math, and history, many of which fulfill core liberal arts and elective requirements for undergraduate programs.
These exams are administered monthly at over 1,400 testing centers worldwide and typically take 90 minutes to complete. The cost per exam is an affordable $46 (plus a small testing center fee), making it a fraction of the price of a college class. By leveraging your existing knowledge, you have the opportunity to trim up to half of the credits required for your degree.
How Does CLEP Work?
CLEP exams assess your understanding and proficiency in specific subjects. They consist of approximately 100 questions, which are answered manually in two timed sessions.
Each exam is graded based on your performance, and depending on the score, you can earn anywhere between 3 to 12 semester hours of college credit.
To ensure a seamless credit transfer, it’s essential to check with your college or university’s continuing education or counseling/testing office to understand their policy on CLEP exams and the minimum passing grade required for credit.
Unlocking Your Potential with Credit by Examination
CLEP is just one example of a Credit by Examination program that grants college credits based on demonstrated knowledge and skills. In addition to CLEP, other programs such as Advanced Placement (AP) exams, professional certifications, military service, and portfolio assessments may also offer credit for prior learning or experiences.
These alternative options provide a unique opportunity for you to showcase your abilities and potentially earn credits without having to enroll in traditional classes.
A Personal Journey from a former student: How CLEP Transformed My Degree Path
Laurie Daniels, a former working professional, discovered the power of CLEP back in the 90’s when she was in her late twenties. At the time, Laurie had a demanding finance job, strict deadlines, and a household to manage. She was hesitant to commit years to a traditional degree program. However, when she learned about CLEP, he saw an opportunity to leverage his existing knowledge and accelerate his degree.
Laurie decided to take the CLEP exam for Spanish, a subject she had extensively studied during high school. After verifying with Immaculata College’s continuing education office that the credits earned would be applicable to her degree, Laurie registered for the exam, prepared by reviewing Spanish soap operas and study guides.
The exam consisted of multiple-choice questions, both reading and listening sections, that assessed Laurie’s comprehension of the language. Two weeks later, she received her grade report, which confirmed her eligibility for 12 credits.
Emboldened by her success, Laurie continued her journey, completing several more CLEP exams and ultimately graduating cum laude with the exact number of credits needed for his degree.
This remarkable journey is a testament to the potential of CLEP and its ability to transform the traditional degree path for motivated individuals.
Excelling in CLEP: Tips and Strategies for Success
Proper preparation and strategy are key to success. Here are some helpful tips to optimize your performance and achieve your desired results:
1. Assess Your Subject Knowledge
Take some time to assess your knowledge in the subject area. If you feel confident in your understanding, you can proceed with exam preparation.
For subjects that require additional review, consider utilizing relevant study resources to reinforce your understanding.
2. Leverage Review Materials
To aid your preparation, various review materials are available that focus on specific CLEP exam subjects.
Resources such as the Harper Collins College Outline series, IDG Books For Dummies, and Barron’s Easy Way series offer synopses and insights designed to facilitate your comprehension of the topics. Visit your local library or bookstore to explore the range of study materials.
You can also get in touch with one of our counsellors to help you out.
3. Consider General Examinations
For individuals with comprehensive knowledge in a broader subject area, such as: English Composition, Humanities, College Mathematics, Natural Sciences, or Social Sciences and History, General Examinations may be an attractive option.
These exams offer 3 or 6 college credits, depending on your performance and your college’s credit policy.
4. Consult Your College’s Credit Transfer Guidelines
Consult your college or university’s continuing education or counseling/testing office to understand their CLEP acceptance policies.
Not all colleges accept every CLEP exam, and each institution may have specific requirements for credit eligibility. By seeking clarity beforehand, you can make informed decisions and maximize the value of your CLEP credits.
Conclusion: Seize the Opportunity with CLEP
If you’re determined to obtain your degree faster and reduce the time and expense associated with traditional classes, the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) offers an incredible avenue for achieving your goal.
Whether you possess prior knowledge in certain subjects or are willing to invest time in review and preparation, CLEP empowers you to showcase your abilities and gain college credits efficiently. To embark on this accelerated educational journey, consult your college’s CLEP acceptance policies, choose the appropriate exams, and start preparing today. Accelerate your degree and unlock new possibilities for your future!
- American Council on Education (ACE), Official Website: https://www.acenet.edu/
- College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), Official Website: https://clep.collegeboard.org/