College Level testing is probably one of the easiest and cheapest means of obtaining your degree in a short period of time. With the large majority of colleges and universities accepting these test credits, you are able to test out of virtually every, if not all of your general education requirements. This can essentially save you thousands of dollars and countless hours of time by avoiding the meaningless classes that you already have the knowledge of.
Essentially the CLEP test is a subject oriented test, that examines your knowledge in a particular subject area. These tests are meant to allow students with the knowledge of a subject to prove that they know the topic at the same degree of competency as the average college student. By proving their competency, students are given college level credit as long as they meet the minimum requirements set forth by the ACT.
These tests are multiple choice for the most part, but there are a few that can be taken which include essays. These essays are not required by CLEP itself, however your school may require it in order to grant credit in that particular subject. However, I have found that the large majority of schools do not have this essay requirement. There are generally around 90-120 questions on each test, and you have about 2-3 hours to complete each test.
The tests are generally taken in testing centers, on military installations, or at approved colleges and require a fee to be paid prior to taking the test. If you are military, as I am, then the tests are completely free. You will be required to present two forms of picture identification when you come for the test. This is a requirement and there aren’t going to let you slide without this requirement being met. Make sure that you don’t bring your cell phone, because some test centers will remove you without allowing you to finish your test if it is to go off. It is best for this reason just to leave it in your vehicle.
The tests are going to be given either on paper or by computer. While most testing centers are now using computers, there are still numerous locations, such as military installations which are still using the paper based tests. These tests are similar, but with the computer based testing, you will get your score instantly, whereas you will have to wait potentially up to 8 weeks to receive your score back in the written methods. If you get your score back and find that you fail, you have to wait 6 months before you can take the test over. For military, you have to wait at least 1 year before you can take the test over. Before taking the test, make sure that you know your college code, so that you can have a free copy of your test results sent directly to your college. If you don’t do this, you’ll have to pay $25 to have your CLEP transcript mailed to them, otherwise the automatic method is free and will arrive substantially faster. Plus, you can receive written based results faster in this method.
In my experience with the CLEP, the tests are generally very easy. I have tested out of 93 credit hours of classes between the CLEP, DANTES, and Excelsior exams, with a great number of those credits coming directly from CLEP alone. In my experience the tests have required virtually no studying, but there are materials available. In order to prepare for an exam, it is best that you look for text books available at your local library. These text books should have the same name as the test you are looking to take. By simply memorizing the general vocabulary terms from the book and a few key people, you should have more than enough knowledge to successfully pass the test. Keep in mind, you just have to beat the average college student, which is relatively easy to do. One thing to remember, is that when studying, do not purchase the testing guides, they provide you with information that just isn’t substantial enough to adequately prepare you for the tests. Just grab a textbook and use that, it will give you much better information with far less studying.
As for the subjects that are available, here are is the current list of subjects as presented by the CLEP website at: http://www.collegeboard.com
Composition and Literature
* American Literature
* Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
* English Composition
* English Literature
* Freshman College Composition
* French Language (Levels 1 and 2)
* German Language (Levels 1 and 2)
* Spanish Language (Levels 1 and 2)
History and Social Sciences
* American Government
* Human Growth and Development
* Introduction to Educational Psychology
* Introductory Psychology
* Introductory Sociology
* Principles of Macroeconomics
* Principles of Microeconomics
* Social Sciences and History
* U.S. History I: Early Colonizations to 1877
* U.S. History II: 1865 to the Present
* Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East to 1648
* Western Civilization II: 1648 to the Present
Science and Mathematics
* College Algebra
* College Mathematics
* Natural Sciences
* Financial Accounting (New in 2007)
* Introductory Business Law
* Information Systems and Computer Applications
* Principles of Accounting
* Principles of Management
* Principles of Marketing
Overall, you will find that taking CLEP tests is extremely rewarding, and in the process of studying you’ll find that you can test out of basically anything with a little bit of personal effort and a lot of determination. These tests will save you an incredible amount of money and allow you to advance your future by saving you a great deal of time required towards your degree program.