It’s important for adult students to know about the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) when considering returning to school. CLEP exams can help get your educational goals met faster by saving you time and money, make the college experience genuinely interesting for you, help you graduate on time and help satisfy prerequisite requirements.
The CLEP exam consists of several different examinations meant to test your college-level skills. These skills can be gained through previous collegiate coursework, life experience, military service, and cultural and travel pursuits. There are over 34 different college level courses that have an associated CLEP exam. Some examples include: American Literature, Biology, Calculus, Foreign Language, American Government and Economics. They are generally graded on a pass/fail basis, though certain subjects do assign an actual grade to the exam.
The test is computer-administered, mostly multiple-choice, and if you receive a pass score you earn the same amount of credit as a student who successfully completes the course through school. The average CLEP exam lasts 90 minutes. Although CLEP grants college credit at more than 2,900 U.S. schools, there are limits set by the individual institution regarding how many credits you can earn via the CLEP exam. Always check with your school’s adviser to see what their rules are regarding CLEP credits.
A great benefit for an adult student taking a CLEP exam would be the amount of time and money saved from taking non-essential classes. Consider that while the average CLEP exam costs approximately $65, the average tuition for one college level 3-credit course could run you $1500. That’s a tremendous savings! Not to mention that you will be able to bypass classes that you are already proficient in, thus saving you time and getting you closer to your degree sooner.
Preparation for theses exams is essential, since you want to pass them and reap the benefits. There are many study guides on the market that will help you prepare for your exams. There are also practice tests, which let you evaluate your skills and determine what you need to brush up on before taking the exam. The College Board offers these tests at your college, so be sure to check with your adviser as to when the tests will be given.