CLEP Exams

What Do CLEP Exams Cover?

CLEP offers 33 exams in five subject areas, covering material taught in courses that you may generally take in your first two years of college.By passing a CLEP exam, you can earn 3 to 12 college credits. Exams cost $80. 

Select the area of study you are interested in from the exam matrix below. 

History & Social Sciences

American Government

The American Government examination covers the scope and emphasis of material that is usually taught in a one-semester introductory course in American government and politics at the college level in the United States. These courses go beyond a general understanding of civics to incorporate political processes and behavior. The exam covers topics such as the institutions and policy processes of the federal government, the federal courts and civil liberties, political parties and interest groups, political beliefs and behavior, and the content and history of the Constitution.

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History of the United States I

Early Colonization to 1877

The History of the United States I: Early Colonization to 1877 examination covers material that is usually taught in the first semester of a two-semester course in United States history. The examination covers the period of American history from early European colonization to the end of Reconstruction, with the majority of the questions covering the period of 1790–1877. In the section covering the 17th and 18th centuries, emphasis is placed on the English colonies.

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History of the United States II

1865 to the Present

The History of the United States II: 1865 to the Present examination covers material that is usually taught in the second semester of what is usually a two-semester course in United States history. The examination covers the period of American history from the end of the Civil War to the present, with the majority of the questions covering the 20th century.

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Human Growth and Development

The Human Growth and Development exam (infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and aging) covers material that is generally taught in a one-semester introductory course in developmental psychology or human development. An understanding of the major theories and research related to the broad categories of physical development, cognitive development and social development is required, as is the ability to apply this knowledge.

Please note that the questions on the CLEP Human Growth and Development exam will continue to adhere to the terminology, criteria and classifications referred to in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) until further notice.

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) was published in May 2013 with revisions to the criteria for the diagnosis and classifications of mental disorders. In the interest of fairness and to allow time for publishers to integrate such changes into pertinent sections of textbooks, the College Board has decided to align the tests with the DSM-IV-TR.

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Introduction to Educational Psychology

The Introduction to Educational Psychology examination covers material that is usually taught in a one-semester undergraduate course in this subject. Emphasis is placed on principles of learning and cognition, teaching methods and classroom management, child growth and development, and evaluation and assessment of learning.

Please note that the questions on the CLEP Introduction to Educational Psychology exam will continue to adhere to the terminology, criteria and classifications referred to in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) until further notice.

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) was published in May 2013 with revisions to the criteria for the diagnosis and classifications of mental disorders. In the interest of fairness and to allow time for publishers to integrate such changes into pertinent sections of textbooks, the College Board has decided to align the tests with the DSM-IV-TR.

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Introductory Psychology

The Introductory Psychology examination covers material that is usually taught in a one-semester undergraduate introductory course in psychology. It stresses basic facts, concepts and generally accepted principles in history, approaches and methods of psychology; biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception; states of consciousness; learning; cognition; motivation and emotion; personality; psychological disorders and treatment; social psychology; and statistics, tests and measurements.

Please note that the questions on the CLEP Introductory Psychology exam will continue to adhere to the terminology, criteria and classifications referred to in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) until further notice.

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) was published in May 2013 with revisions to the criteria for the diagnosis and classifications of mental disorders. In the interest of fairness and to allow time for publishers to integrate such changes into pertinent sections of textbooks, the College Board has decided to align the tests with the DSM-IV-TR.

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Introductory Sociology

The Introductory Sociology examination is designed to assess an individual's knowledge of the material typically presented in a one-semester introductory-level sociology course at most colleges and universities. The examination emphasizes basic facts and concepts as well as general theoretical approaches used by sociologists on the topics of institutions, social patterns, social processes, social stratifications and the sociological perspective. Highly-specialized knowledge of the subject and the methodology of the discipline is not required or measured by the test content.

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Principles of Macroeconomics

The Principles of Macroeconomics examination covers material that is usually taught in a one-semester undergraduate course in this subject, including principles of economics that apply to an economy as a whole, particularly the general price level, output and income, and interrelations among sectors of the economy. The test places particular emphasis on the determinants of aggregate demand and aggregate supply, and on monetary and fiscal policy tools that can be used to achieve particular policy objectives. Within this context, you're expected to understand measurement concepts such as gross domestic product, consumption, investment, unemployment, inflation, inflationary gap and recessionary gap. You're also expected to demonstrate knowledge of the institutional structure of the Federal Reserve Bank and the monetary policy tools it uses to stabilize economic fluctuations and promote long-term economic growth, as well as the tools of fiscal policy and their impacts on income, employment, price level, deficits, and interest rates. Basic understanding of foreign exchange markets, balance of payments, effects of currency, and appreciation and depreciation on a country's imports and exports are also expected.

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Principles of Microeconomics

The Principles of Microeconomics examination covers material that is usually taught in a one-semester undergraduate course in introductory microeconomics, including economic principles that apply to the behavioral analysis of individual consumers and businesses. You will be required to apply analytical techniques to hypothetical as well as real-world situations and to analyze and evaluate economic decisions. You're expected to demonstrate an understanding of how free markets work and allocate resources efficiently, how individual consumers make economic decisions to maximize utility, and how individual firms make decisions to maximize profits. You must be able to identify the characteristics of the different market structures and analyze the behavior of firms in terms of price and output decisions. You should also be able to evaluate the outcome in each market structure with respect to economic efficiency, identify cases in which private markets fail to allocate resources efficiently, and explain how government intervention fixes or fails to fix the resource allocation problem. It is also important to understand the determination of wages and other input prices in factor markets, and be able to analyze and evaluate the distribution of income.

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Social Sciences and History

The Social Sciences and History examination covers a wide range of topics from the social sciences and history disciplines. While the exam is based on no specific course, its content is drawn from introductory college courses that cover United States history, Western civilization, world history, government and political science, geography, sociology, economics, psychology and anthropology. The primary objective of the exam is to give you the opportunity to demonstrate that you possess the level of knowledge and understanding expected of college students who meet a distribution or general education requirement in the social sciences and history areas.

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Western Civilization I

Ancient Near East to 1648

The Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East to 1648 examination covers material that is usually taught in the first semester of a two-semester course in Western Civilization. Questions deal with the civilizations of Ancient Greece, Rome and the Near East; the Middle Ages; the Renaissance and Reformation; and early modern Europe. You may be asked to choose the correct definition of a historical term, select the historical figure whose political viewpoint is described, identify the correct relationship between two historical factors, or detect the inaccurate pairing of an individual with a historical event. Groups of questions may require you to interpret, evaluate or relate the contents of a passage, a map or a picture to other information, or to analyze and utilize the data contained in a graph or table.

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Western Civilization II

1648 to the Present

The Western Civilization II: 1648 to the Present examination covers material that is usually taught in the second semester of a two-semester course in Western Civilization. Questions cover European history from the mid-seventeenth century through the post-Second World War period including political, economic, and cultural developments such as Scientific Thought, the Enlightenment, the French and Industrial Revolutions, and the First and Second World Wars. Candidates may be asked to choose the correct definition of a historical term, select the historical figure whose political viewpoint is described, identify the correct relationship between two historical factors, or detect the inaccurate pairing of an individual with a historical event. Groups of questions may require candidates to interpret, evaluate, or relate the contents of a passage, a map, a picture, or a cartoon to the other information, or to analyze and use the data contained in a graph or table.

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Composition & Literature

American Literature

The American Literature examination covers material that is usually taught in a two-semester survey course (or the equivalent) at the college level. It deals with the prose and poetry written in the United States from colonial times to the present. It is primarily a test of knowledge about literary works — their content, background and authors — but also requires an ability to interpret poetry, fiction and nonfiction prose, as well as a familiarity with the terminology used by literary critics and historians. The examination emphasizes fiction and poetry and deals to a lesser degree with the essay, drama and autobiography.

This exam has an optional essay that may be required by some colleges and universities. The essay section is administered at test centers in paper-and-pencil format, and the fee is payable to the test center that administers the exam. This essay is scored by faculty at the colleges and universities that require them. If you have questions about whether you need to take the optional essay, you must contact the institution that will receive your scores. If you do not select an institution to receive your optional essay on exam day, CLEP will retain your essay for 18 months.

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Analyzing and Interpreting Literature

The Analyzing and Interpreting Literature examination covers material usually taught in a general two-semester undergraduate course in literature. Although the examination does not require familiarity with specific works, it does assume that you have read widely and perceptively in poetry, drama, fiction and nonfiction. The questions are based on passages supplied in the test. These passages have been selected so that no previous experience with them is required to answer the questions. The passages are taken primarily from American and British literature.

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College Composition

College Composition contains multiple-choice items and two mandatory, centrally-scored essays. The exam measures your awareness of a variety of logical, structural and grammatical relationships within sentences; revision skills in the context of works in progress; and your ability to use authentic materials and perform rhetorical analysis. In addition to the multiple-choice section, College Composition includes a mandatory essay section that tests skills of argumentation, analysis and synthesis.

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College Composition Modular

College Composition Modular measures your knowledge of the fundamental principles of rhetoric and composition and your ability to apply the principles of standard written English. In addition, the exam requires familiarity with research and reference skills. In one of the two essays (the optional essay module produced by the College Board for College Composition Modular), you must develop a position by building an argument in which you synthesize information from two provided sources, which you must cite. The requirement that you cite the sources you use reflects the recognition of source attribution as an essential skill in college writing courses.

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English Literature

The English Literature examination covers material usually taught in a two-semester course (or the equivalent) at the college level. The test is primarily concerned with major authors and literary works, but it also includes questions on some minor writers. You are expected to be acquainted with common literary terms such as metaphor and personification, and basic literary forms such as the sonnet and the ballad.

In both coverage and approach, the examination resembles the historically organized survey of English literature offered by many colleges. It assumes that you’ve read widely and developed an appreciation of English literature, know the basic literary periods, and have a sense of its historical development.

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Humanities

The Humanities examination tests general knowledge of literature, art, music and the other performing arts. It is broad in its coverage, with questions on all periods from classical to contemporary, and in many different fields: poetry, prose, philosophy, art, architecture, music, dance, theater and film. The examination requires you to demonstrate your understanding of the humanities through recollection of specific information, comprehension and application of concepts, and analysis and interpretation of various works of art.

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Science & Mathematics

Biology

The Biology examination covers material that is usually taught in a one-year college general biology course. The subject matter tested covers the broad field of the biological sciences, organized into three major areas: molecular and cellular biology, organismal biology and population biology.

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Calculus

The Calculus examination covers skills and concepts that are usually taught in a one-semester college course in calculus. The content of each examination is approximately 60% limits and differential calculus and 40% integral calculus. Algebraic, trigonometric, exponential, logarithmic and general functions are included. The exam is primarily concerned with an intuitive understanding of calculus and experience with its methods and applications. Knowledge of preparatory mathematics is assumed, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry and analytic geometry.

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Chemistry

The Chemistry examination covers material that is usually taught in a one-year college course in general chemistry. Understanding of the structure and states of matter, reaction types, equations and stoichiometry, equilibrium, kinetics, thermodynamics, and descriptive and experimental chemistry is required, as is the ability to interpret and apply this material to new and unfamiliar problems. During this examination, an online scientific calculator function and a periodic table are available as part of the testing software.

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College Algebra

The College Algebra examination covers material that is usually taught in a one-semester college course in algebra. Nearly half of the test is made up of routine problems requiring basic algebraic skills; the remainder involves solving non-routine problems in which you must demonstrate your understanding of concepts. The test includes questions on basic algebraic operations; linear and quadratic equations, inequalities, and graphs; algebraic, exponential, and logarithmic functions; and miscellaneous other topics.

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College Mathematics

The College Mathematics examination covers material generally taught in a college course for non-mathematics majors and majors in fields not requiring knowledge of advanced mathematics. Questions on the College Mathematics examination require you to demonstrate the ability to solve routine, straightforward problems and non-routine problems that require an understanding of concepts and the application of skills and concepts. In addition, you need to demonstrate understanding of topics like: sets, logic, real number systems, functions and graphs, probability and statistics, as well as topics in algebra and geometry.

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Natural Sciences

The Natural Sciences examination covers a wide range of topics frequently taught in introductory courses that survey both biological and physical sciences at the freshman or sophomore level. The primary objective of the exam is to give you the opportunity to demonstrate a level of knowledge and understanding expected of college students meeting a distribution or general education requirement in the natural sciences. The Natural Sciences exam is not intended for those specializing in science; it is intended to test the understanding of scientific concepts that an adult with a liberal arts education should have. It does not stress the retention of factual details; rather, it emphasizes the knowledge and application of the basic principles and concepts of science, the comprehension of scientific information, and the understanding of issues of science in contemporary society.

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Precalculus

The Precalculus examination assesses the mastery of skills and concepts required for success in a first-semester calculus course. A large portion of the exam tests your understanding of functions and their specific properties: linear, quadratic, absolute value, square root, polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric, inverse trigonometric and piecewise-defined functions. Questions on the exam will present these types of functions symbolically, graphically, verbally or in tabular form. A solid understanding of these types of functions is at the core of all precalculus courses, and it is a prerequisite for enrolling in calculus and other college-level mathematics courses.

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Business

Financial Accounting

The Financial Accounting examination covers skills and concepts that are generally taught in a first-semester undergraduate financial accounting course. Questions on the exam require you to demonstrate knowledge of accounting concepts and terminology, and ability to use and analyze accounting data and financial reports issued for both internal and external purposes. In addition, you need to demonstrate the ability to apply accounting techniques to simple problem situations involving computations, and understand the rationale for generally-accepted principles and procedures.

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Information Systems and Computer Applications

The Information Systems and Computer Applications examination covers material that is usually taught in an introductory college-level business information systems course. Questions test knowledge, terminology and basic concepts about information systems as well as the application of that knowledge. The examination does not emphasize the details of hardware design and language-specific programming techniques. References to applications such as word processing or spreadsheets do not require knowledge of a specific product. The focus is on concepts and techniques applicable to a variety of products and environments. Knowledge of arithmetic and mathematics equivalent to that of a student who has successfully completed a traditional first-year high school algebra course is assumed.

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Introductory Business Law

The Introductory Business Law examination covers material that is usually taught in an introductory one-semester college course in the subject. The examination places not only major emphasis on understanding the functions of contracts in American business law, but it also includes questions on the history and sources of American law, legal systems and procedures, agency and employment, sales and other topics.

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Principles of Management

The Principles of Management examination covers material that is usually taught in an introductory course in the essentials of management and organization. Questions on the exam require you to demonstrate knowledge of management functions and techniques, and ability to associate the meaning of specific terminology with important management ideas, processes and techniques. You will also be required to apply knowledge, general concepts and principles to specific problems.

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Principles of Marketing

The Principles of Marketing examination covers material that is usually taught in a one-semester introductory course in marketing. Such a course is usually known as Basic Marketing, Introduction to Marketing, Fundamentals of Marketing, Marketing or Marketing Principles. The exam is concerned with the role of marketing in society and within a firm, understanding consumer and organizational markets, marketing strategy planning, the marketing mix, marketing institutions, and other selected topics, such as international marketing, ethics, marketing research, services and not-for-profit marketing. You're expected to have a basic knowledge of the economic/demographic, social/cultural, political/legal and technological trends that are important to marketing.

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World Languages

French Language

Levels 1 and 2

The French Language examination is designed to measure the ability to understand spoken and written French. This ability needs to be equivalent to that of students who have completed two to four semesters of college French language study. The examination contains approximately 121 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. Some of these are pretest questions that will not be scored. There are three separately timed sections. The three sections are weighted so that each question contributes equally to the total score. Any time you spend on tutorials or providing personal information is in addition to the actual testing time.

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German Language

Levels 1 and 2

The German Language examination is designed to measure the ability to understand spoken and written German. This ability needs to be equivalent to that of students who have completed two to four semesters of college German language study. The examination contains approximately 120 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. Some of these are pretest questions that will not be scored. There are three separately timed sections. The three sections are weighted so that each question contributes equally to the total score. Any time you spend on tutorials or providing personal information is in addition to the actual testing time.

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Spanish Language

Levels 1 and 2

The Spanish Language examination is designed to measure the ability to understand spoken and written Spanish. This ability needs to be equivalent to that of students who have completed two to four semesters of college Spanish language study. The examination contains approximately 120 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. Some of these are pretest questions that will not be scored. There are three separately timed sections. The three sections are weighted so that each question contributes equally to the total score. Any time you spend on tutorials or providing personal information is in addition to the actual testing time.

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