About the Exams

How the CLEP Program Works

We offer 33 CLEP exams, which are administered at over 1,800 college test centers and on military bases. CLEP exams cover material taught in courses that most students take as requirements in the first two years of college.

While CLEP is sponsored by the College Board, only colleges may grant credit toward a degree. Colleges' CLEP policies differ — some colleges accept credit for a few exams, while others accept credit for all of them. A college often grants the same amount of credit to students who earn satisfactory scores on the CLEP examination as it grants to students who successfully complete the related course.

How the Exams Are Structured

CLEP exams are designed to correspond to one-semester courses, although some correspond to full-year or two-year courses. Faculty at individual colleges review the exams to ensure that they cover the material currently taught in their courses.

Most questions are in multiple choice format. Other types of questions require students to fill in a numeric answer, to shade areas of an object, or to put items in the correct order. Questions using these types of skills are called zone, shade, grid, scale, fraction, numeric entry, histogram and order-match questions. Some of the exams also include optional essays. Language exams include a listening section.

The American Literature, Analyzing and Interpreting Literature, College Composition Modular and English Literature exams have optional essays that some colleges and universities may require. Whether a student needs to take an optional essay for the above subjects is up to the discretion of the institution they are or will be attending. The College Composition exam has two, typed essays which the students are required to complete.

Find out more about the test development process by watching the Item Development Process video, developed by ETS.