Getting College Credit
Did you know that doing well on a CLEP exam can earn you the same amount of credit that you'd get if you took and passed a college course covering the same material? Learn how to get credit for what you already know.
Learn About Your College's CLEP Policy
Currently, 2,900 colleges and universities grant credit for CLEP, and each institution sets its own CLEP policy. In other words, each institution determines the exams for which it awards credits, the minimum qualifying score required to get credit, and the amount of credits that will be granted per exam. Before you take a CLEP exam, review the CLEP policy of your college or university.
How Much Credit Can You Earn?
If you pass a CLEP exam, you may earn up to 12 credits. The amount of credit you can earn on an individual CLEP exam varies with each college. Some colleges place a limit on the total amount of credit you can earn through CLEP. Other colleges may grant you exemption but no credit toward your degree.
Minimum Qualifying Score
Most colleges publish the required scores for earning CLEP credit in their general catalog or in a brochure. The required score for earning CLEP credit may vary from exam to exam. Contact your institution to find out the minimum qualifying score for each exam you're considering.
Getting Credit for General Requirements
At some colleges, you may be able to apply your CLEP credit to the college's core curriculum requirements. For example, CLEP credit may be given as "6 hrs. English Credit" or "3 hrs. Math Credit," and can be used for any English or mathematics course. Find out before you take a CLEP exam what type of credit you can receive from your institution, or whether you will be exempted from a required course but receive no credit.
Prior Course Work
Some colleges won't grant credit for a CLEP exam if you've already attempted a college-level course closely aligned with that exam. For example, if you successfully completed English 101 or a comparable course on another campus, you'll probably not be permitted to receive CLEP credit in that same subject. Also, some colleges won't permit you to earn CLEP credit for a course that you failed.
Be sure to wait at least six months before repeating a CLEP exam of the same title. Scores of exams repeated earlier than six months will not be accepted (and test fees will be forfeited).
Colleges usually award CLEP credit only to their enrolled students. Here are some additional questions to consider:
- Does the college require that you "validate" your CLEP score by successfully completing a more advanced course in the subject?
- Does the college require the optional free-response (essay) section for the examinations in Composition and Literature as well as the multiple-choice portion of the CLEP exam you're considering?
- Will you be required to pass a departmental test such as an essay, laboratory, or oral exam in addition to the CLEP multiple-choice exam?
Knowing the answers to these questions ahead of time will permit you to schedule the optional free-response or departmental exam when you register to take your CLEP exam.
(Lower Third @ 0:06)
Richard L. Crothers / Assistant Academic Advisor / St. Leo University, VA
“The biggest benefit of the CLEP Program is that you can walk into any of the CLEP testing centers across the nation, sit down for like an hour and half and walk out the door with college credit.”
(Lower Third @ 0:20)
Charles Cress Colbert / Testing Coordinator / University of Wisconsin La Crosse, WI
“Students who do well in a CLEP exam and get credit, their interest is peaked and they will often go on to take a course at a higher level in that same subject area and they tend to do better.”
(Lower Third @ 0:30)
Sharon Ercy / Testing Coordinator / Western Kentucky University, KY
“In 90 minutes they can take a test and get out of a course [when] the only other way they can get out of it is to take a class for 16 weeks.”
(Lower Third @ 0:39)
Chantel Reynolds / Senior Assessment Manager / Southwestern Region
“A student who takes a CLEP exam is saying and demonstrating that they have the same knowledge and skills right now as a student who completed a full 16 week course in that subject.”
(Lower Third @ 0:51)
Joleen Reynolds / Director of Testing Services / University of San Antonio, TX
“We combine what they already have, build upon that foundation through CLEP, and then give them some scaffolding for some new learning.”
(Lower Third @ 1:03)
Cindy Sproehnle / Assessment Center Director / Gateway Community & Technical College, KY
“The ability to earn college credit for about a tenth the cost of a college class is an incredible value.”
(Lower Third @ 1:09)
Lynne Nelson / Manager of External Testing & Operations / Mercer County Community College, NJ
“Often the textbook costs more than the CLEP exam.”
(Female speaker @ 1:15)
“Hey if you have this knowledge and you can exhibit it and at this time and this time, 90 minutes, it’s a huge advantage.”
(Lynne Nelson @ 1:21)
“It’s the best monetary deal around.”
(Lower Third @ 1:27)
Cheryl Downey-Eber / Manager / Missouri University of Science & Technology, MO
“If you have the knowledge and you have the skills, it’s another great way to earn college credit.”
(Richard L. Crothers @ 1:33)
“Come in and take the test and advance your career.”
(Lower Third @ 1:38)
Debbie Thompson / Director / Triangle Education Assessments, NC
“Public, private, or home school – it doesn’t matter, go ahead and take the CLEP test and get the college credits for it.”
(Joleen Reynolds @ 1:44)
“Let’s get you your college credit and let’s move you forward.”
Benefits of CLEP
Watch CLEP in Action!Testimonial Source:Test Taker
Kaitlyn O. Rawlings
Thomas Edison State CollegeTestimonial Source:Test Taker
"As a junior in high school looking to earn dual credit, I learned about CLEP from my parents, who have always been avid proponents of distance learning. My first CLEP was College Composition with Essay. After I passed, I was hooked! This marked the beginning of an amazing journey, as I continued to CLEP through the General Education requirements of my Bachelor's degree. I earned over 40 credits through CLEP and completed my entire BA in English in just a year and a half, all thanks to CLEP! — and, of course, my parents, for encouraging me in the first place. CLEP is the way to go!"
Jeffrey R. Worsham
University of OklahomaTestimonial Source:Test Taker
"CLEP helped me get credit for a quarter of my degree without any classes, professors or costly textbooks. If you are already good at math or have a passion for writing, why take a 12 week class with endless amounts of homework and lectures? A study guide, some practice questions and what you already know can get you college credit in just a few weeks. CLEP saved me a year of college and over $10,000! Thanks CLEP!"
Front Range Community CollegeTestimonial Source:Test Taker
"I decided to return to college after taking over 10 years off, and my goal was to complete my degree as quickly as possible. Being 30 and a nontraditional student I had no desire to take the prerequisite courses and sit in a classroom with true freshmen students. CLEP offered me a fast, easy and inexpensive option to earn credit for my prerequisite courses in just one test. As a full-time student, mom and employee, my time is very tight. Thanks to CLEP, I have been able to take only 12 credits per semester and still complete my degree in under four years."
Rock Valley Community CollegeTestimonial Source:Test Taker
"The CLEP exams have been an enormous blessing to me. Taking the College Mathematics and the College Composition tests saved me time and money, and I got ahead of schedule to graduate with an associate of arts degree. It also saved me approximately $570, which went toward a new laptop. Because the requirement to graduate with an A.A. was to complete only three credits of college math, the CLEP exam fulfilled the entire requirement. I took the test early and was able to really focus on the classes important to my major."
Texas A&M International UniversityTestimonial Source:Test Taker
"Thanks to TAMIU’s credit-by-exam policy and College Board’s CLEP program, I was able to meet my foreign-language graduation requirements as well as advance to my junior-level Spanish class. CLEP allowed me to save time, money and shorten my path to graduation. CLEP truly rewards you for what you know."
Home SchoolTestimonial Source:Test Taker
"CLEP has drastically changed — and improved — my college education. Over the course of eight months, I took 16 CLEP examinations for over 45 credits. As you can imagine, that greatly accelerated my college education. In fact, thanks to CLEP, I'm going to graduate with a bachelors degree in political science at age 18, only one year after graduating high-school. CLEP has saved me money, time and given me an opportunity to learn and retain the subject matter. I can't recommend CLEP tests enough as a way to accomplish your lower-level courses in college."
John C. Donaldson
Hennepin Technical CollegeTestimonial Source:Test Taker
"CLEP testing has helped me to save money, time and energy by conserving the resources I spend on school, allowing me to gain a degree in less time, and giving me more mental and physical energy to spend on other activities than I would gain by taking regular college courses."
Home SchoolTestimonial Source:Test Taker
"As a home-school mom with a limited budget and a talented student, we were looking for alternatives to a four-year bachelor program. Our son was a high school senior and interested in pursuing graduate or higher level of studies. We found an accelerated program that worked with select colleges, and a huge part of that program was taking CLEP tests. By the end of his high school senior year, our son (age 17) had taken and passed 16 CLEP exams, earning him 69 credit hours. And he’s prepping to take three more this coming year. That has put quite a dent in his accumulation toward a political science degree. He does his senior work this fall and spring. This fall he will be applying to graduate programs and law schools. Without CLEP tests, we could not have helped him to realize his dreams on this short of a timeline. It made all the difference."
Want to get a feel for the tests? Try out sample questions from actual CLEP exams in the subject of your choice.
Find out how many credits you can earn.