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What is CLEP?

CLEP (the College-Level Examination Program®) offers 33 exams that cover intro-level college course material. With a passing score on one CLEP exam, you could earn three or more college credits at more than 2,900 U.S. colleges and universities.

CLEP was created to help individuals with prior knowledge in a college course subject earn their degree efficiently and inexpensively. That prior learning could have taken place through advanced high school courses, independent reading and study, online courseware or textbooks, noncredit courses, or on-the-job training. 

Key CLEP Facts:

  • Students take CLEP exams on a computer at official CLEP test centers.
  • CLEP exams contain multiple-choice questions.
  • CLEP exams take about 90–120 minutes to complete, depending on the exam subject.
  • CLEP exams are offered year-round at more than 2,000 CLEP test centers across the country.
  • Students receive their CLEP exam scores immediately after completing the exam (except for College Composition).
  • More than 2,900 U.S. colleges and universities grant credit for CLEP.

 

Who Can Take CLEP Exams?

Anyone interested in earning college credit and saving time and money can take a CLEP exam. CLEP launched in 1967 as a way for adult students and military service members to earn degrees inexpensively while also being able to meet work and family responsibilities.

Today, CLEP benefits everyone including high school students, college students, adult learners, service members and veterans, and professionals seeking continuing education credits. 

How do I know if CLEP is right for me?

Ask yourself the following questions to figure out if taking a CLEP exam is right for you:

  • Does my college or university accept the CLEP exam subject I’m interested in taking?
  • Does the CLEP exam I'm interested in taking fulfill a degree requirement?
  • Have I already gained knowledge in any of the CLEP exam subjects through a previous course, independent reading and study, work, or other experience?
  • Am I looking for ways to reduce my college tuition bill?
  • Do I need to earn my degree in a shorter amount of time?
  • Do I have other obligations such as family and/or work that require me to have more flexibility in earning college credit for my degree?

If you answered yes to some of these questions, you could benefit from a CLEP exam. Talk to your guidance counselor or academic advisor to find out how a CLEP exam could fit in with your education plans.

CLEP is for Everyone

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 hours—English Credit” or “3 hours—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 Coursework

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 wouldn't receive CLEP credit in that same subject. Also, some colleges won't allow you to earn CLEP credit for a course that you failed.