The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP®) is a series of exams created by the College Board® to measure a student's knowledge of typical college coursework. Taking CLEP exams is typically cheaper than paying to enroll in classes, and for students who possess a mastery of certain subjects, either through work, life experience or other activities, the CLEP can be an economical option when it comes to footing the bill for college.
The CLEP exams are offered throughout the academic year. Test schedules are determined by individual testing centers.
The time to take a CLEP test typically varies between 90 and 120 minutes, depending upon the subject.
Each CLEP exam costs $80; however, individual testing centers may charge an additional administration fee. Contact your nearest testing center directly for more information about specific fees.
The CLEP is offered in many locations across the country. Testing centers are typically located in colleges and universities. To find a convenient testing center, search online by zip code or city and state.
Interested students are encouraged to contact their universities to confirm that credit will be awarded for passing the CLEP before registering.
What Is On the CLEP Tests
Test questions and content vary by subject. Some exams, such as those that are English- or literature-based, may contain an optional or mandatory essay section. Most questions throughout all subjects are multiple choice, but math-based tests may require participants to fill in shaded portions of an illustration or to fill in a numeric answer. In the CLEP, you may encounter questions that test you on a wide variety of skills, including zoning, shading and order-matching.
Typical sample test questions are widely available on the Internet and can help you better prepare for this test that could turn out to be a most important part of your educational experience.
How the CLEP Tests Are Scored
CLEP uses the "rights only" method of scoring, which means you are only graded according to number of questions you answer correctly. This means there is no additional penalty for wrong guesses or for questions left unanswered. The number of right answers is called your "raw score." The raw score is then converted to a scaled score to help maintain its integrity over time.
Multiple-choice questions are graded by computer, while written essays are examined by college English professors who have been pre-selected by College Board. All CLEP scores that are graded by computer are available immediately upon completion of the test. Other results may take up to three weeks.
Retaking the CLEP Tests
You can register to retake the CLEP to receive a higher score. The waiting period between testing sessions is three months. Scored are not averaged. Only your most recent score will be considered in the granting of college credits. You can retake a CLEP exam as many times as you like, however, after a certain point, repaying the $80 fee becomes more expensive than taking the college course.
If you feel you have a firm grip of a subject and could possibly test out of having the take the course, The CLEP test may be for you.