What is the College Level Examination Program?

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The College Level Examination Program, better known as the CLEP, is a program launched by the College Board. This program lets students earn college credit through the experience that they gained working in the field or in other ways. When you take one of these tests, the College Board will grade your test, and if you receive a score higher than a certain amount, you can transfer that credit to one of the associated colleges and avoid taking that class for your degree. The College Board offers these courses in five different subjects.

What Tests are Available?

The exams offered by the College Board are available in foreign languages, business, composition and literature, history and social sciences and mathematics and science. Financial accounting, introduction to business law and principles of management are a few of the business programs available, while the composition and literature tests include college composition and American literature. Those proficient in French, Spanish or German can take a class that lets them skip one or more foreign language courses. Students can also gain biology, humanities, algebra, history and psychology credits and credits for other courses.

How Many Credits Can You Earn?

The number of credits that you can earn through ones of these examinations ranges from three credits to 12 credits. According to the College Board, the number of credits granted varies based on your school. Some schools will let you use the three credits you earn from a psychology test to skip the required social sciences credit needed for graduation. If you earn six to 12 credits, the school may only grant you three credit hours towards your degree. Some schools will give you full credit for the test you take towards the requirements of your degree program.

Do the Tests Cost Money?

Taking this test lets you save money on your college tuition. Most tests cost a flat rate of $80, but taking the full class at your school might cost $300 or more. If the test includes an essay component, you need to pay an additional $10 fee. Nearly 3,000 colleges across the country accept credits earned from those tests, and the College Board offers those tests at nearly 2,000 locations across the country. Active duty military personnel can take the examinations for free, and the tests are also free to some qualifying veterans.

Who Takes the Exams?

Those who take the College Board examinations are those who want to take fewer classes on campus or online. Most colleges now require that students take a certain number of foreign language classes. If you are bilingual, you can use the exam to skip those courses. The experience that you have in the real world can help you pass that test and avoid taking a full course. Others use the program as a way to cut down on the cost of their tuition. This program is open to high school graduates, continuing education students, college students, veterans and currently enlisted men and women and those who were home schooled.

Most tests available through the College Board take 90 minutes or less to complete, and students can earn up to 12 credit hours of college credit from a single test. The CLEP is a program that is open to students of all ages and backgrounds who want make college a little more affordable.

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