All about CLEP exams
Are you looking to earn college credit outside the classroom? The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) offers over 30 exams that can help you earn real college credit in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost of traditional colleges and universities. CLEP exams test your expertise in a particular subject, providing an opportunity for you to demonstrate understanding through a standardized test. Passing these exams proves your mastery and grants real college credit, just as though you had passed the corresponding course at a college or university!
- Who can take CLEP tests?
- Anyone who wants to earn affordable college credit can take a CLEP exam — there are no restrictions. CLEP exams are perfect for military personnel with non-transferrable job training, adult learners with prior on-the-job experience, students who enjoy independent study, and anybody looking to jump-start their college career.
- Which schools accept CLEP?
- More than 2,900 U.S. colleges and universities accept CLEP credit, but each institution has different policies on the subjects, scores, and number of credits accepted. You can search for a school's CLEP guidelines through College Board's database.
- CLEP vs DSST vs AP
If you've considered alternative routes to earning college credit, you may also be familiar with the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) and Advanced Placement (AP) programs.
CLEP and DSST exams are both standardized tests open to the general public. The main difference between these two exams is content, with the CLEP offering testing in more mainstream courses such as 'American Literature' and the DSST covering a range of distinctive topics including 'A History of the Vietnam War' and 'Fundamentals of Cybersecurity'. Learn more about the differences between these two tests in our article comparing CLEP and DSST credit.
Although AP programs may seem similar to CLEP exams since they are also often used to gain college credit, they are actually very different. Only high school students are eligible for AP programs, which consist of college-level classes that conclude with corresponding exams. AP tests tend to be more difficult, and exam scores are accepted at most two- and four-year colleges and universities worldwide for credit and advanced placement. For a more in-depth view into these two tests, check out our article on AP vs CLEP.
- Composition and literature
- World languages
- History and social sciences
- Science and mathematics
- CLEP test format
- All CLEP exams are administered via an internet based testing platform (iBT) and are approximately 90 minutes in length. With the exception of "College Composition," which includes 2 required essays, most exams consist of multiple-choice questions and some tests include different question types like numeric entry. Language tests include listening sections, and some other exams include optional essays as well.