4 Steps to Prep for the CLEP
What is CLEP?
The College Level Examination Program is an arm of the College Board, which provides a vehicle for expediting the completion of select college courses. Depending on the institution’s policies, CLEP tests can help students earn college credits, or waive certain requirements if they have already developed proficiencies in certain content areas. This post will provide readers with a few simple steps to assess if taking a CLEP test is an appropriate option for their situation.
Recently, one of my college students was informed that he was required to complete one college level math course in order to satisfy his liberal arts requirements. This development was problematic because my student is attempting to graduate a semester early, and didn’t have room in their schedule to fulfill this requirement. The student also felt that he had already acquired the necessary competencies for various college level math courses, and wasn’t interested in wasting his time or money on a class that wasn’t going to provide him with any new skills.
If you resonate with this story, follow the steps below to help guide your course of action.
Step #1 – Visit the CLEP website
Now that you have clicked through to the CLEP site, it’s time to determine what test(s) you should take. On the homepage of the CLEP site, there is a “Search Institutions” option. DO THIS!
There are 33 CLEP tests available, but each college/university has a different acceptance policy. You don’t want to take a test that will not be accepted by your college/university. Instead of taking the test, save the $80 and put it to good use elsewhere.
Here is an example of a the ENC CLEP Policy, which can be found on the CLEP website.
Step #2 – Double check your facts
It is not wise to make assumptions about college policy based on third party information. Now that you are armed with some baseline information, cross reference it with your institution’s course catalogue and double check with the registrar’s office to ensure the information found on CLEP website is up to date.
Step #3 – Prepare for the test
When taking CLEP tests, it’s important to prepare in advance. It doesn’t make sense to invest $80, and not know what you’re getting into. The College Board provides several free resources, many of which can be found here. The Khan Academy also provides several great resources, including this college algebra video series.
Step #4 – Register for the test
Registering for a CLEP test is probably the easiest part of the process. Please visit this website to register by following the steps on the screen. When you look at the bottom of the page, you’ll notice there is a disclosure about academic accommodations for students with a documented learning disability. I would recommend you seek out the necessary accommodations if your students qualifies. I am happy to help guide the process if you have any questions.
Not every college will advertise their CLEP policy where it is easily accessible. CLEP tests can help students expedite their program completion which could result in less revenue for the college, a fact that some institutions would like to hide. CLEP tests can also be a viable alternative to taking summer classes, but it all depends on the college’s policy. My advice, conduct the necessary research to determine if taking a CLEP test is right for your situation. If taking a CLEP test is appropriate for your situation, doing well on the assessment could end up saving several hundred dollars.
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