Are Credit-by-Exams Right For You? Part 2
College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) from The College Board can help you receive college credit for what you already know. Furthermore, over 2,900 colleges offer credits for qualifying CLEP exam scores.
Each exam is approximately 90-minutes long (with the exception of College Composition, which takes 120 minutes) and currently costs $77 each to take. The College Board offers 33 of these CLEP exams in 5 subject areas. The specific subject tests map your mastery of knowledge to that of the many similar prerequisite type courses you would find in your first two years of college. A high score on an exam indicates college-level mastery of an equivalent course in that subject area.
You can find out more about CLEP exams here.
Advanced Placement Exams (AP)
An AP exam is the exam you can take after taking an AP course. An Advanced Placement (AP) course is a course that covers material at a more advanced level than your average high school class. There are 34 AP courses and their corresponding exams to choose from including subjects like biology, calculus, macroeconomics, microeconomics, chemistry, physics, psychology, history, foreign languages, and English. Each course, upon completion, has a corresponding standardized AP Exam. Typically, you take an AP course through your high school in-school AP program or, alternatively, through an online course provider that offers courses approved by the College Board to be listed as AP courses.
Each May, AP exams are given for each of the 34 AP courses. By registering for an AP exam before the required deadline, and taking the exam, you will be eligible to receive AP credits depending on your exam scores. It is the standardized AP exam scores, not your grade in the class, which determines your AP credit transfer eligibility at the colleges you are considering attending.
You can find out more about AP tests and courses here.
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)
You’ve gained skills and knowledge in your life and on the job. Why not earn credit for what you already know? The PLA lets you translate the knowledge you've gained in the real world through jobs, civic and military engagement, volunteering, independent study, and even hobbies into college credit.
A Prior Learning Assessment is more than just a test. It’s a process that colleges and universities use to evaluate what you've learned outside the classroom for the purpose of assigning academic credit. And there’s not just one type of PLA. You can choose different types of PLA to fit your style and your budget. Some are self directed, and others are instructor-led with specific start and end dates.
You can find out more about Prior Learning Assessments here.
You don’t earn college credit with the next two assessments we’ll look at, but they are becoming more important and useful for those seeking jobs.
Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+)
Are you looking for a way to show potential employers that you've got what it takes to succeed? Then we think you’ll be interested in one of our new non-credit bearing assessments, the CLA+. It’s a computer-administered, open-ended exam designed to prove how strong your critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem-solving, reading and writing skills are.
You can find out more about the College Learning Assessment here.
ETS iSkills™ and ETS® Proficiency Profile Assessments
The last assessment we’ll look at comes from the Educational Testing Service (ETS), a global leader in testing and assessment known for their TOEFL®, GRE® and Praxis assessments. The iSkills™ and ETS® Proficiency Profile assessments measure higher-order skills like critical thinking and problem-solving that are essential for college success and beyond. Together, the iSkills™ and ETS® Proficiency Profile assessments will test the strength of your critical thinking skills and your mastery of college-level reading, writing, and mathematical concepts.
You can find out more about ETS assessments here.