College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
What is the CLEP Exam?
The College-Level Examination Program® from The College Board lets you earn college credit for subjects that you already know. CLEP tests are given in 33 subjects, including English literature and writing, foreign languages, history, science, math and business. Exams are approximately 90 minutes long, with the exception of College Composition, which takes 120 minutes. Exams contain mainly multiple-choice questions. College Composition and a few other CLEP exams contain essays.
CLEP tests are very similar toavailable through StraighterLine.
How Are StraighterLine Courses and CLEP Exams Alike?
If you spend a little time reviewing the official CLEP website and StraighterLine course descriptions, you’ll notice some similarities on the surface. Both CLEP and StraighterLine offer students convenient options to earn college credits in many subject areas. Plus, there is some overlap in subject matter.
But you will discover some significant differences too. They include:
- The CLEP doesn’t offer instruction or academic support, only an exam. CLEP exams are intended to help you earn credits for subjects you've already studied and mastered. To pass the CLEP exams you'll also likely need to schedule time for separate study and preparation – a process that is known as “studying for the test.”
- You can take StraighterLine courses anywhere, anytime, online. With StraighterLine, there is no need to schedule a test in a remote physical location and travel to it. You can complete your coursework and assessments 100% online.
- StraighterLine courses offer you a supervised, structured way to learn course material. Again, the CLEP is only an exam that tests your knowledge in a particular subject area, not a form of instruction, so you are on your own as you prepare. If you need tutorial help while you are taking a course at StraighterLine, academic assistance is available online.
- You need to schedule your CLEP test date in advance. In contrast, StraighterLine courses are flexible. You can complete your coursework 100% online at your own pace – even repeating different units if you desire – and finish your course and earn your grade whenever you are ready. The pacing and outcome of your StraighterLine courses is easier for you to control.
- The process for earning credit at each college is different. Each institution sets its own CLEP policy and each institution accepts different CLEP examinations. So some caution and careful research would be a good idea. Once you pass a CLEP test, your college may grant you the same number of credits that you would earn after taking a class – but be sure to ask ahead of time if CLEP results are accepted for credit at your desired college. In contrast, once you've completed a StraighterLine course, our Credit Transfer Guarantee ensures that you can seamlessly transfer credit to our 40 partner colleges, and you may be able to transfer your course credit to more than 2,000 American colleges and universities that accept ACE Credit.
So, is it better to use the CLEP, Excelsior or a StraighterLine course to earn college credit? The answer is that it depends on the subject, the depth of knowledge that you already possess about it, and the college where you’d like the credit to apply. Be sure to check out both and select the one that works best for you.