What is CLEP? Explanation & Alternatives

What is CLEP? Explanation & Alternatives

6 minute read

Are there ways to save both time and money when it comes to your college education? Absolutely! One of the best ways to do this is by fulfilling your school’s general education requirements ahead of time and transferring your credits to your institution. You can do this by either testing out of a gen ed class or taking online courses. Let’s explore both ways by looking at CLEP vs. StraighterLine.

What is a CLEP Exam?

CLEP stands for College-Level Examination Program®. These exams, offered by the College Board, allow students to test out of introductory-level college courses, saving them time and money as they work toward their degrees. Taking a CLEP exam provides documentation that you already have college-level knowledge of a subject – like an AP class. CLEP offers 34 exams in the following subjects:

There is not one single CLEP exam. You should choose which exam(s) you take based on the specific college courses you want to test out of. For example, if your college requires English Lit as a general education requirement for graduation, you can take the CLEP English Lit exam.

How Do CLEP Exams Work?

Each exam costs around $90. They’re administered at licensed test centers around the country or at home with remote proctoring. Before registering for a CLEP exam, make sure your college allows CLEP credit transfers, and make sure you sign up for a test that corresponds to the class for which you’d like to get credit.

At a Testing Center

To take a CLEP exam, go to their website and choose which test you’d like to take.  Create a CLEP account and purchase your exam. Select a nearby testing center and schedule your exam. You can include  which schools you’d like to have CLEP send your exam results to. Your first two schools are free; after that, it costs $20 per school. During your exam you’ll be proctored in person to ensure you comply with CLEP’s exam policies.

Remote Proctoring

If you’d like to take your CLEP exam at home, you can register for remote proctoring. The registration process is similar, but you’ll need to confirm that you meet the requirements for remote testing:

  • You are at least 13 years old
  • You are in the United States
  • Your computer and testing room meet environment and equipment requirements

Exam policies for remote proctoring are the same as for in-person testing.

Preparing for the CLEP

The CLEP website has several resources to help prepare you for your exam:

  • Practice questions and online study guides
  • Lists of helpful online resources
  • Topic-specific exam resources
  • Test-taking tips and strategies
  • A testing app tutorial

What CLEP Scores Do You Need to Transfer Credits?

Taking a CLEP exam alone doesn’t necessarily qualify you to skip that class once you get to college. Once again, you’ll need to make sure that the exam you take is accepted as a course equivalent at your particular school. For example, California State University, Sacramento, will not accept any of the CLEP business exams. Also make sure that you know what passing score you need to qualify for credit at your school. Most schools require a score of 50 or higher on the exams they accept for credit. Make sure you check that your chosen school(s) still accept CLEP exams in lieu of college requirements and what those requirements are.

Are There Other Options? Yes, Online Courses

In addition to the CLEP exams, there are other ways to save time and money on your college education. There are online course providers, such as StraighterLine, that offer college-level courses for credits that are guaranteed to transfer to over 150 partner schools and have been accepted at over 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide. These classes are more than exams. They teach the entire subject matter and administer exams at the end of the class.

CLEP vs. StraighterLine

If you haven’t yet taken a course that’s covered by a CLEP exam or you need a refresher, online programs like StraighterLine can help. StraighterLine’s online classes for college credit start at just $79, plus $99 monthly membership.  Our classes include live student support, free eTextbooks, and on-demand tutoring to help you succeed. When you finish your class, you’ll take a final exam with a StraighterLine online proctor. A score of 70 or higher means you passed. If, for some reason, you don’t pass on the first try, StraighterLine lets you re-enroll after 3 days (If you need to retake a CLEP exam, you must wait 3 months to re-register). With both programs, you can choose what to take based on your college’s general education requirements. CLEP exams allow you to test right out. StraighterLine offers classes for beginners or those who want a refresh before taking an exam.

Why Choose StraighterLine?

For college-bound students, StraighterLine offers an affordable way to learn the subjects you need to know as well as pass the final exam. With StraighterLine, you can take as many classes as you want per month, learn the subjects, and get tested at the end. In a matter of months, you can have tested out of nearly all your gen ed requirements, saving time and money at your chosen school! Thanks to our partnership with over 150 colleges and universities worldwide, you know your hard work will pay off. Once you pass the class, your credits are guaranteed to transfer to one of our partner institutions, and they’ve also been accepted at over 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide. No guesswork or time-consuming research. And if your school isn’t on our list of participating colleges and universities, we can help you transfer your credit through the American Council on Education credit recommendation program.  With StraighterLine, there’s no lengthy application process. You don’t have to wait for acceptance to get started. Just sign up, pick and purchase your courses, and start learning. Most of our 300,000+ students have completed their classes in 5 to 7 weeks!

Start Earning College Credit with StraighterLine

When choosing where to earn credits for college, where you go matters. With StraighterLine, you don’t need prior knowledge of a subject to take our courses. We provide student support services 7 days a week to help you through every step of your journey so that you get the most out of your educational path.  Let StraighterLine guide you on your path to a successful college or professional career. 

Check out our full selection of transferable college courses for credit here.

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