college level

College Level Examination Program

The College Level Examination Program (or CLEP) is a series of examinations that test an individual’s college level knowledge gained through course work, independent study, cultural pursuits, travel, special interests, military service schools, and professional development. CLEP also offers international and home-schooled students the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in subject areas and bypass undergraduate coursework. The test is offered by the College Board. Approximately 2,900 colleges and universities will grant college credits for each test. Both U.S. and international schools grant CLEP credit. Most of the tests are 90 minutes long and currently cost $70 each or are free to U.S. military service members and veterans. There is an additional fee of $10 for the optional essay portion of some of the exams. Each test usually corresponds to a one or two semester introductory course on the topic, though the Spanish, French, and German Language exams can be used to earn up to 12 credits.

CLEP exams are offered at testing centers on over 1,400 college and university campuses, as well as military installations. Most centers charge an administrative or registration fee per student or per test. Fees usually range from $15-20, though they vary among test centers.

CLEP tests are primarily multiple-choice exams (though some include fill-in or ordering questions, and one English Composition exam has an essay section) which are scored on a scale from 20 to 80. The majority of schools grant credit for a score of 50 or higher, but passing scores are determined by the individual schools and may vary. The schools are responsible for awarding the amount of credits you would receive for each test. The scores in the table below are endorsed by the American Council on Education as recommended credit-granting scores for each of the exams. On foreign language tests, the score will determine the amount of credit granted. For example, one university may grant 8 credits for a score of 50, 12 credits for a score of 62 and 18 credits for a score of 73.

Currently available exams

2007 CLEP Examinations
Business Credits
Financial Accounting 3
Business Law, Introductory 3
Information Systems and Computer Applications 3
Management, Principles of 3
Marketing, Principles of 3
Composition and Literature Credits
American Literature 6
Analyzing and Interpreting Literature 6
English Composition with or without Essay 6
English Literature 6
Freshman College Composition 6
Humanities 6
Foreign Languages Credits
French Language, Levels 1 and 2 6-12
German Language, Levels 1 and 2 6-12
Spanish Language, Levels 1 and 2 6-12
History and Social Sciences Credits
American Government 3
Educational Psychology, Introduction to 3
History of the United States I: Early Colonization to 1877 3
History of the United States II: 1865 to Present 3
Human Growth and Development 3
Macroeconomics, Principles of 3
Microeconomics, Principles of 3
Psychology, Introductory 3
Social Sciences and History 6
Sociology, Introductory 3
Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East to 1648 3
Western Civilization II: 1648 to Present 3
Science and Mathematics Credits
Biology 6
Calculus 3
Chemistry 6
College Algebra 3
College Mathematics 6
Precalculus 3
Natural Sciences 6

CLEP Exams for U.S. Military Personnel

CLEP exams are given free of charge for any qualifying US military personnel. All branches of service are considered eligible including: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, Army Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Navy Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Army and Air National Guard.

Studying for the CLEP

  • Books
    • The creators of the CLEP tests, CollegeBoard releases an Official Study Guide with about 50 sample questions for each exam. The questions are quite similar in format and level to the actual exam questions, but they do not offer any explanations for the correct answers or study material.
    • The Research & Education Association publishes study guides with practice tests. Many of their titles include a CD-ROM with tests in the same format as the actual exams. Each book has a few chapters of material that will probably be covered during the exam and three practice tests with in-depth explanations.
    • College textbooks. The CollegeBoard suggests reading a common introductory textbook on the subject.
  • Web Sites
    • CLEP Official Website
    • CLEP Test Review provides CLEP preparation materials for higher CLEP exam scores.
    • SpeedyPrep is a comprehensive interactive CLEP tutorial that is entirely online and guarantees a passing score.
    • PassYourClass provides study guides for most CLEP and DANTES tests and includes a "Pass or Don't Pay" guarantee.
    • SparkNotes have study guides on many of the CLEP exam topics. They are aimed at students currently taking the courses.
    • CLEP Info lists study guides and allows users to rate and review them. They also have tips and information on the exams.
    • Free University provides free reference material that can be used to study for CLEP exams.
    • InstantCert provides reference material for many CLEP and Dantes exams.
    • Petersons provides study guides and practice tests for most CLEP exams.
    • CLEP Info International colleges and universities that grant CLEP credit.
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