General Ed Shortcut – CLEP

Get through your college general education faster – CLEP test your way through classes you are stronger and more interested in. CLEP tests have been around for decades. They aren’t publicized by colleges; in some cases the school needs/wants enrollment instead. In some cases, the school doesn’t accept CLEP units. In many cases (more than 2,900 accredited colleges and universities) they do.

Here’s the great news:

  1. The tests are multiple-choice (except English composition) and to pass you need to score over 51% (sometimes higher, depending on your school, but never in the 80%+ range).
  2. If you fail a test, you can repeat it in six months
  3. If you pass the test, you get the three units
  4. The tests are affordable ($70 + approx $15 college admin fee)

Here’s what this means for you:

  1. If you’re okay with tests, well enough that you typically score 70%, CLEP tests are much easier than tests such as the SAT
  2. If you speak a foreign language, for example, you can take a couple of practice tests, do no reading, and pass
  3. Worst case scenario – if you don’t pass, nothing shows on your transcript. No attempt, no failure. Worst case is you take a few, pass a couple, and won’t need to enroll in courses where you simply score around 70%

Here’s something to think about:
Schools vary, however, to create a test that “covers” a topic nationwide; it has to be pretty generic. If you have a subject you did well in, in high school, or if you have a subject you like, you can purchase either a CLEP book for that topic or you can pick up a book that covers the first semester of a typical course on that subject. For example, Introduction to Psychology, it’s the same nationwide and a good book on the topic will guide you to an acceptable score.I wanted to get through my Bachelor’s Degree quickly. I tested, with CLEP, for 18 semester units. I read the list of available tests, decided which I knew enough about that I would study the details for one month by reading one book. Some of the tests I took I scored quite high, some I scored around 60%. There are no grades, you either get the units or you don’t. Each test took 90 minutes. And I then did not have to sit in, pay for textbooks, and schedule six semester general education courses.

Important things to note:

  1. All students enrolled in any U.S. college or university are required to complete general education units. Once the requirements are met, you have completed your general education sequence. If you transfer, after your general education sequence is complete, to another university, you will not take general education courses again, ever. Once completed, always complete. You don’t have to worry about graduating from one school, with CLEP, to find out another doesn’t accept it, unless you transfer without completing your general education sequence. This means either you complete at one school and then transfer, or you start at one school and transfer to another that also accepts CLEP units. This information is easily determined; see the links at the bottom of this article.
  2. You’ll want to check your school’s CLEP policy, including needed scores. One area of note is government/political science. Some states require a component covering their particular state; that test may not satisfy your college’s requirements, but the others will. Make sure you meet with a counselor, and get an email confirmation.

CLEP saves a lot of time and money. Don’t be shy about requesting the CLEP policy from a school. There’s no sense in sitting through beginning courses if you have the knowledge or can test out.

CLEP is different from “challenging” courses. When you challenge you receive permission to take the next level course, however, you don’t get the units for your challenge. Challenging test you to the next level course, CLEP gives you units for the test and qualifies you for the next level course.

CLEP is a great, efficient way to speed up your quest to graduate from college!

Information on the 34 CLEP exams [http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/clep/exams.html]. Information on the 2,900 accredited colleges and universities that accept CLEP credit [http://apps.collegeboard.com/cbsearch_clep/searchCLEPColleges.jsp].

Hi, I’m Kelly. I’m a mom and I teach in the community college system. I meet a lot of optimistic young men and women full of dreams and yet who struggle with the details of life. I write for families and individuals who need a little mentoring to navigate their way through educational and work/career goals. If you or your son/daughter doesn’t seem to fit into the system, 2ude offers alternative paths toward accomplishment. Let’s celebrate uniqueness and create new opportunities.

A few notes about my credentials. I’m a mutt. Some parts show a glimpse of pedigree, other parts crawled out of the woodwork. I have a Doctorate in Education. Before grad school and teaching I worked in the construction business for years and liked it, but always felt the pull of learning more. I have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and two young women somewhat considered to be step-daughters. It’s a little complicated. I teach, as I mentioned earlier, and wrote/managed many grants, created curriculum for several degrees and over 60 courses, and worked a Dean for a spell until I decided attending back-to-back-to back meetings was not for me. I’ve written a couple of modest books, published several articles, and know a lot about learning, education, and the internet.

I started 2ude after years of meeting with parents and young people who knew they could succeed on a different path, if they only knew what was available.

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