April Maguire 3 min read Applying to College, College Lists

What Is the CLEP Exam? Which Colleges Accept CLEP Credits?

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CLEP, or the College Board’s College-Level Examination Program, has been in place for more than 50 years. One of the most trusted credit-by-examination programs, CLEP enables students to showcase their knowledge of college-level coursework in order to earn credit at multiple schools around the U.S. 

 

Keep reading to learn more about CLEP exams and find out whether they can help you save time and money on your college journey.

 

What is the CLEP Exam?

 

Students can take CLEP exams year round at more than 2,000 CLEP test center locations across the nation. Each exam costs $89, and military service members may qualify for free tests. Once you register for a test online, you will have six months to take your exam. Note that students can select an institution to receive their CLEP scores for free at the time of registration. If you wait to designate a school after the fact, expect to pay a $20 fee per institution.

 

CLEP exams include both multiple choice and essay questions and take between 90 and 120 minutes to complete. Scores range from 20 to 80, with 50 being the minimum requirement for a passing grade. While a computer scores the multiple-choice component of the test, the essays are evaluated by college English professors who have been specially selected by the College Board. The College Board first evaluates a student’s raw score, which refers to the number of questions they answered correctly. Using the raw score, they create a scaled score which allows for difficulty variations between test forms.

 

It’s worth noting that colleges that accept CLEP exams are free to set their own minimum score requirements for granting students credit. Before registering for a CLEP exam, be sure to do your research regarding what schools accept the exams and which subjects are permitted.

 

What Subjects are Offered for the CLEP Exam?

 

Thinking of taking a CLEP exam? The College-Level Examination Program currently provides testing in the following subject areas:

 

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How Much Money Can the CLEP Exam Save Me?

 

CLEP exams can save students both time and money, provided that they perform well on the tests, and that the schools they wish to attend accept the credits. While some colleges and universities accept credit for as many exams as a student passes, others set a limit on the amount of credit students can earn. Moreover, some schools grant the same amount of credit to students who earn high marks in their high school courses. For this reason, it’s imperative that students do their research before signing up for CLEP exams.

 

If one or more of your target schools does accept CLEP credit, taking the exams could be well worth it. In fact, students who earn three credits for a CLEP exam save up to 100 hours of time on classroom work and home study. Moreover, those who earn 15 CLEP credits could save up to $5,000 on the cost of tuition.

 

Which Colleges Accept CLEP Credits?

 

Currently, CLEP offers 34 different exams with the credits accepted at more than 2,900 colleges and universities. Here are 10 of the top academic institutions that offer CLEP credits:

 

University of Arizona

Colorado State University

University of Central Florida

University of Kentucky

University of Massachusetts

Michigan State University

Purdue University

University of San Diego

Texas A&M University

University of Wisconsin

 

Wondering if your target college accepts CLEP credits? At this time, many of the highest-ranked institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Brown do not accept CLEP exams. Visit the College Board website and use the official CLEP search tool to see if the schools you’re considering made the list. 

 

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April Maguire
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.