The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) helps you receive college credit for what you already know, for a fraction of the cost of a college course. Developed by the College Board, CLEP is the most widely accepted credit-by-examination program, available at more than 2,900 colleges and universities. Pass any of the 33 CLEP exams and achieve your college and career goals.
Did you know that doing well on a CLEP exam can earn you the same amount of credit that you'd get if you took and passed a college course covering the same material? Learn how to get credit for what you already know.
Learn About Your College's CLEP Policy
Currently, 2,900 colleges and universities grant credit for CLEP, and each institution sets its own CLEP policy. In other words, each institution determines the exams for which it awards credits, the minimum qualifying score required to get credit, and the amount of credits that will be granted per exam. Before you take a CLEP exam, review the CLEP policy of your college or university.
How Much Credit Can You Earn?
If you pass a CLEP exam, you may earn up to 12 credits. The amount of credit you can earn on an individual CLEP exam varies with each college. Some colleges place a limit on the total amount of credit you can earn through CLEP. Other colleges may grant you exemption but no credit toward your degree.
Minimum Qualifying Score
Most colleges publish the required scores for earning CLEP credit in their general catalog or in a brochure. The required score for earning CLEP credit may vary from exam to exam. Contact your institution to find out the minimum qualifying score for each exam you're considering.
Getting Credit for General Requirements
At some colleges, you may be able to apply your CLEP credit to the college's core curriculum requirements. For example, CLEP credit may be given as "6 hrs. English Credit" or "3 hrs. Math Credit," and can be used for any English or mathematics course. Find out before you take a CLEP exam what type of credit you can receive from your institution, or whether you will be exempted from a required course but receive no credit.
Prior Course Work
Some colleges won't grant credit for a CLEP exam if you've already attempted a college-level course closely aligned with that exam. For example, if you successfully completed English 101 or a comparable course on another campus, you'll probably not be permitted to receive CLEP credit in that same subject. Also, some colleges won't permit you to earn CLEP credit for a course that you failed.
Be sure to wait at least three months before repeating a CLEP exam of the same title. Scores of exams repeated earlier than three months will not be accepted (and test fees will be forfeited).
Colleges usually award CLEP credit only to their enrolled students. Here are some additional questions to consider:
- Does the college require that you "validate" your CLEP score by successfully completing a more advanced course in the subject?
- Does the college require the optional free-response (essay) section for the examinations in Composition and Literature as well as the multiple-choice portion of the CLEP exam you're considering?
- Will you be required to pass a departmental test such as an essay, laboratory, or oral exam in addition to the CLEP multiple-choice exam?
Knowing the answers to these questions ahead of time will permit you to schedule the optional free-response or departmental exam when you register to take your CLEP exam.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
If you have a disability, such as learning or physical disability, that would prevent you from taking a CLEP exam under standard conditions, you may request accommodations at your preferred test center. Contact your preferred test center well in advance of the test date to make the necessary arrangements and to find out its deadline for submission of documentation and approval of accommodations. Accommodations that can be arranged directly with test centers include:
- ZoomText (screen magnification)
- Modifiable screen colors
- Use of a reader, amanuensis, or a sign language interpreter
- Extended time
- Untimed rest breaks
Check out the resources below, compiled by the CLEP test development committee and staff members. (But be aware that these sources aren’t designed specifically to provide preparation for a CLEP exam. And we, of course, have no control over their content and cannot vouch for their accuracy.
- Online Education Database Library
This library links to open courseware, broadcast learning, educational video, archives, lecture webcasts and podcasts from a range of colleges, and scholarly journals.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MIT offers 1,800 free lecture notes, exams, and videos in a variety of subjects, along with supplemental resources.
- University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley, presents free podcasts and webcasts of its current and archived courses.
- Open Learning Initiative
Carnegie Mellon University provides free online courses and course material in modern biology, French, economics, chemistry, and other subjects.
The Annenberg Foundation's website for teacher professional development offers streaming video and course materials in a variety of subjects.
This site contains multimedia lessons and course materials.