What is CLEP®?
CLEP is the College Board's College Level Examination Program®, where a student can show proficiency in a course by taking an exam to earn college credit for specific entry-level college courses. Approximately 2,900 colleges award credit for some or all of the 33 available CLEP courses. The College Board administers this program through approximately 1,800 testing centers where students can take CLEP exams. Exams are 90-120 minutes long.
There will likely be some courses your student will take in high school where they can take a test in less than two hours, and potentially be awarded college credit for that course!
Benefits of CLEP
CLEP credit saves you the time and money of taking that course in college...add it up, and it can be a LOT of money. While each college determines the minimum CLEP exam score required to earn credit, that score is often 50, or a grade "C" performance. Unlike Advanced Placement® exams, CLEP exams are available year-round. It's possible to earn enough credit to bypass the first year of college or more.
Which Colleges Award Credit for CLEP?
Over 2,900 colleges award credit for CLEP, so there's an excellent chance the college you want to attend is one of them. Here is a database you can search for participating colleges on the College Board website.
At the time of this writing, the College Board will charge $89 to take an exam, and a testing center may charge about $25 for administering the exam. You register at the College Board Website, and you have six months in which to take the exam. These costs are in addition to the Thinkwell courses.
Thinkwell Courses for CLEP
These Thinkwell courses are excellent preparation for the CLEP exams:
Thinkwell is developing CLEP-specific versions of these courses that will include practice CLEP exams. Traditionally, students have prepared for CLEP exams by taking these existing courses and accessing practice questions at the College Board website, which has proven effective.
What's the difference between High School Courses and College Courses?
High school courses, especially math and science courses, are similar in scope and sequence to their introductory college course counterparts. In college, the syllabus may be somewhat more detailed, and they may move through content more quickly. Thinkwell courses are frequently adopted by professors at many colleges and universities. You will be well-prepared to be successful on the CLEP exams after taking a Thinkwell course.
AP Versus CLEP Exams
Advanced Placement® is generally considered somewhat more rigorous than CLEP; however, they both potentially result in college credit. The passing percentage is slightly higher for CLEP than AP. CLEP exams are multiple-choice (except for College Composition), but AP exams will have additional types of free-response questions. The College Board offers AP exams once a year, while CLEP exams are available year-round. The costs are about the same.