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This guest post by Madison Hughes, homeschool graduate and college senior, is part 2 of a 4-part series on CLEP tests for homeschooled students. See PART 1 of A Homeschooled Student’s Guide to CLEP Tests here, and be sure to check back for parts 3 and 4!
The popularity of CLEP tests is currently on the rise, and you may have heard about them from friends or acquaintances as a way to earn college credit. Homeschoolers especially can take advantage of this easy method of acquiring college credit. This 4-part series will guide you through learning about and choosing a CLEP test, studying for and taking a CLEP test, and transferring CLEP credit to a college. In part 1, we explained what exactly a CLEP exam is and how to determine if it is right for you or your student. In part 2, we will discuss how to consider your options and choose a CLEP exam.
Need-to-know before choosing a CLEP test
- Almost all colleges accept some form of CLEP credit. However, many colleges place restrictions on the type and/or amount of CLEP credit that students are allowed to transfer.
- Before purchasing study materials, you should check with your college on which CLEP tests they accept, what test scores they require for credit, and how many total CLEP hours you can transfer. If your college only accepts a limited number of hours, this may affect your decision on what CLEPs to take and what courses to take as physical or online classes.
- If you cannot find this information on your college’s website, you should call the registrar’s office, which handles transcripts, enrollment, and questions about classes and credit.
Selecting a CLEP test
- Before deciding which CLEP exam to take, as mentioned above, make sure your college accepts this particular class as CLEP credit. Some colleges only accept a few CLEP tests, and it may make a difference whether the class is part of the general education portion of your degree or whether it is required by your major.
- Also double check the scores required for passing – some colleges impose higher standards than CLEP’s standard score of 50 out of 80.
After this, you should ask yourself why you are taking this CLEP test. Are you hoping to avoid taking a particular subject, such as a physical class? Do you want to be able to either get an easy course knocked out quickly or take more time on a difficult one? Are you using this course as both high school and college credit? These questions should help you narrow down which tests you may want to take.
Keep in mind that available CLEP study guides are mostly undirected except for a few practice tests in the back. This means that if your student lacks the ability to self-direct, or if they struggle on a particular subject, they may need to take that subject as a physical class whether in high school or in college. One of the easiest CLEP tests to start with is the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature exam, which doesn’t require much preparation if the student is already a good reader. However, not all schools or majors require this course, so double check before spending time and money to get a useless 3 hours of college credit.
After choosing your CLEP exam you will need to get materials, study for the test, and finally determine whether you are ready to take it. We will discuss this in part 3, so be sure to check back!