Why sit in a classroom for a whole semester when you can pass an exam that will exempt you from the entire course while getting credit for it? That's right, in about an hour and a half (the length of a CLEP test) you can get a college course completed for only about $80.00 (plus the cost of the testing center's service fee). That's a FRACTION of the cost of traditional college credits. PLUS with CLEP tests you can earn anywhere between 3- 12 credits which "bank" for up to 20 years!
So what is a CLEP exam, for those not familiar with the term? According to the official site "The College Board’s College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) has been the most widely trusted credit-by-examination program for over 40 years, accepted by 2,900 colleges and universities and administered in more than 1,800 test centers. This rigorous program allows students from a wide range of ages and backgrounds to demonstrate their mastery of introductory college-level material and earn college credit. Students can earn credit for what they already know by getting qualifying scores on any of the 33 examinations." Most exams are multiple choice, though some, like the English Composition may have an essay section. They are scored on a pass/fail basis and once completed you usually get your results immediately. It has been noted that "students who earn credits through CLEP tend to complete their degrees at a higher rate than students who don’t earn credit-by-examination."
With that in mind, and if you decide that taking a CLEP may be for you, here are some tips to help you prepare for a test.
1. Go to the College Board CLEP site and check out the exam outline and any study helps they may have for you there: https://clep.collegeboard.org/
2. Find an REA Guide to help you with your studies. Many of these can be found at the library, at used book stores, or on Amazon. Focus on materials geared toward your specific CLEP exam. http://www.rea.com/clep
3. Practice with flashcards. Some of my favorite flashcard sites are:
4. Take as many practice tests as you can. Many of the CLEP study guides have practice exams in the books for your use. You can also google "Practice exams for CLEP" to get a listing. Some of my favorites are:
5. Check out test forums where other people have taken the same test and may have some great advice for you. DegreeForum is one such site.
6. Watch videos to help you with particular subjects. Some of my favorites:
-search for your subject on You Tube- a whole list will pop up
7. Make Google your new best friend! We got so many study helps just by googling what we were looking for- and all for FREE!
8. Maybe read a couple of articles on effective test taking strategies and preparation.
9. Take as much time studying as you need. Depending on your familiarity of the subject, you may need less time, for others, more. Wait until you feel ready before booking an exam date.
10. While taking the test make sure you answer every question. You are NOT penalized for wrong answers, so if you can narrow your choices down and take an educated guess, you just may luck out.
11. Make sure when you have completed your test, if you have extra time, go back to review your answers. Look for "hints" throughout the exam. For example, at times a question somewhere in the exam will hint at the correct answer for a previous question, or may jog your memory for the correct response to one you may have been iffy about.
12. RELAX the night before the exam and while you are taking the test. If you have studied and prepared, you'll be fine. Just do your best. And if you fail, no problem, write down everything you can remember from your test (topics you need to study more, questions you weren't sure of, dates you need to learn, etc...) so you have it when you are ready to try again. You can retake the test in three months.
13. Whether you passed or failed I suggest going out to celebrate- treat yourself to ice cream or a movie. You studied hard and now you just need to take a break! (Remember you just tried to cram a whole semester or a year's worth of subject into a 90 minute test!) And if you need to try again, wait a day or so before you delve back in. You may also just want to begin on a different exam and maybe retake this one at a future date.
Congratulations! You have taken the first step to saving yourself money and time on your way to your college degree. If you haven't attempted a CLEP test yet, I say, just jump right on in! You'll never know if you can do it until you try!
Check out College Out of the Box FaceBook page, You Tube video, website, and EBook for more ideas on how you can get your degree for less money, in less time, and with NO student debt!