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What is the CLEP Test and How Can Your Students Pass it Successfully?

With so much schooling, testing and examining that students today have to prepare for, it’s not uncommon never to have heard of the CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) test.

So, what is a CLEP test and how to pass the CLEP test are common questions we see. The CLEP tests exists not only to save time, but also to save money.

If you have an abundant amount of knowledge about a certain topic, there isn’t a need for you to sit through the classes if you can pass this examination.

What is a CLEP Test?

As mentioned before, a CLEP test gives certain students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in a particular field. They can earn college credit more easily and even save money and time.

You can find such students needing help with CLEP exams online. Online English teaching jobs give you and the student the opportunity to connect on your own time and allows for a flexible study schedule.

Although not all subjects offer the CLEP, there are at least 35 subjects eligible for the CLEP test as of 2017.

How to Study for the CLEP Test

This really depends on the students’ expertise in the field. If they are well versed in the particular subject, sometimes a couple of weeks of review time is all that’s needed.

The student should familiarize themselves with the test details, and so should you. Information such as CLEP exam dates, CLEP test centers, CLEP courses, CLEP credit are definitely need-to-know.

Advising your student to purchase a study guide and perhaps even generate your own worksheets to help assess their abilities could make a big difference.

The study guide is very handy as it lists the information, skills and topics that will be covered in the exam. They come at an affordable $10, but if you are strapped for cash, libraries often carry these guides (albeit an older version).

Some free CELP prep exams can also be found online and practice tips as well.

Look online for some practice tests and hand them out to your student. After a mock test or two, you should be able to gauge his or her weaknesses and go from there.

If your students are fresh graduates from high school with all the knowledge still fresh in their minds, encourage them to take the test as soon as possible. This will often mean less study time and preparation.

CLEP Test Content and Details

Instead of a 0-100 grading scale that we more commonly see, the CLEP test is graded from 20-80. It is then translated into the letter grade equivalent and included in your transcripts.

Depending on the subject, tests can take anywhere from 90-120 min. When giving your student the mock exam, make sure you do not let them go overtime.

CLEP exams generally fall under these categories:

  • World Languages
  • Literature and Composition (writing)
  • History and Social Sciences
  • Science and Math
  • Business

Here are the CLEP courses in further detail.

It will cost you under $90 to take a test and the test is multiple choice and computer-based.

It’s also always a good idea to do your research. Make sure your student has looked into whether or not his or her college accepts CLEP credits.

Benefits of Taking the CLEP Exam

It does cost some money, but do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?

  • Early graduation – In general, those who have CLEP test credit graduate earlier than their peers.
  • You save time – Depending on the type of degree you are pursuing, students can save anywhere from 1.5-10 months of time!
  • You save money – If your CLEP exam results allow you to save on taking a few credits, this in turn saves you money. Why not pay the test fee of under $90 and potentially save yourself thousands?
  • Better focus – After passing this exam, you can focus on the classes that directly impact your future.
  • If you are part of the military or a spouse, you get the exam fee waived.

Assess your students’ individual needs. Some may benefit from CLEP tests while others may simply lack the expertise. Advise them from a professional standpoint and help them reach their end goals.

It should also be noted that you can take more than 1 CLEP test! If you fancy yourself or your student a polymath, you can certainly aim to save thousands by giving more than one test a try.

On Test Day

After registration, the student can then choose from the 1800 testing centers worldwide to conduct your test. The exam shouldn’t differ too much from the practice exams.

The navigation is easy and computer-based. Everyone will be given a scratch paper and a pencil to complete the test.

Remind your students to bring their ID, all the necessary paperwork and documents, as well as the registration ticket.

Items they are not allowed to bring include:

  • Phones
  • Calculators
  • Food
  • Any sort of recording devices
  • Books
  • Hats or baggy clothes or anything that could be used to boost exam scores.

One of the best things about the CLEP exam is there is no wait time to find out your score. Your student won’t be waiting anxiously as the scores are given immediately after submission.

After the Test

The test scores will be sent to your students’ school and included in his or her transcript. Once the school has gotten the scores, the credits will also be counted towards his or her degree.


In the opinion of many who have taken the test and our own, the benefits of the CLEP test are greater than the drawbacks.

What is a CLEP test and how to pass a CLEP test should be questions you ask yourself first before taking anyone else’s word for it.

Schooling doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg and time doesn’t need to be wasted on classes that will not benefit one’s career.

If you think you or someone you know possess the expertise in your subject, give the CLEP test a try!

Written by Susan Craig for TEFL.net January 2020
Susan Craig is an experienced educator and psychologist. Susan is fond of blogging, motivation articles, and education tips.

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