Sometimes the struggle to make it through college can seem like too much to bear, whether it be because the courses are too hard or they are simply too boring to sit through. One of the biggest frustrations students have to encounter involves the dreaded “basics,” as series of introductory level courses each student must take prior to taking courses specific to his or her degree. Courses like English, math, history and some foreign language are usually required no matter what degree a student pursues. The problem is not that the classes have to be taken, but rather, that a lot of students already know all they need to pass the courses, either from basic knowledge or from high school studies. What’s the solution to such a problem? CLEP tests.
The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is designed to give students the opportunity to gain college credits without ever taking the actual course. CLEP exams represent an overview of a particular course; if a student can show that he or she has enough knowledge over that course, he or she can earn college credit without ever setting foot in a classroom. There are 34 CLEP tests currently available. Each of the 2,900+ colleges or universities accepting CLEP has different policies such as the minimum score requirements to gain credits and the maximum number of credits each student can gain using CLEP.
There are a variety of benefits involved with CLEP exams, with the obvious one being that a student gets to skip a lot of the basics and move straight into courses designed for his or her degree and future career. These degree-specific courses are usually the ones that students actually have a drive to take, so in essence, a CLEP test can allow a student to focus on work that he or she really wants to do. This can increase the motivation that a student has to continue university pursuits as the boredom of basic courses often leads to dropping out. In fact, students who take CLEP tests are more likely to graduate than their fellow students who do not utilize these exams.
CLEP tests each only cost $72 to take (plus a small administrative fee), making them far more affordable than tuition for a whole course. A student can choose to take preparatory lessons for a course that he or she may have little to no knowledge over and then pass a CLEP test to earn credit for it. This opens an array of financial savings as students can save costs on books, fees, tuition and more. For the same amount of money it takes to buy one textbook (or often less than that), a student can pass an entire course using a CLEP test.
Since CLEP tests can often be taken at any time in a student’s academic career, they provide excellent opportunities for seniors to pick up the missing credits they need to graduate. Usually the last semester of a student’s senior year involves gathering the last minute credits that were put off for one reason or another. CLEP exams can therefore give students a chance to bypass that last semester completely or graduate on time if he or she was a few credits shy of eligibility for graduation.
CLEP tests are usually very easy to prepare for because they are used to pass entry-level courses. The material involved is not extremely difficult and there are a variety of study tools available for students to use right before a CLEP test. If a student already knows the material, a simple review will allow for him or her to pass. Otherwise, it usually only takes a couple days to study for CLEP exams. Indeed, the benefits of CLEP tests are virtually endless if students take the short time required to study and pass them.