Trying to Understand the CLEP Test Score

Trying to Understand the CLEP Test Score

The College Level Examination Program or CLEP was designed to allow students bypass particular classes by demonstrating a college-level understanding the required content. This program allows students to gain college credits without actually taking part in the coursework; instead, students gain credits by passing a CLEP. When a student chooses to take a CLEP, he or she can save hundreds or thousands of dollars in college tuition and additional expenses. By gaining college credits through these exams, students also save a great amount of time by completing entire semester’s worth of credits with only a few CLEP tests. Students that have a large amount of background knowledge in a subject can use CLEP tests to bypass sitting through boring classes that are simply repeating content that the student already knows. However, students with no background knowledge also have the ability to prepare for a CLEP test in as little as a few weeks.

Most students find themselves wondering what the CLEP scores actually mean and what scores they would need to gain college credit. In order to gain this understanding, the first thing that needs to be understood is that CLEP scores cannot be compared in the same way that students compare SAT, ACT, or other standardized test scores. In fact, the way that CLEP exams are designed, the only comparisons that can be made between these exams are with regards to purpose, format, and reporting methods. 

The method to create a CLEP score is very unique when compared to other exams. First, each exam has a raw score, which is simply the number of questions that a student correctly answered. It is important to keep in mind that there is no penalty in the CLEP format for incorrect answers like there are in the SAT. In a CLEP test, each correct answer is equal to one point. 

The second factor in CLEP exam scoring has to do with a sliding scale. With the sliding scale scoring method, the overall CLEP score is increased or decreased based on the difficulty of the exam compared to tests that other students are taking for the same subject. This means that if a student is taking an easier CLEP exam, he may need to get more correct answers than a student taking a more difficult form of the test. The scaled score is the final score that is reported and can range from 20 to 80.

Most colleges award credits from CLEP test scores based upon the recommendations made by the American Council on Education or ACE. Most colleges require an exam score of 50 or more for a student to receive credit. This is because the American Council on Education has decided that a CLEP score of 50 is equal to receiving a “C” in the related coursework. 

Over 2,900 colleges and universities accept CLEP tests as a replacement for taking coursework. With all of the advantages that are gained from taking these tests as a replacement for coursework, more and more students are utilizing this option to save time, money, and fast-track their college career.