Should I take the CLEP exam?


CLEP exam

By Dr. Matthew Andrews

Should I take the CLEP? Is it better than SAT, ACT, and AP?

A parent asked our team, “Should my child take a CLEP exam?”

What is CLEP?

The CLEP is the College Level Examination Program from the College Board.
CLEP is similar to other College Board exams, such as:
  • AP Advanced Placement
  • SAT Subject Tests
The CLEP tests college-level abilities in 36 academic subjects.

How can the CLEP be utilized by a student?

The CLEP is an exam of college-level academic abilities. There are 36 exams, most scored out of 80 points. Some colleges will award credit for score above 50, so a student can use the CLEP to earn the maximum amount of accepted credits, but the policy to accept CLEP scores depends entirely on each school. Interested students use the Search Engine on the College Board Website .

For example, Augsburg College will award credit hours for the following:
  • 4 credit hours for a score above 50 in Principles of Marketing
  • 16 credit hours for a score above 63 in Spanish II
A high school student on track to Augsburg College could use the CLEP to advance through college at an accelerated pace.

What would I advise students in general?

It depends on the student and college. If the student is on track to a college that accepts CLEP, the exams are a great way to earn credit while preparing in high school. CLEP exams can be a great way for international and home-school students to be placed, (and possibly earn credit), in the appropriate level of college class in the United States. It depends on the college.

If you are on track to UCLA and public college in California, you may report this score on the UC application. Some programs in California may use the CLEP as a placement test, but public colleges in California are unlikely to award credit for CLEP exams. In other words, the University of California does not currently accept CLEP exams for credit, so it is not as worthwhile for students on track to UCLA to take the exam as it could be for a student on track to another college.

Search for colleges on your list with the Search Engine on the College Board Website.

Questions? Talk to an expert at College Inside Track for guidance on how to use entrance and placement exams for admissions and credit in college.