This content is sponsored by The College Board


Nontraditional students – you know, the category that parents, veterans, anyone over the age of 25 fall into – are on the rise in colleges across the country. They bring with them some unique challenges, including childcare issues, geographic limitations, and work-school-life balance. Enter, CLEP tests.

What are CLEP Tests?

College Level Examination Program, or CLEP, is a way for students to complete lower-level college classes by exam, rather than taking a full semester’s worth of class. They are offered in five areas: business, foreign languages, science and math, history and social sciences, and composition and literature. Altogether, there are 33 CLEP tests available, which could quickly get you a few years of college under your belt, before you even arrive.

Most colleges accept CLEP credits, including traditional colleges like the University of Florida and Texas A&M University. At last count, there were almost 3,000 colleges and universities that accept CLEP credits. You do, of course, need to check with the college you are attending, or plan to attend to learn all the ins and outs of their CLEP requirements and restrictions.

If using a GI Bill, or pursuing CLEP tests as a military dependent, you also need to make sure you read through the eligibility requirements. Active duty service members can also utilize CLEP while working towards their degree.

How do you do it?

Most installation education centers offer the tests, which is great because test takers on a military installation will have the administrative fee waived. If you’re among the eligible population you can also have the $87 exam fee waived. If you aren’t near an installation that offers this, you can still take the test. Find your local DANTES testing center here.

Why should you do it?

There are multiple reasons to take CLEP tests, some of which include saving money and time. CLEP tests are about 90 minutes long and can be worth between 3 to 12 college credits. Which means in a 6-hour period, you could take four tests and have 12 to 48 college credits. Cross at least one semester off your list!

These tests are also a great way to get prerequisites out of the way and move on to the things you want to study. Need a basic math class before you can move onto accounting? Take the CLEP and then get a head start on those business classes. It takes the average student six years to graduate, and with CLEP tests you can save quite a bit of money and time.

Military kid Savannah shares her experience, “I took the CLEP test for Western History I. It was definitely worthwhile because I saved a lot of time and money. The test material itself wasn’t too difficult; however, the scheduling and site navigation were more challenging.”

By taking advantage of the CLEP tests offered by the College Board, students can make up some time by testing out of the courses they are proficient in and moving along to those that fulfill their degree requirements. They can also save a bit of money doing it.