CLEP your way out of classes

Courtney Patterson
Two tests saved a Troy University student approximately $3,168.
Jonathan Carswell, a freshman biomedical sciences major from Troy, took the Spanish CLEP and the English CLEP. These two tests gave Carswell 12 credit hours, the equivalent of four courses.
Troy students can take the CLEP to obtain college credit without taking the course, according to Chanukah Anderson, coordinator of testing and assessment.
The CLEP, College Level Examination Program, was created by the College Board, the same organization that created AP (Advanced Placement) and SAT, according to clep
“It gives students the opportunity to gain college credit without physically having to sit in a course,” Anderson said.
A large number of basic courses are available to be taken as CLEPs. Troy University accepts 25 different CLEPs, according to Anderson.
“You’re taking an entire semester’s worth of work and putting it in a 90-minute exam,” Anderson said.
Each exam costs $80 plus a $15 site fee, a total of $95. For the 2013-14 academic year at Troy University, each undergraduate credit hour cost $264, according to For a three-credit-hour course, a student would spend $792, not including lab fees and textbooks.
Each student must receive a scaled score of 50 to pass a CLEP test, according to When a student receives a 50 out of the possible 80 points, he or she has earned the credit hours for the course that the CLEP covered.
The student’s transcript will show that the credits have been received, Anderson said. The student’s GPA is not altered.
“I studied for the English CLEP by constant repetition of sample questions,” Carswell said.  “I studied for the Spanish CLEP by a major review of all that I had learned. I truly felt that I could pass the CLEP tests because of my confidence in what I learned in high school.”
Students can take these exams on the Troy campus. The tests are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. by appointment, Anderson said. Students can register on the College Board website.
A student can create an account to select whichever CLEP exam he or she wants and pay for the exam there. The site generates a registration ticket. The student contacts the office in Eldridge Hall and schedules an appointment.
“Before a student walks out of the office … they know if they are going to receive the credit or not,” Anderson said. If a student does not pass, he or she has the opportunity to retest after six months.
In 2013, 90 students took CLEP exams, according to Anderson. She said anyone can take a CLEP.
“The number of students who don’t take it but could would actually reflect the majority of the student body,” Anderson said. “The CLEP exam is open to any student who wishes to take it. There are no specific guidelines for students, other than not having previously attempted or taken the course for which they are taking the CLEP exam.”
CLEP exams cannot be taken for courses in which a student already has credit. This rule also applies for courses in a sequence. A sequence is two courses that must be taken back to back, such as HIS 101 and HIS 102 (Western Civilization I and II).  A student cannot take a CLEP in a sequence if the student already has a credit in that sequence.

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