In this article (and video), I’m going to show you a trick that you can use to potentially graduate nursing school sooner, all while saving money in the process. What’s the trick? I’m talking about CLEP exams!
CLEP exams stand for College-Level Examination Programs. CLEP exams works with universities and colleges so that students can “test out” of courses in which they are already proficient. CLEP exams are currently accepted by 2900 colleges and universities nationwide, so there’s a good chance your school will allow CLEP exam credits.
What is a CLEP Exam, and How Does it Work?
CLEP exams work by allowing you to take a test and get credit for courses that you’d normally have to take in college (either as a “core” course or as an elective). Think about this for a moment: Most CLEP exams only cost about $115-130 per exam (or per course). That covers the exam fee, the book, and the study guide. Compare that to the $1,000-1,500 that most colleges charge per course, and you can easily see that you could save thousands off tuition, and maybe even graduate a semester or two early.
All you have to do is visit the website CollegeBoard.org. There, you can look up your university to see what CLEP courses they accept. You can then purchase the study material and study guide. Once you feel like you know enough to pass the test, you can schedule the exam. In most cases, exams are administered at colleges or local testing centers.
In order to get college credit for the CLEP exam, all you have to do is score at least 50% on the exam. This is roughly the equivalent of a “C” grade. Once your college sees that you’ve passed, they will add the course to your transcript. It will usually show up as a “Pass/Fail” grade, and most colleges do not count it toward your GPA total.
If you’re currently in high school, or if you’re in the first 2-3 years of college (or nursing school), you can use CLEP exams to your advantage. You can choose some courses to take during the summer or winter break. Alternatively, you could reduce your course load to part time, and then take a CLEP exam or two each semester.
What CLEP Courses are Offered?
The CollegeBoard.org site currently offers 5 content areas with a total of 33 different exams. Not all universities will accept all 33 exams, and some may not apply to your specific major or college. Nevertheless, most students can benefit by using CLEP to test out of classes like history, literature, math, etc.
Here are the courses offered:
Foreign Language Courses
- French 1 and 2, Spanish 1 and 2, German 1 and 2
- Financial accounting, business systems, business law, principles of management, principles of marketing
Science and Math
- Biology, calculus, chemistry, college algebra, college mathematics, natural sciences, pre-calculus
Composition & Literature
- American literature, analyzing literature, college composition, english literature, humanities
History and Social Sciences
- American gov’t, history to 1877, history from 1965, human growth and development, sociology, psychology, macroeconomics, microeconomics, social sciences and history, western civilization
In conclusion, you can use CLEP exams to save a boatload on tuition and even graduate sooner. CLEP exams are quickly gaining in popularity, and they are a great way to approach college or nursing school.
I always recommend talking to an advisor to make sure the CLEP courses will match up with your major’s requirements. But if so, I’d highly recommend taking these courses over taking them in the university.