I was talking to this girl in my Intro to Film class, and I had mentioned to her how I tested out of 30 credits and saved myself a whole year of courses and thousands of dollars through testing. Apparently, she has never heard of such an option, and apparently neither have any of my other classmates, so I figured I’d put it out there. Most accredited universities who already accept Advanced Placement credit also receive credit through examination. There are currently two inexpensive and nationally recognized testing options (There are others like AP and Excelsior College Examinations which may cost as much as a regular course at a State college). They each have their benefits and caveats, so it is up to you to talk to your counselor regarding your options. I will list them below in no particular order.
- CLEP Examinations: At only $80 per test, CLEP exams are a great deal. More than 3000 institutions grant credit for CLEP Examinations. As you can see from the chart below, virtually every pre-rec without a lab component is attainable. The graph below shows the number of credit hours attainable, the pass rate for military personnel (many military personnel take these exams since they are exempt from the fee), the passing score, and what is considered to be a “B” score. The exam is currently 90 minutes and is composed of multiple choice questions. I have taken the humanities, Analyzing and Interpreting Literature and the Spanish exams and scored well in all three. All three credits were accepted by my school, which is a state university. One thing about the CLEP exams is that you do not get a letter grade, so it won’t count towards your GPA (that could be a good thing or a bad thing) and will be a P (Pass) F (Fail). These exams also tend to apply mainly towards Lower Division Credits, meaning for credits earned during one’s freshman and sophomore years.
- DSST Examinations: One possible benefit of taking a DSST exam over the CLEP is a letter grade that accompanies your test score. DSST exams are similar to CLEP but have a reputation for being a tad more difficult due the Upper Division credits attainable and Major-related courses. The exams are two hours long and have 44 to 49 questions per test. I’ve taken and passed Principle of Statistics, Life Span Developmental Psychology, and General Anthropology. A great thing about taking the statistics exam was the fact that it covered two separate requirements for my major, so NO MATH CLASSES FOR MY ENTIRE 4 YEARS OF COLLEGE -WINNING. With the exception of Anthropology, I did find the questions a to the other DSST exams a little difficult. Their website boasts 1900 institutions that currently transfer the exam scores into college credit are also $80 per exam and free to military personnel and veterans.
Now, to study for the exams I gave me about a week to study per subject. The corresponding websites provide the test takers with practice test and some testing materials. I simply googled “CLEP STUDY GUIDES” and “DSST STUDY GUIDE” and I was supplied with a wealth of information. There are study guides that you can purchase on Amazon if you wish to do so, but I just studied online and made sure to take the practice tests on the CLEP and DSST sites. The website Free Clep Prep was a life saver, and I advise test takers to check it out. Not only does it provide you with free study material for both the CLEP and DSST, but it also offers the test taker with objective specific test-taking advice, practice exams, link to study resources, and rating based on difficulty. I have read in multiple sites and forums that one can simply get a Bachelors in Liberal Arts just by taking these exams, but I don’t know of anyone who has actually done it and I don’t know any school that will allow so many transfer credits. If you would like to know more about that, you can check out this link HERE. Ultimately, I feel like looking into these tests is a no-brainer. With increasing prices of college degrees, years of college loans and tens of thousands of dollars out of one’s pocket can be avoided.Thanks for reading!