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DS1 took AP Bio last year and it was VERY stressful because there's just one test date. He got a 3 on the exam. A couple weeks later he took the CLEP and passed. He said the CLEP was easier than the AP exam. Both scores get him credit for BIO 101&102 at our local CC.


So here's my question: what's the difference between AP and CLEP and is it really worth rushing and stressing to finish coursework for the AP test date, especially when there is a CLEP for the same subject? What are your thoughts?

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AP is more widely accepted than CLEP, and many of the colleges that do accept CLEP only offer credit for some of them, not all. For example, our two big state universities both accept a limited number CLEPs, but the lists are quite different! One accepts all four history courses, but none of the lit courses, and the other accepts the lit courses but no history. One accepts Sociology (although they require a minimum score of 74, not 50) and the other doesn't. However, both universities accept all AP credits (although for some subjects they require at least a 4).

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Do you even *need* to be testing??


What is your goal or purpose in testing?


(There may be other ways of achieving your goals that are a better fit for your student than doing either AP or CLEP...)

Hmmm, interesting point. I suppose the goal is to verify "mommy grades" and to get college credit for the classes he has taken.

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Locally, the community colleges are indeed more accepting of CLEP exams.


But you have to watch that if you transfer. The 4-year that DS is transferring to only accepts history and psychology CLEP exams. They're more generous with AP exams, but only for liberal arts-type classes, and only for a 4 or 5. No math or science.


You could graduate from the community college and then have to retake classes you already got credit for and not qualify under some of the restrictive guaranteed admissions programs. Quite a few local kids we know have been tripped up that way.

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My son waited until he knew exactly which university he was attending before he took a CLEP test (in fact, he was actually enrolled as a student). Like other posters have said, schools vary widely in which CLEP tests they will accept for credit...and how far in advance those tests may be taken. 

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