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The homeschoolers I know all talk about AP exam prep and SAT subject tests.  There is very little chat locally about the CLEP exam.  So I would like to learn more about it.

Specially, can anyone tell me if there is any risk or downside to taking CLEP exams?    Do elite colleges look down upon the exams or just ignore them?  Can they hurt my children?  

Also, how can you decide if you should spend your time prepping for CLEP or AP exams?   I know the standard answer is that it "depends on where you want to go to college"....but what if your child has no idea *where* they want to go to college?   

And finally, how long do CLEP exam scores last vs. AP exams?  Do they eventually "expire"?  

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I can share my opinions and experience.  CLEP exams are banked at college board for 20 years.  don't know on AP exams.  I know with AP exams after four years, you can still get them sent but just not convenient online way.  but not a hard process. 

downside to clep exam: may not be used for giving credit at a specific college you go to.  even colleges that accept some clep exams for credit do not accept all.  My oldest took CLEP college algebra while in high school, but did not give that score to her college as it wouldn't matter for her degree and didn't mean anything extra for funding.  No real downside though.  It helped me to know she was learning math in high school and my mommy grade was good.  helped the homeschool cover school to let it be called honors.  oh, for context, my oldest was a triple stem major, so she needed calc and above.   She took clep analyzing and interpreting literature to meet college gen ed requirement.  so not a downside for her.   She was at a competitive engineering university, but not "selective" or "elite" university.  Our state lets homeschoolers these days (not back when oldest was eligible) to use 1 clep exam with certain score to make them eligible for a state grant at college.  I can only imagine and wildly speculate what elite admissions would say if you had clep exams, and that answer is ignore them if they don't take them for credit.

Middle gal is my clep gal. Not doing elite places.  a huge chunk of community college associates  degree was completed with 9 clep exams.  AP was not a reality choice for her.  She was never going to elite place and is a slow to average learner.  But she was good at learning by reading and then found the format of clep good fit. She was technically out of high school when it all clicked and she self studied and passed 9 clep exams and went on to take part time classes at community college.  She might end up doing of one those "big 3" degree by credit by exam kind of places. never thought I'd be one of those.  giggle.

if you don't know which college is in the picture, and you're thinking of clep...  good question. I think I'll chime back in another time.  various allergy meds this week are kicking in and I'm tired.

you might like to read this blog article from someone who is more "pro clep" and other non traditional credits to get the idea of rah rah rah yeah CLEP and ACE credit! wahoo!  but I'm linking to an article where she is explaining the good with AP and then gives a compare chart with clep vs ap.   https://homeschoolingforcollegecredit.com/5-advanced-placement-exam-ap/

 

 

 

Edited by cbollin
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Check out POST 2 of the big pinned thread "High School Motherlode #1", which links to past threads discussing all of the various tests, and comparing many of them. (Post 1 has links to "getting started with high school" topics) Just an FYI: the pinned "Motherlode" threads at the top of the high school board and college board are a wealthy of information on many, many topics -- there is a "table of contents" at the start of POST 1 of each, so you can see where to go for different topics. 😄 

Here are the past threads from that "Motherlode" pinned thread -- while many have the same title, each of these is DIFFERENT thread:

AP vs CLEP
AP or CLEP? — started by SunshineMom
AP vs CLEP — started by MomOfABunch
CLEP vs AP — started by Janeway
AP vs CLEP — started by Mom-ninja
AP vs CLEP (listed specific points of comparison) -- started by melmichegan
AP vs CLEP for American Government and US History — started by momof2cowboys
CLEP test AFTER AP (pros and cons?) — started by mjbucks1

CLEP - general
What is the purpose of CLEP exams?
Clarifying CLEP
I need information and advice on the CLEP exams 
CLEP exam dates? 
CLEP test center fee 
CLEP as a 9th grader (later problems with college?)
CLEP Score?? Bewildered (how to read/unstand/compare CLEP and AP scores) 
What if you don't pass CLEP test? 
Can one retake a CLEP exam?

CLEP - Pros and Cons
To CLEP or not to CLEP (pros and cons) -
Thought regarding CLEP? (lengthy discussion on CLEPS)
CLEP: what are your thoughts (worth it, and how to know?) 
Other than cost if a college doesn’t accept them, are there are downsides to CLEPS? 
CLEP exams to test out of college credits (is it worthwhile?) 

Edited by Lori D.
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My ds took some CLEP exams between the end of his junior year and up until the summer before he went to college. He studied for a couple weeks after finishing classes he took those years — Government, History and Precalculus. And then we used AC/DC Econ over the summer before college so that he could CLEP out of micro and macroeconomics. This enabled him to bring in a semester’s worth of coursework at his college with a minimal effort and expense. Had CLEP exams been on my radar earlier on, I would have had him try some of the science ones when he had completed those classes in 9th and 10th grade. This was a kid who AP classes were not a good fit for.
 

For whatever reason, I have heard that CLEP exams are looked down on, similarly to GED scores, and so I did not put them on his transcript when he was applying to colleges. We just reported them after he had been accepted. 
 

My dd took AP classes/exams and she took the Calculus CLEP a couple of years ago for placement at the CC. Now that we know what college she will attend, she’s working on the CLEPs for macro and microeconomics because they are a minimal amount of work/expense and she’d like to knock those out.
 

If your child is up for AP classes and does well on the exams, that is the “safer” route as far as getting credit because most schools will accept AP credit with a good test score. If AP exams are too difficult to access or your child doesn’t want to take those classes, then taking CLEP tests may pay off, depending on the school your child attends. We didn’t know what school my ds would attend until his senior year, but we had started looking at options in his junior year and that is when I realized most of the schools he was considering would accept the CLEP tests he could take.

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The biggest difference between the CLEP and AP tests, IMO, is that there is no essay portion on the CLEP tests. They are all multiple choice. Oh, and they are not so “high stakes” because you can retake them if you want to or need to, unlike AP exams which are only offered once a year in May.

Edited by Mom0012
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My dd took a lot of CLEPs.  I put her scores on her transcript (her scores were all very high).  They definitely didn't hurt her bc she was accepted to every school she applied to with scholarship $$.  I doubt they helped her at some of those, though, bc they don't accept CLEP credit.  I would say neutral on admissions.  (definitely not going to stigmatize them). 

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First, I'm impressed you know homeschoolers who talk about testing at all.

I'm planning to have my two freshmen take CLEP for Spanish this spring/summer after they finish Spanish 4. I'm looking at doing this through ModernStates.org, which would reimburse the testing costs and eliminate that com, at least. It may or may not help later, but I haven't found a downside. I don't have confidence in possible AP outcomes at this point, I'm intimidated by the thought of arranging a testing site, and they don't want to continue Spanish for a 5th year (AP), so this decision is pretty clear-cut for this subject for us.

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Oldest D'S only did CLEP after he was already admitted and enrolled in college and knew what they would accept. He has taken several and thanks to the credit earned is going to be starting his senior year instead of his junior year. He also did 3 APs in high school. He is  a STEM person who was highly highly highly motivated not to have to take any more humanities in college than absolutely necessary lol

So in his experience CLEP is more helpful after high achool graduation than before.

2nd D'S doesn't have any APs and doesn't plan to take any CLEPs and he's starting at the same university next year, so I'm not convinced they really matter all that much when it comes to homeschool admissions.

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21 hours ago, Momto6inIN said:

Oldest D'S only did CLEP after he was already admitted and enrolled in college and knew what they would accept...
... So in his experience CLEP is more helpful after high achool graduation than before...


Interesting. Some colleges don't accept CLEPS done while enrolled, and other colleges have a date that is 3-6 months out from the starting date at that college as the deadline for accepting CLEPs. It is exactly so that students don't CLEP instead of take classes with the school -- colleges do not like to reduce their tuition potential 😉 . That was a very nice break for your DS!



For anyone reading this thread who is interested in CLEP tests to reduce time/cost of attending a college, a few things to be aware of:

- CLEP tests are accepted for credit by almost 3000 schools -- but the competitive and top tier schools do not accept them for credit. (BUT... top tier schools like Harvard, et.al.,  also don't tend to accept AP tests for credit -- instead, they award "advanced standing" -- ability to enter higher level courses in the freshman year.)

- Most colleges list on their websites which specific CLEP and AP tests they accept as credit for which specific courses at their school. If you know you'll probably attend a college from a small pool of 3-6 colleges, you can print out each college's list, and decide to only do CLEP and/or AP that is accepted by all of the schools on your list. Also, you can go to College Board (the parent company of CLEP) and use their search engine to see what the CLEP policies are for any school.

- Here is the website of Modern States, the non-profit alliance, that offers FREE study courses for CLEP tests, as well as a voucher program to repay you the cost of CLEP exams.

- Most colleges have a limit on how many total credits they accept from other sources -- so they will add up all of the DE credits + transfer credits from another school + AP + CLEP + DSST (another credit by exam program), and the total has to be no more than their limit. If the student exceeds the limit, then not all of their credits will be counted towards a degree at the college. So there is a limit to how much credit can come from CLEP and other sources. 😉 

Also: be aware that, as with ANY school -- policies can change from one year to another, so even if you take CLEPs in high school, by the time you start college, the school may have changed its policies about which CLEPs (or APs) it accepts for which credits...

Edited by Lori D.
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1 hour ago, Lori D. said:


Interesting. Some colleges don't accept CLEPS done while enrolled, and other colleges have a date that is 3-6 months out from the starting date at that college as the deadline for accepting CLEPs. It is exactly so that students don't CLEP instead of take classes with the school -- colleges do not like to reduce their tuition potential 😉 . That was a very nice break for your DS!

Huh. I thought I remembered reading about it somewhere on here when I gave him the idea. Apparently not ...

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1 hour ago, Momto6inIN said:

Huh. I thought I remembered reading about it somewhere on here when I gave him the idea. Apparently not ...


Well, clearly his college allows it -- so that's super!


Just one more of the bazillion picky policy points we have to check for every.single.college...  😫🙄

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Our DE option allows CLEP, although dd's target schools do not. Since she's self-studying some courses she'll need as prereqs for DE, she is taking those CLEPs so she take move into the DE next course without taking the prereq at the college.

I just handed the Modern States web address and the local CC's list of classes they accept to a teen mom yesterday so she can start to move forward in a small way.

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Another aspect in the CLEP taken while enrolled in college has to do with "residency".  That does not mean where you live. not that kind of "residency".  It means how many credits earned toward degree taken at the degree granting institution and when they are earned.  Example: if university requires that the final 25% of degree (aka the last 30 credits of 120 credit degree) be completed at the college, then you can't CLEP (or transfer a course from other college too) once you're in that last 30 credits.   In the case with my oldest, she was not in those 30 credits when she did that gen ed CLEP.   perhaps that same kind of thing applied to momto6inIN.

Transferring a course or clep or other credit by exam option will vary by university for enrolled students as lori is saying. Most CLEPs are going to be Gen Ed courses so you'll want to have those done before college senior year anyway.  

I remember working at a university where we had summer students taking our physics course and transferring back to their main campus.  Not all colleges allow that.  ok. But that's just an example where even a regionally accredited course may or may not apply to degree based on factors that you can't predict while in high school.

just some random stuff I've learned over the years and wanted to share

 

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14 hours ago, Momto6inIN said:

Huh. I thought I remembered reading about it somewhere on here when I gave him the idea. Apparently not ...

 

It could have been from my oldest's experience. Since she took CLEP lit after freshman year of college, she was not in the final 30 hours of degree, so it transferred.  :)

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My ds’s school accepts certain CLEP tests, but you have to get permission ahead of time in order to take them once you are a student. In his case, he has met all his gen ed requirements but needs 150 college credits in order to be eligible to sit for the cpa exam, so he is racking up extra credits over the summer at the cc and may also try to get permission to take the sociology Clep.

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It looks like you have a lot of great responses re: CLEP. My experience with CLEP has been fantastic. Even for universities that didn't accept the CLEP tests that my DD passed, I had her CLEP transcript sent to the universities she applied to in order to prove her "proficiency" in those subjects (I did this after calling admissions and they said to please send it). Some universities accept CLEP scores as proof of proficiency in lieu of SAT subject tests/AP exams/ dual enrollment.  CLEP is a lower risk test in that it is not offered just one time a year like the AP exam. I had to make an appointment online at the community college locally that offers CLEP, Dantes, and other testing. Certain CLEP tests like the CLEP Composition take longer to do, so check the allowed time for the CLEP test you're interested in. As far as how long to study for CLEP tests, if you google the CLEP test you're interested in, Reddit and Degree Forum typically have good advice. One can take an AP course but not take the AP exam, and take the CLEP test for that subject instead. Or one can take both the AP exam and CLEP test for the same subject... CLEP credit varies widely depending on the state's requirements for scores for CLEP tests, and also if you will get credit for the CLEP test at all, so look into that. Harvard actually accepts some CLEP tests.

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