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How a CLEP Exam Changed My Life

This article appeared in a June 2016 issue of the student newsletter.  

By Blanca Ventura
North Lake News-Register Staff Writer

Many first-year students are not aware of all the services available at their institution. They have no idea of the electives, only the basics, such as math, science, reading and English.

I was one of those students until about four months ago. I was not aware of the alternatives that were available when it came to taking a class. One of those services that helped me with my college career was the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP).

Thanks to one of my academic advisors, I experienced this fascinating alternative.

Here’s how: I needed to take a foreign language class to earn credit, but I wanted to finish all my credits by May, and time was ticking. I figured I did not have much time left. Then, my advisor told me about the CLEP. She said I could take the test and if I passed it, I would be able to earn as much as 14 credits. This sounded very promising to me; it was exactly what I needed.

I learned that CLEP is a way to earn credit a for a class by taking an exam. It has been used for more than 40 years by many institutions and is accepted by 2,900 colleges and universities.

CLEP offers exams in many subject areas, including history and social sciences, literature, science and mathematics, business and foreign languages. The exam covers material that students learn during their first two years of college.

The exam helps students save time and money and graduate on time or even early. When you take a CLEP Exam for foreign language and pass it, you are eligible to earn up to 14 credit hours, depending on the score. Keep in mind, though, that the amount of credits you earn depends on the college you are attending.

A CLEP Exam ranges from $77-$80 and can be taken in the Testing Center. For example, in my case it cost me $80 because there were two levels in one exam, which in the end was better because it helped me earn 14 credits.

The process of taking the exam is easy. All you have to do is log in or create an account with, then search CLEP Exam, look for the test subject you wish to take, purchase the exam, print your receipt, take it to the cashier, pay a fee of $25 and you are all set!

While preparing for the exam in the Testing Center, make sure to have your receipt and student I.D. with you.

Every CLEP Exam is different. For example, the Spanish CLEP I took was divided into three sections, which consisted of one listening part and two reading parts. Each section was 30 minutes long. The exam lasted an hour and a half.

I can honestly say the CLEP Exam has been one of the best choices I have made in my college career at North Lake College. I was able to save time, money and an entire semester!

My advice to you would be to get to know your advisor better. The advisor has a wealth of knowledge about programs you can benefit from.

If I had not met my advisor, I would not have known about the CLEP Exam, and I would still be struggling in my classes to earn credit.