Jaime Reyes Author

Easy and less expensive College Credits

If you are just starting college or plan to in the near future I have some information that may prove valuable, both in saving time and money. I got my BS degree in two years instead of the usual four. It is not magical nor is it exceedingly easy. but it is doable.
There are three methods to earn college credits without attending boring classes or paying exorbitant fees per credit. In this post I will detail the first method. This program provided me with 30 college credits without attending a single class and at minimal cost.
There is a program called CLEP – College Level Examination Program. Simply stated, it is an exam similar to a final exam that if passed will award credits for that class. These tests are limited to elective courses. You cannot CLEP out of major courses, but the first two years of most degree programs are elective classes.
I will discuss the classes I passed via CLEP. Many students already speak a second language. I speak Spanish so my first tests were Spanish 1 and Spanish 2. Under the premise that “why should I take a class I am already proficient in?” That test gave me a whopping 12 credits. Most tests are worth 6 credits or one 5–6-week class. If you speak another language this test is a breeze. 

Under the CLEP Program I completed 4 exams which earned me 30 credits. Consider that each exam cost $90 dollars and completed in about 2 hours each and cost me only $360.00, while the four actual classes would have taken up to a year and at a cost of thousands of dollars. Even more if education loans are involved. 

Most courses require Humanities which include Art, Literature, Music and Architecture. The Humanities was my second CLEP. I am familiar with most artists and their works. I added more knowledge by visiting the local art museum requesting a guide and asking many questions. I am a writer, and as such have read thousands of books, so the literature section was no problem. I played a flute years ago and was familiar with musical symbols and had read the biographies of various composers. I must admit that I know little about architecture but used some study guides to freshen up. I passed the test easily and earned another six easy credits. The CLEP.org website offers study guides and sample tests. I know of some who used the “Idiot’s Guide” books to freshen up on different subjects.
Gaining confidence with each test, I tackled Natural Sciences. This exam tests your basic skills in Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry and Geology. My knowledge of geology is practically zero. As a child I wanted to be an astronomer, so I read many books on the subject, and I also had a great interest in biology. Not so much in Chemistry, but enough to get by. This was the most difficult test but passed it without much discomfort. Another six credits in the books. The last test was the second easiest. As a writer, College English Composition was no contest. I reached the limit of 30 credits allowed via CLEP. The battery of tests which took just a few weeks eliminated a full year of classes and the associated cost. The thrill is that the test itself costs less than $100… a lot cheaper than paying for a class. Veterans are eligible for discounts.
In my next post I will discuss the second method of accumulating credits and savings of time and money. And number two is absolutely free.
There are scores of subjects on the CLEP list. Almost anyone can find a test or two that fits a familiar field of study or expertise. Visit www.clep.org for details and list of tests available.

There are various locations that administer the tests. The test procedure prevents any form of cheating or seeking outside help. Entering the test area, all electronic devices, phone, ipad, calculator, etc. are surrendered and locked away safely. The test taker enters a small room, not much larger than a phone booth. A laptop, calculator, pencils and scratch pad are provided. After offering instructions the test supervisor locks the door and leaves. A week or s later, the results come in and are submitted to the college of choice.
Best to ask the school counselor about using CLEP. Most schools accept the program results, but may have specific regulations.
Next Post: PLA (Prior Learning Assessment) easier than CLEP but not as easy as Number Three….To be continued.

Good luck,

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