AP examinations versus CLEP ?

Discussion in 'CLEP, DANTES, and Other Exams for Credit' started by vnazaire, Aug 30, 2007.

  1. vnazaire

    vnazaire Member

    What is the advantage in number of credits obtained of AP versus CLEP examinations ?

    What about costs as well ?

    Your help is appreciated .

    Thanks to all
  2. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    What is the advantage in number of credits obtained of AP versus CLEP examinations ?

    What about costs as well ?

    Your help is appreciated .

    Thanks to all

    Here is a mix of fact and opinion.

    If you are in private or public high school, you'll have access to AP only through the guard dog of your AP teacher and/or counselor. If not in public or private high school, you might have a small mountain to climb. You have to find a high school offering the test (high school, not testing center) and pre-register in December (?) to take it with their students (I think it is May- you'll have to look it up on collegeboard.com). Even if the test is given at a testing facility- you MUST register through the high school. They "order" your exam for you.... and only if your nice. A few states have laws that require them to cooperate, but unless you know your state's law, you may get nowhere. AP exams are "intended" for high school Juniors/Seniors but there is no official age requirement. (older or younger) Cost is around $100.

    APs are graded on a scale of 1-5. Colleges award credit based on score. It isn't a pass/fail like CLEP, and they are not all multiple choice questions. Most have essay and short answer questions. Many traditional colleges award credit or advanced standing for scores of 3 or higher. Many require 4s and some don't award credit at all. The more selective the college, the higher your score needs to be. Advanced standing is not a huge advantage- it simply lets you substitute another course for the one you might be expected to take as a freshman. (French 2 instead of French 1) In that context, it is like a placement exam.

    AP is a considered a little more "uppity" for the young and bright incoming freshman. It is a gold star on your application- CLEP isn't. Subject by subject, I think you will find AP and CLEP pretty close. There are a few differences. There are a few subjects that are only AP, CLEP doesn't have an equivalent. (Latin for example) It is a MYTH that you have to take an AP course to take the exam. It is a myth that you have to register through a distance learning school or virtual school to get AP credit. (are you a high school student or adult?) It is a myth that there are any classroom requirements *unless your high school has imposed them* but AP doesn't require anything.

    My kids (homeschooled) will be taking AP exams as a first attempt- in every subject- and pending any scores that fall under 3, they will take the CLEP in it's place. This gives the tester a second chance to study and test without the 6 month wait required of a failed CLEP.

    Selective colleges will often accept AP credit and not CLEP credit. On the contrary, mainstream colleges nearly all accept some quantity of CLEP credit depending on your program.

    Simply go to your college of choice's website and search "AP" and "CLEP."
  3. vnazaire

    vnazaire Member

    Thanks, Jennifer, for your prompt and considered response !

    I am an adult planning to take in October 2 CLEP exams and noticed that the College Board was responsible for both , hence my confusion.

    Living in Ontario, Canada, I noticed that McGill university( equivalent to Harvard or Yale in the States ) in Montreal does accept AP and even gives credits to substitute for the freshman classes, not just placement , to my recollection.

    Personally, these are the advantages of CLEP over AP to my knowledge :

    a) CLEP can be taken all through the year and not just in May

    b) CLEP exams are 90 minutes long versus 2h30 for AP

    Can you tell me , Jennifer, if one can use AP study guides to prepare for the CLEP exams ?
  4. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef


    I took an AP exam 20 years ago- so my first hand info is totally based on my own prep for my kids as well as my circle of homeschool parents who have been planning AP test and test prep for their kids. So... I can't really answer that question! I also have no idea about how CLEP/AP plays out in Canada- sorry!

    But, I have taken CLEPs -even yesterday. I would say to get the right guide for the right test. If College board makes an "official guide" for APs, get that. I own the College board's official guide to CLEP and I found it worth the $20. Just guessing- but the material is probably very similar. I would want to know the percentage breakdown on subjects and study accordingly. (maybe in CLEP the psych test spends 4% on brain function questions, but in the AP psych test they may spend 15%. That changes the depth of study in a way that I would consider very important- those numbers are totally made up - it's just an example)

    Lastly, since you are an adult, find out IF and WHEN of AP testing access before you worry about the HOW. There really is a lot of CLEP info out there, plus a few great message boards. PM me if you want more resources outside this forum.

    P.S. If you wouldn't mind sharing what you find out, I would be very interested to hear about it!
  5. vnazaire

    vnazaire Member

    I checked AP approach of 2 or 3 Canadian universities


    U of Ottawa in the Capital of Canada, McGill ( Ivy League type ) accept AP exams results for credit , generally 3 credits per AP passed with at least a 4 out of 5.

    They are willing to go up to 30 credits or about 10 AP subjects with a 4 out of 5. So , one can save a year of study in a Baccalaureate program of 4 years, providing the AP courses are within the Bacc program you did choose.

    This policy applies to graduates of International Baccalaureate programs or holders of the secondary French Baccalaureate , sort of a prep school common in Europe .

    So, all in all , the CLEP system is more generous in granting credits than the AP where the candidate is really quite limited.

    I think I will stick to CLEP.

    Thanks for the information.
  6. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    I'm not Jennifer, but I can tell you I successfully used an AP US Government test prep kit to pass the CLEP. I understand it may be possible to do the same for Economics as well.
  7. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef


    Did you take both AP and CLEP govt? Any feedback?
  8. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    While McGill is amongst the best in Canada, I don't agree that it is equivalent to Harvard or Yale.... where did you get that notion? :)
  9. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef


    Accepting credit for a 4 or 5 is consistent with more selective colleges. (a 6 or 7 on the IB exams) You mention the Ivys. You won't get 30 credits from an Ivy in the USA. You would be increasing your chances for admission (unless maybe you are an adult- and I can't help but think they would find it a little odd)- but earning credit by exam for an undergrad at the Ivy level is tough. I found most wanted a 5 in anything science/math. At that, you can be awarded advanced standing- a few will do retroactive credit (after a more advanced course is completed) and some won't allow credit in your major, a few not in the gen ed requirements. In short, there is no standard here. I found HUGE differences between Harvard, Princeton, and Yale.

    For advising my own child- I recommend he take each and every AP exam that he had a shot at earning a 3 or better. With the basket full of good scores, and a kickin SAT, he could apply and see. Getting in is half the battle. Earning credit? Ummmm I wouldn't stress that too much. If you can actually get in, I think it is worth the full experience of not skipping.
    For a less selective colleges or open enrollment- take the APs for the purpose of advanced standing and credit. (clearly someone earning a 4 or 5 here has already learned what will be taught in the 100 level courses- skip it!)

    All this being said, the AP process isn't set up to maximize credit by exam. An adult learner usually maps out the courses needed and fills in the blanks. CLEP and DSST are probably a better fit.
  10. vnazaire

    vnazaire Member

    McGill, one of the TOP 25 universities in the WORLD.

    I do not want to start a " flame war " ; but BlueMason should know that Princeton Review includes McGill among the 326 top four-year colleges in North America in its 2008 edition. A review made by 120 000 students on their own college.

    McGill produces a disproportionate number of NOBEL LAUREATES and medical pioneers.

    Thomas Chang , the inventor of the artificial cell, was a student and is a professor at McGill.

    18.9 % of the student body are international students.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2007
  11. vnazaire

    vnazaire Member

    More info on McGill for BlueMason !

    Here are the requirements by McGill Admission Centre for U.S. students ( Close to 9% of McGill students come from the States) :

    Must have taken either the ACT or the new SAT I plus at least 2 SAT II subjects.

    For those desiring a B.A. in Arts and Science :
    . Pre-calculus ( functions )
    . At least 2 of biology, chemistry or physics
    . Strong grades in all Grade 10,11,12 English courses
    . SAT IIs must include at least one Mathematics

    Here is an idea for the SAT and ACT minimum score range :

    . SAT I : Critical Reading 620-650
    Writing 620-650
    Maths 560-630

    . SAT II Subjects

    Maths II C 540-630

    For more details www.mcgill.ca/applying/undergrad2008-9/usa

    BlueMason, you can draw your own conclusions whether McGill is equivalent to Yale, Harvard, etc
  12. AGS

    AGS New Member

    Ap Exams

    I disagree with the person claiming its a MYTH on taking the exam w/o any AP courses....

    As an adult , I looked into AP for obtaining credit for the Chinese language...
    And I had found out from testing agency ETS and high schools ..you need to take some AP course for qualifying to take the AP exam on may ....

    this exam takes place on the month of May in a high school campus....

    and its way harder than the CLEP or DANTEs....

    just my 2 cents....
  13. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef


    You should have followed up that denial with The College Board. There is no such requirement. Perhaps the testing center and public school have an IN HOUSE policy (as did my High School in 1988) that AP testing was only offered to students in that school's courses, but it is 100% NOT a requirement set forth by The College Board. You should have went over their heads. Schools that don't get a lot of unusual requests may not know what the rules are- only what their policy is. (like when adults or homeschoolers come in asking to take AP exams). In our city, there are a few schools that know what's going on, but there are two that have amnesia each May and need to learn all over again! I think Hille here is an AP test coordinator, maybe she has something to add.
    But, the lesson to be gained, is that you shouldn't have to disagree with "my claim" simply go to the website and get the facts.
  14. Fortunato

    Fortunato Member

    I'm not Jennifer, but I used a Princeton Review AP Statistics study guide to prepare for the DSST Statistics exam, so I believe you could use AP study guides to prepare for equivalent CLEP exams. However, you may find it's even cheaper to find used or old editions of textbooks for the classes you wish to test out of. Best of luck!

  15. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    I'm obviously not Petedude, but I did take the American Government CLEP.

    If you paid attention in high school Civics/Social Studies and read a newspaper every day, you shouldn't have a problem with that exam.
  16. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I took it also, and I didn't find it very hard either. There's nothing in there that people shouldn't already know about their political lords and masters....

  17. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    I didn't take the AP, but I used the AP kit from SparkNotes and the Peterson's exams. The exam material is pretty darned similar. I'm guessing the same would hold true for the CLEP economics exams but I haven't looked in depth yet. The nifty thing about the SparkNotes kit is that it's geared to a 5-day prep schedule for the test. I seem to remember needing about two weeks, but that's still pretty good prep time for me.

    It was a challenging test, but I got a 63 if I remember right using only that AP kit. I took Government in high school (non-AP) long ago and being a native-born citizen I'd felt like I had enough of a grasp of government to take a stab at rushing through that exam without reading the book.

    I looked at a Complete Idiot's Guide to US Government in a bookstore months after-- it appears to be useful enough for a read-first approach.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2007
  18. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Thank you, that was very helpful!

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