CLEP vs. classroom

Discussion in 'CLEP, DANTES, and Other Exams for Credit' started by jacofalltr8s, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. jacofalltr8s

    jacofalltr8s New Member

    Hello All,

    I would love to take CLEP tests to get some credits out of the way. My question is this; how do you study for a CLEP? How long does it take? What I don't understand is, aren't you spending the same (or close) amount of time studying for a CLEP as taking the class? I would love to take US history as a CLEP and thought I knew the subject. I took a sample test and realized that I know nothing--I got all the questions wrong. Then I read some people's experiences that claim they knew nothing about the subject and do very well on a CLEP exam. :mad1: after going through the study guide, what gives? Is there a strategy to this?
  2. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    The idea is to demonstrate knowledge you already possess to earn credit for a course. You can buy CLEP study guides if you need to brush up on a subject. Here are a few:
  3. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    There are a few different things to think about. First, have you already studied US History at all? Like in k-12? If so, you were taught the basics, even if you don't remember them. Now you just need to a) remember them b) learn the new info that would be taught to you in a 101 college course.

    There are literally dozens of "CLEP Prep" companies out there selling you study material. My advice, use the tried and true resources. They don't cost a lot of money. There is a website called freeclepprep you can access a study guide and practice questions. Start there. For $20/month you can access InstantCert as well as their forum where members share exam feedback. Excellent resource. Watch videos, my fav for the exam you're looking at is called Biography of American on They are great.
    Finally, try your hand at some practice tests. The best book out there is REA CLEP US History 1. In addition to the first half having excellent summaries of the stuff you need to know, the practice tests tell you WHY certain answers are correct. Read that! The sum total of all that learning is probably a month or less. I know plenty who can do it in a week or less. YMMV.

    Now, on the other hand, if you're an adult starting from scratch- never studied US History at all- then that's a different question, and I'd suggest an online course like those offered through, edX and the like. These are slower and walk you through a lot more depth. CLEP in this case doesn't gain you time off your degree, rather you're saving the bucket load of tuition and text book your university wants to charge you. *there are some schools that allow you to transfer in, Straighterline, and others directly as an alternative to your university's course, but don't hold your breath. Consider a CLEP costs $80 and university tuition is easily 10x that much.

    Finally, if you are a high school student, that's different still - and deserves its own answer.
  4. jacofalltr8s

    jacofalltr8s New Member

    Thank you, Cook... This is the sort of information that I was hoping to find. I've never heard of I'm an adult that has been taking online classes at my local junior college. I thought I remembered US history but based on the results of a sample CLEP I took on some website, obviously don't remember any of what I learned back in HS so I may as well be starting from scratch. I also understand that saving money part but it seems that you're still paying for the test, paying for exam preps and whatever else... time! My junior college (which is where I would take US history again--not an expensive university!) charges $130 for the entire class and the book used in the class is around $50. Yeah, it's a bit more expensive than CLEP prep but provided you didn't fail the class, you'd have your three credit hours versus the risk of failing the CLEP (please keep in mind that I've never taken a CLEP so I may completely wrong about how they work). Again, thanks for your feedback. I'll check the links you posted and try to make this work for me.
  5. jacofalltr8s

    jacofalltr8s New Member

    Thank you, this is exactly the sort of information that I was looking for. My junior college wants $150 for a history class and $50 (Kindle) for the book. I wonder if the risk of failing a CLEP compares with just taking the class? You're still paying for the CLEP exame, study guides and whatever else. I guess it works if you're the sort that's good at taking tests (I am not--I freeze :( ). Regardless, you've provided some really good information. Thanks again.
  6. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    For CLEP and DANTES exams where I thought I needed some brushing up, I went to the local community college bookstore and bought a used textbook for the class that corresponded with the exam I was taking. For example, for the CLEP Humanities exam, I bought a rag-eared used copy of the text they used for Intro to Humanities for short money and read through it, mostly just the chapter summaries of key points. I passed the exam, not with a stupendous score, but I passed and got 6 semester credits. I then promptly forgot most of what I had read.

    That was a long time ago; now with websites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc., finding study materials is a lot easier. I was back at the local community college bookstore the other day to buy a sweatshirt for the daughter of a friend who's starting there next month, and saw that you can now rent used textbooks, which is great for convenience.
  7. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Your community college only charges $43/credit???? That's pretty amazing- please share! I'm guessing you're in CA or NM? The average community college in the USA is around $100/credit, while the average university is up over $300/credit. In your case, it wouldn't be cheaper. You could certainly make a case for classes instead of CLEP. When I completed my AA (not my AOS) I did it entirely through testing. It took me 6 months, so that was very fast compared to the 2 years it would have taken me (my CC charged a lot more than yours, I was in a county that didn't have a CC, so my tuition even at the CC was around $150/cr so this was a big $ saver for me). I did end up combining upper level tests and online classes for my BA.

    There is no perfect recipe, just the one that gets you to the finish line. Good luck!
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2016

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