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College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Last updated 25th Apr 2022


The term College-Level Examination Program refers to a number of standardized tests that assess an individual's knowledge of college-level courses. College-Level Examination Programs (CLEP) are used to test the knowledge gained by a student outside of the classroom.


Created and administered by College Board, individuals can enroll in a College-Level Examination Program to demonstrate their knowledge of college-level coursework. CLEP allows students to demonstrate they've obtained knowledge outside of the classroom; typically through job experience or independent study. CLEP provides high school graduates, home-schooled students, continuing education, and military personnel access to testing programs that allow them to gain credits at nearly 3,000 colleges and universities.

Each test consists of multiple choice questions, and students are given ninety minutes to complete the exam. Grades are provided to students on a scale that ranges from 20 to 80. While each school is permitted to establish their own minimum required score to obtain credits, the most common threshold value is 50.

Colleges will only grant credits to students that are enrolled in their school. Passing an exam may provide a student with anywhere from three to twelve credits. Students that fail to meet their college's minimum required score must wait at least six months before repeating an examination.

Examples of coursework tested through the CLEP include: Algebra, American Literature, Biology, Business Administration, Business Law, Calculus, Chemistry, English Composition and Literature, Financial Accounting, Foreign Languages, History and Social Sciences, Humanities, Information Systems and Computer Applications, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Natural Sciences, Principles of Management, Principles of Marketing, and Psychology.

Related Terms

entrance counseling, adult education program, apprenticeship, Career and Technical Education, concurrent enrollment, deferred admission, distance learning, early action, early decision

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