CLEP and DSST exams!
Perhaps you've never heard of "CLEP", "DANTES", or even ECE's until recently, or maybe you've already taken advantage of these wonderful opportunities for college credit. Whatever your current situation, please allow me to say,
If you already know your way around the "test for credit" arena, then please feel free to skip this section and go directly to the exam's page you're looking for.
If you are a testing newcomer, then you're in for a very exciting time! Keep reading to find out why!
Imagine being able to shave months off of your degree plan, and save thousands of dollars in tuition! Though you will rarely hear about it during orientation, virtually every college in the United States accepts this credit! Some regionally-accredited colleges will accept years worth of examination credit, drastically reducing the time and money it takes to earn a degree from these institutions.
I remember well the first time I learned about the possibilities that CLEP's and DSST's offered. The thought that ran through my head at the time was, "Surely it can't be that easy!" Well after taking and passing more than forty of those exams, I can tell you, "It truly is!" Sure there have been a few more difficult than others, but it all boils down to preparation, and that's why we're here.
What are these exams?
Breaking it down as simply as possible, CLEP's, DANTES (DSST's) and Excelsior College Examinations (ECE's) test your knowledge on specific subjects. Each exam is considered to test the knowledge learned over an entire college semester. For example, the Macroeconomics exam tests the knowledge a student would learn by attending one full semester of a college Macroeconomics class. While that may sound intimidating at first, I promise that it isn't that bad.
First of all, nobody said you couldn't study. For Macroeconomics, you better believe I did! A typical college class lasts one hour, three times a week for 12 weeks. 3 hours a week X 12 weeks equals 36 hours of class lecture. Imagine if you spent just one hour a day reading the materials for that class. Instead of 12 weeks, you'd be ready to take that test in just over 5 weeks!
Now let's make it even easier. Instead of reading the entire textbook (though you're more than welcome to) let's say you only read the chapter quiz's and researched the answers. Remember, smarter not harder!
It gets even better though. Most of the work has already been done for you. Both CollegeBoard (CLEP) and DANTES (DSST) have already announced some of the subject areas that you need to study for each exam. I've included those subject areas under each exam's page, and also included some supplemental areas you'll want to study as well. The goal is to make it easy for you to get to the payoff!
And what's the payoff?
Since each of these examinations test your knowledge on a semester of college education, the American Council on Education (ACE) has recommended a full semester's worth of credit for their successful passing! This means instead of sitting in a classroom for an entire semester and paying full tuition, you can take one test for under $100 and never have to take that class in college! How cool is that?
Who can take advantage of CLEP, DANTES, and Excelsior Exams?
- High School Students - Use these exams to drastically reduce the length of freshmen year! In some cases, a few exceptional high school students have completely finished their college degree by the end of their senior year in high school!
- Current College Students - A few hours one afternoon can save hundreds of dollars and a semester worth of time! If a student is falling behind their target graduation date, often times a CLEP, DANTES, or ECE can save the day without overloading the current coarse load.
- Military Members - Take these for free with Educational Assistance and knock out your Associates or even your Bachelors. Get points towards promotion and prepare for your return to the civilian world!
- Full-Time Employees - I fell under this category myself. Working a full-time (and then some) job doesn't give a person much time to attend school. These exams allow a person to study at their own pace, without the worry of missing class. You take the exams when you are truly ready for it.
- Full-time Mothers - Another of my favorite groups! While full or even part time school is difficult to schedule around the needs of the family, self-study can be done whenever a free minute is found. The exam itself takes only an hour or two to complete. That's not so bad, is it? A CLEP here and there starts to add up. Before too long you're looking at a degree!
Why haven't I heard about this before?
Perhaps I was being just a tiny bit dramatic at the top of the page, but testing for credit truly is a well-kept secret. Why? Well it all boils down to the fact that many colleges, at least the successful ones, are run like a business. A college is not a cheap endeavor. Staff salaries, research expenses, and building maintenance are just a few of the costs which they incur. So while providing a quality education is the primary reason they are in business, they are, in the end, still "a business". Without money the entire place would grind to a halt. So where does this money come from? Among other places, from you and your tuition!
If you look hard enough, almost every college has some information about credit by exam buried in their student handbook. Usually waaaaay in the back and in some very small print. It's not in a college's best interest to inform everyone about CLEP examinations. Every CLEP that gets taken is one less class that gets taken at that university. For that same reason, many colleges limit the amount of credits which can be earned by examination. There are three notable exceptions which are known as The Big Three. You can follow the link for more information on these three schools.
So why did I create this site?
Because like CLEP-takers everywhere, I prefer to work smarter, not harder! I work with young military members everyday, and often times the subject of finishing college degrees comes up. Many service members want to improve their chances for promotion, or prepare for the time when they join the civilian world again. I'm always happy to help them one-on-one, but I wanted to provide a one-stop answer to many of the frequently asked questions. This is the result. If I can help others out there who are looking for the same information, so much the better!
There are other places online that offer study guides, but most require payment of one sort or another. Some provide good value and some don't. This was created to give everyone a place to get started without the sales pitch.
Whether you are here for yourself or for a loved one, I hope you leave this site feeling educated about your options, and
motivated to get the job done!
So let's get started! You can either use the links below or the ones at the top of the screen to navigate to the study guides.
Best of luck with your testing!