Credit by Examination

Discover Your Strategies > The Tools for Earning Credit Independently

As the name implies, students are given the opportunity to earn college credit by passing standardized examinations in dozens of college subjects. These exams are growing quickly in popularity and more students take them every year.

Five Major Credit by Examination Testing Services -

  • CLEP – College Level Examination Program
  • DSST – DANTES Subject Standardized Tests
  • ECE – Excelsior College Examinations
  • TECEP – Thomas Edison College Examination Program
  • AP – Advanced Placement

Some students take exams in subjects they have no prior knowledge. They study and prepare for each exam before taking it. Other students take tests using knowledge they have already acquired through prior means such as a high school course, job experience, professional development courses, or sometimes just from personal interest. Regardless of whether the knowledge already exists or needs to be developed, Credit by Examination is a wonderful tool to accumulate credit flexibly and very inexpensively – compare a $100 CLEP test to $1,000 or more on a traditional course.

This approach is quite freeing as the student is not tied to a class or exam schedule, can work as quickly or as slowly as they would like, and less time can be spent on subjects where there is not as much interest. Some students, such as homeschoolers, can take these tests to prove their accumulated knowledge and their ability to handle college level academics. Students who take Math and English Credit by Examination tests can also avoid placement tests at community colleges, removing the risk of being placed in remedial courses.

Students can earn a good deal of credit using these exams and benefit from acquiring college credit affordably and flexibly. However, they need to keep in mind the maximum amount of courses they will be allowed to transfer. Many colleges place a limit on the number of credits they accept through examinations and the approved amount varies a lot from school to school. Students need to research this information at colleges they may consider graduating from. The information can usually be found in the school’s Academic or Undergraduate Catalog which is located on individual college’s websites. The total amount of Credit by Examination accepted by colleges is generally 30, 45, 60 or 90 credit hours, although some colleges such as the University of Wyoming have no limit.

It is important to remember that additional credits earned independently through other methods are not included in these caps. Therefore, if the college where a student intends to graduate doesn’t accept a large amount of credit through this method, they can easily accumulate credit through additional options such as through local and online colleges as a Non-Degree Seeking Student, Dual Enrollment, ACE-approved courses and more. Students have many options available to utilize the Independent Freshman, Independent Sophomore, or Independent Junior Plans. There is no need to be concerned about the Independent Senior Plan because the three schools in this category have no Credit by Examination maximums.

 

 

 

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