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CLEP Exams: Grades or College Credit?

Using CLEP exams in high school can get complicated.




What if you just pass the CLEP exam let’s say with the score of 50?  Does that mean that you are given the college credit for that class but are also given a C on the college transcript like on an AP test?  My daughter is studying for her first CLEP and I want this figured out before we put the time and money in to it.

Thanks for your help,

~ Lisa

Dear Lisa,

Many colleges will assign a grade for AP scores.  A score of 5 is an A, a score of 4 is a B, a score of 3 is a C, and lower scores are not permitted college credit.

Some colleges will use a similar system for CLEP exams.  Most of the college policies that I have seen do NOT provide grades for CLEP scores.   A college may provide college credits for a CLEP exam without assigning a grade as long as the student passes the CLEP with a score of 50 or greater.  A college may assign a grade based on the score, obviously the higher the score the better the grade.  A college may decide not to provide college credits for CLEP at all.  In that instance, the CLEP scores are evaluated much like a SAT Subject Test - confirmation of education, rather than college credit.  Some colleges will have different policies for different CLEP tests.  In other words, some CLEP tests will be given college credit, some will be given college placement, and some tests are not used at all.

The only way to figure out how CLEP relates to college credits or college grades is to ask each individual college.

Here are some examples of various policies.  You'll notice how I could not find an example of a college actually giving a GRADE for a CLEP score.  They seem to either give credit or not credit, and limit credit, but I did not see an example of a college providing a grade for a CLEP test.  I believe that is unusual.

  • LeTourneau University:  CLEP scores provide college credit, but each test has a different score required for credit.  They don't give a grade.

  • Seattle Pacific University: CLEP Scores above 50 will give college credits, up to 45 credits total.

  • Arizona State University:  CLEP Test scores are assigned a specific university course equivalency, sometimes they accept scores over 50, other scores have to be over 60.

  • Missouri Southern State University:  Only CLEP Subject tests are given college credit, not CLEP General Exams

  • Rutgers University: CLEP credits limited to 15 CLEP exams, and the exams and some of the departments don't allow CLEP at all.


For each college where you might apply, go to their website and search for "Credit by Examination" or "CLEP" to read their policy thoroughly.  If you can't find their policy, then contact the admission office and ask them directly.


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Comments 1

Guest - Madison S., “The CLEP Review Gal” (website) on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 15:31

Hi Lisa, each school has its own CLEP policy, most use the ACE B-Level Recommendations. See http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/clep/scores/recommendations for more info.

With that being said, most colleges do NOT award college grades for CLEP credits. There are two schools of thought on this topic. Some people want the grade and some people don't care. I'm in the don't care group, because if anything it pads your GPA. You have 40+ classes you have to take towards your bachelors degree so if that's one less class your daughter has to stress about getting an A, then the more the better!

If that's your only hang up, then my advice is to TAKE THE EXAM. For $100 you can get 3 college credits that would cost you about $800 at a public universities or $1,600 at a private universities. This is math class 101
...
Best luck,

Madison S., “The CLEP Review Gal”
@ http://www.MyPracticeTestPrep.com/clep

Hi Lisa, each school has its own CLEP policy, most use the ACE B-Level Recommendations. See http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/clep/scores/recommendations for more info. With that being said, most colleges do NOT award college grades for CLEP credits. There are two schools of thought on this topic. Some people want the grade and some people don't care. I'm in the don't care group, because if anything it pads your GPA. You have 40+ classes you have to take towards your bachelors degree so if that's one less class your daughter has to stress about getting an A, then the more the better! If that's your only hang up, then my advice is to TAKE THE EXAM. For $100 you can get 3 college credits that would cost you about $800 at a public universities or $1,600 at a private universities. This is math class 101 :) ... Best luck, Madison S., “The CLEP Review Gal” @ http://www.MyPracticeTestPrep.com/clep
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Tuesday, 22 September 2020

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