Read an Excerpt
Which CLEP Exam Should I Take?
Registering for the Exams
Your CLEP Score
CLEP and the Military
How This Book Can Help You
Many students go to college to learn, while others seem to go simply to party. A select few valiantly attempt to do as much of both as humanly possible. Yet regardless of your intentions, college is expensive and some parts aren't worth your time or money. For instance, taking introductory classes with two hundred other students isn't very educational or interesting, especially if you're already familiar with the material.
This is where the CLEP¤ comes in. Taking an exam through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) can help you leapfrog over some basic college coursework -- provided, of course, that you score well enough. Overall, it's a good exchange: 90 minutes of testing can get you credit that allows you to bypass entire semesters of college courses.
The decision to take a CLEP test and get college credit doesn't rest entirely in your hands, however. Every university in the United States has its own ideas about whether or not to accept CLEP scores for credit. Some colleges don't accept them at all. Others schools give you college credit, but only if you exceed a certain score on the scale of 20-80. Every school has its own take on the test, so make sure you do some homework on the schools you are thinking about applying to before forking over the $55 CLEP registration fee.
Which CLEP exam Should I Take?
There are over thirty different CLEP exams. You can find a complete list of the test titles,as well as other basic information, at collegeboard.com/clep. This is the official CLEP website, and it contains all of the general facts about the CLEP program.
Some exams are more popular than others. The exams covered in this book are the ones in the popular crowd. Think of them as the Homecoming Court of CLEP exams.
Social Sciences and History
If you're thinking about taking any of these exams, this book can help. If you have your heart set on acing the German Level 2 CLEP exam, then all we can say is, "Viel glück!"
As for which CLEP test (or tests) you should take, try to balance the advantage gained by earning a good score with the extra studying you will have to do for each exam. Perhaps you think you won't need any additional studying, since you're already an expert in a particular subject. That may be true (and you can take one of the practice tests in this book to find out if you're right or wrong). Most students however, expert or not, will need to put in some preparation for any new exam.
Registering For The Exams
You can register for any of the CLEP exams by contacting a CLEP test center. To find a center in your area, visit collegeboard.com/clep. After you learn about the center's procedures and schedule your test, you'll fill out a registration-admission form that you can download from the CLEP website. Mail it along with your payment to the test center. The fee for each test is $55, and the average test center registration fee is around $15 -- be sure to ask your center of choice about its policy. If you want to take the CLEP exam the old-fashioned way, on paper instead of on the computer, be prepared to pay an extra $120. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces should refer to the section in this chapter called "CLEP and the Military" for registration information.
Your CLEP Score
Scores on the CLEP exams range from 20-80. The number of questions you get correct is called your raw score. Each correct multiple-choice answer receives one point, while each wrong or skipped answer does not receive any points. There are no points subtracted for incorrect answers, so it is in your best interest to answer all questions on the exam. The raw score is not reported; it is adjusted according to a formula specified by the College Board to compensate for differences in question difficulty on various forms of the test. The final score that is reported, called the scaled score, is computed based on this formula.
While most of the CLEP exams are scored by computer, the English Composition essay is graded by at least two College English professors who are specially trained in the scoring guidelines set forth by the College Board.
Receiving Your Score
With the exception of the English Composition exam with essay, you will receive your score on the computer screen right after you have completed the test. Since the CLEP exam is completed through Computer-Based Testing (CBT), it is possible to designate through test software the schools, certifying agency, or employer that you would like to receive your CLEP test score right away. You cannot recall your score once you have viewed it, however. Only after you designate institutions to have your score sent to can you view your scores.
If you have any questions about the test or your score report that cannot be answered at the testing center, write to:
P.O. Box 6600
Princeton, NJ 08541-6600
Canceling Your Score
You can only cancel your score before you view it. Once you have viewed your CLEP test score, the score has been recorded and you cannot recall it. If you feel that you have done very poorly on the exam and you wish to cancel your score, do so, but realize that no record will be kept of how you did on the test. If you cancel your score, the computer will prompt you to confirm that you really want to cancel your score before the score is nullified.
Obtaining Additional Score Reports
To send a CLEP score report/transcript to additional schools or institutions after you have viewed your score, fill out a transcript request form on the College Board's website: collegeboard.com/clep, or call (800) 257-9558 to order one. Your CLEP transcript will include scores on any CLEP exam that you have taken in the last 20 years.
A Passing Score
For the CLEP exams, a passing score is a score that you can either get college credit for or use to skip a course. The following table shows the minimum scores recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE) to receive college credit for each exam. The minimum exam scores that are recommended are equivalent to an average class grade of a C. Each college and/or institution can have its own credit-granting policies, so check with the school or institution about what scores are acceptable to it before taking the exam.
Tests in This Book
While your estimated score on any of the sample full-length tests in this book cannot determine the exact score you will receive on the actual CLEP test, they can help you determine what areas to work on before taking the test, as well as whether or not you are ready to take the test in general.
The College Board has not released the exact scoring guidelines for each test, but you can estimate whether or not you have achieved a passing grade on the sample tests in this book. In general, if you score over 70 percent (a grade of C) on a given test, you probably are well prepared for that CLEP exam. See Chapter Twenty-Four, Scoring Your Test, for more information.
CLEP And The Military
The CLEP exams offer an especially good opportunity for American servicemen and women. Most members of the United States Armed Services (and some civilian employees) can take the CLEP exams for free. Go to collegeboard.com/clep to find a list of eligible personnel. In addition, CLEP exams are offered at College Test Centers on many military bases, and at DANTES Education centers. DANTES stands for Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, and this organization offers a variety of opportunities including distance learning and tuition assistance. In addition to the CLEP, it administers a number of other standardized tests. See dantes.doded.mil for information. The difference between taking a CLEP exam on a military base and at a DANTES Education center is that DANTES only offers the paper-and-pencil tests, while most bases only offer the computer-based test. To register for a CLEP exam in either location or for information, contact your Educational Services Officer or Navy College Specialist, or visit DANTES online at dantes.dod.mil.
How This Book Can Help You
If you are taking any of the five CLEP exams discussed in this chapter, Kaplan's Guide to the CLEP can help you focus your studying and maximize your results. Our book covers the following key points.
1. Test strategies geared specifically to the computer-based CLEP exam in general, and additional strategies for each subject test. Many books give the same talk about strategies like Pacing and the Process of Elimination that have been used for every standardized test given in the past twenty years. By now, most of this stuff is common knowledge (although we'll review it again for you, just in case you haven't had enough of it). Since most CLEP exams are given only on the computer, knowledge of specific techniques to improve your skills at navigating this computer interface is something every student should have. These strategies are covered in the next chapter, and they are very useful regardless of what specific subject test you are taking. Before you read anything else in this book, thoroughly review the contents of the next chapter.
In addition to the strategies designed to help you attack the computer-based CLEP exams, we have also developed techniques geared specifically for each of the five tests covered in this book. These subject-specific strategies -- combined with the computer-specific CLEP strategies -- are powerful tools to have at your disposal.
2. A well-crafted review of all the relevant subjects. The best test-taking strategies alone won't help you take the CLEP College Mathematics test if you don't know a square from a triangle. Every CLEP exam covers a broad range of topics, and a basic familiarity with these topics is necessary if you want to score well. Obviously, you wouldn't even be trying to take a CLEP test in a particular subject if you didn't feel pretty confident about your mastery of that subject. That's why we won't waste your time with an exhaustive subject review. Instead, we've tailored our review section to focus on how the CLEP tests present information, and what you need to know in order to answer the questions correctly.
3. Three full-length practice tests for each subject. There's no substitute for experience when it comes to standardized testing. Taking a practice CLEP exam gives you an idea of what it's like to answer multiple-choice questions on a particular topic for 90 minutes. That's not a fun experience, granted, but it is helpful. Practice exams give you the opportunity to find out what areas are your strongest, and what topics you should spend some additional time studying. And the best part is...it doesn't count! Mistakes you make on our practice exams are mistakes you won't make on the real test.
In the section devoted to each CLEP exam covered in this book, we've placed one diagnostic test at the very beginning of the section. Think of this exam as a "Here's what you would score if you took that CLEP exam without much studying" test. You can use the results of this exam to tailor your approach to the review section, which follows the diagnostic. Note the topics or categories where you missed the most questions, and then concentrate on the section of the review that covers the categories. You may also want to create an additional study plan to shore up these weaker areas. For this, use the relevant sections of the review as your starting point.
Once you've had a chance to work on your weak areas, you have two more full-length tests to take as practice. Also, each test has detailed explanations for each question, so you can learn from all your mistakes. You may even learn from some problems you got right in the first place, so don't neglect to read through the explanations section thoroughly.
Those three points describe the general outline of this book: Strategies, Review, and Practice Exams. Check out the next chapter to learn some specific skills you can use on the five CLEP subject tests covered in this book.
Copyright © 2005 by Anaxos, Inc.