Testing Out of Psychology 101

Introduction to Psychology is a favorite course for many teens, but parents are wise to use caution before enrolling. Psychology courses (depending on the teacher and textbook) can skim over mature content, slam into it head-first, or go way off topic. One way for parents to moderate the content of this course, and stay on topic, is to have your teen study at home and test out of psychology using a standardized exam.

Introduction to Psychology / General Psychology

100 level college, 3 college credits

All of these exams will duplicate each other, which is to say they will all count as the same entry level 3 credit introductory psychology course at your college.

AboutCLEPAdvanced PlacementDSSTTECEPUExcel
Exam NameIntroductory PsychologyAP PsychologyNot availableNot availableIntroduction to Psychology
# of Questions95 questions100 MC questions
2 free response**
xx120 questions
Length of Exam1.5 hours /
90 minutes
2 hours / 120 minutesxx2 hours /
120 minutes
FormatMultiple choiceMultiple choice & free responsexxMultiple choice
ScheduleAnytimeTue, May 3, 2022,
12 PM Local
LocationAt home or a
Testing Center
local high school with approvalxxAt home or a Testing Center
Cost$89 without voucher
$0 with voucher*
Official Test Prep Product2021 CLEP Official Study Guide ($20)myAP Resource Tool (free)xxOfficial Content Guide (free)

*obtain free CLEP voucher from Modern States

**Free-response questions are completed pencil-paper style and should be treated as small “essays” because the student’s writing ability will be evaluated.

About Curriculum / Textbooks

Testing out of a subject gives you total freedom to choose your own learning tools. My advice is to layer several tools together. Textbook + Test Prep + Multimedia + Test Prep. That assures depth of learning as well as adequate test preparation.

These exams are equivalent to comprehensive, end-of-course exams, and are not usually developed to reflect the content of one specific textbook or resource. As such, the “brand” of curriculum or textbook doesn’t really matter! My advice is to choose a high school curriculum company you trust or a college textbook you can preview.

High school curriculum. The curriculum brand you use is up to you, as long as your curriculum is high school level or higher, it will suffice. The essential thing to look for is the title. Be sure it is either “General Psychology” or “Introduction to Psychology.” Other titles may be in the subject of psychology but won’t align as well with this exam. Whether your curriculum is secular or religious makes no difference for this subject. Typically Psychology is learned over semester and yields 0.5 high school credits whether or not your teen attempts a college credit exam.

College textbooks are great because you can usually pick up an old edition for under $10. What you won’t have is access to a teacher’s edition, but many books include answers for some of the questions in the back (usually all odd or all even questions) and that is enough to assess learning.

About Test Prep Guides

Look for guides that match the brand name of the exam you’re using. (It’s in the chart above.) Every brand has an “official” guide, and that is usually your best bet for understanding the expectations of the exam.

About Practice Tests

Practice tests are REALLY important. Not only do they allow your teen to experience a simulated event, but they get exposed to questions worded in many different ways. Unlike test prep resources, it is my opinion that you can use practice tests from any brand. In other words, an AP practice test is ok for a CLEP or a UExcel exam. The important things about practice tests are that you (1) use them each only once, (2) take at least 2-3 at a minimum, and (3) understand that the questions won’t be exactly like the real thing, so the more exposure to a wide variety of questions the better!

Other Resources

If your teen learns best on the computer, you can use any of the excellent resources available online. I tend to like free online resources from colleges, so my list of favorites reflects that. That said, there are dozens of excellent courses available.

Yale Introduction to Psychology (Coursera) Free

Crash Course Introduction to Psychology (YouTube) Free

Saylor Academy Introduction to Psychology (college credit optional) Free

TEL Learning Principles of Psychology (college credit optional) Free

CLEP Pass Rates 2020

Our military receive DANTES funding that pays for their CLEP exams. As a result, each fiscal year they publish the pass rates for each CLEP exam! Hot off the press….


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit