Posted in HS4CC

Parent Question: Publication date or copyright?

“You posted recently about CLEP tests undergoing revisions and how to know what REA book to purchase in order to align with the current test. I need a further clarification.”

“Do I look at the publish date or copyright date in determining the viability of a book? For example, I was shopping second hand and came across a REA CLEP US History II book published in 2018 but copyright 2013, which left me a bit puzzled. I’d love the savings but don’t want my kids studying from an outdated resource. Might you be able to help me understand whether the published date, copyright date or both are most significant here?” -Stephanie, HS4CC parent

Copyright is when something is first created- it doesn’t have to be published to have a copyright. A publication date is when something goes into print, so if both dates are given you can err on the side of caution and use the publication. Also, as someone who has used zillions of old and discarded texts/REA guides, I can assure you that you’re going to be 90% safe using almost ANY book you find- but you might need to enhance it a bit. What you really want to watch for is the topic distribution.

Say an exam’s topic distribution is written like this:

Topic A:  50%

Topic B: 50%

A student studying for that exam needs a balance between both topics.  If they undergo a revision and the NEW distribution looks like this:

Topic A: 40%

Topic B: 60%

Now you’re simply going to have to pay “more” attention to Topic B. It’s not that Topic A is gone, but it’s to emphasize that your teen needs to know Topic B very well. Finally, sometimes we see this:

Topic A: 40%

Topic B: 40%

Topic C: 20%

In this case, an older version might not have anything from Topic C, so you’d need to make sure that your teen gets time to learn Topic C and that may mean sourcing other links/videos/books/etc.  

Find the topic distribution by visiting the exam vendor’s website. CLEP exams are written by College Board, and will publish the exact topic distribution.

(Post referenced in this question)

2022 CLEP Exam Revision & Expiration Dates

We occasionally see CLEP exams revised or removed. This is the expected CLEP revision and expiration date schedule for 2022. Understand how to interpret this information: The American Council on Education is the third-party review organization that colleges use to decide if a class or exam is “worth” college credit or not. In other words,…


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit