Posted in CLEP, HS4CC

Parent Question: How many CLEPs can my teen take?

Q: What’s the maximum CLEP exams a student can take?

A: I’ve got great news- there is no limit! I think that the amount YOUR teen takes is a combination of three important factors.

  1. What subjects is your teen taking in high school? This is an important consideration, in my opinion, because my advice is to always bring college credit into your homeschool plan instead of trying to morph your homeschool plan to the whims of one or two colleges. If you’re planning to study Biology, then take the CLEP biology too. If you’re planning to study Literature, then take a CLEP Literature exam too. When you bring CLEP into your plan, it will always be a good way to add frosting on the cake!
  2. Does your teen test well? Some students really enjoy the testing process and others are incredibly stressed out by it. If your teen doesn’t mind taking tests, then CLEP is a great option and I would encourage you to use it often. If testing stresses your teen to the point that they aren’t excited about earning college credit this way, then my advice is to try one and go from there. CLEP may not be a good fit for your Homeschooling for College Credit plan, and that’s ok! There are plenty of other ways to earn college credit!
  3. Is your teen targeting top tier universities? There are about 3,800 colleges and universities in this country, and most of them participate in CLEP to some degree, but if you’re targeting the very top tier elite colleges (think: Top 30), CLEP is not for you. If your teen is NOT targeting a top tier university, take every CLEP you can!!

My Top 10 CLEP Prep Tips for PARENTS

Before I ever started homeschooling my own teens for college credit, I wanted to know more about CLEP, and how it worked. The super-short version is that I took one exam “just to see” what it would be like….but I ended up testing out of an Associate’s Degree (60 credits) in 6 months! I didn’t […]

Is She a College Freshman or a Transfer Student?

HELP! Is my teen is applying to college soon, and I’m not sure if she should apply using the freshman application or the transfer student application? Earning college credit in high school can lead you to wonder if your teen is an incoming freshman or a transfer student- good question!   In the first place, you […]

Posted in CLEP, HS4CC

Finding CLEP Equivalencies

Once you discover CLEP, the first order of business is usually trying to find out how CLEP exams are accepted at your teen’s target college. You’ll hear the HS4CC community call this “CLEP Equivalency” because once a college accepts a CLEP exam, it will become “equivalent to” a course offered at the college- and THAT’S how you knock out college credit (and save a lot of money) by using CLEP.

HS4CC Tips for CLEP Equivalency Research

  1. College policies change!! Realize that until your teen graduates high school and officially enrolls in college, your CLEP research should be considered “unofficial” because colleges can (and do) review policies like these every year.
  2. A “good” college CLEP policy page:
    • Has a table or chart on their website that lists each exam and the course it represents
    • Has a date that identifies the last time the chart was updated (within 2 years is best)
    • Has a link to the college’s transfer policy for credit by exam (CLEP, AP, DSST)
    • Lists minimum scores needed to earn college credit (score of 50 is standard)
    • Explains how CLEP is recorded on your official college transcript (“cr” or “credit” is standard)
    • Explains how CLEP impacts GPA at the college (“does not impact” is standard)
    • Provides contact information if you have questions
  3. If your target college does not provide equivalency information, contact the college’s registrar via email and ask for it. Public colleges will all have this policy in place (even if it isn’t on their website) while private colleges can be more reserved about what they’ll accept.
  4. In this 8 minute video below, I narrate the process and take you with me as I encounter a couple snags looking up a CLEP equivalency and transfer policy for a friend.

OTHER BLOG POSTS ABOUT CLEP

Breaking News: CLEP at Home!

This is the post I’ve been dying to write! Since COVID-19, the #1 most asked question is “will we ever get to take a CLEP at home?” College Board just made history and is allowing you to take your CLEP exam at home!!!

Posted in CLEP, NCAA

CLEP Registration Problem: Checking the 10th grade box

Lori writes:  “I was attempting to sign my son up for the CLEP test in American Government and the registration form on the CLEP site does not accept any student designation that is less than 10th grade. I know that some other parents have been successful in arranging for CLEP test for their students who are even younger than my son (15), so I was wondering how to get around this stipulation on the CLEP form?”

That’s a great question, Lori, and this comes up ALL THE TIME!! First of all, anyone of any age can take CLEP. The problem here isn’t that the student is “too young” rather it’s that the College Board’s form doesn’t have enough tick boxes. It seems like a simple solution, especially since one advantage of using CLEP in a homeschool is that those too young for dual enrollment have an opportunity to earn college credit when they’re ready- not at a specific grade.

What should you do?

It is my opinion that UNLESS your child is an NCAA-bound athlete (where grade level matters in a huge way), select the 10th-grade box. 

The College Board insists that the tick-box is strictly demographic data for internal use and that colleges will never see that box. 

I want to believe them, really I do, but let’s look at the risk : reward before we decide.

For “regular” homeschooling students, there is no risk. Indicating a grade level on this form won’t matter because (1) the homeschooling parent determines the teen’s grade level in high school (2) the parent controls access to the score report (3) College Board continues to tell us that this information isn’t released. The risk is so minimal and the reward so high that I would mark that box with confidence and not give it a second thought.

But, for those who are NCAA-bound athletes, it’s a different story.  NCAA is exceptionally strict regarding age and grade. They are exceptionally strict about the number and type of high school credits a student earns, and they are exceptionally strict about the records documenting these activities…. and that’s just for public school students. The scrutiny of homeschooled students headed into NCAA is at least twice as difficult- maybe more. In summary:  NCAA doesn’t play around. If they think something is “off” about your teen’s records, your teen will be disqualified from playing college sports- game over.

NCAA Homeschool Eligibility Guide

So, since the risk is so high for the students in the NCAA category, I take the extreme opinion of telling NCAA families to wait until 10th grade before attempting a CLEP exam.  This protects your teen from the extremely unlikely event that your identification of their (higher) grade is disclosed somewhere somehow.

Until then, parents with teens younger than 10th grade should continue to contact The College Board and simply suggest that they add a box for those younger than 10th grade.  It’s an easy request, and easy fix, and it keeps everyone honest.

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

P.O. Box 6600
Princeton, NJ 08541-6600
Phone: 800-257-9558 or 212-237-1331
Fax: 610-628-3726
E-mail: clep@collegeboard.org (Professionals)  <– homeschool parents use that address
E-mail: clep@info.collegeboard.org (Students)Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time.

Posted in CLEP, High School, Science

Curriculum for Biology –> CLEP

In this post, we’re going look at some ideas for biology curriculum that gets a solid foundation for teens that want to take the Biology CLEP.

Official College Board Biology CLEP Page: here

The Biology examination covers material that is usually taught in a one-year college general biology course (2 semesters) covers 3 areas of general biology:

  1. molecular and cellular biology (33% / about 38 questions)
  2. organismal biology (33% / about 38 questions)
  3. population biology (33% / about 38 questions)

Skipping “curriculum” and just starting with “test prep” is a mistake. This is a very large exam covering an enormous scope of content. The trick to success is allowing sufficient learning time using high school (or college) curriculum as your foundation and following up with test prep. You should choose the foundation (curriculum) that aligns well with your student’s ability. Students working well above grade level may enjoy the challenge of using college level content, but students working on grade level can still be successful with the CLEP exam by learning with high school curriculum! Learning for this exam could easily take 2 high school semesters.

If you’d rather have your teen take biology directly for college credit, you can can explore the many options here: 30 Ways to Earn College Credit in High School. Using CLEP means you’ll award high school credit for the curriculum work your teen does at home, and they’ll earn potential college credit by taking the CLEP exam later. Acceptance of CLEP varies by college.

Should you add a lab? High School Biology often includes a lab, though it isn’t required as preparation for this exam. It may, however, be required by your state’s graduation requirements or your target college’s admissions requirements, so I like the idea of adding a lab unless you’re sure you don’t need one.

Build Your Curriculum

(choose 1)

Khan Academy High School Biology (secular / free)

Apologia High School Biology (Christian/ cost)

Easy Peasy High School Biology (Christian / free)

Khan Academy AP/College Biology (secular / free)

MITx Introduction to Biology (secular / free)

add a lab (optional)

High School Biology Lab Kits (physically do at home)

College Biology Lab Simulation (do on the computer)

add a text book (optional)

College Biology Textbook (online / free)

Test Prep Voucher (Take a CLEP for free)

Modern States is a free online CLEP prep class that upon completion will pay for your teen’s CLEP exam. Get your voucher first! Besides giving your student some extra test prep, the voucher pays for your exam!

Test Prep

REA CLEP Biology Book with Practice Tests (try your local library!)

Hippocampus (for any topic still giving you trouble)


Are you preparing for the CLEP Biology exam or already taken it? If so, what resources are your favorite? Share below!

Posted in celebrate, CLEP

Homeschooling with CLEP: Game-changer for Sean’s Future

I am thrilled to share with you this homeschooling success story of how Sara used CLEP in her homeschool with her son Sean during 11th (and now 12th) grade. She posted her celebration inside our Illinois HS4CC Facebook group and gave me permission to share it with you here. I know you’ll find it as inspirational as I did!

Continue reading “Homeschooling with CLEP: Game-changer for Sean’s Future”
Posted in CLEP, Scholarships

Using CLEP at “Expensive Universities”

I subscribe to the Modern States email list and read a wonderful update from a student planning to attend Boston University in the future- and how she used CLEP toward her journey. CLEP often gets bundled in with people choosing community colleges or online universities, so my first question – “what’s their CLEP policy?”

Continue reading “Using CLEP at “Expensive Universities””
Posted in CLEP

My Top 10 CLEP Prep Tips for PARENTS

Before I ever started homeschooling my own teens for college credit, I wanted to know more about CLEP, and how it worked. The super-short version is that I took one exam “just to see” what it would be like….but I ended up testing out of an Associate’s Degree (60 credits) in 6 months! I didn’t need that degree; I worked as a chef and had my culinary credentials in place, but it was loads of fun and a little addictive once I got rolling. Continue reading “My Top 10 CLEP Prep Tips for PARENTS”

Posted in CLEP, Credit by Exam, Resources

Free Virtual Conference this Sunday

Jennifer Cook-DeRosa, author of Homeschooling for College Credit, is a featured speaker this Sunday, December 6th at the virtual homeschooling conference “Homeschool to Unschool: How to let your child’s unique genius shine.” Her session presentation is titled “How Self-Directed Learners Earn College Credit at Home” and will focus on how independent learners or unschooling families can find a pathway that works for them.

Continue reading “Free Virtual Conference this Sunday”
Posted in ACE, CLEP

CLEP Expiration / Revision Dates

ACE 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, CLEP exams are worth college credit because they have undergone review by ACE.

When ACE reviews an exam, they always assign a date range for that review. At the ending date, the exam must be reviewed again or removed. The exam can be renewed and extended when there isn’t a significant change in content. As an example, we’ve watched the Biology exam renew unchanged since 2001. As such, we can feel confident that the exam has not changed that much since 2001 because the date simply keeps getting extended for another 3-year cycle (indicating no change).

If an exam is revised, it must be assigned a new date range. For instance, United States History 1 has remained unchanged since 2001, but just received a new date range renewal  “12/1/2018 – 11/30/2023” which tells us that the exam was revised this time (indicating significant content change).

It’s an imperfect system, but one that we can use to watch what the College Board is doing behind the scenes. They don’t usually announce exam revisions, but we can figure it out if we watch the dates in the ACE database.

Some exam revisions are significant (when Social Science and History completely changed their content in 2016) or slight. We don’t know what is coming, but we can report what we learn as a group. This kind of feedback loop helps all parents help each other.

All date ranges and the history of date ranges are available by searching the ACE Database.

Currently, 34 CLEP exams are evaluated for college credit.  


American Government 7/1/01- 11/30/18 –> REVISED EXAM  12/01/2018 -11/30/23

American Literature 3/1/15 – 12/31/22

Analyzing and Interpreting Literature  3/1/15-12/31/22

Biology 7/1/01- 12/31/22

Calculus 10/1/12 – 11/30/18  –> REVISED EXAM 12/01/2018 -11/30/23

Chemistry 7/1/01- 11/30/18  –> REVISED EXAM 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2023

College Algebra 1/1/07 – 12/31/22

College Composition (essay) 7/1/10 – 11/30/18 –> REVISED EXAM 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2023

College Modular (no essay) 3/1/15 – 11/30/ 18 –>REVISED EXAM 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2023

College Math 3/1/15 – 12/31/22

English Literature 3/1/15 – 11/30/18  –> REVISED EXAM 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2023

Financial Accounting 1/1/07 – 12/31/22

French Language 3/1/15 – 11/30/18–> REVISED EXAM 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2023

German Language 3/1/15 – 12/31/22

History of the United States I 7/1/01- 11/30/18 –> REVISED EXAM 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2023

History of the United States II 7/1/01- 11/30/18 –> REVISED 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2023

Human Growth and Development 11/1/06 – 11/30/18  –>  REVISED 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2023

Humanities 3/1/15 – 11/30/18 –> REVISED 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2023

Information Systems 10/1/12 – 12/31/22

Intro. Educational Psychology 10/1/12 – 11/30/18 –> REVISED 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2023

Intro. Business Law 5/1/02 – 11/30/18 –> REVISED 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2023

Intro. Psychology 10/1/12 – 11/30/18 –> REVISED 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2023

Intro. Sociology 10/1/12 – 11/30/18 –> REVISED 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2023

Natural Sciences 7/1/01- 11/30/18 –> REVISED 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2023

Precalculus 10/1/12 – 12/31/22

Princ. of Macroeconomics 10/1/12 – 12/31/22

Princ. of Microeconomics 10/1/12 – 13/31/22

Princ. of Management 3/1/15 – 12/31/22

Princ. of Marketing 10/1/12 – 12/31/22

Social Science and History 3/1/16 – 12/31/23

Spanish Language 3/1/15 – 12/31/22

Spanish with Writing 6/1/19 – 5/31/24

Western Civ. I 7/1/01- 12/31/22

Western Civ. II 7/1/01- 12/31/22

Posted in CLEP

My Top 10 CLEP Prep Tips for PARENTS

Before I ever started homeschooling my own teens for college credit,  I wanted to know more about CLEP, and how it worked.  The super-short version is that I took one exam “just to see” what it would be like….but I ended up testing out of an Associate’s Degree (60 credits) in 6 months!  I didn’t need that degree; I worked as a chef and had my culinary credentials in place, but it was loads of fun and a little addictive once I got rolling. Continue reading “My Top 10 CLEP Prep Tips for PARENTS”