Posted in CLEP, Credit by Exam, High School

Sample High School CLEP Schedule

I love making schedules for our homeschool – I actually love making them more than I like following them.  But, in reality, I think most of us get a sense of satisfaction when we check things off of a list.  I often have a few “leftovers” that get pushed to the next day, which makes me feel so unaccomplished.  If that ever happens to you in your homeschool (can you say 7 out of 10 Lifepacs?) I would suggest you are careful planning your teen’s CLEP schedule.  It’s so easy to get carried away.  (16 CLEP exams next year?  Yeah, that’s too many.)  Additionally, if this is your first year injecting college credit into your homeschool, whatever you were thinking about adding…. cut it way back.  Early success will be like rocket fuel later.  Early failure will be like sugar in the gas tank.


Jennifer’s recommendation:  no more than 2-3 CLEP exams during your first year of earning college credit – no matter what grade your teen is in.

My guinea pig (AKA oldest son) helped me learn that my knowledge and motivation about something is not enough to push everyone to the finish line. I share my mistakes so you can hopefully prevent them with your own kids.  A quick story:  I had just finished CLEP-testing out of an Associate’s of timeArts degree. Over the course of 6 short months, I averaged one CLEP exam every 10 days – while homeschooling my kids-  I had a schedule that worked perfectly (for me) and I was ready to implement CLEP tests into our homeschool immediately.  They weren’t really that hard.  But, my enthusiasm was tempered with homeschooling reality:

LEARNING TAKES TIME

So, before we dive into a schedule, I want to tell you the difference between my CLEPping out of an exam, and the experience of my teens CLEPping:

As an adult, I’d already attended and graduated, from high school.  I had 4 years of slow learning – learning that included lots of reading, writing, researching, quizzes, studying, critical thinking, group discussion, reflection, and TONS of test-taking experience.  I also had about 30+ years of life experience that helped me pass many exams.  (Heck, I was present for some of the content on the US History II exam!)   An adult going into a CLEP exam prep process is pretty straight forward:  memorize, recall, use the process of elimination and life experience, choose the best answer.  It was simple.  But, NOT that simple for my son, and probably not for yours.  (I’ll spare you the disaster that resulted in a lot of frustration,  tears,  yelling, and a failed exam.)  So, when I started our schedule for my son’s second year of homeschooling for college credit, it went SO MUCH BETTER, because I followed a VERY SUCCESSFUL model used in high schools all over the country. I first learned this model as a high school student back in the 80’s, and it’s still in use today. I followed the Advanced Placement model.

Advanced Placement (AP), is a class followed by a college credit exam available to high school students.  Not surprisingly, it’s written by the same makers of the CLEP exam.  Students take it in the spring after about 2/3 of that year’s curriculum has been covered.  The student takes almost an entire course before they ever think about exam prep.  And, students who aren’t successful in the course don’t even have to attempt the exam if they don’t want to.   The exam, if the student takes it, has nothing to do with their AP course grade or high school credit earned.  In fact, AP credit by exam grades don’t even come in until July – well after the student has received their course grade. So, whether or not the student takes, passes, or fails the AP exam has nothing to do with the course grade or credit that led up to that moment.  It is that model that I follow in our homeschool and one that I’d encourage you to consider as well.

100% curriculum + CLEP test prep = Success


WRITE YOUR HIGH SCHOOL SCHEDULE FIRST 

Don’t worry, you can change it – but this really is where you should start.  If you have no idea whatsoever of the subjects you’re going to plan for high school, you can use this very general rule of thumb* as a starting point.  This plan doesn’t include any technology, electives, or other fun stuff – but this is a good starting point.  Adjust as you see fit.

4 years of English  (ex. Language Arts, Composition, Literature)
2–4 years of Math (ex. Algebra, Geometry, Consumer Math, Statistics, Trigonometry)
2–4 years of Science (ex. Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science)
2–4 years of History (ex. American, Western Civilization)
at least 2 years of a Foreign Language (ex. Spanish, German, French)

*if your state has a specific high school graduation requirement or subject taught laws, you’ll want to follow those instead.  Some states also distribute a “college-bound” suggested course of study.


CHOOSE YOUR CLEP EXAMS

With a generalized high school schedule, you can start picking specific subjects within each subject area. This is the point where you may want to match your teen’s high school subjects with CLEP subjects!  Here is a current list of all 33 CLEP exams:

English & Literature Exams

Math Exams

Science Exams

History and Social Sciences Exams

Foreign Language Exams

It’s worth noting that some learning is singular, while other learning is cumulative.  To give you an example, singular learning starts and stops within the subject.  You and I could learn everything we needed to know for Introductory Psychology without any prior exposure to the subject.  On the other hand, if we wanted to take the Calculus exam, we would have had to complete all of the math levels leading up to and including Calculus.  That exam requires significant foundational knowledge before learning that subject.  As you select subjects for your high school plan, you can use singular subjects anywhere you want, but cumulative subjects would be saved for later.  The exam links above take you to that exam’s content page so you can peek at what each test’s makeup.

Singular Subjects

Cumulative Subjects

American Literature

English Literature

Biology

Chemistry

American Government

History of the United States I

History of the United States II

Human Growth and Development

Introduction to Educational Psychology

Introductory Psychology

Introductory Sociology

Principles of Macroeconomics

Principles of Microeconomics

Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East to 1648

Western Civilization II: 1648 to the Present

Analyzing and Interpreting Literature

College Composition (w/ essay)

College Composition Modular (w/o essay)

Humanities

College Algebra

College Mathematics

Precalculus

Calculus

Natural Sciences

Social Sciences and History

French Language: Levels 1 and 2

German Language: Levels 1 and 2

Spanish Language: Levels 1 and 2

 

A NOTE ABOUT FOREIGN LANGUAGE EXAMS:  even though it says “Level 1” and “Level 2” it is only one exam that you take one time.  When you take the exam, the strength of your score determines the number of college credits awarded,  so don’t take this exam until AFTER you have significant fluency – multiple years of study.


SAMPLE 9th GRADE SCHEDULE

9th Grade
Subject Area Semester 1 Semester 2 CLEP Exam
ENGLISH 9th Grade English 9th Grade English (N/A)
MATH Algebra 1 Algebra 1 (N/A)
SCIENCE Survey Science Survey Science (N/A)
HISTORY United States History United States History U.S. History 1

U.S. History 2

FOREIGN LANGUAGE Spanish 1 Spanish 1 (N/A)
ELECTIVE Typing Photography (N/A)

In this sample, we are laying a foundation for future exams in English, Math, Spanish, and Science….but we’re not there yet.  We are going to allow some foundational learning to happen first, and then we’ll inject college credit when our teen is better prepared.  Instead, in this year, we are using a full year curriculum for United States History, and taking the U.S. History 1 exam at the half-way point, and then U.S. History 2 at the conclusion of the school year.  These two exams work perfectly together!


SAMPLE 10th GRADE SCHEDULE

10th Grade
Subject Area Semester 1 Semester 2 CLEP Exam
ENGLISH 10th Grade English 10th Grade English (N/A)
MATH Algebra 2 Algebra 2 (N/A)
SCIENCE Biology Biology Biology CLEP
HISTORY World History World History (N/A)
FOREIGN LANGUAGE Spanish 2 Spanish 2 Spanish -maybe?
ELECTIVE Physical Education Health (N/A)

In this year, we continue to develop English and Math skills but are attempting two very big CLEP exams.  Both Biology and Spanish cover a full year of content, so we’ll play this by ear.  If our teen isn’t a solid “A” student, we may wish to eliminate the exams from our girl4plan or wait until later to attempt the.  Spanish is a tough call because if you’re only allowing 2 years of study, it’s now or never.  On the other hand, a 3rd or 4th year of Spanish would be ideal since we’re aiming for a high score (Level 2).  On the other hand, if we stop now, we have time to learn a second language.  As we go into 11th grade, we may have the added option of taking college courses through dual enrollment, which throws a monkey wrench into things a bit.  For the purpose of this sample, we’ll assume you’re only using CLEP.


SAMPLE 11th GRADE SCHEDULE

11th Grade
Subject Area Semester 1 Semester 2 CLEP Exam
ENGLISH 11th Grade English 11th Grade English (N/A)
MATH College Algebra with PreCalculus College Algebra with PreCalculus College Math

College Algebra

SCIENCE Chemistry Chemistry Natural Sciences

Chemistry

HISTORY Western Civ. I Western Civ. II Western Civ. I

Western Civ. II

ELECTIVE American Literature American Literature American Lit.

Analyzing & Interpreting Lit.

ELECTIVE Music Appreciation Art Appreciation Humanities

We are experiencing major traction now.  In fact, while the CLEP exams all align perfectly to the subjects on the schedule, it may be too aggressive for all but the most motivated students.  I included them anyway so you could see how it fits together.  If you’ll take a moment to look at the SCIENCE row, the Natural Science CLEP exam would be perfect at the close of the 1st semester because that exam is 50% biology (taken last year) and 25% chemistry – a student with solid knowledge of biology and a cursory knowledge of chemistry can pass this exam without addressing the physics segment.  Chemistry, as its own exam, is difficult and should only be considered after a full year of robust chemistry study.  If I could also draw your attention to Humanities, that exam requires knowledge of music and art, but also a lot of the Western Civilization knowledge intersects with this exam, making it a perfect fit for this schedule.


NO SAMPLE 12th GRADE SCHEDULE

At this point, my advice is that you’ll select remaining courses and exams that align with a target college.  College policy, awarding of credit, and accepted exams should all make their way into the conversation when selecting a college.  It’s reasonable that a college might not take all your teen’s hard work, but if a college doesn’t accept most of it, you may want to reconsider!  An encouragement to choose wisely comes from my friend Carol.  She allowed me to share her story with you.   We just saved $96,780

And by the way, were you keeping count?  How many potential college credits does the 11th grader in the sample have?

60

Our teen also took a total of 13 exams (I included Spanish) over the course of 3 years. Since CLEP exams cost about $100 each, the total financial investment was about $1300. Since a family can pay as they go, it allows most people to budget and plan for a good portion of their teen’s college education well ahead of time!  Not to mention the savings associated with books, meals, dorms, etc. that happen later.

Assuming the sample student attends a college that accepts all 60 credits, our sample student will have 2 years completed toward their bachelor’s degree, may have already earned an associate’s degree.  (We still have 12th grade left, and can fill in courses for a degree if we want)

For those wondering about the cost savings, you may want to revisit my post listing the current Cost of Tuition in the United States and calculate your potential savings based on the kind of college your teen may attend.  In general, if a college credit costs $325, your teen earned 60 of them for $1,300 over 3 years instead of paying (or borrowing) $19,500.  Now THAT’S something to get excited about!kids

Posted in CLEP, Credit by Exam, DSST, Math

Testing out of Math

For the non-mathy majors, you’ll likely only need 3 credits (1 course) in math for an entire bachelor’s degree!  This makes testing out of math extremely appealing (does that mean NO MATH CLASS IN COLLEGE?  Yep! That’s exactly what that means!)  I’m going to list all of the test-out options by their level of difficulty from lowest to highest.

When you find the math your teen needs for their degree (ex. College Algebra) be sure to also grab the maths leading up to that level.  While lower maths may not meet their degree requirement, they’ll frequently count as general education electives!  One final tip, you usually can’t use exam credit to replace a course you’ve failed at a college, and you also won’t get to duplicate credit you’ve already earned at a college.

MATH

DSST Math for Liberal Arts

CLEP College Mathematics

DSST Fundamentals of College Algebra

CLEP College Algebra

CLEP Pre-Calculus

AP Calculus AB

AP Calculus BC

 

STATISTICS

Statistics can, but doesn’t always, count as meeting a math requirement.  It’s still a good exam to consider including anyway because it’s often a requirement for students heading off to graduate school.  Students who have completed Algebra 1 will be well-suited to tackle this material.  I used the Statistics DSST exam to meet my own grad school entrance requirement in 2012 (Thank you, Khan Academy.  They taught me everything I needed to know for that exam).

DSST Principles of Statistics   (all multiple choice)

AP Statistics   (multiple choice and free response)

(these two exams are considered duplicates, so choose one or the other – not both)


 

If this post makes your head spin and stomach drop, you might like my previous math post a little better:  Math Success 4 Math Averse

graph

Posted in CLEP, Credit by Exam

6 Credit CLEPs

There are 33 CLEP exams.  Most of them are worth 3 college credits, but did you know that 9 of them are worth 6 or more college credits! 

6 credit CLEP exams

College Composition (essay required)
College Mathematics
French Language (up to 9 credits)
German Language (up to 9 credits)
Spanish Language (up to 9 credits)
Social Sciences & History
Biology
Chemistry
Natural Sciences

Benefits of 6 credit exams

  • One advantage of taking a 6 credit exam is that it costs the same as a 3 credit exam.  All CLEP exams, no matter their credit worth, are the same fee.  ($85 effective July 1, 2017)
  • Your budget goes farther.  If you allocate $200 per year of high school for college credit earned, students who selected 6 credit exams will have 54 credits, while students who selected 3 credit exams will have 27 credits.
  • 6 credit exams are worth larger tuition saving.  If your target college charges $350 per credit, each 6 credit exam your teen passes saves you $2,100.
  • 6 credit exams allow you to “max out” on CLEP credit more quickly.  If your target college allows up to 30 CLEP credits, you can accomplish that using only 5 exams vs using 10 of the 3 credit exams.
  • 6 credit exams equate to 1 year of a course, so you have more than 1 year of a subject to complete, you can enter at level 2 (Foreign language is a good example).

    testing

6 credit exams cover more content

6 credit exams cover 1 year of a subject (3 credit exams cover 1 semester) so there is more content to study, but for those students working at the college-prep high school level (as opposed to general or remedial) you’ll find your high school text covers the same content to a lesser degree.

While I don’t want to suggest specific curriculum companies, I do want to use a couple examples that help you understand “how hard” an exam might be, or the scope of it.

Rosetta Stone Spanish (Levels 1 and 2) —> Spanish CLEP exam

Apologia Biology followed by Advanced Biology —> Biology CLEP exam

Saxon Algebra 2 & Khan Academy Probability —> College Math CLEP exam


Not all colleges award 6 credits

Despite these exams covering more content and being ACE evaluated for 6 credits, some colleges still only award 3 credits (of course, some may award none!) It’s your call, but if my teen accumulated 1/2 of a bachelor’s degree in high school by taking CLEP exams, we’d be really motivated to choose the college that awarded him credit for his work.   


Before attempting a 6 credit exam, be sure your student:

  • has an advanced understanding of the basics and a basic understanding of the advanced.
  • has experience reading college level material (usually through textbooks).  Some students find the wording of a CLEP question a little tricky.  They tend to ask a lot of negative questions such as “which one of the following would not be the…..”
  • has taken no fewer than 2 practice tests.   Sources of practice tests include:
    • CLEP Official Guide (1 paper practice test with answer key)
    • REA CLEP (2-3 practice paper / online tests with explanations)
    • FreeCLEPprep.com (1 online practice test with answer key for some exams)
  • Peterson’s  (3 online timed practice tests with instant grading)

    It is my opinion that you’ll need to score 60% -70% on at least 2 TIMED practice tests (3 tests would be better) before attempting the real exam. Never use the same test twice- it won’t be a true score.  Practice tests will not have the actual questions but are representative of the kinds of questions you can expect.


secret

Insider Tip:  many 6 credit exams overlap each other

Experienced college credit test-takers will tell you to get the maximum return on investment (brain investment, that is) you should study for exams that share or overlap content, and then take both exams.  Many of the 6 credit exams lend themselves to this technique, which I’ll share below.

SCIENCE  

Take high school chemistry and high school physics before college-level biology (CLEP). Follow the CLEP Biology test with CLEP Natural Sciences.  The Natural Sciences exam is 50% biology!  The other half includes some essential chemistry and physics that you already covered in high school.

MATH

If your teen is studying for or has passed College Algebra, go back and pick up College Math too.  Even if it’s not the math they need for their degree, it will probably land as a general education elective.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE

If your teen passes one of the foreign language exams with a high enough score, she’ll likely walk away with 9 credits instead of 6!  (cut scores vary by college).  In addition, if your teen earns foreign language credit early enough, or has a knack for languages, there may be time for a second language!  If you’re very sure your teen can master one or more foreign languages in high school, take a moment to read my post about Foreign Language for College Credit

SOCIAL SCIENCE & HISTORY

In the Social Sciences and History exam, it’s really a combo of history, economics, and government.  This exam is a mile wide and an inch deep, so it’s a challenging exam to study for.  Rather than study for this exam directly, my suggestion is to use it after your teen has already taken some or all of these other subjects.  Completing these other exams first will all but assure a solid passing score on Social Science and History with little to no test prep.  NOTE:  this plan below yields 3-4 high school credits and 27 college credits.

YEAR 1

(1) United States History —> CLEP United States History 1 & 2

(2) American Government —> CLEP American Government

YEAR 2

(1)  Western Civilization —> CLEP Western Civ 1 & 2

(2)  Economics —> CLEP Macroeconomics and CLEP Microeconomics

CLEP Social Science and History exam


Downgraded Exams

If you’ve used CLEP in the past with other teens, you may notice a few exams “missing” from the 6 credit list!!  It’s true, in 2015, the following exams were “downgraded” from 6 to 3 credits.

If you happen to have taken one of these exams while it was worth 6 credits, it’s still worth 6 credits for you.  Exam values are determined by the date you took it, not the date you use it. But, for students who take it now, expect 3 credits unless your college awards a different amount.  (Thomas Edison State College still awards 6 credits for all of these)

Humanities  (worth 3 credits now, worth 6 credits before 3/1/2015)

American Literature (worth 3 credits now, worth 6 credits before 3/1/2015)

English Literature (worth 3 credits now, worth 6 credits before 3/1/2015)

Analyzing and Interpreting Literature (worth 3 credits now, 6 credits before 3/1/2015)

cropped-spring3.jpg

Posted in AP Advanced Placement, CLEP, Credit by Exam, Resources, Tuition

Cost of Tuition in the United States

The current and historical cost of tuition in the United Sates is tracked and sorted for us to learn from.   The United States Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics keeps data on this kind of information, and much more!  (Psssttt, it’s one of my favorite sites to browse)

The costs below reflect averaged “rack rate” tuition for 1 year, which is to say the price stated by the college as their tuition rate.  Individual student’s scholarships or other grants are not reflected here, this is simply the price of tuition.   Note that public colleges generally have “in-state” and “out of state” tuition rates- this is because of the economics of a state-funded educational system, and out-of-state students will typically pay a significantly higher rate than in-state students.

Now, because this is the Homeschooling for College Credit page, of course, I’m also including the breakdown for several popular college credit exams that your teen can take – you’ll be able to see the TREMENDOUS cost savings as you get down to the bottom of the page.

“Cost of attendance”  is also collected, and includes OTHER expenses besides tuition.  Books, meals, dorms, etc. may all be estimated on your college’s website. As you dig deeper, you’ll want to sort out the costs that are variable and those that are fixed.  For instance, if a student lives at home, there aren’t many living expenses to add in, but a student living in a dorm will spend about $13,000 more per year. For the purposes of this post, we’re only talking about TUITION.  


Official Calculation as per-year

(Data Source:  National Center for Education Statistics: November 2016)

 

Less than 2-year (Diploma/Certificate)
Public Non-Profit 248 schools $6,505 in-state $7,288 out-state
Private Non-Profit 86 schools $13,433 N/A
Private For-Profit 1,616 schools $15,269 N/A
2-year (Associate Degree)
Public Non-Profit 1,016 schools $3,941 in-state $7,780 out-state
Private Non-Profit 178 schools $13,899 N/A
Private For-Profit 891 schools $14,864 N/A
4-year (Bachelor’s Degree)
Public Non-Profit 710 schools $8,141 in-state $18,341 out-sta.
Private Non-Profit 1,602 schools $26,355 N/A
Private For-Profit 700 schools $16,066 N/A

 


Unofficial* Calculation as per-credit

Less than 2-year (Diploma/Certificate)
Public Non-Profit   $217 in-state $243 out-state
Private Non-Profit   $448 N/A
Private For-Profit   $509 N/A
2-year (Associate Degree)
Public Non-Profit   $131 in-state $259 out-state
Private Non-Profit   $463 N/A
Private For-Profit   $495 N/A
4-year (Bachelor’s Degree)
Public Non-Profit   $271 $611 out-state
Private Non-Profit   $879 N/A
Private For-Profit   $536 N/A

Credit by Exam Calculation as per-credit

Credit By Exam
AP Exam $93  3 credit exam=

$31 per credit

6 credit exam=

$16 per credit

9 credit exam=

$10 per credit

CLEP Exam $80 3 credit exam=

$27 per credit

6 credit exam=

$13 per credit

9 credit exam=

$9 per credit

DSST Exam $80 3 credit exam=

$27 per credit

N/A N/A
ACTFL foreign language $70 (written) 12 cr. exam=

$7 per credit

 

 

 

 

Saylor Exam $25 3 credit exam=

$8 per credit

 

Unofficial* = calculated by dividing the yearly tuition by 30, the standard full-time load.

 

Posted in CLEP, Credit by Exam, Dual Enrollment

Exceptional Potential

If your teen graduates high school with even one college credit, he’s ahead!  

That’s the message I want our members to remember, but for a few of you, your teens will have exceptional motivation, and for those students, there are amazing possibilities ahead!!  Completing a degree while simultaneously completing high school is not to be underestimated.  It takes a strong and consistent adherence to academics, resourceful and creative planning by the parent, and a cooperative relationship between the teen and the parent.  In addition to all of that, you need to find a school that will allow such pursuit.

In today’s post, I want to highlight a young man in Louisiana who did it!  He earned his high school diploma and Associate’s Degree this month at the same time.  What makes his story extraordinary, is that he didn’t start earning college credit until 12th grade!

Original story:  McNeese Spring Graduate

Highlights:

“Joseph is the first ever early admission and dual enrollment student who will complete an associate degree from McNeese at the same time that he is graduating from high school,” says Betty Anderson, director of community services, outreach and the dual enrollment program coordinator at McNeese.”

“Joseph purchased the Western Civilization II textbook, read it in two days and passed the CLEP test,” says Anderson. “Anyone who can read and master a college textbook in two days has great potential.”

“Dual enrollment also helped him improve his scores on college entrance exams. After his science courses, McKinney reports that his ACT science score went up “six points.” This, plus the boost in his math scores from taking McNeese’s calculus course, helped him to qualify for a McNeese Presidential Scholarship.”


 

As you investigate CLEP exams, know that they are one brand of a category called “Credit by Exam.”  Sometimes called CBE, credit by exam allows your teen to take an exam, and in exchange, their passing score is recognized as equivalent to college credit at a college or university.  The exam replaces your teen’s need to take that course, saving time, money, books, and 16 weeks of homework!

Before I ever used a CLEP exam in my own home, I took more than 20 myself- I wanted to see how hard they were, and if they were “real” ways to earn college credit.  In 2008, I earned an Associate Degree in General Studies by testing out of that entire degree (just to see if it could be done) and it really changed my life in so many ways after that.

Testing out of a whole degree may not make sense for most of you reading this, but it doesn’t have to.  Most community colleges and a good portion of universities award credit for successful completion of a CLEP, AP, or DSST exam (and a few others).  Even passing 1 exam in high school can make a big difference!

Posted in CLEP, Credit by Exam, High School

3 CLEP Planning Strategies for High School

There are a few schools of thought when it comes to choosing subjects/exams for your student.  I’ve read articles full of “shoulds” but that’s short-sided advice.  The real “should” is based on your assessment of your overall high school program, your teen’s academic ability, your budget, their target school, and many other very individual factors.  Remember that if they earn even ONE college credit in high school, that they are ahead!

(1) Choose the course/exam based on what they are already working on in high school.  

This is a great, casual way to inject college credit naturally when your teen is younger (9th-10th grade), doesn’t have a target career or college in mind, or when planning feels overwhelming for the parent.  In most cases, this is an excellent strategy and the one I suggest as the “default” way to choose a CLEP exam or course.   For example, after studying high school Spanish for several years, it makes perfect sense to attempt the Spanish CLEP exam!

If you have a 4-year high school plan in mind, this will certainly be a logical approach for you.  You’ll simply choose AP, CLEP, or DSST exams that match your 4-year plan.  You’ll find exams for almost every slot, so this approach doesn’t require a lot of extra planning or stress.

(2) Choose the courses/exams based on a target college. 

This strategy sounds like good advice, and people who recommend it mean well, but I only like this strategy when your teen is in 12th grade or already graduated. Now, if your teen is already enrolled somewhere, it’s the ONLY strategy you should consider! But our homeschooling community consists of high school families, and that’s a different ballgame.

The reason this isn’t the best strategy is that you can’t predict the future!  Colleges can and do change their exam policy from year to year, and even CLEP/AP/DSST exams are constantly being revised and reevaluated.  When you’re planning 2-3-4+ years in the future, this strategy will leave you frustrated and overwhelmed, if (when) your teen changes their mind about their career, their target college, if the college changes their policy, or if College Board’s exam value changes.  As you can see, for future planning, this is the riskiest strategy.

An example of significant change came in October 2015 when The College Board’s literature exams were “devalued” by American Council on Education (they’re the ones who decide the number of credits any exam is worth.)  Previously, literature exams were worth 6 credits each, but after the ACE evaluation, they came out worth only 3.  For teens that completed the entire literature series, they went from 18 college credits down to 9! While this was upsetting for everyone, this can happen at any time.

(3) Choose the course/exams based on subject bundling.

This is a great strategy when your homeschool uses robust unit studies, follows a timeline curriculum, year-long immersions, or multi-disciplinary curriculum.  For instance, if you spend the entire school year studying all of the American subjects (American History, American Government, American Literature) then it makes sense for your teen to collect credit for all of the American exams, even if you don’t have a real target in mind.  People think of all kinds of creative ways to bundle exam subjects together to match 1 year of high school study.  Here are a couple ideas you can try:

American Bundle (yields 15 college credits)

  • US History I CLEP
  • Civil War and Reconstruction DSST
  • US History II CLEP
  • American Literature CLEP
  • American Government CLEP

Business Bundle (yields 15 college credits)

  • Personal Finance DSST
  • Introduction to Business DSST
  • Information Systems Computers CLEP
  • Principles of Management CLEP
  • Principles of Marketing CLEP

Psychology Bundle (yields 9 college credits)

  • Introduction to Psychology CLEP
  • Educational Psychology CLEP
  • Human Growth and Development CLEP or Lifespan Psychology DSST.  Choose one, not both. These are the same exam and your teen won’t receive credit for duplicate exams.

Links to Exams

List of DSST exams

List of CLEP exams

List of AP exams

Posted in ACE, AP Advanced Placement, CLEP, Credit by Exam, Curriculum, Distance Learning, Self-Paced Learning, Sophia, Straighterline

Fine Arts

Fine Arts for College Credit

Most general Associate of Arts and Associate of Science (2 year) degrees have at least 1 “Fine Arts” requirement (3 college credits), and you can usually fill that in high school.

Exception:  if your teen is headed into a fine arts college, a music conservatory, or other highly specialized area of fine arts education, you’ll want to check with target colleges before accumulating a lot of college credit in high school.  Specialized art/music colleges sometimes have a policy against accepting transfer credit of any kind, but may allow your teen use Advanced Placement exam scores to boost their admissions application. 

The list of acceptable “Fine Arts” courses will differ slightly by institution, but the following courses will do the trick most of the time.  colors3

  1. Literature
  2. Music Theory
  3. Music Performance
  4. Art History
  5. Studio Art
  6. Humanities

Ways to Fill a College Fine Arts Requirement in High School

Dual Enrollment (contact your local Community College for information)

  • Dual enrollment has the highest probability of transfer assuming the target college accepts transfer credit.  Dual enrollment credit earned in high school is not considered “transfer credit” by most schools, but does carry a grade as part of the student’s permanent record.

Credit by Exam (CLEP, AP, DSST, Saylor, ECE/Uexcel)

  • Credit by Exam (CBE) acceptance varies dramatically.  CBE credit earned in high school is not considered “transfer credit” and generally does not carry a grade (pass/fail only).

Non-College ACE Credit (Straighterline, Sophia, Shmoop, Study, ed4credit, Propero)

  • ACE Credit is generally not accepted except when a partnership exists.  Some companies, like Straighterline, have credit-transfer-guarantee partnerships with more than 100 colleges.  ACE credit earned in high school is not considered “transfer credit” and generally does not carry a grade (pass/fail only).

Credit by Exam

(last update:  04/07/2017)

EXAM NAME EXAMS OFFERED COST LINK
Advanced Placement (AP) Art History (6 cr.)

Studio Art (6 cr.)

$93 Official AP Page
DSST Art of the Western World (3 cr.) $80 + local proctor fee (~$20) Official DSST Page
CLEP American Literature (3 cr.)

English Literature (3 cr.)

Analyzing & Interpreting Literature (3 cr.)

Humanities (6 cr.)

$80 + local proctor fee (~$20) Official CLEP Page
Excelsior College Exam (ECE / Uexcel) Introduction to Music (3 cr.) $110 + $60 local proctor fee Official Uexcel Page
Saylor NONE $0 + $25 webcam proctor fee Official Saylor Page

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Non-College ACE Credit Courses

(last update:  04/07/2017)

COMPANY NAME COURSES OFFERED COST LINK
Shmoop American Literature (3 cr.)

The Bible as Literature (3 cr.)

British Literature (3 cr.)

Contemporary Literature (3 cr.)

Drugs in Literature (3 cr.)

Holocaust Literature (3 cr.)

Introduction to Poetry (3 cr.)

Literature in the Media (3 cr.)

Modernist Literature (3 cr.)

Shakespeare’s Plays (3 cr.)

Western Literature (3 cr.)

Women’s Literature (3 cr.)

$87.68/mo. subscribe

Unlimited courses

Shmoop
Study.com Introduction to Humanities (3 cr.) $199/mo. subscribe. Limit 2 courses per month Study.com
Propero (Pearson) Literature (3 cr.) $330 per class Propero
Sophia Visual Communications (3 cr.)

Introduction to Art History (3 cr.)

$329 per class Sophia
Straighterline NONE $99/mo. subscribe + $59 per class Straighterline
Ed4Credit Literature (3 cr.)

Film Appreciation (3 cr.)

$195 per class Ed4Credit
Davar Academy (NCCRS approved, not ACE approved) NONE $70 per class + $25 web proctoring  Davar

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