Basic Information about CLEP's

Circumstances will vary from school to school, but I’ve found the following to be the general case:

  • They cost about $125 with all fees included.
  • There is extended time and other provisions to help disabled students. Don't be afraid to ask.
  • CLEP's do not count toward GPA. They're pass or fail.
  • They are used as a substitute for basic intro classes (i.e. if you already know Pre-Calculus and don't want to take it)
  • Most Community Colleges accept most CLEP's as 3 credits toward your 2-year degree.
  • Schools have a limit on how many CLEP credits they accept. 2-3 CLEP's should be fine, but 4-5 might be redundant.
  • 4-year Universities are stricter, especially more prestigious ones. Many will only allow transfer students to take it for convenience, but not students in the midst of their 4-year program at the school.

Several of your pts are over generalizations. Many 4 yr schools do not have a limit on the number of CLEPs. I know kids who have received credit for numerous CLEPs (8-9 exams) at state flagships (and some of those equate to 6-8 cr hrs, not 3). One of my kids did something similar.

You’re right that it does depend on the school. There are many schools that do accept a lot of CLEP’s, but there are downsides. You still need to earn X amount of credits from that institution and X amount of credits on a major level.

SUNY’s have a limit of 30 credits that will be accepted. My middle son had 39 between CLEP and AP and couldn’t use 9. I think IB would be included in this.

S17 has 9 credits now. I am begging him to CLEP basic math, as I did, so he doesn’t have to take any in college. I also think he should consider CLEP a basic history course so he can move to an advanced class. He is just lazing the summer away, however. THey can help you get rid of gen eds and make room for a double major or a minor.

CLEP’s are $85 but the administering school can charge a fee on top of that.

All schools have transfer equivalency websites that you can consult to see if it accepts CLEP credits and, if it does, which ones and what score is required.

@jduster Typical number of credits that must be earned at an institution is 60 (the equivalent of of jr and sr yr). If you had 60 hrs in CLEPs, many would be trash credits not applying toward your degree bc CLEPs focus on introductory level credits. There is no way they are going to impact in-major requirements which require a concentration of higher level courses.

Your OP stated 2-3 CLEPs–that garners between 6-12 hrs credit; 4-5 would be between 12-20 hrs (the only exception would be with the foreign language exams which do grant more than 3-8 cr hrs.) It takes 30 hrs to reach sophomore status.

Agree 100% with @techmom99. Read individual school websites and become familiar with their CLEP policies. The schools should be the source of your info.


It really does depend on where you’re at. If you’re a freshmen, or sophomore, they’re a perfect opportunity. But the closer you approach 60 credits, the less room you have because, much of the time, only 60 credits will be applied toward the 4 year.