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CLEP and AP Tests

June 21, 2010

I had a talk with my parents recently about possible college placement exams I could take this year. (Those are tests that can count towards college credit, if you do well enough. That means getting to skip introductory classes in college! Yay!)

I had heard about Advanced Placement (AP) tests before, but I didn’t pay much attention to them this school year, knowing I would be way too busy with other school work and a puppet show. But now that I’ll have the ability to use my academic time how I like, I decided that getting some college credit wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) has dozens of tests that anybody can take, and they’re all course-specific. This means that each test corresponds to one Freshman level course that you would take in college. The idea is that, if you can show mastery of the material that’s taught in that course, then you shouldn’t have to take the course. Personally, I feel capable of tackling the Freshman College Composition test

The AP tests, to my knowledge, are not just tests. They include an AP course that one takes to prepare for the test, and they are concerned with an entire subject rather than a specific course. They can also earn you college credit. AP tests are very rigorous, (according to my friends who took them, in lieu of having social lives) but they also look very good on a college application.

Most state schools host these tests on a regular basis – just look on their websites and you’ll probably find a schedule. They all require a fee, usually somewhere between $25 and $90. If you’re a homeschooler or a regularschooler who wants to get a head start on college, these tests are a pretty good way to do that.

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