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Maybe you didn’t have AP/IB class options in high school. But that doesn’t mean you didn’t have really good teachers, and it certainly doesn’t mean you didn’t master some concepts at a college level.

Maybe you learned a skill outside of school. Perhaps you learned some French at home, or by spending summers in Paris. Maybe you read up on macroeconomics in your free time or took private lessons in English literature. If you’re looking for a way to validate your skills and get out of entry-level college classes — allowing you to skip straight to the hard stuff (or never take another literature class ever again) — then CLEP can help.

What is CLEP?

A CLEP test is a 90-120 minute long test that you can take for $80. If you pass, you can send your scores to your U.S. college and get college credit… without ever actually having to take the class!

CLEP stands for College Level Examination Program, and these tests are created by the College Board (the same company that’s responsible for the SAT).

If you earn enough CLEP credit, it’s possible to “CLEP out” of (or skip) enough classes to graduate a semester early!

What classes can I CLEP out of?

Of course, there aren’t CLEP tests for everything. You can’t skip all of your college classes (sorry). Available tests cover:

  • Western Civilization
  • Social Sciences and History
  • Macroeconomics
  • English Literature
  • Precalculus
  • Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • German
  • French
  • Spanish
  • and more! see a list of all 33 CLEP exams
CLEP saves you money!

Consider this: one credit hour at MIT costs $750. At Arizona State University, it can be as cheap as $490. Community colleges tend to be the most reasonable options, with Dallas County Community College charging just $174 per credit hour for international students (and just $59 for Dallas County residents!).

Yet, with one $80 CLEP test, you can earn anywhere from 3 to 6 credits (3 is the minimum). That equates to $13 – $27 per credit hour. No college can beat that!

Keep in mind that the “amount of credit you can earn on an individual CLEP exam varies with each college. Some colleges place a limit on the total amount of credit you can earn through CLEP. Other colleges may grant you exemption but no credit toward your degree.”

Check here to see your university’s policy for accepting CLEP test results.

Where can I take a CLEP test?

You can search for test centers here.

Unfortunately, there are no CLEP test centers in Singapore. The closest place to test is at the Dalat International School in Malaysia. Given the time and money you can save, it may be well worth the trip.

Alternatively, you can always take CLEP as a freshman in college once you are in the United States.


Maija Wallace is a freelance writer for college admissions blogs. Her website is located at

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