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CLEP Study Guide: Can It Help?

Can using a CLEP study guide help you pass a CLEP examination so you can get college credit? Sometimes, and if you use it in the right way. Here’s what you need to know about CLEP tests and available study guides that you can use to get yourself ready:

About CLEP Tests

CLEP stands for College Level Examination Program. Essentially, it’s a program that lets you earn course credit for classes you probably took in high school. High schools must offer college-level coursework for students to be able to pass these tests, though some students are motivated enough to study and pass the tests all on their own using CLEP test study guides and other, similar resources.

CLEP tests can help you save money, according to College Board, because you don’t have to pay for credit hours when you pass them. Students who take CLEP tests can also double-major in four years or pass their necessary classes within three years by testing out of basic classes, freeing up more room in their schedules.

One thing to note, though, is that not all colleges accept CLEP tests in place of classes in all areas. Before you spend time and effort studying for a CLEP test –or pay to take the test – you should check to see which tests your college or university accepts.

CLEP Study Guides

The College Board has created a list of study recommendations for CLEP tests, but there are also CLEP study guides available from third-party organizations. Before you invest in any CLEP study guide, it’s a good idea to get familiar with what might be on the tests you’re interested in taking. Getting a basic idea of what’s on the test can help you figure out how much studying you’ll need to do to actually pass the test. Remember, a CLEP test should essentially be testing information you already know, and a CLEP study guide should help you brush up on that information rather than learning all-new information you’ve never encountered before.

You can look up CLEP test outlines and descriptions on the College Board website. This is a good place to go before buying any CLEP study guides. The description will tell you about the test and about the material that will probably be on it. Taking a sample test on College Board’s website is a great idea, too, because it will tell you whether you even need a CLEP study guide for that exam or not. Sometimes you may be surprised at how much you know and how many questions you can just answer straight from memory!

One thing to note is that most CLEP tests are multiple choice, although you may also have to perform certain tasks, like ordering items or filling in answers. Multiple choice tests can be easier for some test-takers, but you may still need a CLEP study guide to become more familiar with the test material.

Finding the Right CLEP Study Guides

College Board makes official study guides for the CLEP tests, and individual exam guides are relatively inexpensive. There are other test prep companies out there who also create CLEP study guides, but it’s best to be careful about using these resources, since they may not come from the official knowledge of what will be on CLEP tests.

One thing you can also do to prepare for a CLEP test while using a CLEP study guide is to study the subject materials you already have in that area. See which classes should give you the information you need to pass the CLEP test, and then go to your textbooks to study up on the necessary information. Don’t have those textbooks anymore? Contact the relevant teacher at your high school or your school’s guidance counselor or office to see about borrowing one of the school’s copies of the textbook in order to study for a CLEP exam.

Another resource you can use alongside CLEP study guides is online lectures and course materials available through Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative, OpenCourseWare, or Online Education Database. The information you find in these places may be more concise than what you’ll find in a textbook, so it can be a helpful place to start when you’re trying to fill gaps in your knowledge of a subject you want to take a CLEP test on.

Once you’ve checked out free resources, you can decide if you need CLEP study guides to further boost your confidence in this subject area. They can be helpful, especially if they include practice questions that will really help you hone in on the areas where you need to brush up most.

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