Posted by: Cindy Downes | May 23, 2008

Two Down – One to Go! How to Prepare for CLEP Testing.

I passed my American History CLEP test! Got an 74 which is supposed to be equivalent to an A! The test was really hard. I studied quite a bit longer on this one than I did the other because I KNEW I didn’t know the material. I could have studied more on the computer exam, but as my husband says, all I needed to do was pass! You pass with a 51. For those of you who have never taken a CLEP, here is how it worked for me:

Instead of taking a college course, I studied on my own in order to test out of the class by taking a CLEP test. It costs $65 for the test ($85 if you are not enrolled in college). 

When I was ready to take the test, I went to my testing center which is located at my local community college. I signed in and showed my photo ID (required). I had to put all my belongings in a locker and then went into a testing room containing video cameras. There were several computer stations in the room, each separated in small cubicles, so more than one can take a test at the same time. I understand that this is not the case at all testing centers.

First, I had to answer questions about myself and where I wanted the results sent. Then I could have gone  through a tutorial on how to use the computer and how to take the test. I skipped it this this time as I’ve done it before and didn’t need a review. 

Then, I had 90 minutes to answer 120 questions. Once you click, “proceed” the timer starts. There was a timer showing how much time was left and an indicator that shows what question number I was on, so I could pace myself.

As I went through the questions, I could “mark” questions that I wanted to come back to later. (The best way to take the test is to answer all the questions, even if you have to quess, because you are graded on the number of correct answers. Nothing is taken off for incorrect answers.)

I finished up about 25 minutes before my time was up, so I used that time to go over the questions I had marked. When I was finished, I had the opportunity to tell the computer whether or not I wanted the test to count. This gives you an opportunity to not have the test count if you think you did really bad. You won’t get a grade and you lose your money, but at least you can try again. You don’t see your score, you just have to go by your gut feeling. You are allowed to take the test more than once, but it has to be at least six months since you last took it.

After I said OK, then my grade popped up and I breathed a sigh of relief! They will print you out a copy of the score and send one to the college of your choice. And that’s all there is to it!

So, now I have one left to take: American Government. I hope to have it done by June 15th. I am going to take a little break from studying first! All this studying is giving me a headache!



  1. I have a 15 year old boy who I am trying to groom to take the test in American HIstory. He is going through a high school text now. I have the CLEP book for this test, and I am supplementing with as much outside info as I can. I am interested in any and all of your suggestions!

  2. What percentage of the questions in the CLEP book come back on the real exam?

    Cindy – Did you take American Gov’t today? If so how was it?

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