What is CLEP?

CLEP (the College-Level Examination Program®) offers 34 exams that cover intro-level college course material. With a passing score on one CLEP exam, you could earn three or more college credits at more than 2,900 U.S. colleges and universities.

CLEP was created to help individuals with prior knowledge in a college course subject earn their degree efficiently and inexpensively. That prior learning could have taken place through advanced high school courses, independent reading and study, online course-ware or textbooks, noncredit courses, or on-the-job training. 

Key CLEP Facts:

  • Students take CLEP exams on a computer at official CLEP test centers.
  • CLEP exams contain multiple-choice questions.
  • CLEP exams take about 90–120 minutes to complete, depending on the exam subject.
  • CLEP exams are offered year-round at more than 2,000 CLEP test centers across the country.
  • Students receive their CLEP exam scores immediately after completing the exam (except for College Composition and Spanish with Writing).
  • More than 2,900 U.S. colleges and universities grant credit for CLEP.

Who Can Take CLEP Exams?

Anyone interested in earning college credit and saving time and money can take a CLEP exam. CLEP launched in 1967 as a way for adult students and military service members to earn degrees inexpensively while also being able to meet work and family responsibilities.

Today, CLEP benefits everyone including high school students, college students, adult learners, service members and veterans, and professionals seeking continuing education credits. 

How do I know if CLEP is right for me?

Ask yourself the following questions to figure out if taking a CLEP exam is right for you:

  • Does my college or university accept the CLEP exam subject I’m interested in taking?
  • Does the CLEP exam I'm interested in taking fulfill a degree requirement?
  • Have I already gained knowledge in any of the CLEP exam subjects through a previous course, independent reading and study, work, or other experience?
  • Am I looking for ways to reduce my college tuition bill?
  • Do I need to earn my degree in a shorter amount of time?
  • Do I have other obligations such as family and/or work that require me to have more flexibility in earning college credit for my degree?

If you answered yes to some of these questions, you could benefit from a CLEP exam. Talk to your guidance counselor or academic advisor to find out how a CLEP exam could fit in with your education plans.

How does CLEP work?

CLEP exams are designed to fit with wherever you are in your educational journey. Below are steps on how to earn college credit through CLEP.

Step 1: Check your college’s CLEP credit policy.

Individual colleges decide how they award credit for CLEP. The American Council on Education (ACE) recommends colleges grant credit for a score of 50 (a C-level grade) on all CLEP exams, but individual institutions set their own CLEP credit policies and may require different scores for awarding credit.

Step 2: Register and pay for your exam on the CLEP website.

After you’ve reviewed your college’s CLEP policy and decided which exam to take, sign up for your exam. During registration, select an institution to receive your CLEP exam score for free, or wait to send your score after taking the exam and pay a $20 fee.

Step 3: Contact a CLEP test center to schedule your exam.

Since there are over 2,000 CLEP test centers with different testing schedules, you’ll need to contact a nearby test center to schedule your exam. Students have 6 months from the time they registered to take the CLEP exam.

Step 4: Prepare for your exam using free and low-cost study resources.

Find recommendations for online courses, textbooks, and study materials on each of the CLEP exam pages or on the CLEP Practice page.

Step 5: Take your exam.

On exam day, you take the CLEP exam on a computer at the test center, and exams typically take 90–120 minutes to complete depending on the subject. Immediately after the exam, you’ll receive an unofficial score report from the test center. If you selected an institution to receive your score during registration, the score will be automatically sent to the college or university once you complete the exam. It takes approximately 10–14 business days for a college or university to receive the score, and the institution may take additional time to review the score and award credit.

How to Purchase and Schedule a CLEP Exam

  • Choose a CLEP exam online directly from the exam page or from the CLEP registration page
  • Create an online account, and submit your payment through the My Account portal.
  • The cost is $89. Note: Make sure you use your name as it appears on your official ID. Pay with a debit or credit card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, or JCB).
  • Contact a  CLEP test center nearby to schedule your exam. The test center may charge you an additional administration fee, usually around $25.

Military service members can take CLEP exams at no cost. Learn more.

Will My Registration Ticket Expire?

CLEP exam registration tickets expire 6 months from the date of purchase. The expiration date for your exam registration ticket can be found in My Account as well as on the CLEP exam registration ticket.

Military-funded test takers: A CLEP exam registration ticket will be automatically canceled 6 months from the date of purchase to prevent DANTES-funded test takers from losing their funding. There is no penalty for canceling a registration ticket. However, if your ticket is canceled, you will need to register for your exam again. Learn more about your eligibility to take free CLEP exams.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you have a disability, such as a learning or physical disability, that would prevent you from taking a CLEP exam under standard conditions, you may request accommodations at your preferred test center. Contact your preferred test center well in advance of the test date to make the necessary arrangements and to find out the deadline to submit documentation and approval of accommodations. Accommodations that can be arranged directly with test centers include:

  • ZoomText (screen magnification)
  • Modifiable screen colors
  • Use of a human reader, a scribe/writer, or a sign language interpreter
  • Extended time
  • Rest breaks (as needed)

If the above accommodations do not meet your needs, do not register online for your exam. Contact CLEP Services at for information about other accommodations.

Browse, register, and purchase study materials for credit-granting exams and find more information at