How To Test Out of College Classes

How To Test Out of College Classes
How To Test Out of College Classes

This not only means you can earn the credit without actually taking the course, but it also opens up opportunities for academic advancement and a more engaging college experience.

Some colleges offer tests for this purpose, but you can earn college credit in advance by excelling in specific high school programs or classes such as AP Courses.

Imagine the relief of not having to spend time and money on classes you’ve already mastered. Keep reading to discover why testing out can be smart and how your test scores can pave the way to college credit.

How to Test Out of College Classes


What Is Credit by Examination?

Credit by examination is a way colleges let you earn credit for your degree by showing you already know the material. You can get these credits in several ways, like taking Advanced Placement (AP) high school exams or passing exams designed for college-level knowledge, such as CLEP (College Level Examination Program) and DSST exams.

All these options test your knowledge in different areas, but the key point is you must score high enough on the exam to earn the credit. It’s important to note that the score needed to pass and get credit can vary depending on the college, so it’s always a good idea to check the specific requirements of the institution you’re interested in.


Ways To Earn College Credits Through Exams,

Here are five common ways to earn college credits through exams, each widely recognized for granting credit based on your knowledge:

  • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP): This program allows you to take exams in various subjects to demonstrate college-level proficiency.
  • DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST): This program offers tests in different subjects. It was originally aimed at military personnel but is now available to civilians.
  • Advanced Placement (AP): High school students can take these college-level courses and exams to earn college credits.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): This program provides a rigorous education in which high school students can earn credits recognized by universities worldwide.
  • College-Specific Challenge Exams: Some colleges create exams that let you test out of certain courses if you demonstrate enough knowledge.


College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a set of exams provided by the College Board that allows students to gain college credits in subjects they are already proficient. This allows students to save time and money by not having to take the actual classes.

CLEP exams are available in 34 different subjects. If your score is high enough, almost 3,000 colleges and universities will recognize your exam scores and grant you credit. CLEP exams are cheaper than enrolling in the courses, although there is a fee for each exam, typically $93.


DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST)

The DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST) is another set of exams, similar to the CLEP, designed for individuals to prove their existing knowledge in certain subjects and thereby earn college credits. Each DSST exam costs $100.

Although the DSST isn’t as universally known as CLEP, it’s still quite recognized, with nearly 2,000 colleges and universities accepting DSST exam scores for credit. It’s a good idea to verify if your school is among those that acknowledge DSST scores.


Advanced Placement (AP)

Advanced Placement (AP) classes and exams allow students to earn college credits while still in high school, unlike CLEP and DSST exams, which are taken outside high school. Taking an AP class doesn’t cost extra, but the exams usually cost about $100 each.

Colleges often give you credit for AP exams if you score a three or higher; some schools may even give you more credits for higher scores. This makes AP a popular option for students seeking a head start on their college education.


International Baccalaureate (IB)

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program, similar to AP classes, offers exams at the high school level that can lead to college credit before you even begin college. For IB exams, colleges and universities typically grant course credit for passing scores, usually three or higher.

However, unlike AP classes, some high schools might charge a fee for taking IB exams, so it’s important to ask your school about potential costs. While most colleges and universities recognize the IB program and provide credit for higher-level IB exams, it’s worth noting that not all institutions offer credit for the standard-level exams. If you’re considering using IB exams for college credit, check the credit policies of the colleges you’re interested in.


College-Specific Challenge Exams

Some colleges have special tests that let you earn credit or skip certain classes needed for your degree. These tests are usually given at the college, often when you’re just starting there, and you can only take them after you’ve officially joined the college.

For instance, at New York University and the University of Michigan, if you’re already proficient in a foreign language, you can take a test to skip the language classes you’d normally have to take.


The Benefits of Testing Out of College Courses

Skipping College Courses Through Exams and Earning Credits While passing exams that let you skip college courses or earn credits might be tough, doing so comes with several benefits. Here are some reasons why testing out of college classes is a good idea:


Save Money

Even though you might have to pay to take some of these exams, skipping college classes by passing them can save you a lot of money. You won’t have to pay for the classes you skip. If you pass enough exams, you could save the equivalent of a semester’s tuition or even more.


Finish School Sooner

If you’re in a hurry to start your career, passing exams to skip college courses can help you graduate quickly. If you get enough credits this way, you might be able to finish a semester or even a whole year earlier than planned.


Skip General Education Courses

A big plus of college is diving deep into the topics you love the most. By passing exams to skip the basic classes in subjects you’re not as interested in, you can study what you’re truly passionate about even sooner.


Frequently Asked Questions About Testing Out of College Classes


What is the difference between AP and CLEP?

AP (Advanced Placement) and CLEP (College Level Examination Program) exams are both ways to earn college credit through the College Board, but they have some key differences:

  • AP exams are intended for high school students, while CLEP exams can be taken by anyone, anytime.
  • CLEP exam preparation is up to you to do on your own, whereas AP exams are typically taken after going through a specific AP course in high school

Though you can attempt an AP exam without taking the course, it’s usually tougher to do well without the guidance and material provided in the class.


Can you earn college credit for internships and work experience?

You can get college credit for internships and job experience, but it works differently from exam-based credits. For instance, colleges that support veterans might give up to 30 credits for military service.

If you’ve worked in law enforcement and finished courses at the police academy, you might get over 30 credits, which could cut your tuition costs by more than 25%. Also, if your job experience has prepared you for the CLEP or DSST exams, you can earn credits through those tests. There might be other ways to get credit based on where you go to college and your work background.

It’s a good idea to talk to your college’s counselling or prior learning department to see what credits you might be eligible for through your internship or job experience.


Do all colleges accept credit by examination?

Not all colleges take credit by examination, and some have different rules. For example, some colleges might only accept AP exam scores if they’re four or higher.

Also, some colleges might only give one credit for a passed exam instead of three. Make sure to look into the specific rules for credit by examination at each college you’re considering.