English: Atlantic Ocean (Jun. 18, 2003) -- Seaman Kandis Barott reads up on the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) in the Training Department aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Saipan (LHA 2). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Latrice Ames. (RELEASED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are several accredited colleges all across the US that give college credits for exams such as CLEP/ DSST. Each correlates to a specific number of college credits that can be earned by successfully completing an exam for a chosen subject.
The most popular exams for college credits are:
CLEP – College Level Examination Program – This is widely accepted by most colleges for college level credit.
DSST – DANTES Subject Standardized Tests – These are typically undertaken by military personnel, but the exams are also available to the general public for earning college-level credits. They are also widely accepted, similar to the CLEP.
ECE – Excelsior College Examinations – These are accepted by all the flexible colleges and numerous other accredited US colleges for college-level credit.
ACE-evaluated exams – American Council on Education exams – These are mostly training courses or certifications that are awarded ACE college credits.
ACT- Generally undertaken to acquire college-level credits while still in high school.
TECEP – Thomas Edison College Examination Program – Some of the flexible colleges accept TECEP exams for college-level credit.
Of the 120 credits for most bachelor’s degrees, about 60 credits or so have to be earned in the Arts and Sciences component. This includes Humanities, Written English, Social Sciences & History, Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
It is possible to basically complete all of these 60-credit general requirements via CLEP exams. Take a look at this link for more information. Successful completion of each exam provides anywhere between 3 and 6 college-level credits, depending on the individual exam specifics.
The cost of each exam is about $70 plus a $15 test administration fee for the test center where you will be taking the exam. CLEP is one of the most popular and affordable of all the standardized college-level exams.
Individual study guides cost about $10 each. Other than that, regular college textbook resources can be obtained at most online bookstores including at amazon.com.
DSST offers a nice complement to the CLEP exams. There are a number of exams offered for humanities, social sciences/ history, natural sciences, business, mathematics. Most exams award about 3 college credits and some of them award upper-level credits. The official DSST website is located here .
The exams cost about $80 per test. Practice exams are provided online by Prometric and cost $5 per subject. Other study courses can be found at iStudySmart.com. The annual/ 2-year subscription plans are the most affordable option if you’re planning to obtain a number of your college credits via standardized exams.
The study courses are generally suitable for CLEP, DSST and ECE exams, but be sure to check with them in specific for each course before committing to their subscription plan.
Excelsior exams are available for Arts&Sciences, Business and Nursing topic areas and provide both upper and lower level college credits. In my opinion, the main drawback of the ECE exams is the slightly increased cost of the exams themselves, plus the higher cost of the ECE study guides and resources.
Many of the ECE exams cost in the range of $250 to $350, but some specialized subjects cost much higher in the $900 range. The official practice exams cost about $60. The exam study guides are again in the range of $250 to $350 and textbooks and other study resources may also be needed in addition to the study guides.
Other outside vendors also sell ECE study guide. One way to limit the expenses on ECE study guides is to take a annual iStudySmart subscription for a fixed fee covering a number of exams.
ACE EVALUATED EXAMS
A number of certifications, industry specific exams and training courses award ACE recommended college credits which can be directly transferred to your degree programs at a flexible college. These courses are also recognized by many colleges all across the US for college level credits.
These are accepted by some flexible colleges, but may not be accepted by all of them for college level credits. Be sure to check with your college prior to considering taking any TECEP exams. TECEP exams are most suitable if you’re planning on enrolling into the Thomas Edison State college.
The college’s enrolled students pay about $80 per credit attempted. So for a 3-credit exam, the exam cost would be $240. Students who are not enrolled in the college and wish to appear for the exams as external students have to pay about $160 per credit attempted. This would be about $480 for a 3-credit exam for external students. Added to this would be the cost of the study guides and practice exams. Please contact the college directly for more information on the specific exams you wish to take.
The best choices for completing the general requirements of the college degrees via standardized exams would be to take CLEP/ DSST tests. They are the simplest and the most economical. Also, they cover all the general papers that are required for completing the general education requirements of most college degrees at the flexible colleges, or even any of the other regular colleges.
ECE exams may be more suitable if you want to pursue Nursing degrees at Excelsior. Excelsior has very high quality exams for Nursing specialty and also offers packaged pricing plans that can cover many ECE exams and practice exams for a fixed fee.
Let me know your feedback, or if you have any additional questions on the standardized exams.