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6 Tips for Passing Your CLEP Exam (on the First Try)

Jan 4, 2021 | Time

Want to finish college fast?

With the College-Level Examination Program (or CLEP), you can save both time and money while pursuing your degree.

CLEP is a Credit-by-Exam program that allows you to earn college credits by testing out of subjects you already know. All you need to do is receive a passing score on one standardized exam. You can save up to $1,700 per college course and (in some cases) save two years of sitting in a classroom. And with CLEP credits accepted at over 3,000 schools, it’s a great way to speed up your degree.

But before you run out to register for a CLEP exam, there are a few things you should keep in mind to help you test with confidence and get the best score possible.

Become familiar with what’s on the test.

Don’t take for granted that most CLEP exams are multiple-choice! Some exams, like the CLEP exam for English Composition, include a written portion. Be prepared for every possible question on the exam. The College Board’s website has outlines of what to expect on each exam. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the structure of the exam you plan to take.

Take advantage of test prep.

You can never be too prepared for a CLEP exam. One of the best ways to prepare for test day is to take advantage of test prep. Smarter with Achieve offers expert test guidance, including letting you know which exams your school will accept. Smarter offers live instructor-led virtual prep courses. You can participate in live Q&A discussions, ask exam-specific questions, and correct knowledge gaps before taking the official exam. With Smarter with Achieve, you can increase your exam readiness and have a higher chance of passing your test.

Quell your test anxiety

While prepping for the exam is essential, you’ll probably have trouble focusing on the exam if you experience test anxiety. Try to quell your test anxiety right before the night of the exam. If you want to review a little bit, you can, but resist the urge to cram the night before. Instead, try to relax. Review any major points of the exam and then stop and try to a good night’s sleep. Practice relaxation strategies the night before, such as breathing exercises, and again during the exam if you feel stressed out.

Test-out of subjects you know well, first.

From Spanish and Sociology to College Math and Biology, with 30 exams to choose from, there is sure to be some subjects you find easier than others. When you’re first starting CLEP, choose exams that cover subjects you’re most knowledgeable on first. Then, use Smarter with Achieve prep to review that material and learn new subjects to pass other exams.

Take regular study breaks.

Be sure to take plenty of breaks between studying for your CLEP exam. Breaks work as energy boosters. When you take regular breaks, it helps you focus and retain knowledge.

Besides taking regular study breaks, what you do during each break can matter too. It’s essential to choose the right type of activity for your study breaks so that you can return to your books refreshed and focused, ready to get back into studying.

Eliminate answers to make educated guesses

You may run into a few questions you can’t answer. Use the process of elimination to make educated guesses.

  • Look for context clues throughout the exam that can help you with tricky problems.
  • Generally, pick answers that seem familiar.
  • For true or false questions, and choose false if a question uses words like “all” or “none.”
  • If you’re making guesses on multiple-choice questions, look for grammatical clues and, when in doubt, go with the most detailed choice.

The more choices you can eliminate, the better your chances of answering the question correctly.

Go Farther with Smarter

CLEP is a great way to save money on college and graduate faster. Be sure that you’re ready on exam day by becoming familiar with what’s on the test, conquering test anxiety, and taking advantage of CLEP test prep with Smarter with Achieve.

Are you preparing for a CLEP exam or another Credit-by-Exam test? Talk with one of our advisors at Smarter with Achieve and see how we can help!


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