Testing Out CLEP for College Credit in High School

When my 15-year-old puts her mind to something, she is unstoppable! At the beginning of February, I introduced her to the CLEP program, which allows her to study a topic and then take an exam to earn college credit. Her efforts would also count for high school credit. She could hardly wait to get started.

Modern States Education Alliance

Using a free prep course from Modern States Education Alliance, she began preparing for the exam in February.

Each lesson consisted of a short video lecture and a reading assignment from an online textbook. After completing the course online, she could apply for a voucher to take the CLEP exam for free.

Related Content: Collecting College Credit with CLEP


Imagine our delight when we had a chance to review premium CLEP courses from Study.com the following month. It was perfect timing. My high schooler loved the video instruction, which was far superior to the free course.

The content seemed much more in-depth yet easier to grasp. Within six weeks, she had completed the course and was ready to sign up for the exam.

To Pay or Not to Pay?

We created an account for her on the College Board website so she could sign up for the CLEP Exam.

It was easy to find the test and add it to our shopping cart. I had a mild case of sticker shock, however, when I went to check out. Did I really want to pay $87 for the test? What if she didn’t pass? Wasn’t there a way to take it for free?

Applying for a Voucher

It only took a moment for me to remember the Freshman Year for Free™ program from Modern States Education Alliance.

Since she had set the Modern States CLEP course aside to work solely on Study.com, she had to spend a couple of days completing the free course. It was the perfect opportunity for review. She took a screenshot of her course completion screen and applied for a voucher to take the CLEP exam.

Registering for the Exam

A few days later, she received an email with her voucher number. After taking the exam, we could be reimbursed for the testing center fee as well. We returned to the College Board website, entered in the voucher code, and checked out.

I printed out her exam ticket and clicked over to the testing center website to make an appointment. How shocking that same-day testing was available! We discussed the options and planned her test for two days later, so she would have an extra day to review using the flashcards on the Study.com prep course.

Taking the Test

Testing day arrived quickly. Her 90-minute exam was scheduled for 11AM on a Friday morning. She grabbed a mid-morning snack before we drove to the testing center at our local university. With testing ticket and identification in hand, we approached the building, paused for a photo, then walked inside.

We walked through a turnstile and up to the counter, where an attendant greeted us. My daughter handed her ticket and ID to the lady and signed in.

“It was a good experience.”

Within minutes, she was seated at a computer answering the first of the 120 questions on the exam. She appreciated being able to electronically mark questions she was uncertain of so they would be easy to come back to.

While she tested her understanding of US history, I waited on a hard bench. Through a window, I could see rows of computers, about half of which were in use by other test-takers. Occasionally, I glanced up at the surveillance screens, which displayed different views of the testing room.

“It was a bit cold in the testing center, so my advice is to bring a jacket along.”

Did She Pass?

Attempting to distract myself with my cellphone, I waited anxiously for about an hour. When my daughter exited the testing room, the first thing I noticed was her confident smile. “I’m pretty sure I passed,” she told me.

At the counter where we had first been greeted, the attendant printed out the unofficial results. A passing score on the exam is 50. My daughter had scored 52. She had just earned her first college credit!

We were both ecstatic. Returning home, I added the course to her high school transcript as an A in History of the United States I. After all, achieving a college credit in tenth grade is a monumental accomplishment, deserving an A.

Is CLEP Worth It?

My daughter enjoyed being able to earn high school and college credit simultaneously with CLEP. Overall, the experience was so positive that she’s anxious to make a repeat performance. Although she’s taking a break from her studies for the summer, she plans to earn more college credit next semester.

Are you on the fence about pursuing CLEP credit with your high schooler? My daughter and I definitely recommend it. Make sure your student visits and completes the Modern States prep course to receive a voucher to take the exam for free.

Has your homeschooled student already achieved college credit? What resources were most helpful? Please share them in the comments.

Related Content: Review of CLEP Test Prep with Study.com