Resource Books For CLEP Tests

How to Earn College Credit with CLEP

Previously I posted “Introduction to CLEP tests for Parents of High School Students” which broaches this topic for parents’ benefit. Here I’ll share tips for someone who wants to try credit-by-exam testing themselves.

Winter break is coming to a close, and now it’s the final semester or second-to-last quarter of this school year. As you look over your schedule for the rest of the year and calculate the number of credits you plan to earn, you might be thinking you’d like to earn a few extra credits and jump ahead for the coming year. Then someone mentions CLEP tests. For about $100 or roughly the cost of two video games, you could earn 3-9 credits. That’s 3-9 credits closer to graduating.

As you ponder this option, you may have a few questions. Will my college accept these credits? Check your college’s website. If there is a search bar handy, try searching for “CLEP” or “transfer credit.” College policy for credit-by-exam tests is typically available in one of the college catalogs. Once you’ve found this information, check the fine print: is there a limit to how many credits you can transfer? a cut-off grade (such as junior status) when you can no longer transfer credit?

If you can apply credit-by-exam tests to your degree, the next step is to verify there is a test that matches a course you need to complete. Credit-by-exam tests can be excellent candidates to fill free elective and general education course credits. For more information about how to fit a credit-by-exam test to your degree plan, see “Where Will My First CLEP Test Fit into My Degree Plan?” (page 33) and Chapter 11: “How to Make a Degree Plan” in College Without the Campus. You might also peruse

Now you’re ready to begin studying.  Questions about textbooks? A Google search will get you started, as will a visit to  I highly recommend CLEP Official Study Guide for practice tests, and you may be able to borrow materials from the library or from friends who have previously taken a similar course. One of the best parts of studying for a credit-by-exam test is that you are in charge of your schedule. You can decide how much to study and when to take the test. Perhaps you want to study for the test during the remainder of the school year and then take the test. Or, maybe you’ll knock it out in a couple weeks. The choice is yours.

Will credit-by-exam tests work for you? After a visit to your college’s website to see if they will accept transferred test credit, you might decide to give CLEP a try. By testing out 😉 a new method of earning credit, you can save time and money.

Feeling Motivated (Even when We’re Not)

On school days when I was in seventh grade, my mom would wake my sister and me at 6:00am so we could exercise before getting ready for the day. I vividly remember half of me trying to wake up and the other half falling back asleep until my mom called again, this time with one of our exercise tapes queued up. Her loving but insistent “second call” voice did the trick to get me out of bed.

These days I’m the one queuing up a YouTube exercise video to start my workout. My motivation for exercise has become internally driven. I have taken charge. Thinking about this change in my life makes me realize that self-motivation is part of the maturing process.

I needed this internal motivation during my college years. College requires students to become their own boss in ways that life may not have required before. I certainly needed motivation to select a course from my degree plan, find the appropriate credit-by-exam test, and then study. I also needed motivation when I felt like I might never finish my degree because of the number of tests left to take.

Pulling from chapter 7 in College Without the Campus, I’m going to share a few of my favorite ways to kick start my day and find motivation to get things done.

    • What motivates me?

      Perhaps writing down why you are working your tail off will help you to press onward. I find periodically writing down long-term goals helpful for reorienting my outlook on life. I’ve seen some inspiring Instagram posts of goals written in bullet journal style.


    • Kick procrastination to the curb.

      Procrastination is quietly deadly. It kills my creativity and focus. When I’m procrastinating, I rarely feel satisfied with the work I get done in a day (because I’ve left off doing what needs doing most!). This dissatisfaction leads me to dread the next day of more stalling—which doesn’t make for a happy attitude to wake up with. Fortunately, procrastination can be quickly killed by simply attacking the problem. Note that I say quickly, rather than easily. 🙂


  • Use positive habits to nurture your self-motivation.

    Sometimes moving to a quiet area to complete a project can help, as can capitalizing on the morning hours. One of the more drastic measures I take is hiding my phone. Having a break from this distracter can be unsettling at first, but freeing in the long run. Probably my all-time favorite motivating strategy is to schedule a reward for completing a goal. There’s nothing like having a coffee date or a ice cream trip in my sights to make me buckle down. One final point is to pray. Without the purpose of something greater than myself, I wouldn’t continue fighting everyday battles. If I talk to God about these problems, I can find peace and even joy to bring into my life struggles.

Though I completed my degree in 2012, I’ve continued to use these motivation techniques to keep me on track toward reaching new goals. Even during the final week before Christmas with all the last-minute errands, the final preparations for gatherings, the buying and wrapping gifts, motivation is crucial. Something inside has to give me the will to move forward, especially when I might rather just sleep in! I hope these tips will spark ideas on what motivates you!