Using AP/CLEP Tests to Get Ahead of the Game

Using AP/CLEP tests

Have you started looking into the costs of tuition at your high schooler’s college of choice? If you haven’t, you might want to sit down first. It is truly a life altering experience. Sticker shock is simply an understatement. So, with that in mind… what are you going to do to help your student prepare to increase his or her chance of acceptance? Not sure? Well, using AP (Advanced Placement) or CLEP (College Level Examination Program) courses/tests are a great option.

Most 4 year colleges/universities accept AP/CLEP courses for either credit or advanced placement. What does this mean? Well, it means that your student doesn’t have to take that course when they get to college. That translates into less tuition, and less time spent at college (which also translates into less room and board!) Sure, high school students at government schools can take these courses easily and test out the same. Homeschoolers have a different option.

Homeschoolers can either plan an AP course that follows the scope and sequence of the similar course taught at the public school, or they can purchase an AP test prep book. Either way the student takes time to study through the material. This can be a full year course, or just as long as takes for them to get through the material. The only difficulty is that AP tests are only offered once a year in the spring. Students wanting to take these tests need to have prepared prior to May. The tests are quite affordable – – each running under $100. 

The other option is the CLEP course. These are tests are designed to help people receive college credit for what they already know. Students can purchase the CLEP test study guide which runs under $20 at, or can take practice tests online after taking a corresponding course. Testing centers are usually at 4 year institutions, cost less than $100, are a little cheaper (right now) than the AP test,and are offered more frequently than the AP tests.

One word of caution, check to see what your high schooler’s preferred college accepts along these lines. Don’t waste your money by taking CLEP courses if the college doesn’t consider them.



Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been a college education professor for over 17 years. Education has been an integral part of her life in both the classroom and as a principal. Six children later found her dissatisfied with traditional schooling and homeschooling became the better fit. She is also a pastor’s wife, remote project manager, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 11-17) in southern Georgia. Jamie loves to share about her homeschool experience and help other homeschoolers find success. Connect with her at [email protected]

June 24, 2012


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