Do you know how often I hear, “I could never…”? A lot. It’s crazy, really. Our family isn’t extraordinarily smart, or driven, or focused. We’re just a regular group of people that happen to homeschool and work on credit by exam. Really, when you start learning about credit by exam, it’s far less intimidating than you imagine.
Still, it isn’t for everyone. We focus on it for a number of reasons – mainly to save buckets of money on college tuition. It works for us, and I think it can work for others, for reasons that may or may not coincide with the reasons we choose to do exams. How can you tell if your child is ready for credit by exam?
If even after fully understanding what the AP, CLEP, and DSST are, and understanding the benefit of each, your child shows no interest in working to complete an exam, I would shelve it for another day. Even if you approach the subject later, they may not be interested, and that’s fine. Some kids see a challenge and love the idea of tackling it, while others shy away from such things. Some kids might not be interested in shortening their time in college, or be interested in a college degree. It shouldn’t be forced. On the other hand, if there is a small spark of interest, then give it a try and see what happens!
Level of Education
There should be some basic levels of education before attempting a college level exam like a CLEP or DSST. Good reading comprehension, ability to sit for an hour or two, and ability to study on their own (though it’s normal for mom to nag from time to time about time management). Really, if they are able to read higher than an 8th grade level, which most college textbooks are written at anyway, they can give it a shot.
You might be thinking there has to be more. In reality, you child doesn’t need to be:
- Incredibly mature
- Working at a college level
- Someone who loves test taking
Obviously, these qualities may make it easier to take the exam and pass, but it isn’t necessary for success. Take for instance a child who may have severe social anxiety. It may be a better alternative for them to be able to work toward a college degree partially from home using credit by exam and online classes. Because of the options available for him, social anxiety doesn’t have to hold him back from attaining a college degree, if he so chooses.
The desire to try is really the driving force to gaining the maturity and stamina to see it through from the early days of studying to the actual test day. No one, not mom nor the student, need be a whiz at the given subject. There are so many resources available to teach you what you need to know in any given subject, and many of them are easy on the pocketbook.
Don’t sell yourself short.
You can give it a try and see what happens. Care Bear started with the DSST Astronomy exam because she really likes the subject, and took a semester class through a homeschool co-op. She studied her tail off and come test day she was super nervous, and still passed! She is bright, but she’s still a typical kid that would rather watch TV than study any day. She wanted to take the exam, but it still took quite a bit of nagging on my part for her to remember that “tomorrow” doesn’t have 36 hours – you can’t just do everything tomorrow. I honestly feel that the majority of average students can achieve success with credit by exam given the right resources and attitude.