We focus quite a bit on CLEP and DSST exams as an end goal for many of our courses. So what are the DSST and CLEP test anyway?
Similar to AP
Both are similar to AP in the sense that you can take an exam, and with a passing score, earn college credit at participating colleges or universities. The student prepares for the exam using some focused materials, easily found by simply searching for the test name on Amazon.
Differences from AP
What makes CLEP and DSST different from the AP exams are:
- You can take a DSST or CLEP test any time of year while the AP must be taken in May
- AP exams are accepted at more colleges and universities. You can check what exams are taken under the Quick Equivalencies link on transfer.org.
- CLEP and DSST are normally multiple choice while AP has an essay component
- CLEP and DSST don’t have any age limit, so both kids and grown adults can take the tests for credit at participating colleges and universities
Benefits of taking a CLEP, DSST or AP
- $100 to complete an exam versus $800+ for a college course
- Easier to fund higher education without incurring interest
- Shorten time in college, allowing for other opportunities like volunteering, job shadowing, and traveling
- Take each course once instead of repeating general courses, taking it once in high school and again in college
How many exams should one take each year?
It’s really up to you. Care Bear is so motivated by the idea of only taking a course once instead two: once in high school and again in college that we are trying to connect each course with an exam, whenever possible. Start with one and see what happens, then go from there.
Getting ready for an exam
I’ve tried to make Care Bear’s high school courses focused on the scope of the exam we are taking, and many times using AP level materials in order to make sure we are covering things in depth enough. For some, we’ve chosen to study it over the summer and not award a high school credit for it, and in that case we just focus on how to pass the exam, and not necessarily on providing a well rounded course. The main difference is Care Bear doesn’t have any deliverables to give to me.
Free-clep-prep.com has full details on what exams have practice tests and where. You can also buy specific study guides for each exam for more focused review.
How to take an exam
DSST and CLEP tests are taken at local college or universities. You can find testing centers on the exam’s website. Just search “clep testing center” or “dsst testing center” to find one. The links seem to change often enough that I don’t want to link to it directly. Just set up a time with the testing center, bring identification, and take the exam. It’s as easy as that!