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CLEP offers alternate way to earn credit

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Ana Beltran | The Daily Wildcat

Jackie Johnson, a proctor for the testing center, working at the front desk and answering emails. The testing center for the U of A is located at 220 W 6th St. Building B.

Students can earn college credit through testing with the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) at the University of Arizona Testing Center during and before attending the University of Arizona. 

Students can save thousands of dollars by earning credit through testing at the University of Arizona Testing Center instead of taking classes and having to pay for credits. According to Leah Chavez, program director of the Testing Office, one CLEP test is $132, while taking credits on the main campus can cost thousands.

The CLEP test is an online exam that offers a variety of subjects to test in such as Spanish, Calculus or even American Literature. The list of subjects available is on the Testing Office website. The test is offered through the College Board, who are more widely known for administering the Advanced Placement Test. 

The main difference between CLEP and AP, although they can both be used for college credit, is that CLEP is computer-based and taken on one’s own merit, while AP is usually accompanied by a class and is paper-based on a specified date, Chavez said.

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According to the College Board website, the AP exam fees total up to $94. For students with financial need, that cost can be reduced down to $32. That is significantly less than the CLEP exam fees. 

Nichole Guard, administrative associate for the department of Spanish and Portuguese, emphasized the fact that AP also rewards more credits with higher scores than CLEP does, so there is an opportunity to fulfill more credits at a lower price. 

Spanish is the most administered exam at the testing center, according to the Supervising Receptionist Steven Shaeffer. 

“The most important thing to remember about the CLEP exam is their eligibility for CLEP," Guard said. "They have to have absolutely no college credit for Spanish."

In order to be eligible, students must not have earned any other college credit or they will not be able to take the exam.

Both Shaeffer and Chavez spoke about how the testing environment for the CLEP is less intimidating than AP testing because of the low amount of people in the room and the cubicle of space for students. This allows students to stay focused and engaged without an enormous amount of pressure on an already stressful experience. 

Since there are alternative tests to fulfill credits at a lower price, there are options for students to save money and get credit without having to take classes at the UA. Each student has their own individual path and they have the chance to choose what works best for them. 


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