What is CLEP?
The College Level Examination Program (CLEP), sponsored by the College Board, is a national program of credit-by-examination. CLEP provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement through exams in subject areas that correspond to undergraduate college courses. Approximately 2,900 colleges and universities grant credit and/or advanced standing for CLEP exams.
Each college or university determines which CLEP tests it will accept for credit and the amount of credit it will award. Prior to testing, contact the college you wish to attend to inquire about its policy on CLEP scores and other admission requirements.
CLEP Credit at Kirkwood
- Course credit earned through CLEP exams will count toward graduation as though you had passed the course. It does not count toward the resident credit requirement. After you have completed 12 credit hours of Kirkwood coursework, the CLEP credit will be recorded on your transcript.
- CLEP credit is only awarded to enrolled students and will be awarded based on the college policy in effect at that time.
- CLEP credit is awarded as “credit by exam.” Kirkwood awards a maximum of 18 credits by exam per student. Students with more than 18 credits by exam from CLEP, AP, alternative credit and departmental test-out exams must meet with their advisor to select which 18 credits will be awarded.
- CLEP credit appears on the transcript with a letter grade of T.
Consult the course equivalency chart
to determine how Kirkwood awards CLEP credit in specific subject areas.
Taking the Exam
- If seeking credit for ENG-105 Composition I, when you take the exam be sure to specify the College Composition Modular exam with handwritten essay. The essay portion will be evaluated by Kirkwood English Department faculty. Kirkwood does NOT accept the standard College Composition CLEP exam, which uses a computer-based essay that is scored by the College Board.
- If seeking credit for LIT-206 Forms of Literature: Fiction, when you take the exam be sure to specify the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature exam with optional handwritten essay. The essay portion will be evaluated by Kirkwood English Department faculty. Kirkwood does not offer credit for the standard Analyzing and Interpreting Literature CLEP exam that lacks an essay.
- Review Kirkwood Credit from CLEP Exams for details on which exams will count as credits and the minimum score needed.
- Review information on the CLEP exam at the collegeboard.org site.
- Purchase the exam by going to the collegeboard.org site. Be sure to specify that the CLEP Score Report be sent to the Associate Registrar at Kirkwood Community College. Kirkwood’s Institution Code for the College Board is 6027.
- Once the exam has been purchased, contact an official CLEP test center.
Among the sites available in Iowa, the closest to Kirkwood’s main campus is at the University of Iowa. Test takers may contact the UI Department of Distance and Continuing Education by email at DCE-Exams@uiowa.edu
or call 319-384-4800.
Some colleges and universities place limits on the number of exam credits that they will accept from a transferring student; these limits may include CLEP credits. If you intend to transfer CLEP credits, consult the college or university to which you wish to transfer about their policies concerning credit by examination. Kirkwood cannot and does not assume responsibility for the transferability of CLEP credit to other colleges and universities.