How I Got my First College Credits at Age 16: For Free

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With little intensity, I received my first three college credits last year, at the age of sixteen (which is my age, as of this article’s publishing date). Here’s my experience.

The two most common types of exams by College Board that give college credit are the AP exams and the CLEP exams. The difference between the two is that the complication of score scales for APs is not present with CLEPs. The ACE recommended score for the majority of the CLEP exams available is fifty; this score makes passing CLEPs easy.

Great. Get a CLEP exam passed with a fifty or greater score, and receive between three to six credits.

The following chart shows the ACE recommended score and credit given for each exam: (link here)

Initially, the price of a CLEP exam would be eighty-nine dollars, excluding the testing fee. This is a good deal compared to the cost of college tuition (and time, among the things being spent); however, the program I used paid for the exam and the testing fee.

This program I speak of is the Modern States Alliance. The original plan was to use their resources for course material, and then I discovered their CLEP voucher and test center reimbursement program.

It was a simple process. I completed the course that aligned the my decided exam, which was US History I. With this completion, I took a screenshot of my progress, and then filled out the request form. About two weeks of patience brought an email with my requested CLEP voucher.

The CLEP voucher was used to make the purchase on College Board’s site; the total cost: zero dollars. During the transaction with College Board, I also chose the testing center I booked the appointment with, and I was all up and ready.

I’ll break from the descriptive instructional to discuss the test, US History I, itself. The one hundred twenty, multiple choice and drag & drop questions had their simplicity, yet they were guileful. Not solely based on straight-up facts, the questions were testing my comprehension of the subject, and my ability to analyse the topics.

That being said, I regret not studying more efficiently for my US History until I was completely verse in the subjects. Mere dates, presidents and vice presidents, and the other straightforward facts could not make up for the deep understanding of the country’s stories. That complete comprehension would have given me the high passing score I expected from myself.

But I did pass. I did pass thirteen points higher than the recommended score. And I did get my first college credits. I did get my first three college credits. I did get college credits in eleventh grade, as a homeschooler who never studied a college course. And I will take my history more seriously. I am taking my history more seriously. So, I refuse to complain.

After that ordeal, I used my testing center receipt to request a test reimbursement fee from- you guessed it- the Modern States program. Another two weeks, I received the request confirmation, and I now await a cheque in the mail.

I now look forward to completing more of these college-credit-achieving exams, furthermore, without breaking my pocket. I would highly recommend CLEP to all students who wish to finish **college early, and I highly recommend the Modern States program for frugality’s sake. It’s a good deal. A good deal…

I hope you enjoyed my first Medium article. If you did, please consider subscribing to get the latest updates on my Medium blog. You can also check out my personal blog, at Faith’s Microbiome & Tech Blog, and my other social media outposts, @AgentMFaith. Cheers!

**“Search for your college’s CLEP credit policy... For the most up-to-date CLEP credit policy information, be sure to check the institution’s website.” -College Board

I’m your huckleberry. Teen homeschooled scicommer sharing opinions on arrival, leaving my footprint. Founder of STEM First! Gen.