Ranked List of the Hardest and Easiest CLEP Exams in 2021
CLEP is an acronym for the College Board’s “College-Level Examination Program”. The College-Level Examination Program exams are beneficial because they allow students to tackle advanced material more quickly, graduate from college faster, and ultimately reduce the cost of higher education.
Keep reading to learn more about CLEP exams, how to pick the right CLEP exam for you, and to discover what the hardest and easiest CLEP exams are.
What is a CLEP Exam?
CLEP exams are administered by the College Board. the College Board that administer the CLEP exams are the same organization responsible for conducting Advanced Placement (AP) classes and exams as well as the SAT. These exams provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in introductory-level material and earn college credit for simply passing a test.
CLEP exams cover more than 30 subjects spread across a wide range of knowledge bases such as Composition and Literature, World Languages, History and Social Sciences, Science and Mathematics, and Business. Approximately 2,900 colleges and universities accept CLEP exams and offer credit to students with qualifying scores.
Tip #1: The credit-granting score recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE) is found on the College Board’s website; however, schools can set their own credit-granting policy.
How to Pick the Right and Easiest CLEP Exams for You
CLEP exams are an amazing time- and money-saving college strategy, but there are some important things to consider before signing up to take a CLEP exam. Things to consider before signing up to take a CLEP exam include:
#1. Your Strengths
#2. Prior Knowledge
#3. College CLEP Policies
#4. Course Requirements
#1. Your Strengths:
One of the most important factors to recognize about CLEP exams is that they’re subjective. The easiest CLEP exam for one person is potentially the most difficult for another. For example, College Composition Modular and Analyzing & Interpreting Literature both have reputations for being among the easiest CLEP exams, but non-native English speakers might find them difficult. Conversely, a student with an aptitude for numbers might breeze through the CLEP Calculus exam, one of the CLEP exams typically considered among the most challenging.
#2. Prior Knowledge:
The basis of CLEP exams is to test the knowledge that you already possess, so a good way to choose the right CLEP exam for you is to look at the coursework you’ve already completed. If you’ve taken an advanced biology or chemistry class, taking a CLEP exam in one of those subjects makes sense. Similarly, if you took an honors American History class, you might be well positioned to pass one of the U.S. History CLEP exams. Of course, just because CLEP exams test knowledge you already possess, it doesn’t mean you have an excuse not to study. Failing the test will cost you money and time—there is a three-month waiting period if you need to retake an exam.
#3. College CLEP Policies:
Before signing up for a CLEP exam, you’ll want to check the CLEP policy at the schools you’re applying for to make sure they will award credit for a qualifying score—otherwise, the time, effort, and money spent on the exam is wasted. Roughly 2,900 U.S. colleges accept CLEP exams, which means about 2,400 do not.
#4. Course Requirements:
Just as you want to ensure a college will grant credit for a CLEP exam, you’ll also want to pursue CLEP exams that are useful for your major. CLEP policies vary from school to school; some institutions place limits on how many credits they grant via CLEP exams and some schools require that prerequisite classes are taken on campus. Play it safe, and study up on the CLEP policy of the school and program you’re applying to, before signing up for an exam.
How We Made The List of the Hardest and Easiest CLEP Exams in 2021
We made the list of the hardest and easiest CLEP exams by using the percentage of passing students as the defining metric. However, as mentioned before, the difficulty of CLEP exams is subjective and varies depending on your personal strengths, skills, and preparation.
Easiest and Hardest CLEP Exams
Below is a list of the CLEP exams organized from the highest to the lowest pass rates for civilians (non-military). Also included are the pass rates for military personnel.
Tip #2: Military personnel are able to take CLEP exams for free—because of this, it’s common for them to take the test without preparing for it, resulting in lower pass rates.
|Exam||Civilian Pass Rate||Military Pass Rate|
|College Composition Modular 83% 82%||83%||82%|
|Principles of Marketing||79%||54%|
|Human Growth and Development||75%||34%|
|Analyzing and Interpreting Literature 75% 66%||76%||66%|
|Principles of Macroeconomics 72% 35%||72%||35%|
|Principles of Microeconomics||72%||32%|
|History of the United States I: Early Colonization to 1877||69%||50%|
|Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East to 1648||68%||45%|
|Principles of Management||67%||33%|
|Social Sciences and History||62%||41%|
|Introduction to Educational Psychology||60%||36%|
|History of the United States II: 1865 to the Present||56%||38%|
|Introductory Business Law||51%||20%|
|Western Civilization II: 1648 to the Present||48%||
There are unverified claims that Natural Sciences and Biology are the two easiest science exams.