CLEP: It is Simply a Test

| August 16, 2017

One of the reasons I am such a fan of credit-by-exam is because it is simply an exam. Students across the spectrum of abilities can find success in earning college credits because they can focus on learning, not mastering a series of prescribed lessons. We can customize our students’ learning environment to meet their needs, not insist on completion within a specified time frame or teaching paradigm.

My three kids were very different learners. One thrived on academics and achievement came easy. The second thrived on competition, social interaction, and the personal satisfaction of winning. The third was eager to learn, but often found his physical need for movement screamed louder than the need to complete an assignment.

As they transitioned into middle school, I introduced CLEP as a final exam to their courses. However, it wasn’t enough for them to simply achieve academic proficiency in the subject, they had to want to pass the test as well. In fact, they had to want it more than I did if I was going to avoid becoming a nag.

Find Your Student’s Learning Style and Motivation Trigger

Let me share two strategies parents can implement to help fuel their students’ ability to learn, and keep them motivated to want it more than you.

First, help your students study smarter, not harder by implementing key learning strategies that maximize their potential. Start by having your students take the Learning Styles Quiz available at Once you’ve identified their style, read the strategies that will help your students be better learners.

Second, identify the things that motivate your students. Let’s face it, the idea of earning college credit can get lost on a 14 year old. Read this short article by LifeHack on the 6 Types of Motivation. What compels your students to achieve? Find those things and tap into them.

For those who academics come easy, graduating with a 4-year degree at 18 is worthy of pursuit! Keep a running tab of credits earned on display. Numbers often are motivators for these types of students, as is receiving positive feedback.

For those who are motivated by social interaction, host a study group! I was not a subject-matter expert in most of the groups I hosted. I latched on to the term “facilitator”. It was far less scary. Including review games in these sessions also motivated my competitive daughter to put in the extra study time needed to bring her team to victory.

Sometimes parents, you will have to carry the vision for your students until they understand what graduating debt-free can mean for them. I had one of these students too. Yet today, he not only graduated debt-free, but is the youngest in his Doctor of Physical Therapy class. There is great joy in hearing, “Thank you, mom.” Thank you for not nagging, for letting me learn at my own pace, for giving me freedom to read, for letting me sleep when I needed to, for believing in me, for giving me time to find my stride.

CLEP can do all that? Yes! It has given our family freedom from financial burdens that would normally strain a twenty-something’s passions and pursuits. It is simply a test.

Category: Blog, Vision

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