It used to be that students attending college could only get credits by sitting through weeks-long lessons, writing notes and passing a litany of assessments. Now, however, there may be a more effective way of making credits for classes in a shorter period and at a portion of the cost. There are no projects to finish, no assessments to take, and no lessons or classes to attend, just an examination to pass. Sound interesting? Students looking for a more efficient way to generate a degree might want to consider credit by exam programs, which have become well-known among those who want to speed up their time in school and save costs simultaneously.
“Credit-by-exam programs have been used for years and keep growing today because they offer real value to students and enable them to finish degree requirements more effectively than getting traditional programs,” says Marc Singer, vice provost of the Center for the Assessment of Learning at Thomas Edison State College, which recently arranged several of its credit by exam programs with open programs to make new routes for students to generate credit. Currently 3,000 universities in the U.S. accept credit-by-exam as transfer credit. The programs allow students to generate credit by passing a single examination and are an excellent fit for independent students, students who possess college-level knowledge and students who are excellent test takers.
Credit by exam programs are not, however, a one-size-fits-all strategy to learning. For instance, those students who choose an organized environment and getting a lecturer and other students may not do as well with getting one test that includes a semester’s worth of material. This strategy does tend to work well for busy adult students who have competitive requirements on their time and who want to work individually. Two of the most well-known credit-by-exam programs in the U.S. are the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP exams) and DSST examinations. “Students considering credit-by-exam programs should talk with their educational consultant to make sure credits from the examination they are planning to take can be transferred to fulfill a requirement in their degree program,” says Singer.