For most scholars, the path to earning credit typically involves several weeks of paying attention to lessons, writing down notes, finishing projects and passing a mid-term and final examination. But if you could generate that credit in less time and at a portion of the cost of getting an official course, would you be interested? There would be no projects to finish and no lessons or classes to attend, just an examination to pass. Students looking for a more efficient model to generate a degree should consider credit by exam programs, which have become well-known among those who want to speed up their pace and save money.
“Credit-by-exam programs have been used for years and keep growing today because they offer real value to students and allow them to finish degree requirements more efficiently than getting traditional programs,” mentioned 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 create new routes for students to generate credit. Nearly 3,000 universities in the U.S. accept credit by exam as transfer credit. The programs allow students to get credit by passing a single examination and tend to be an excellent fit for independent students, students who possess college-level knowledge and students who are excellent test takers.
Credit by exam programs is not for everyone, especially students who choose an organized environment and getting a lecturer and other students. Deciding to get college credit by preparing for an examination that covers a semester’s worth of content means you have to be self-motivated and regimented. This approach attracts many busy adult students who have competitive demands 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 academic consultant to make sure credits from the examination they are planning to take can be passed to satisfy a requirement in their degree program,” said Singer.