College Advice Blog

Jul 31, 2012

Testing Your Way out of the Basics

A lot of college students drop out within the first two years of their degrees because they just can't hack it through the basics. These mundane but mandatory classes are usually about subjects people hate, which is why so many people give up on school as a result of them. What would happen if you could test your way out of those classes and jump right into your degree? Sounds like a fairy tale, right? Believe it or not, there are opportunities for you to do just that.

Here are some ways to test out of basic curriculum courses so you can speed up your degree in the future.

AP Tests
If you are still in high school, you have the option to take Advanced Placement (AP) tests to get out of college classes. To do this, you must enroll in AP classes at your school, which will just be more difficult versions of classes you're already taking. For instance, an AP English class will cover the same overall concepts as a regular English class, but it will involve a more detailed overview of each area of study. This course will also prepare you for the exam to come at the end of the year. If you pass that exam with a 3 or higher, you could receive college credit before you graduate from high school.

CLEP Tests
CLEP tests are similar to AP tests, but you can take them in college. These exams are designed to assess the knowledge you already have in a certain subject. If you know enough to breeze through the class in college, the testing committee will essentially give you a free pass. Receive a passing score in whatever subject you are pursuing, and then you won't have to worry about completing that course in college. You can read prep books and take practice exams before your test day, but some students just wing it and hope for the best. Either way, you don't have to worry about taking a designated class to prepare you for the CLEP program.

School Tests
Some colleges will actually issue exams on their own to help students test out of classes. This mainly happens in the foreign language department, allowing students with previous knowledge in a language test out of the introductory courses. You can contact the registrar's office for your college of choice and see what sort of options are available for you. Then all you have to do is hope you pass your test.

If you want to make your degree program go as quickly as possible, take tests to get out of the basics. That could shave as much as two years off your education, giving you more time to spend in the work force. As long as you have enough knowledge to get through the majority of a college course, you should be able to pass a test and earn the credit you desperately long for.

About the Author

Heaven Stubblefield entered her bachelor's degree as a sophomore because she took an assortment of AP tests in high school. She has always encouraged other aspiring college students to take whatever tests they can, just so they cab breeze through school faster. To read more of her work, visit

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