Graduate Early and Save Money by Testing Out of Community College Classes

Learn about how you can save thousands in tuition costs by testing out of community college classes.
Are you taking unnecessary classes at your community college? You may be able to skip certain prerequisite courses by simply taking placement tests and earning passing AP test scores. If you can qualify for just 20 hours of course credit through your testing, you stand to save an average of $3,000 in tuition costs. In addition, by testing out of these courses, you not only save money, but can graduate or transfer early and enter into the job market more expeditiously. 
How to Test out of College Classes
The purpose of placement tests is to determine whether or not a student has mastered the particular subject matter. While testing options will vary at each community college, all students should be able to take placement tests that will earn you course credits. For example, at Warren Community College in Michigan, students can "Accelerate their graduation from college by taking exams including Advanced Placement exams, the College Level Examination Placement tests or the Warren County Community College Institutional Credit by Exam tests." Through these exams, students can earn 30 to 45 hours of course credit - without having to actually sit in class!
Students attending Warren Community College can take the College Level Examination Placement (CLEP) or can earn credits through alternative exams:
  • CLEP - You can earn credit for college courses by taking CLEP exams, which are proctored by the College Board. Upon evaluation of the test scores, college officials can evaluate whether or not a student's CLEP performance is worthy of college credit.
  • Institutional Exams - In addition to the CLEP exam(s), Warren students can "challenge" for credit in any course. Without needing to enroll in the course itself, students can simply take the institutional exam for the course. Should the student pass the exam, they will be awarded with a passing mark on their transcript and obtain the appropriate credits.
Students attending Middlesex Community College, located in Bedford, Massachusetts, can also take advantage of testing opportunities on campus. At Middlesex, students can take specific exams outlined for their major. For example, if you are pursuing their Biotechnology degree, then you can take placement exams to opt out of their Algebra 2 and English Composition requirements.
Earning College Credit with AP Coursework
In addition to on-campus testing opportunities, students can earn college credit while they are still in high school. Students who successfully pass their AP exams can apply their AP work towards college credit. To obtain these credits, you need submit a request through the Educational Testing Service to directly send your AP exam scores to your community college.
Currently, the College Board has approved AP exam opportunities for more than 30 subject areas, including:
  • Art History
  • Calculus
  • English literature and language
  • Chemistry
  • Computer science
  • Economics
  • Environmental science
  • European, World and US history
  • US Government
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Music theory
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Studio art
  • Languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Italian, French, German, Latin, and Spanish
To find out if you are eligible for college placement testing options or AP college credit, make an appointment with your community college advisor. You may be able to save thousands of tuition dollars and dozens of in-class hours!

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