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Clep Prep
How To Prepare for CLEP Exams

Clep prep is not necessarily focused solely on one individual method of preparing for the CLEP exams.  You have to find the approach that works for you.  Below are some guidelines to help you to determine your own CLEP prep strategy.

The Universal First Step - The Discussion Forum

Many forum members have stated that regardless of what resources they used to prepare for their exams, the single most crucial resource was this forum.  Spend five minutes reading user feedback for the exam you're about to take and learn:
  1. What resources are the most "on-the-mark" for this specific exam.
  2. What topics you need to focus your studies on
  3. How difficult this particular exam is. That way you don't under or over prepare.
Just use the "search" function here on the forum to find feedback specific to the CLEP test you're studying for.

You'll see that there's a wide variety of paper-based and online CLEP study resources available for CLEP prep purposes.  That being said, the majority of forum members use a combination of the InstantCert Study Guides and one or two other resources to prepare for their CLEP exams. Be sure to do a search of this forum (either using the forum search function or using Google) to find additional resources and guidelines on CLEP testing available.

Below are some of the most commonly used resources along with recommendations for how to use them most effectively.

Using InstantCert

InstantCert is a paid subscription service that offers CLEP test study guides in the form of fill-in-the-blank flashcards.  Many forum members report successfully passing most or all of their exams using only InstantCert.  This approach is suitable for you if:
  1. You're a decent test-taker
  2. You're happy with a passing score -- you're not looking to max out the test.
While InstantCert teaches you everything you need to achieve a passing score on the CLEP tests, it does not hand you a copy of the exam.  Here's how to get the most out of the flashcards:
  1. The first time you go through the flashcards, you are not expected to know any of the answers.  Just read the question, think about what the answer might be, and then click Continue to read the explanation
  2. Always read the explanation, even if you already know what goes in the blank.  Many times, information in the explanation will be critical to getting an answer right on the actual CLEP test.
Prep time varies for each person, but generally after three or four times of going through the cards you will find yourself retaining a lot of the information.  Keep going through the flashcards until you feel comfortable with the material.

Petersons Sample Tests

The resource most commonly used to supplement InstantCert is the Petersons sample tests.

For most exams, you probably would not want to use the Petersons tests as your only source of preparation, but they're a great supplemental resource since they mirror the actual exam format.  Don't just use them as a way to gauge how prepared you are--use them as an additional study guide for CLEP.  Study the questions carefully and boost your score by a few points on the actual exam.

Update (5/28/2020): Since the writing of this post, Petersons has significantly raised their prices. If you would rather not spend all of that money, search this forum for other cheaper or free resources to use instead.


After you've completed all of your other preparation, use any extra time you have left to do some reading on Wikipedia.  The user feedback on this forum generally includes topics that users recommend that you be familiar with.  You do not need to do any in-depth study on these topics; just look them up on Wikipedia and spend a few minutes skimming the information.

Other Resources

In general, the above CLEP prep resources are more than enough to get you through all of your exams.  If you want more options, read the user feedback on the exam you're studying for and you'll see other resources that members have found effective; for example, for a particular exam, some may report that a Spark Notes guide or an REA study guide was better than any other CLEP test study guide that they used.
The article mentions using this discussion forum as your first resource but something that didn't exist when the article was written is our Specific Exam Feedback area. That's where we organize all of the best, most relevant feedback from test takers.

In the Specific Exam Feedback section of this discussion forum, you can see detailed advice and information about the CLEP, DSST, or ECE exam you're studying for. Members will often list supplemental resources or even post their own study notes to help you to feel 100% ready for your test. Also, the sheer volume of positive reports from members passing their exams every day can really boost your morale if you're feeling overwhelmed!

Note that the Specific Exam Feedback area is exclusive to paying members of Purchase any subscription at InstantCert to unlock full access to this discussion forum.
I just updated the above article today, 5/28/2020.

For more general information on studying for CLEP, be sure to check out an article I wrote over at InstantCert, "How do I Study for CLEP?". It talks about some paid and free resources for exam prep and also links to more information on developing a CLEP exam study plan that works for you.

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