I have heard that there is something called CLEP tests that would allow me to get extra credit so I could finish college sooner. Is this true? -- High-School Senior


The CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) is a program of examinations in undergraduate college courses. About 2,900 colleges grant credit and/or advanced standing for doing well on CLEP exams. Before you take any CLEP exam, learn about the policy for giving credit at the college where you will enroll, as the policy varies with individual schools.

The CLEP credits that you earn will let you move into advanced courses much earlier, which can make college more interesting. They also can be used to satisfy proficiency requirements. For example, if you've already mastered the content of a basic math or language course, it will let you skip taking these courses.

These tests are not easy. You must be willing to do some serious studying. It is possible that you could earn about one-third of the credits you need for a degree. Lots of home-school students take the CLEP, as do working adults with busy schedules and college students wanting to advance quicker toward their degrees.

The college board is the organization that offers these tests. You can find out more about them by visiting www.collegeboard.com. The cost of each test is $60.00, and they are free to military service members.