Clep Testing

•    Note:  For CLEP French, German or Spanish Language, please select
     CLEP French/German/Spanish.
•    You may seek to earn academic credit at Iowa State University by taking these CLEP computer-based exams, as well
     as the departmental paper-based exams of Macro- and Micro-economics.
•    To register, please select and complete the CLEP and departmental ECON 101/102 Registration Form and bring to the
     Student Counseling Service Reception Desk, 3rd floor, Student Services Bldg. (east end of building), or mail to Student
     Counseling Service Testing Office, 2223 Student Services Bldg., 3rd floor, Iowa State University, Ames IA  50011-2223,
     or fax a copy to 515-294-3696, or email an attachment to
•    Next, schedule a 2-hour appointment by sending an email request to
•    On test day, bring two forms of identification and credit card. You will report to Student Services Building, Room 2062
      (second floor) for your test.

Examination Title                         ISU Course                                Credit
American Government                 Pol S 215                                     3 cr.
Biology                                            Biol 101                                        3 cr.    Not for Biology or Engineering majors
Calculus                                         Math 165                                       4 cr.
Financial Accounting                    Acct  284                                       3 cr.    May not count in Engineering- contact Department
                                                                                                                            prior to registration.

French Language                          Frnch 101, 102, 201, 202         8-16 cr.
German Language                       Ger 101, 102, 201, 202             8-16 cr.
Microeconomics                            Econ 101                                     3 cr.    This is a departmental test-out.
Macroeconomics                           Econ 102                                     3 cr.    This is a departmental test-out.
Introductory Psychology               Psych 101                                    3 cr.
Introductory Sociology                  Soc 134                                        3 cr.
Spanish Language                      Span 101, 102, 201, 202           8-16 cr.

The following CLEP examinations do not fulfill specific course requirements but will count toward graduation in all colleges except Engineering.

Examination Title*                                                                      Credit
Humanities (Fine Arts & Literature)                                        Fine Arts 2 cr. / Literature 4 cr.
Natural Sciences (Biological & Physical Sciences)            Biological Sciences 3 cr. / Physical Sciences 3 cr.
Social Sciences & History                                                        Social Sciences 4 cr. / History 2 cr.
*If you are enrolling in the College of Engineering, please do not take these three CLEP exams.

Please go to for minimum score requirements at Iowa State University.  
For departmental Econ 101/102, the minimum required score is 60.

Common Questions

Q:    How long is the test?
A:    The CLEP exams are 90 minutes with multiple-choice questions to be answered; however, some exams do have fill-ins.  The French and Spanish exams consist of reading and listening skills, and include three separately timed sections. Your total score on the language examinations determines whether credit for two to four semesters is awarded.  The Macro/Micro Economics departmental exams are paper/pencil format and each consists of 100 multiple-choice questions to be answered in 90 minutes.  You may use a calculator.

Q:    Should I take CLEP exams/departmental test-outs?
A:    If you are sure the credits will be accepted in your major, if you have completed advanced studies (such as honors, advanced placement, or a college level course) in a particular subject area, and if you scored above 24 on the ACT, you should consider taking these exams.  Go to   for more information about credit by exam opportunities at Iowa State University.

Q:    How do I know if the CLEP or departmental test-out credits will be accepted in my major?
A:    Almost all programs at Iowa State accept CLEP credit for Psych 101, Soc 134 or Pol Sci 215.  Other CLEP and departmental test-out credits, such as Financial Accounting and Economics, are more specialized and may not be accepted as readily.  Only an academic advisor can say with certainty.  Talk with your advisor and refer to the on-line Iowa State University catalog at before you register for the tests.

Q:    What about the CLEP Humanities, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences?  Will those credits be accepted in my

A:    These credits can be used as electives in all colleges except Engineering, and they’ll meet general course requirements in all colleges except Engineering and Liberal Arts and Sciences.  Please check with your department before registering for the examinations.

Q:    How do I prepare for the CLEP exams?
A:    Visit the CLEP PREP CENTER on the College Board Web site ( for useful tips on assessing your readiness and preparing for any of CLEP's exams.  Also in the CLEP PREP CENTER are individual subject study guides which can be downloaded for a fee and the CLEP Sampler which can be downloaded free of charge.  

Q:      What is the cost of the exam?
A:    The total cost is $100, consisting of two payments.  One $80 exam fee is payable to CLEP by credit or debit card.  In addition, a $20 SCS test administrative fee will be placed on your U-bill account on test day. All fees are non-refundable and subject to change.  Note:  The CLEP $80 fee is waived for all eligible military personnel and civilian employees (with proper military ID).

Q:    What is a passing score on CLEP exams at Iowa State University?
A:    You will need a score equivalent to a B grade.  CLEP French/German/Spanish Language information for passing scores can be found at:

    In order to reach the total score you see on your score report, two calculations are performed.
    First, your “raw score” is calculated.  This is the number of questions you answer correctly.  Your raw score increases by one point for each question answered correctly, and no points are gained or lost when a questions is not answered or is answered incorrectly.

        Second, your raw score is converted into a “scaled score” by a statistical process called equating.  Equating maintains the consistency of standards for test scores over time by adjusting for slight differences in difficulty between test forms.  This ensures that your score does not depend on the specific test form you took or how well others did on the same form.  Your raw score is converted to a scaled score that ranges from 20, the lowest, to 80, the highest.  The final scaled score is the score that appears on your score report.

Q:      How soon will I receive my results?
A:      You will receive your official candidate score report upon completion of the exam.  Your scores are reported only to you, unless you ask to have them sent elsewhere.  If you want your scores sent to Iowa State University, you must select this option through the examination software.  This service is free of charge only if you select your score recipient at the time you test.  A fee will be charged for each score recipient you select at a later date.  For the macro/Micro Economics departmental exams, you will receive your score the next day.  All passing scores for both CLEP and Macro/Micro Economics will be sent to the Office of the Registrar.  Test-out (T) credit will be posted on your transcript generally at the end of the following semester.

QUESTIONS?  CONTACT:  Student Counseling Service, Testing Office, Rm. 2062 Student Services Bldg., Iowa State University, Ames IA, 50011-2223; phone (515) 294-5058; or email


Complete descriptions are available at  

Humanities tests general knowledge of literature, art, and music and other performing arts, with questions on all periods from classical to contemporary and in many different fields:  poetry, prose, philosophy, art, architecture, music, dance, theater, and film. The examination requires candidates to demonstrate their understanding of the humanities through recollection of specific information, comprehension and application of concepts, and analysis and interpretation of various works of art.

Natural Sciences covers a wide range of topics frequently taught in introductory courses surveying both biological and physical sciences at the freshman or sophomore level.  It emphasizes the knowledge and application of the basic principles and concepts of science, the comprehension of scientific information, and the understanding of issues of science in contemporary society.

Social Sciences and History covers a wide range of topics from the social sciences and history disciplines.  The content is drawn from introductory college courses that cover United States history, Western civilization, world history, government/political science, geography, sociology, economics, psychology and anthropology.

Financial Accounting assesses student mastery of the skills and concepts required for success in a first-semester financial accounting course.  

American Government covers material that is usually taught in a college level one-semester introductory course in American government and politics, with emphasis on national government.  Topics include the institutions and policy processes of the federal government, the federal courts and civil liberties, political parties and interest groups, political beliefs and behavior, and the content and history of the Constitution.

Biology covers material that is usually taught in a one-year college general biology course, and covers three major areas:  molecular and cellular biology, organismal biology, and populational biology.
French, German and Spanish Language cover language skills usually learned from the end of the first semester through the second year of college study.  They include two Listening sections totaling 30 minutes and one 60 minute Reading section.

Calculus covers skills and concepts usually taught in a one-semester college calculus course, with the content of each examination approximately 60% limits and differential calculus and 40% integral calculus.  Algebraic, trigonometric, exponential, logarithmic, and general functions are included.

Principles of Macroeconomics includes introduction to resource allocation; national income and fiscal policy; money, banking and monetary policy; macroeconomic problems and monetary policies; international economics and domestic economic policy.  This is a departmental multiple choice, paper-based exam.  Calculators are permitted.

Principles of Microeconomics includes the nature of economics; supply and demand; consumption, production, and cost; markets and pricing; the distribution of income; and international economics, gains from trade, and trade policy.  This is a departmental multiple choice, paper-based exam.  Calculators are permitted.

Introductory Psychology covers material that is usually taught in a one-semester undergraduate course in introductory psychology.  It stresses basic facts, concepts, and generally accepted principles in 13 areas.

Introductory Sociology assesses an individual’s knowledge of the material typically presented in a one-semester college level introductory sociology course.  It emphasizes basic facts and concepts as well as general theoretical approaches used by sociologists.