CLEP Testing



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.   
Macroeconomics                           Econ 102                                     3 cr.   
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.  

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, German 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. 

Q:    Should I take CLEP exam?
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. 

Q:    How do I know if the CLEP credit 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 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 unofficial 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 when you register online.  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.  All passing CLEP scores 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.