How To Study For Your CLEP Exam

This article will give you the building blocks to help you construct a very effective and efficient study experience.

Did you know that every CLEP exam you take comes with a breakdown provided to you by the College Board? In this breakdown, they really do a fantastic job listing everything they're going to test you on. This list also allows you to see how much of a particular topic will be on your exam as they list the percentage right next to it. In this article, I will give you the building blocks to help you construct a very effective and efficient study experience.

1. Find Your Exam Breakdown

The first thing that we need to do is navigate over to the College Board Website and locate the "CLEP" section. After that, find the exam that you want to take. Once you have located your exam, take some time to read through both the "Overview" & "Knowledge and skills required" sections. Here you will find information on how many questions your exam contains and the amount of time you will be given to complete your exam. Next, scroll down and take a look at the main topics as well as all of your subtopics. Notice that each topic has a percentage in parentheses. This is an essential part of building our study experience as we now have a good idea of what topics we should study and how much time we should spend studying them.  

Navigating the College Board Website

2. Order Your Topics By Percentage

Now that we have seen our breakdown, it's time to put the topics in order of precedence or percentage. This should be a straightforward task and take you no longer than 2 minutes. I would suggest either opening up a word document and copying your breakdown or simply writing the topics down on a piece of scratch paper. You want to place the issues with higher percentages at the top of the list, hence the order of precedence.
We now have an excellent visualization of our entire exam structure when we do this. We cross things off of our list that we already know, and we can put our energy towards the things that we don't know. Another method we can use, which in my opinion bears the most fruit, is to make time studying each topic, obviously putting more time into issues with more significant percentages than topics with lower ones.

A list of topics put in order by percentage

3. Consolidate Your Topics & Sub Topics

After putting our topics in order, we consolidate them, preferably using a free project management tool. I recommend using a product like Trello, as it is extremely user friendly and best of all it's absolutely free.
The purpose of using a tool like this is to create a hub where we can place information that pertains to each topic. For example, studying for the Biology CLEP exam can find articles on meiosis or plant life and paste the links in their perspective sections. If we find resources that we deem valuable, we can do the same with those. Essentially, the goal is to create a database of information that correlates to our exams that we can access from anywhere at any time.

American Government Exam Organized in a Trello Board.

I hope that this information was helpful, and I hope that it at least gives you a good starting point on approaching your exam.