Bridges Resource Library

Different College Credit Exams Available

Updated as of December 26, 2023.

College Credit Exams Available

AP (Advanced Placement) exams

CLEP (College Level Examination Program) exams

IB (International Baccalaureate) exams

Cambridge International exams

About AP Exams

AP (Advanced Placement) exams are likely the most widely known of the college credit exams discussed here. They typically consist of a mixture of multiple-choice, short essay, and longer essay responses.  To take an AP exam, students must usually take an approved AP subject course at their high schools first.

Next, there are only two days each year for a student to take an AP exam. During two weeks each May, students around the nation take AP exams at a set time on a set day. According to the 2024 AP Exam Dates web page, the AP United States Government and Politics exam will take place on May 6 at 8:00 a.m. (local time), and the 2024 AP Exam Late-Testing Dates web page notes that this exam is only available on May 24 at Noon.

The nationwide simultaneous exam date can hurt some students. While some schools begin classes in early August, others (including many in Maryland) do not start classes until September. Students at these late-starting schools have significantly less time to learn the material and study for the May exam. Additionally, many blind/low vision students face delays in receiving accessible curricular materials; these delays put blind/low vision students at an even greater disadvantage due to the nationwide May testing date.

Given these restrictions, students may wish to explore alternatives to AP exams for college credit.

About CLEP exams

CLEP stands for College Level Examination Program, a collection of College Board exams. Many colleges offer course credit or advanced placement for individuals who attain college-determined cut-off scores on a CLEP exam.

Most CLEP exams consist only of multiple-choice questions. Exceptions to this include additional listening sections for World Language exams and additional written essays for the College Composition and the Spanish with Writing exams.

CLEP exams are a nice option for students because you can take them anytime—you can schedule them on your timeline. In contrast, the well-known AP (Advanced Placement) exams are offered on only one day of the entire year. Also, while AP exams usually require that you have taken an AP class with your school, CLEP has no such requirement.

Through June 30, 2024: Online exam preparation website Modern States will provide a voucher for free CLEP examinations to individuals who score 75% or better on their practice materials. Check out the Bridges Resource Library Free Online Study Materials for College Credit Exams entry for more information.

About IB Exams

IB (International Baccalaureate) exams are part of the IB Diploma Programme (DP). Only students ages 16 through 19 may take these exams, and they must also attend schools that have been authorized to implement the programme. From IB Diploma Programme web page. As of the most recent update of this article, there were thirty (30) IB Diploma Programme schools in Maryland and five (5) IB Diploma Programme schools in the District of Columbia.

About Cambridge InternationalExams

Cambridge International exams are typically administered only to students enrolled in Cambridge-approved schools. According to the Find a Cambridge school web page, as of the most recent update of this article, there was only one Cambridge school in Maryland, one in the District of Columbia, and one in Virginia.

Contact the Bridges Helpdesk for More Information

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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