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Easiest to Hardest CLEP Exams
CLEP exams allow students to place out of intro college courses using their existing knowledge of the subject. If you’re interested in CLEP, you may be curious about the easiest CLEP exams. While the difficulty of CLEP exams is largely subjective, there are certain exams that are generally considered easier or harder. Keep reading to learn more.
See also: What is CLEP?
Which CLEP exam is easiest?
That depends on your individual strengths and weaknesses. CLEP exams are subjective, meaning the easiest exam for one person could be the most difficult for another. For instance, the College Mathematics exam might be a breeze for someone who has taken years of advanced math courses. But it would likely be difficult for someone who struggles in math. It all depends on which subjects you have the most prior knowledge in.
That being said, it’s helpful to look at pass rates for individual exams. Generally speaking, you can expect exams with high pass rates to be easier than exams with low pass rates. Below you’ll find a list of CLEP exams organized from highest to lowest pass rates for civilian (non-military) test-takes. The information is from 2017, which is the last year data was collected on this topic.
|Test Name||Pass Rate||Number of Test-Takers|
|College Composition Modular||83%||3,530|
|Principles of Marketing||79%||2,587|
|Human Growth and Development||75%||3,000|
|Analyzing and Interpreting Lit||75%||6,267|
|Principles of Macroeconomics||72%||1,467|
|Principles of Microeconomics||72%||1,395|
|Info Systems and Computer Applications||71%||1,511|
|History of United States I||69%||4,061|
|Western Civilization I||68%||1,190|
|Principles of Management||67%||2,596|
|Social Sciences and History||62%||859|
|Intro to Educational Psych||60%||1,129|
|History of United States II||56%||3,991|
|Introductory Business Law||51%||780|
|Western Civilization II||48%||1,222|
Source — CLEP STEP
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Top 5 easiest CLEP exams
It’s impossible to create an objective list of the easiest CLEP exams. But what we can do is talk about which CLEP exams have the highest pass rates. The following list is based on data from the table above.
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Pass Rate: 91%
Out of all the CLEP exams, the Spanish Language test has the highest pass rate. Those who pass the exam have the equivalent knowledge of students who have completed 1 – 2 years of college Spanish courses. The exam consists of two listening sections and one reading section. There are approximately 121 questions that must be answered in 90 minutes.
Pass Rate: 83%
This exam assesses writing skills taught in first-year college composition courses. The exam includes four sections — conventions of standard written English, revision skills, ability to use source materials, and rhetorical analysis. There are 90 multiple-choice questions that must be answered in 95 minutes.
Pass Rate: 81%
This exam is nearly identical to the College Composition Modular, except that there are two essay responses in addition to the multiple choice questions. The essays are scored twice a month by college English professors throughout the country. Students have 70 minutes to write both essays, and 55 minutes to complete the 50-question multiple choice section.
Pass Rate: 80%
The sociology exam includes material typically covered in intro-level college sociology courses. This includes topics such as social patterns, processes, stratifications, and the sociological perspective. Highly-specialized knowledge of the subject is not required to pass the exam. The exam contains approximately 100 questions to be answered in 90 minutes.
Pass Rate: 79%
This exam covers intro-level marketing concepts such as the role of marketing in society, marketing strategy, and consumer and organizational markets. Students are expected to have a basic understanding of the economic, social, political, and technological trends important to marketing. The exam contains approximately 100 questions to be answered in 90 minutes.
Top 5 hardest CLEP exams
The following list is based on CLEP exams with the lowest pass rates. Again, this is not an objective list. But it sheds some light on the exams that students tend to struggle with the most.
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Pass Rate: 39%
The chemistry exam is one of the toughest CLEP tests, featuring a pass rate of just 39%. The exam covers material usually taught in first-year general chemistry college courses. That includes topics such as structure and states of matter, reaction types, equations and stoichiometry, equilibrium, kinetics, and thermodynamics. The exam contains approximately 75 questions to be answered in 90 minutes.
Pass Rate: 48%
This exam covers European history from the mid-17th century through the post-WWII period. Main topics include the Enlightenment, the French and Industrial Revolutions, and WWI and WWII. Students may be asked to choose the correct definition of a historical term, select the historical figure whose political viewpoint is described, or identify the correct relationship between two historical factors. The exam contains 120 questions to be answered in 90 minutes.
Pass Rate: 51%
This exam covers American literature from pre-colonial times to the present. Students are tested on the content, background, and authors of literary works. They’re also required to interpret poetry, fiction, and nonfiction prose. To pass, students must have read a wide range of American literature and have a sense of the basic literary periods. The test contains approximately 100 questions to be answered in 90 minutes.
Pass Rate: 51%
The business law exam tests students on their knowledge of contracts, legal systems and procedures, agency and employment, sales, and other topics. Students must understand these concepts, as well as the ability to apply knowledge to specific case problems. The exam contains approximately 100 questions to be answered in 90 minutes.
Pass Rate: 52%
This exam tests students on their knowledge of civics and political processes and behaviors. Specific topics include policy processes of the federal government and federal courts, civil liberties, political parties and interest groups, political beliefs and behavior, and the content and history of the Constitution. The exam contains approximately 100 questions to be answered in 90 minutes.
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How do I choose the right CLEP exam?
While our CLEP exam rankings can be helpful, you shouldn’t rely on them exclusively. In the end, you should choose the exams you feel most comfortable with. By taking the CLEP exams that play to your strengths, you can set yourself up for success.
Also see: How to get your CLEP scores
Frequently asked questions about CLEP exam pass rate
What is a good CLEP exam score?
Can I retake a CLEP exam if I do poorly?
How many times can you retake a CLEP exam?
Does failing a CLEP show up on my transcript?
Does failing a CLEP exam affect my college GPA?