Monday, December 06, 2010

Persevering in the CLEP tests

In the interest of avoiding debt in obtaining college degrees for any of my children who want them, our family has enrolled with College Plus and my 17-year-old son has started taken CLEP tests. I wrote about the start of our CLEP adventure here and here.  I wrote about College Plus in this post.

Our first experience with the CLEP exam was not successful.  The scale is scored on a range from 20 to 80 with 50 being a passing grade worthy of college credit.  Sam's first attempt with American History got him a 42.  I thought maybe part of the problem was that Sam's studying was too scattered and unfocused without a clear deadline and that is mainly why I wanted the help of College Plus. 

Two weeks ago Sam took the Analyzing Literature test.  While I felt that Sam was indeed more focused on his studies this time, I felt that he was almost a little too pressured to take the exam before he was quite ready. I wrote about that exam experience here.   We finally got a score of 44 - better than his last score, but still not a pass. 

And yet, I'm not feeling discouraged by it.  These are tests that give the equivalent credit for successfully passing a COLLEGE COURSE.  So they should be tough. That Sam is scoring in the 40s as still a high schooler I think is pretty good and seems to be baseline for him.  What our College Plus coach and I will have to figure out is how to get him to successfully pass one of the exams. 

Part of the problem I think is time management. As a homeschooler, Sam does not have the test-taking experience of regular school kids.  One of our friends told me that at the local parochial school, jr. high students spend a good deal of time on Fridays just on test-taking techniques!  So in that case Sam is at a bit of a disadvantage.  Still he has taken the PSAT, and the ACT as well as the EXPLORE and PLAN tests as well as a drivers test and a test to become a soccer ref.  So I know that he can do it and even pass. 

His CP coach suggested that perhaps we try the College Math test next and Sam seems to be very happy about that. He does well with math and is even doing pre-Calc now with his high school math tutor. This might just be the one to give him the elusive CLEP success we've been looking for. 

In the meantime, I have some British literature and some poetry books for him to study with.  If he can invest 30 minutes a day for the next six months, I think  he can take the analyzing literature exam again and pass.



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