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The most common question we receive is "Where do I start?"  Here's some advice that may help you and some answers to our most frequently asked questions.
 
1) A common error is to focus on the TEST.  I want to encourage you to see the value in the ENTIRE process, start to finish.  By tackling a CLEP exam your child will learn:
 
- independent study skills
- test preparation skills
- become familiar with college campus/testing centers
- and yes, may even pass a college exam earning credits!!
 
2) The most important advice I can give is to follow through with the study, start to finish, and have your child TAKE THE EXAM.  I see many homeschool parents who do NOT have their child take the exam after ALL the work has been done.  These tests are NOT meant to be representative of your child's overall ability NOR is it representative of your teaching skills OR the success of the homeschool experience in general.  There is NOTHING to lose in taking the test - so TAKE IT!  I often tell my children how proud I am of them for simply learning the material and sticking with it!  The credits are a bonus to the whole experience but NOT the focus. 
 
3)  "What makes a student successful?"   I would say that learning style is very important.  If you have been taught to be an independent learner than that is definitely a plus when trying for credit by examination.  Motivation?  Yes, I think that plays into it too.  That's why I suggest parents gear that first exam to an area that the child appears to be more gifted.  This increases the odds of success and some of the material may end up being review.  How about study time?  It is important to keep the child accountable on the readings and yet not to pressure them more then they can handle.  Also, many of the children take the exam without following our important recommendations to take EACH practice exam twice, researching their incorrect answers. 
 
Here's the format for practice tests, a KEY part of preparation for the actual exam, which we have built into the lesson plans:

-Take test 1
- Review the incorrect answers for this test.
- Take test 2
- Review the incorrect answers for this test.
- Re-take test 1
- Review the incorrect answers for this test.
- Take test 3
- Review the incorrect answers for this test.
- Re-take test 2
-Review the incorrect answers for this test.
-Re-take test 3
-Review the incorrect answers for this test.

For those of you leading study groups, STRESS this test-prep program on the parents and kids.  This almost ensures success on the test.  MANY of the students and parents will get discouraged after the first and second practice tests because most kids fail them miserably however, THE KIDS ARE STILL LEARNING ABOUT THE MATERIAL during this process. In fact, I would argue that the most learning on the subject matter occurs during this phase of study. 
 
4)  If the student fails the test the first time they can always retake the exam.  Often there is a duplicate of this test offered from another testing source (Clep and Dantes offer many of the same exams) so you may even be able to reschedule for the duplicate exam right away.  If not, wait the required period, keep studying, and TAKE IT AGAIN!  You could take the exam 5 times before you'll come close to paying what it would cost at the college. 
 
5)  I am often asked, "Which subject should we start with?"  This really depends on the student.  Some are gifted in certain areas so you should obviously choose an exam that goes along with their interest level.  If there is no specific interest, I would recommend the Dantes Computer exam, as most teens are interested in this subject and "know the lingo" already!  (lol)  This is also a VERY easy class to do in a coop/group setting. 
 
6) "Can I use other texts?"  Certainly!  We offer the lesson plans as a guide but you can add your own text to our suggestions OR just use your own.  The choice is yours!  However, I can NOT tell you if your material covers all that is in the exam - you will have to make that call. 
 
7)  "Do I have to finish the class in the suggested time frame?"  Absolutely NOT!  Even though the lessons are broken down as "weekly" assignments, you are free to allow your students as much time as you think they need to complete each lesson.     
 
8)  "Do you have room in your local classes?"  Unfortunately our local classes are FULL.  But, these are SO EASY to duplicate!  The class time is structured so that we simply review the reading assignments, answer any questions the kids may have, review flashcards or quizzes within the material, view the video ,etc.  All this can be done in an hour for most subjects.  The classes are a fun way to make CLEP a positive "social" learning event for the kids AND to keep them accountable.   The lesson plans can EASILY be used in your coop and you have virtually NO prep!  Consider starting with a small group of kids (3 or 4).  Believe me, when others hear about your group the word will spread quickly!!  Before long your classes will be full too. 
 
9) "But you're cheating!"  Believe it or not, a family member said this to one of our CLEP moms.  (lol)  To that I would say that our children spend on average about 4 months on one subject exam, thoroughly absorbing the material.  Does the word "cramming" bring back memories for you??  No cramming OR short term memory learning here!  (lol)  During that time frame they are reading from 2 to 3 texts on the subject.  They also view lectures via video and take several practice exams.  They have become EXCELLENT students, sharpening their independent study skills, which is a MUST in college.  The credits they receive are college board approved AND ace recommended.   Your CLEP and Dantes credits are earned, learned and well deserved!  
 
Email me with any questions not addressed here and I'll answer them to the best of my ability.