College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP), sponsored by the College Board, is a national program of credit-by-examination. CLEP allows you to prove college-level achievement through exams in subject areas that correspond to undergraduate college courses.

Approximately 2,900 colleges and universities grant credit and/or advanced standing for CLEP exams. Each college or university determines which CLEP tests it will accept for credit and the amount of credit it will award.

Prior to testing, contact the college you wish to attend to inquire about its policy on CLEP scores and other admission requirements.

View the CLEP Course Equivalency Chart

  • Course credit earned through CLEP exams will count toward graduation as though you had passed the course. Note: It does not count toward the resident credit requirement.
  • CLEP credit is only awarded to enrolled students and will be awarded based on the college policy in effect at that time.
  • To award CLEP credit requires Kirkwood to assess the scores and, where applicable, essays themselves. Therefore, CLEP credit awarded by other institutions cannot be transferred in. Contact the College Board to have your scores sent to Kirkwood. Exams with essay components where the essay was not initially sent directly to Kirkwood cannot be assessed.
  • CLEP credit is awarded as “credit by exam.” Kirkwood awards a maximum of 18 credits by exam per student. Students with more than 18 credits by exam from CLEP, AP, alternative credit and departmental test-out exams must meet with their advisor to select which 18 credits will be awarded.
  • CLEP credit appears on the transcript with a letter grade of T.
  • Consult the course equivalency chart to determine how Kirkwood awards CLEP credit in specific subject areas.
  • If seeking credit for ENG-105 Composition I, when you take the exam be sure to specify the College Composition Modular exam with handwritten essay. The essay portion will be evaluated by Kirkwood Communication, English, and Media Department faculty. Kirkwood does NOT accept the standard College Composition CLEP exam, which uses a computer-based essay that is scored by the College Board.
  • If seeking credit for LIT-206 Forms of Literature: Fiction, when you take the exam be sure to specify the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature exam with an optional handwritten essay. The essay portion will be evaluated by Kirkwood Communication, English, and Media Department faculty. Kirkwood does not offer credit for the standard Analyzing and Interpreting Literature CLEP exam that lacks an essay.
  • Review Kirkwood Credit from CLEP Exams for details on which exams will count as credits and the minimum score needed.
  • Review the College Board's information on the CLEP exam.
  • Purchase the exam. Be sure to specify that the CLEP Score Report be sent to the Associate Registrar at Kirkwood Community College. Kirkwood’s Institution Code for the College Board is 6027.
  • Once the exam has been purchased, contact an official CLEP test center. Among the sites available in Iowa, the closest to Kirkwood’s main campus is at the University of Iowa. Test takers may contact the UI Department of Distance and Continuing Education by email at or call 319-384-4800.

About Transferring Credits

Some colleges and universities place limits on the number of exam credits that they will accept from a transferring student; these limits may include CLEP credits.

If you intend to transfer CLEP credits, consult the college or university to which you wish to transfer about their policies concerning credit by examination.

Kirkwood cannot and does not assume responsibility for the transferability of CLEP credit to other colleges and universities.


If you have any questions, contact Enrollment Services:

Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: 319-398-7600 or 1-877-386-9101
Fax: 319-398-4928
Email: Enrollment -

FAFSA School Code: 004076

Location: 3rd Floor Iowa Hall

Mailing Address:

Kirkwood Community College
Enrollment Services
6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404