5 Best CLEP Prep Books (2021-2022)

Best CLEP Prep Books

CLEP stands for College Level Examination Program. CLEP exams are a group of standardized tests provided by the College Board. There are 33 different subject areas split into five categories: Business, Composition and Literature, Foreign Languages, History and Social Sciences, and STEM.

Similar to the AP exams, The CLEP series of exams provide students with the opportunity to earn college credits or avoid prerequisites without signing up for college courses. In other words, they reward students who have gained knowledge in the subject areas outside of the classroom.

CLEP allows students to skip introductory college courses and move on to more advanced subjects and graduate faster.

The colleges and universities that administer the CLEP exams grant CLEP credit, and each institution has a minimum score that test-takers need to get to earn CLEP credit. CLEP exams can provide significant advantages to students who perform well. However, the tests are challenging, so you need to prepare.

Luckily, there are books to help you get ready for your chosen CLEP exam.

The Five Best CLEP Prep Books

Here are the best CLEP prep books and other information that you need to know before you sit for a CLEP exam.

1. CLEP Official Study Guide 2021

The best book if you want a comprehensive overview of CLEP exams

Publisher: College Board

Year: August 4, 2020

Number of Pages: 550

Our Final Grade: A

This official study guide includes in-depth descriptions of all the different subjects covered in the CLEP series of exams. Numerous tips and strategies let test-takers know what to expect in the main exam.

The book also has practice questions for all the different exams, including languages, social sciences, and business. This book isn’t a study guide for each specific subject, but it is an overview of the CLEP. You can combine it with a more-focused study guide to get the most comprehensive study plan.

Pros

  • The book provides an excellent overview of the different subjects covered by CLEP.
  • You get a wealth of practice questions to prepare for the main exams.
  • The book has tips and strategies for how to approach different test questions.

Cons

  • The answers to the practice questions do not have in-depth explanations or reviews.

2. CLEP College Mathematics

The positives add up to make this the best book in the Mathematics category

Publisher: Research & Education Association

Year: November 27, 2018

Number of Pages: 396 pages

Our Final Grade: B +

This book contains just about everything you need to know to prepare for the CLEP mathematics exams.

Written by teachers with many decades of experience teaching math, it is laid out in an easily accessible way so that anyone can easily prepare for the exam.

There is also an online diagnostic exam that allows you to find your strengths and weaknesses. Once you take this exam, you can focus your study on the areas where you still need improvement.

Pros

  • The book is written and laid out in an easy-to-understand way that is accessible to everyone.
  • Everyone who has the book gets access to an online diagnostic exam to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses.
  • The book has plenty of practice questions that look like those you are likely to encounter in the exam.

Cons

  • Some users claim that this book does not have good coverage of College Algebra.

3. The CLEP Biology Book

The best option for those who want to pass out of basic biology classes

Publisher: Research & Education Association

Year: January 17, 2013

Number of Pages: 276

Our Final Grade: B

The Research & Education Association has a reputation for producing quality CLEP test prep books for different subjects. Their biology offering will give you a high chance of moving to the head of the class.

This excellent test prep book offers an online diagnostic exam that helps you pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. It also has in-depth reviews of all the necessary materials you need to learn for the CLEP Biology exam.

Furthermore, the online study center contains plenty of practice sections to help with preparation for the exam.

Pros

  • The online diagnostic test helps students define their strengths and weaknesses before they even start to study.
  • You get comprehensive coverage of all the necessary material you need to know to pass the exam
  • You also get numerous practice questions that look just like the ones you will encounter on the exam.

Cons

  • Since it got published in 2013, some of the information may be out of date.

4. CLEP History of the U.S.

Coverage of all the U.S. history that you need to pass to advanced classes in the future.

Publisher: Research & Education Association

Year: December 17, 2012

Number of Pages: 348

Our Final Grade: B-

The CLEP History exam is notoriously difficult. Students who take the exam say that it requires that they remember so much. This book does an excellent job of covering the most pertinent material and facts you are likely to encounter in the exam.

The pre-study online diagnostic exam will help you know where you need to focus your efforts. The book is quite comprehensive, so you get information about everything that you need to know to pass the exam.

Pros

  • The book offers comprehensive coverage of American history.
  • There are many practice sections to help you prepare for the exam, regardless of where your skills lie.
  • The online diagnostic test enables you to see where to focus when studying for this broad subject.

Cons

  • Students may still need to read other supplementary material to excel in the History exam.
  • The publication date is 2012.

5. CLEP College Algebra

The ideal book for specialized CLEP preparation in College Algebra

Publisher: Research & Education Association

Year: July 22, 2013

Number of Pages: 352

Our Final Grade: C+

While the College Mathematics prep book has excellent information for the CLEP math exam, it doesn’t adequately cover college algebra.

This separate book comes from one of the authors of College Mathematics (Stu Schwartz). He covers college algebra in-depth and gives students the foundation they need to understand more advanced mathematics concepts.

Like all other CLEP prep books by Research & Education Association, this one has an online diagnostic exam as well as lots of practice questions that can get you in the right mindset for the exam.

Pros

  • This book focuses solely on the challenging subject of college algebra.
  • The author uses the same friendly and easy-to-understand style that makes the CLEP College Mathematics prep book accessible.
  • Readers get lots of practice questions.

Cons

  • This book only covers College Algebra. It isn’t sufficient for preparing for the CLEP Mathematics exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common CLEP questions.

How do I know which CLEP exam to take?

Your choice depends on the college where you are taking the CLEP exam. Consult your academic advisor or admission administrator to figure out which test is right for you.

Do all schools accept CLEP credits?

The policy depends on the school, and it may be necessary to ask an advisor to find out about acceptance of CLEP credits.

In some states, such as Minnesota, all schools must accept CLEP credits. However, in general, you can expect that the more prestigious the school, the fewer CLEP credits they are willing to take.

How many CLEP exams can I try to take?

It depends on your plans. Technically, you could take all 33 exams if you so choose. However, you should probably focus on the ones that align with your academic goals.


Conclusion

CLEP credits can speed up your academic plans, so you should do your best to pass the exam if you are taking the time to prepare for it.

By buying the right study materials, you will give yourself the best chance to pass your chosen exam and earn credits without taking a class.

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Michelle Tsou
 

Contributor at ExamCave. Michelle graduated with a BA in English from Portland State University. She hopes to one day run her own test-prep organization.