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Month: February 2012

Algebra or Math?

Algebra or Math?

I know that title sounds like an Oxymoron!  Algebra is math, math is algebra… right?  Well, not in the CLEP world!

There are three basic CLEP math exams.  Calculus, College Mathematics, and College Alegbra.  Which one should I take?  Which one would benefit me the most?  Here’s what I’ve learned and what I decided.

Process of Elimination

Using the process of elimination I removed the Calculus CLEP from my scope!  One down, and two to go.

Credit Worth

The next thing to consider is much math and science credit you need for your degree.  For instance, I am looking at a Journalism Degree.  For this degree I need 12 math/science credits.  I am still undecided on which college to attend, so I looked at all the CLEP policies of the Big Three Distance Learning Colleges and what how many college credits they grant to the College Math and the College Algebra CLEPs.  Here’s what I learned:

Excelsior College:  College Math (6), College Algebra (3)

Thomas Edison State College:  College Math (6), College Algebra (3)

Charter Oak State College:  College Math (3), College Algebra (3)


That information really influenced my decision on which CLEP math test to take.  If I took the Natural Science CLEP (6) and the College Mathematics CLEP (6) that would be all 12 of my math/science credits.  If I took the Natural Science CLEP (6) and the College Algebra (3), I would still lack 3 math/science credits.



All that to say, I will be taking the College Mathematics CLEP test for my math credit.  Join me as I begin studying for that test!

Captain's Log 2.27.12

Captain's Log 2.27.12

General Update:

I am continuing in my set course.  While the wind of the world blows me hither and yon, the compass of God’s word is holding me true to the course of his Mighty Plan.

Hmmm… while true, that sounds a little too… something.

In all seriousness… here’s my update.

English CLEP

In preparation for the College Composition CLEP  (English CLEP)  I am reading the Mysterious Case of the Misplace Modifier and Strunk and White.  I am also supposed to begin Wordsmith Craftsman and How to Read a Book.  I continue to write practice essays and send them to friends for a grade and many helpful comments.  There is ALWAYS room for improvement.

I also continue to take the practice tests and work through them with my mom.  I am hoping to schedule my test soon.

College Math CLEP

My next CLEP test on the horizon is the College Mathematics CLEP test.  Math is not my strongest point, although I do enjoy it, and I want to go ahead and take the CLEP while the math is still fresh in my mind.  With that in mind, I am beginning to shop for CLEP practice books for College Math.  I plan to supplement it with Khan Academy.  

Recommended Friday

Recommended Friday

Today’s Recommended Resource is not a book, but a website.

College Board CLEP is a website that I constantly use as my reference for all things CLEP.    This wonderfully helpful website includes handy features like:

  • Finding a CLEP center near you.
  • Test Preparation help
  • Sample Tests
  • A full and updated list of all 33 CLEP exams.

I highly recommend this website to all Distance Learning students.  It is a handy resource to have near you as you prepare and research your CLEP tests.


Next Recommended Resource?  Accelerated Distance Learning.

English CLEP Q&A

English CLEP Q&A

Answers to my Q&A

In addition to learning the information about the CLEP switch, I was able to learn the answers to my other questions.

  • Should I take it with the essay or without?  This question is irrelevant now, the essay is mandatory (except now there are two essays)
  • Did it make a difference to the college whether I took the essay or not? (see answer above)
  • Was my score different? (as previously stated, the essays are mandatory now and calculated into your score.  Just how your essay score is factored into your scaled score is a secret only College Board know!)
  • Was the essay handwritten or typed? (both essays are now typed)
  • What was my time limit on the essay portion of the test? (first essay: 30 minutes  second essay: 40 minutes)

The College Composition Modular

  • Should I take the College Composition (previously the English Composition) or the College Composition Modular (previously the English Modular)?

I have not done a whole lot of research on the Modular CLEP exam as I don’t plan to take it.  It is not one of the General 5 exams, and it only counts as 3 college credits, as opposed to the 6 credits you earn with the College Composition CLEP.  For more information on the Modular CLEP you can visit College Board. 

The English Dilemma

The English Dilemma

No, this post is not about Grammar rules and exceptions!  It is not about “i before e, except after c” (and e before n in chicken, for the Andy Griffith fans!)  This is not about the Misplaced Modifiers or capitalization rules.  No, this is about the dilemma of the English Composition CLEP test!!!

The English Composition CLEP is the CLEP I plan to take first, so in addition to studying, I’ve been doing a ton of research on it.  Here were some of my questions:

  • Should I take the English Comp or the English Modular?
  • Should I take it with the essay or without?
  • Did it make a difference to the college whether I took the essay or not?
  • Was my score different?
  • Was the essay handwritten or typed?
  • What was my time limit on the essay portion of the test?

Okay, so those were my questions.  I got my books out (College Board, REA, and Princeton Review)  and I pulled up some websites and I began to research.

Before I even answered my questions, I learned something else.  The test that existed in my books was not given anymore.  As of 2012 the College Board changed the format of the English Comp CLEP test.

Until 2012

Until 2012 you had three options of English CLEP tests.  1) English Comp with Essay, 2) English Comp without the essay, and 3) English Modular.   Which one you took totally depended on you.  Of the three big Distance Learning colleges (Excelsior, Charter Oak, and Thomas Edison State)  Excelsior did not accept the Essay test.  Thomas Edison and Charter Oak both only accepted the Essay.  Which test you took depended on which college you were planning on attending.

The optional essay was 1 handwritten college in 40 minutes.

Then they changed it…

2012 and beyond

As of January 1st, 2012 there are two English CLEPs  1) College Composition and 2) College Composition Modular.  All of the three big Distance Learning Colleges accept both CLEP exams.  So what’s the difference?

In the College Composition there are now two mandatory essays.  They are both typed.  For the first essay you get 30 minutes, 40 for the second.

Most of the information on websites and in REA books hasn’t been updated yet.  The only site I have found that has updated is College Board.  The only reason I even knew about this change was because my mom bought me the 2012 edition of the College Board CLEP book. 

So there you go!  Happy CLEPing!


Captain's Log 2.20.12

Captain's Log 2.20.12

Today I researched learning materials.  REA, Princeton Review, College Board.  I scoured Abesbooks, Amazon, and Ebay.  Which was cheaper?  Which was in better condition?  Which did I need?  Here’s what I learned:

  1. REA books are pretty expensive, and here’s why.  They come with CD-ROMs.  Well, that’s great but I can’t use the CDs on my MAC computer 🙂  So, I have to pay full price and get a worthless CD.
  2. When you get a test prep book of ANY kind, don’t write in it.  If you take care of it and keep it in great shape, you can resell it.  However, people don’t want books that are written in.  Those books are worthless.
  3. Seek the advice of others who have done this before you.  Ask them what they did, what they used, what they would pay money for.
  4. Save your money and use it wisely.  One of the reasons I chose the Distance Learning path was to save money.  It doesn’t save any money if you buy every book available without doing some research.

As of right now I am studying for the English Composition test which is now called the College Composition test.  More on Wednesday!!!

Brick and Morter College Arguments (part three)

Brick and Morter College Arguments (part three)

What I Wanted

  • To save money
  • To do it fast
  • To stay at home and run my business
  • To feel like I got a quality education

What I Found

Are all those requirements created “too good to be true”?  They are not!  Is it possible to get a degree in 1-2 years for under $5,000?  It is!!  Could I do it from home, with my family, while continuing to run my businesses?   I can!!!

There is a new “non-traditional” method called Distance Learning.  Through this wonderful method it is now possible to get a “real life” education from the comfort of your home.  You can learn the way you want, with the books you want, with the people you want, at the pace you want.

What I Read:

As we begin a series on where I am in my Distance Learning Education I recommend you visit the following sites:

Until next time… have a great week!

Brick and Morter College Arguments (part two)

Brick and Morter College Arguments (part two)

What’s Traditional?

In today’s culture you are supposed to:

  1. Go to a school for 12 years and graduate.
  2. Go to college for four years (at least).
  3. Get married.

What’s Non-Traditional?

In today’s culture you are not supposed to:

  1. Start college during your school years.
  2. Finish school in less than 12 years
  3. Finish college in less than 4 years
  4. And definitely don’t get married while your in college!

Here I Stand

Here I am.  Very much feeling like the proverbial deer in the headlights, I am standing between two camps.  Camp One says, “You must go to college and get a degree or you are a complete failure.  You will miss out on the experience, the friends, the possible spouse, and the education”  Camp Two says, “You shouldn’t go to college.  To go would be to compromise your faith and your personal values.  Cover your mustache, yell unclean, and flee the college campus!”  Ahhemm!  (yes, I did exaggerate a slight bit.)

Recommended Friday: Princeton Review

Recommended Friday: Princeton Review

In the month of January I studied in preparation for taking the English Composition with Essay CLEP.  I’m about to schedule my test date, and I can’t wait to find out how I do.  After that I can begin studying for the next one!  :-)

So what am I using for studying?  Well, I’m using many resources, but there is one in particular that is especially useful!!!

Priceton Review Clep Guide

This book is a wonderful for every student interested in taking the first five general CLEP tests.  Using wonderful teaching methods the Princeton Review teaches the different subjects covered in each test, as well as the tips and techniques that will help you score higher on your test.

In addition it includes one practice test for all five General CLEP exams.  If you don’t already have this book on your shelf, you need to order it today!

Hands down, this is my favorite book for test preparation.  I wish they had covered all the other CLEP tests, not just the General Exams!

Order this book and enjoy your studying ten times more!

Brick and Morter College Arguments (part one)

Brick and Morter College Arguments (part one)

It’s begun.  I turned 18 (actually it began when I turned 17).  The questions.

What Questions?

“What are you doing for your future?”  “What will you do when you graduate?”  “Where will you be going to college?”  “What are you going to do as a career?”

Who Asks?

People don’t mean anything.  But it’s a conversation starter.  Most of the time people rarely want to know what I plan to do for college, but it’s a way to start a conversation.  They ask assuming I’ll tell them I’ll be attending one of the local community or private colleges.  I’m asked by relatives, church friends, close friends, strangers.

What do I plan to do?

My decision about my future was not based on peer pressure, or biased opinions.  It was based on much prayer.   With my parents help and input, I weighed several options.  (those will be shared in the next post) and chose one simple plan.  I plan to get a Bachelors Degree through Distance Learning.  (I’ll share the details of this in a future post).  What this means is, I plan to get a degree without stepping foot in my graduating college.  It’s “non-traditional”

What to Say?

So, when someone asks you a question about college and they expect a “traditional” answer, what do you say?  First of all remember Humility.  A humble and kind answer turns away an angry and hostile answer.  Humble yourself and pray for a encouraging explanation to share with them.  Second, be truthful and stand firm for your decision.  Explain simply and clearly exactly what the “non-traditional” method means.   This helps clear up a lot of myths and assumptions about this way of learning.


When all is said and done, it is your life.  Some choose to go to college, some choose to stay home.  If you have chosen to stay home AND get a college degree, you are up against some powerful opposition.  But your a pioneer going through some uncharted land.

Stay strong, keep your powder dry, and may God bless you!