The Five Best CLEP Tests to Take for Civil Service 

There’s this belief that in order to have a successful career you will need a college degree, and although that applies in some cases, the truth is not everyone has time to sacrifice four years of their lives. Many of us dream of a government paying job working as a civil servant, although some entry-level jobs do not require a degree, a degree is likely required when you are looking for a promotion. It is no surprise that many civil workers have gravitated towards participating in the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). 

There are many CLEP tests that you can take, depending on your major it is advised that you take an exam that covers prerequisite courses such as Spanish, English literature, college algebra, introduction to psychology, and biology. 

If you are interested in obtaining a college degree without sacrificing your job, then the CLEP exam is best for you. Although this will not substitute all courses it is a great way to get ahead. There are many options of exams to choose from to fit any major! 

CLEP Tests and Benefits 

The Five Best CLEP Tests to Take for Civil Service 

The CLEP exam is an examination that allows students to save time on their degree by taking an examination that will give them valuable college credits instead of spending a semester on a course. There are a variety of exams to choose from, the exams offered cover topics in mathematics, language, literature, science, and history, all of which are typically covered in a semester of college.  

Once the exam is passed the student will be able to apply those credits to his or her curriculum. These exams have become widely available over the years and have benefited many members of the military that are still on active duty but seek to gain college credits. The CLEP exam will not only save you time but also money which is beneficial to everyone. 

Benefits of CLEP Tests 

There are several benefits that come with taking the CLEP exam. The benefits that come with this program will allow you to gain your degree in half the time while also being financially responsible. Here is a list of the benefits that come with the CLEP exam.  

  • This is an opportunity to save time. Whether you are a federal law enforcement officer working odd hours or an active duty member of the military, this exam will allow you to save 4 months of your life. The only time required to complete the program is the exam preparations and the examination itself, which can be done in a way that best fits your schedule. 
  • Save some money while you can. College is expensive, and even if you decide to go part-time it is expensive because financial aid does not cover part-time student tuition. The cost of the exam is $89 which is a fraction of the cost of a semester of courses. Why pay several hundreds of dollars for a semester to take a few prerequisites when you can just pay $89 for an exam? One important note is that if you are in the military you may be eligible to take the exam for free, and in some cases, military spouses can have the examination fee waived as well. 
  • You’ll have increased chances of a high GPA. The goal when trying to obtain a college degree, according to CollegeBoard, students who obtain college credits through the CLEP exam are more likely to gain a higher GPA. 

The benefits alone are a great reason to join a program like this. However, it is important that if you do decide to sign up for this program that you have knowledge of which exam you want to take.  


The Advantage of Being a Civil Servant 

The Five Best CLEP Tests to Take for Civil Service 

As a civil servant, you are not awarded your job just because you filled an application online. Many positions require that you take an entrance exam in order to be considered for the position. This is where you can take advantage of your test-taking skills. Many entry-level exams have arithmetic and English sections, you can use that same energy when studying for the CLEP exams as well. The advantage of being a civil servant will come a long way! 


The Best CLEP Exams for Civil Servants 

If you made it this far into the article, then it means you are ready to take your first steps into this amazing opportunity. Before you sign up for a bunch of exams you will first need to confirm that your college accepts CLEP credits and that you take an exam that can provide credits towards your major. It is a very common mistake for students to take an exam to only find out the college will not acknowledge those credits.  

 When choosing which exam, you want to take it is advised that you take a look at your course outline for your major and map out which courses can be substituted for a CLEP exam. Also, if you are a civil worker take note of which exam can best be applied to your occupation.  Here is a list of CLEP exams that are perfect for civil servants. 

Spanish Language: Levels 1 and 2  

Almost all majors require a language credit, and although CLEP offers exams in French and German language, the Spanish CLEP is typically the most popular. This is perfect if you are already a Spanish speaking student and do not want to sit through a college course when you already know the material. The exam will test you on about two to four semesters of Spanish classes. If you are looking for a career in Border Patrol this is the perfect exam for you since the position requires some knowledge of Spanish skills, and if you are looking to work in a higher-level position a college degree is required. 

English Literature 

This is another great exam, as it is almost required in every major, or it is an option in various majors. If you are someone that has a vast knowledge of English literature, then this exam is great for you and will save you from having to sit through a semester. As a civil servant, you will need to have strong knowledge of written English skills, and almost all civil servant positions will require that knowledge. This exam costs $89.00.   

Introduction to Psychology 

This is the perfect substitute for a semester of Introduction to Psychology. The course is required in most majors or offered as an alternative to another social course, however, most liberal arts degrees will require that you complete this course. The CLEP exam will cover the historical aspects of psychology, biological aspects, cognition, developmental psychology, and other important basics of psychology that are taught in the introductory course. The cost of this exam is $89.00. 


Another course that is required in many majors is a science course. The biology CLEP is also perfect for those who have some knowledge of biology and its components, and do not want to sit through a semester of it again. It is recommended that if you are not completely comfortable with taking a biology exam of this high importance then you can avoid taking it altogether. However, taking this exam will be extremely advantageous on your transcript. The exam will cover molecular and cellular biology, organismal biology, and population biology. This exam also costs $89.00. 

College Algebra 

Many civil servant positions will require math skills especially if you are a member of the military looking to gain a higher rank, as well as every major, will require a completed math course as well. If you are dreading the thought of having to sit through another math course, then consider taking the college algebra CLEP exam. This exam will cover algebraic operations, equations and inequalities, functions and properties, and number systems and operations. This exam also costs $89.00  

Stick with the Basics 

The Five Best CLEP Tests to Take for Civil Service 

When choosing to take a CLEP exam try sticking with the basics. Most majors have basic prerequisites that you are required to take before taking those higher-level classes that really bring more focus to your area of study. Additionally, your basic knowledge of the topics will be very useful when preparing for the exam, therefore sitting through a course again will feel almost repetitive. So instead of spending a semester trying to sit through the course take the exam and save yourself the time and the money! 

 Wondering about civil service exam grading? Check out this article:  

Avoid These Common Mistakes 

The CLEP exam sounds like a great opportunity, however with great opportunity comes a lot of common mistakes. It’s easy to get excited at the idea of expediting your graduation progress however you need to make sure that you do it correctly. Here are a few common mistakes that you should avoid. 

  • Make sure that your college accepts CLEP credits. As mentioned, this is probably the number one mistake in students who are looking to participate in the program. Before you decide to invest time and money into taking this exam, make sure that your college is accepting these credits. A great resource to search for colleges is CollegeBoard, which is the best resource for researching schools. You can also ask your college advisor if you can take the CLEP exam, and he or she will give you guidance. 
  • Do not take the exam before you are ready. Unlike a regular course where you have exams throughout the semester, the CLEP exam is the one and only exam of the semester. Therefore, take your time and properly study, and take the necessary practice exams along the way. This will increase your possibility of getting a passing grade. Remember this is self-paced and you are not competing against the clock or your fellow peers. 
  • Do not settle for just one exam. Another common mistake made by students is that many will just settle for one exam. If you want to make the most of this opportunity it is advised that you take as many exams as you can for your major. This will bring you much closer to graduating sooner at a discounted rate. There have been cases where students have achieved a semesters worth of courses through CLEP exams and have only paid about $700 total for the process which is still a fraction of the tuition for a full semester of college. 
The Five Best CLEP Tests to Take for Civil Service 

By avoiding these common mistakes, you will be able to take full advantage of this program and achieve the goals that you wanted when you first signed up. This is a great opportunity that cannot be passed up, so mistakes should be avoidable at all times. 


Final Thoughts 

The CLEP exam is not only a great opportunity for the average college student, but also for civil servants that want to get ahead in their career but require a college degree to do so. If you are someone that works 40 plus hours a week or simply does not have the finances to pay college tuition, then the CLEP exams are perfect for you. The work you put into this program will truly determine your outcome. 

Remember, when choosing the exams that you want to take it is best to stick to the basics and avoid making mistakes. If you have made it to this portion of the article, then it’s safe to say your decision may already be made and you are ready to take this important step in your academic career! 


Related Question

How should I study for the exams?  

There are many studies guides available online that you can use in preparation for the CLEP, when searching for the right books make sure you go on College Board to search for the materials. 

Are CLEP exams difficult? 

This is another assumption of the CLEP exam. The truth is that the exams are not difficult at all, and if you take the time to properly study, then you are almost guaranteed to get a passing grade. 

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To learn how to best prepare and study for your civil servant exam click here!

For more information about the civil service be sure to check out our free guide here: 

Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.