Academic Affairs Division

Credit by Exam (AP, IB, CLEP, DSST)

Many University System of Georgia (USG) institutions award credit for prior learning experiences outside of a college classroom that can be validated through scores on a nationally-recognized test. (See the GaTracs Exam to College Course Tool.) Sometimes this prior learning is college-level learning that took place while students were in high school (e.g., Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) course work). In other cases the prior learning may be based on students’ work or life experiences. Course credit is not based on the prior learning itself, but on evaluation of what students have learned by way of scores on standardized tests.

There are two major categories of tests:

Tests based on specific college-level coursework done while students were enrolled in high school. Students can only take these tests if they enrolled in the corresponding coursework in high school, and the tests are taken while students are still in high school. There are two groups of tests in this category:

Advanced Placement (AP) Tests

International Baccalaureate (IB) Tests

Standardized tests that measure students’ knowledge in specific areas, independent of course-taking at the high school or college level. There are two groups of tests in this category:

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST)

The USG provides broad guidelines for awarding course credit based on standardized examinations (see Board of Regents Policy Course Credits for Standardized Examinations and Academic and Student Affairs Handbook Section 2.16 Academic Credit for Extra-Institutional and Prior Learning). However, USG institutions set their own policies for the tests that they will consider, the minimum test scores for award of credit, and the course credit awarded. Not all USG institutions award credit for tests in all of the categories, and USG institutions may not award credit based on exam scores for all exams in a category. Therefore, before deciding to seek credit by taking a DSST or CLEP test, students should determine whether their institution accepts scores for the particular test they are thinking of taking.

Need to Know:

Students seeking credit based on any type of standardized test scores need to ensure that the scores are sent to the institutions they are attending or planning to attend.

Institutions establish minimum acceptable scores to award credit on each test they accept.

Institutions determine the specific courses for which credit will be awarded; in some cases additional course credits may be awarded for specified scores above the minimum.

Georgia has what are referred to as “Legislative Requirements” that state that students may not earn degrees without completing course work or passing examinations on the history of the United States and the history of Georgia, and on the provisions and principles of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Georgia. Students who are awarded examination-based credit for U.S. History courses or American Government courses will satisfy the U.S. History and U.S. Constitution part of the requirements, but not the Georgia-specific requirements. Students may fulfill these Georgia-specific requirements by taking and passing examinations in each area. For more information, see Georgia Legislative Requirements.

To determine what tests each USG institution will consider and the minimum scores for awarding credit, students should go to the institutional website and search on the type of test (i.e., Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST)) OR go to the GaTracs website and enter your information on their Exam to College Course Tool.

GaTracs Exam to College Course Tool