Last summer, one of my German students, Elijah, took and passed the German CLEP exam, albeit on the second try. The first time, he did not tell me he was taking the exam. Otherwise, I would have helped him prepare. His mother tells the story:
We have such good news to share! After a longer road than we expected, Elijah scored a 51* on the German CLEP test today, which gives him credit for TWO semesters of college German! We are so thrilled!!!
He took the CLEP test back in early June with less-than-stellar results.
His equipment malfunctioned, and he heard none of the optional answers for the first five audio questions. When he realized the test was going along without him, he asked for help and the staff corrected the problem, but they were not allowed to reset the test for him. (There was a procedure to test the equipment before beginning, which apparently he did not do correctly!!) Needless to say, this completely wrecked his concentration for the rest of the test. He ended up with a 46, which was TWO POINTS AWAY from qualifying for credit even for German I. We were both discouraged.
CLEP does not let you retest for three months. We enjoyed our busy summer of travel and, after returning, read your very detailed email, including study tips from one of your students who had passed the German CLEP. Elijah spent a couple weeks studying again. I went ahead and paid all the fees again because his score the first time was SO CLOSE. It seemed silly not to try one more time.
Today, he took the test and came out beaming. Having experienced the format of the test before and having reviewed the info you sent DID help him to have a better strategy going in. And of course, this time he properly tested his equipment and heard all the questions and answers!
So Elijah’s German CLEP story had a happy ending. Thought you’d be as happy about it as we are!
Indeed, I am.
Most success in foreign language study comes from having a live teacher, not with overpriced, do-it-yourself language courses on DVD.
CLEP exams are quite challenging. After all, it is for college credit. Study guides for all CLEP exams are available, so any student can order them and individually prepare. However, the subject of any foreign language itself is a different bird, requiring the student to read, write, speak, and comprehend the language. The listening comprehension sections on the Foreign Language CLEPs are the most challenging components. Chances for passing CLEP exams for foreign languages increase dramatically if concentrated preparation is done beforehand with a live foreign language instructor in an online (or physical) class environment.**
Every German student of mine who has taken the German CLEP exam has passed it! I now give all German III students — at the beginning of our school year — info on how to study and prepare for the exam. Of course, not all students will have the aim of passing the German CLEP, but those who desire to earn college credit for German can certainly attain this goal if they are willing to work hard and start early by taking my German classes! Auf geht’s!
*A score of 50 is passing for a CLEP exam.
Since 2011, Susan Gleason has taught German online. She has an extensive background in foreign languages.
Traveling internationally since she was eight years old, her travels include Europe, Scandinavia, Estonia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, South and Central Americas, and South Africa. Susan studied German in college and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1986. In 1985, while still a college student, Susan led a Bible-smuggling operation into Soviet-controlled Estonia. She lived in Germany from 1986-1991, experienced the fall of the Berlin Wall, and had some daring adventures outwitting East Berlin border guards. Susan did post-graduate studies at Universität Würzburg, Universität Bonn, and FAS Germersheim. She worked as an interpreter at the international trade fairs in Cologne, as well as a translator and private tutor.