Posted in HS4CC

CLEP Spanish *Perfect Score*

It’s one thing to pass a CLEP exam, it’s another to crush it!  Homeschooling for College Credit parent Scarlett has agreed to share her feedback about the exam with you.  At the bottom of the post, I’ve added links and additional info you’ll find helpful if this test is on your schedule.  Don’t miss the link to Modern States – they are giving out free CLEP vouchers, allowing you to take this exam for free!

College Level Exam Program (CLEP)
Good transferability
Official CLEP Spanish page

Scarlett C.

“I took the Spanish exam and passed with an 80. [editor’s comment: 80 is a perfect score].  Even though I’m very happy with my score, I did find some pieces to be more difficult than expected.

I had two segments of listening questions followed by 72 written questions. The first listening segment was fairly easy basic comprehension. You’re asked to complete the phrase or provide an answer that makes the most sense. Here’s an example (in English)

Speaker: How will you be getting to the theater?
A) I’m watching a great movie at the theater
B) Pablo just went to the theater
C) I’ll take the bus
D) It’s cold outside

I found that a good majority of questions in the first section were like this, easy, but they would throw in a few tricky questions to confuse someone who barely understands Spanish. In the above example, the novice speaker would hear the word “Theater” which is first-year Spanish, and then be tempted to answer with the same familiar word. There would also generally be one ridiculous answer.

The second audio section was a challenge. To give you some background, I am a non-native speaker that lived in Mexico for six years. The last two years I was there I spoke almost no English, even at work.

In the second section, a paragraph or a dialogue was read and then we had to answer questions related to the discussion. The audio was very clear, but the accents in each piece were very different. I didn’t hear many Mexican accents, which made things a bit more difficult.

There were also a few tricky questions. My advice would be to take notes if you can possibly do this while still paying attention to what you’re hearing. I found that when items were listed such as “I went on vacation to England, France, and Germany,” you could guarantee that you would be asked which countries they went to. This doesn’t sound difficult, other than the fact that the dialogue would contain quite a bit of information and I had trouble remembering everything that they said even though my comprehension is almost perfect.

The written portion started off easy and then got progressively more difficult. You’ll really need to know your verb tenses and also be comfortable with lo, le, las, les…

There’s really not a lot that you can do to study for this if you don’t have a good grasp of the language. If you’re a good reader but have trouble listening, I would say to try and join a Spanish club or make a Spanish-speaking friend. Watching Spanish TV might help, but the listening was much easier and more clear than anything you’ll hear on TV. So, if you can watch Telemundo and understand, you’ll have no problems.

One last point: This was my first CLEP and I sat through the on-screen tutorial. My testing center guide mentioned that the tutorial was more important on the Spanish CLEP than for other tests. This is because there are many different types of test questions and you’ll need to know how to answer them. Watching the tutorials were very helpful and don’t take time away from your test.

Buena Suerte!  -Scarlett

Score Information

Credit-Granting Score for Spanish Language

Score range:  20-80

Level 1
ACE Recommended Score*: 50
College Credits Awarded: 6

Level 2
ACE Recommended Score*: 63
College Credits Awarded: 9

Each institution reserves the right to set its own credit-granting policy, which may differ from that above.

From the CLEP Official Spanish Page:


The Spanish Language exam is designed to measure knowledge and ability equivalent to that of students who have completed one to two years of college Spanish language study.

Material taught during both years is incorporated into a single exam, covering both Level 1 and Level 2 content.

Exam Structure

The exam contains approximately 121 questions to be answered in approximately 90 minutes. Some of these are pretest questions that won’t be scored. There are three separately timed sections. The three sections are weighted so that each question contributes equally to the total score. Any time that test takers spend on tutorials or providing personal information is in addition to the actual testing time.

There are two listening sections and one reading section. Each section has its own timing requirements.

Listening Sections

  • The two listening sections together are approximately 30 minutes long.
  • The amount of time you’ll have to answer a question varies according to the section and doesn’t include the time you spend listening to the test material.
  • Timing begins after the section directions are dismissed.
  • You can change the volume by using the Volume testing tool.
  • The audio portions of the listening sections will be presented only once.

Reading Section

  • The reading section is 60 minutes long.

Knowledge and Skills Required

Questions on the Spanish Language exam require test takers to comprehend written and spoken Spanish. The subject matter is drawn from the abilities described below. The percentages next to the main topics indicate the approximate percentage of exam questions on each.

Section I (15%)
Listening: Rejoinders

Listening comprehension through short oral exchanges. Choose the response that most logically continues or completes each conversation. You’ll have 10 seconds to choose your response before the next conversation begins.
Try sample questions

Section II (25%)
Listening: Dialogues and Narratives

Listening comprehension through longer spoken selections. You’ll hear a series of selections, such as dialogues, announcements, and narratives. Each audio selection is accompanied by a graphic or picture and is followed by one or more questions.

The questions have various formats. Some questions offer four possible responses, each with an oval to click to indicate your answer. Other questions ask you to select part of a graphic, fill out a table, or put a list in the correct order. For some of these questions, you’ll have to click in more than one place to complete your response. Be sure to follow the specific directions for each question.

You’ll have a total of 12 minutes to answer the questions in this section. Note: The timer is activated only when you’re answering questions.

In this section, you may adjust the volume only when a question is on your screen. It will affect the volume of the next audio prompt you hear. You can’t change the volume while the audio prompt is playing.
Try sample questions

Section III (60%)

16% Part A: Discrete sentences (vocabulary and structure)

Each incomplete statement is followed by four suggested completions. Select the one that is best in each case by clicking on the corresponding oval.
Try sample questions

20% Part B: Short cloze passages (vocabulary and structure)

In each paragraph, there are blanks indicating that words or phrases have been omitted. When a blank is shaded, four completions are provided. First, read through the entire paragraph. Then, for each blank, choose the best completion, given the context for the entire paragraph.
Try sample questions

24% Part C: Reading passages and authentic stimulus materials (reading comprehension)

Each selection is followed by one or more questions, incomplete statements, or commands. For each question or incomplete statement, select the best answer or completion. For each command, click the appropriate area of the screen according to the directions given.

Take this exam for FREE when you complete the FREE online CLEP Spanish course through Modern States.


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit