Accelerate high school through Testing
Question: How do you accelerate through high school as a homeschooler?
Answer: You prove you know the subject matter through testing.
How do I do this?
There may come a time when a high school student needs to work. They may have just landed a major project or simply has the ability to finish early. In these cases, it may be time to accelerate. If you’ve ever wondered how more and more kids are starting college at 12, and 14, or finishing high school and college at the same time, I’m going to share with you how they do it!
There are several testing methods available that a homeschooler, can use to prove they are college ready, or ready to graduate.
CLEP Exams, the College-Level Examination Program has 33 exams that cover most general education requirements at a typical college. A passing score on a CLEP exam gives a student credit for 1 college course, or in some cases up to three college courses. Most colleges allow students to come into the testing center and pay an exam with less than a week’s notice. All you have to do is prepare for the test. Sometimes a student will already have the information needed to pass the test from previous educational experiences. Take the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature CLEP, for instance. A well-read student with good reading comprehension should be able to pass this with little effort. Other classes will dictate dedicated, concentrated study for a couple of months before taking the test. There are test prep books, textbooks you can work through, or educational lectures you can watch to prepare. There are also practice tests that will let you know if you are ready for the test or not.
DSST Exams are similar to CLEP exams, but there are more titles that offer some variety to what is offered by CLEP. There are 38 subject exams from which to select in disciplines such as Business, Humanities, Mathematics, Physical Science, and more. These tests were created for people in the Military, and are funded by DANTES but you can pay less than $100 to take one of the exams if you are not in the military
AP Exams, which are used by advanced public school students to get a head start on college are also available to homeschoolers. The biggest downside is they have to be taken at the end of the school year, preferably after taking the coordinating course online or in a group setting. While the CLEP and DSST exams can be taken at any time, it doesn’t hurt to end a school year with a couple of AP Exams. AP offers 38 exams and homeschoolers have several options to access these tests. A student can audit an AP class to prepare for the test. They can take online, live classes at lukeion.org. A parent can petition Edhesive to have their class classified as AP. They can also access Coursera, EdX, Khan Academy, and use the College Board website to take practice tests.
SAT 2 Subject Tests are a great way to demonstrate advanced knowledge in a subject. There are 20 SAT Subject Tests English, history, languages, math, and science. They are offered several times a year, usually whenever the SAT is also offered. These won’t necessarily earn a student college credit, but it will definitely demonstrate mastery of a high school course.
Other things you should know
Another option to accelerate is to Dual enrollment, which if you can work it into their schedule, a student would take college courses at a local college, often paid for by the state, and those classes would count for both high school and college credits. However, If it is about finishing school under restricted time constraints, testing through is the best option. The best option for accelerating through high school through testing is to do a combination of all of the options above. Not all colleges will accept all tests as college credit, but they will treat the student as if they have taken the most challenging courses as possible and this is very favorable for college admission. All tests are approximately $100 each. Websites that will help you prepare for any of these exams include KhanAcademy.com, Free-Clep-prep.com, Coursera.com, and CK12.com.