Best CLEP Preparation Books (2023)

Best CLEP Preparation Books (2023)

CLEP stands for College Level Examination Program.

The College Board’s CLEP exams are standardized tests designed to assess college-level knowledge in a wide range of subjects. There are 33 different subject areas split into five categories: Business, Composition and Literature, Foreign Languages, History and Social Sciences, and STEM.

Like Advanced Placement exams, CLEP exams allow college students to earn college credits or eliminate prerequisites without attending college classes. In other words, they reward students who have gained knowledge in the subject areas outside of the classroom.

The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) allows students to test out of introductory college courses, enabling them to move on to more advanced subjects and graduate with a faster academic track.

College-level exam credit can be earned by passing the CLEP (College Level Examination Program) tests. Institutions grant CLEP credit, and each institution has a minimum score that test-takers need to get to earn CLEP credit. If you are successful on the CLEP, it can significantly bolster your college record and open doors to the next level of schooling. However, the exams are difficult, so you must be well prepared.

If you’re planning on taking a CLEP test, you’ll want to be prepared. The resources below can help!

Best CLEP Preparation Books (2023)

Listed here are the best CLEP prep books and other information that you need to know before you sit for a CLEP exam.

CLEP Official Study Guide 2023

According to research, this is the best book to buy if you want a fully comprehensive overview of CLEP exams

Publisher: College Board

Year: 2021

Number of Pages: 550

Our Final Grade: A

The CLEP Official Study Guide is designed to help you prepare for the CLEP examinations. It provides in-depth descriptions of all the different subjects covered, and numerous tips and strategies to help you understand what to expect.

This study guide also includes practice tests for the different exams, including languages, social sciences, and business. This study guide is not a subject-by-subject test prep book; it’s a general overview of the CLEP exam. You can combine this book with a more-focused study guide to create a comprehensive strategy for studying for the CLEP Exam.


  • CLEP provides a very helpful way to get an introduction to a wide variety of subjects.
  • You get a wealth of practice questions to prepare for the main exams.
  • The book contains tips, strategies, and techniques you can use to answer different types of test questions.


  • The answers to the practice questions do not have in-depth explanations or reviews.

 CLEP College Mathematics

The positives add up to make this the best book in the Mathematics category

Publisher: Research & Education Association

Year: November 27, 2018

Number of Pages: 396 pages

Vast learners Final Grade: B +

This book has everything you need to know to do well on the CLEP mathematics exams.

Written by professors with many decades of experience teaching math, this guide is laid out in an easily accessible way so that anyone can prepare for the exam.

There is also an online diagnostic exam that allows you to find your strengths and weaknesses. The College Board has a wealth of great information regarding the SAT on the internet. After you take this final exam, you can focus your study on the topics that give you difficulty.


  • This book was written and laid out in an easy way to understand that is accessible to everyone.
  • Everyone who has the book gets access to an online diagnostic exam to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses.
  • The book has plenty of practice questions that look like those you are likely to encounter in the exam.


  • Some users claim that this book does not have good coverage of College Algebra.

The CLEP Biology Book

The best option for those who want to pass out of basic biology classes

Publisher: Research & Education Association

Year: January 17, 2013

Number of Pages: 276

Vast Learners Final Grade: B

The Research & Education Association produces high-quality test-prep guides for CLEP exams. Their Biology guide is the best biology test prep book on the market and will give you an advantage over your classmates. In this excellent test prep book, you’ll find a diagnostic exam that helps you pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. You’ll also find in-depth reviews of all the necessary materials you need to learn for the CLEP Biology exam.

In addition, the online study center offers many practice sections to help you prepare for the exam.


  • The online diagnostic test helps students identify their academic strengths and weaknesses early on.
  • You get comprehensive coverage of all the necessary material you need to know to pass the exam
  • You also get numerous practice questions that look just like the ones you will encounter on the exam.


  • Since its publication in 2013, much of the information in the book may be outdated.

CLEP History of the U.S.

Coverage of all the U.S. history that you need to pass to advanced classes in the future.

Publisher: Research & Education Association

Year: December 17, 2012

Number of Pages: 348

Vast Learners Final Grade: B-

The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) History exam is notorious for being very challenging. While students who take the exam say that it requires them to memorize a lot, this book does an excellent job of covering the most important knowledge for the exam.

The pre-study online diagnostic examination will help you identify areas of weakness so that you will be prepared to attack the material during your study sessions. The book is comprehensive, but with an effective study plan, you will be prepared to pass the exam.


  • The book offers comprehensive facts of American history.
  • There are many practice sections to help you prepare for the exam, regardless of where your skills lie.
  • The online diagnostic test enables you to see where to focus when studying for this broad subject.


  • Students may still need to read other supplementary material to excel in the History exam.
  • The publication date is 2012 so it may be outdated.

CLEP College Algebra

The ideal book for specialized CLEP preparation in College Algebra

Best CLEP Preparation Books (2022)

Publisher: Research & Education Association

Year: July 22, 2013

Number of Pages: 352

Vast learners Final Grade: C+

The College Mathematics prep book provides excellent information for the CLEP math exam. However, that book does not provide sufficient preparation for students who are planning to take college algebra.

Stuart Schwartz, from the authors of College Mathematics (Stu Schwartz), writes another separate book that covers college algebra in-depth and gives students the foundation they need to understand more advanced mathematics concepts.

Like all other CLEP prep books by R & E Association, PTE General, 2014–2015 includes an online diagnostic exam as well as lots of practice questions that can help you be ready for test day.


  • This book focuses solely on the challenging subject of college algebra.
  • The author uses the same friendly and easy-to-understand style that makes the CLEP College Mathematics prep book accessible.
  • Readers get lots of practice questions.


  • This book only covers College Algebra. It isn’t sufficient for preparing for the CLEP Mathematics exam.

How do I know which CLEP exam to take?

There is no universal policy for accepting CLEP exam credits. It is best to contact the registrar of any institution to find out about their policy. At some schools, such as Caltech, every credit earned on an Advanced Placement exam counts toward graduation requirements, whereas at other schools, such as the University of Minnesota, only the highest score earned for each AP exam counts toward graduation.

How many CLEP exams can I try to take?

It depends on your plans. Technically, you could take all 33 exams if you so choose. However, you should probably focus on the ones that align with your academic goals.

Was this post helpful?

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments