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Challenge Exams

What is a Challenge Exam?

Challenge Exams are available for students who possess prior knowledge of a subject area in a CLC specific course. By passing a challenge exam, students have the opportunity to earn college credit at CLC and be able to take advanced courses more quickly. Challenge Exams are not available for all courses and are offered at the discretion of the discipline/program faculty.

Students hoping to transfer credit earned through a challenge exam to another school should check with the transfer school to determine its policy toward credit-by-exam before taking the exam at CLC.

Which Challenge Exams does CLC offer for credit?

The College of Lake County offers its students the opportunity to earn college credit for many Challenge Exams.

View information on specific challenge exams at the College of Lake County.

How do I take a Challenge Exam at CLC?

  1. Determine which Challenge Exam would be a good fit for you. It’s strongly recommended you work with a CLC Academic Division and/or a Counselor/Advisor to determine if this is a good fit for you.
  2. Complete the Challenge Exam Request Form (PDF) and return your completed form to the Testing Center. Forms are also available at any CLC Testing Center.
  3. Pay for your exam at the Welcome and One Stop Center. (Remember to save your receipt!)
  4. Bring your receipt and take your exam at the Testing Center during testing hours. Exams are given on a walk-in basis (no appointment necessary), but you’ll need to leave adequate time to finish your exam before closing. If you’d like help finding an appropriate start time for your exam, please contact Testing Center staff.

    Please note: Many Challenge Exams are available in the Testing Center. However, if your exam requires skills demonstration, you may need to arrange to take some or all of your exam by appointment only with a faculty member. To start this process, contact the appropriate Academic Division.

Challenge Exams may only be taken one time and are not available for any courses in which a student has previously received any grade (including W, WN, WS, FW, F, I, or X). Additionally, a student may not take a Challenge Exam after the first week of a course for which they are currently enrolled.

Is there anything else I need to know about how CLC handles Challenge Exam credit?

College of Lake County Board Policy states that earning credit for prior learning is:

  • Not to exceed a total of thirty (30) semester hours required toward the completion of an Associate degree
  • Not to exceed one-half (1/2) of the semester hours required toward completion of a certificate
  • Not to count toward satisfying fifteen (15) semester hours general residency requirement for the Associate degree
  • Please note: Earning credit through a Challenge Exam has no effect on a student’s grade point average (GPA) at CLC.

How much does it cost to take a Challenge Exam?

The Challenge Exam fee $50. Payments can be made at the Welcome and One Stop Center. Please bring your receipt to the Testing Center to show you have paid before you take an exam.

Note: Fees and exam requirements are subject to change.


For additional advisement and information on earning college credit by taking Challenge Exams, career students are encouraged to speak directly to the faculty member in the discipline offering the Challenge Exam. The faculty will best be able to answer specific questions.

For those students seeking to transfer, please contact the Counseling, Advising & Transfer Center.

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