College Testing and a Review

Study.com offered us a three-month subscription to their CLEP and DSST prep materials in exchange for our honest review. I’m glad they did, because college on the road is something I really want to talk to you people about, and this keeps me from kicking that can down the road. 

As our long-timers know, Marissa graduated from college at the age of 19 while traveling the country with us. (Please note that we do not measure the success of a person or homeschooler by this parameter, but it’s good to know it can be done if that path suits the person.) She did not use Study.com exclusively, but the path she followed was quite similar, so we are very familiar with this approach, which Marissa began at 16.

Let’s talk about what Study.com is and why it would benefit you.

Study.com is in a nutshell a site full of classes. It offers classes at many different levels and for many different purposes, from grade school through college, for the pure joy of learning to earning a college degree.

The benefits to a program such as Study.com for college are getting that degree under your belt as quickly and cheaply as possible…and without the distractions and temptations a college campus offers that your 16-year-old or even your 18-year-old might not be prepared for. It can be done from home entirely, or the studying can be done at home and the testing done at testing centers if you pursue the CLEP and DSST route (more about this below).

Study.com offered us a three-month subscription to theirprep materials in exchange for our honest review. I’m glad they did, because college on the road is something I really want to talk to you people about, and this keeps me from kicking that can down the road. 

Let’s talk finances and testing.

There are currently three different plans for the program. The basic program gives access to all of the classes for $35.99 a month. This would be enough to prepare for a CLEP or DSST if you don’t mind not doing the practice test or if you have a supplementary practice exam. The second level is $53.99, and this adds the practice quizzes and exams, which we personally feel are essential. It also adds personalized coaching and access to instructors. My understanding is that the coaching will guide you on a plan toward your degree, but we haven’t used the coaching, so I’m not completely sure. The third level is $199.99 a month, but this level allows you to earn your credits online remotely.

Let me explain that a minute. When you prepare for a CLEP or DSST exam, you have to find a testing center that will proctor your exam. That means you look online for a university or similar testing center near you that offers these exams, you make an appointment, they stick you at a computer, and they whack your hands with a ruler if you talk to your neighbor. I made that last part up. You must order the test from the College Exam Board. They are bumping that price up to $89 in a few weeks. You also have to pay a sitting fee to the university. We found most sitting fees to be $20, but some ran as high as $40 (California wasn’t kind to us.). Without Study.com, you also would need to buy resources, such as books, which we estimated at $25 per course. That means your CLEP exam is costing you about $135 per three-credit (sometimes six-credit) class. That is not bad at all! Using Study.com, the “study materials” cost varies depending on how long you take for each class, since the study materials can be exclusively the Study.com website itself without anything else.

The third level at Study.com allows you to gain your credits entirely at home, including proctored exams. Marissa has done this also, and while it seems scammy, it really isn’t. They make it very difficult to cheat…not that we tried! So the $199.99 is all you pay–no sitting fees, no books, no nothing. If it takes you ten months to finish one class, then that class cost you…move the decimal…$1,999.90. If it takes you two weeks, then it cost you $99.98, which is phenomenal.

Is all of this clear so far? If you have questions, please ask in the comments or send an email to Study.com. They’re pretty good about answering questions through email, although not as efficient or knowledgeable via phone calls, in our limited experience.

Let’s talk finances and testing.

There are currently three different plans for the program. The basic program gives access to all of the classes for $35.99 a month. This would be enough to prepare for a CLEP or DSST if you don’t mind not doing the practice test or if you have a supplementary practice exam. The second level is $53.99, and this adds the practice quizzes and exams, which we personally feel are essential. It also adds personalized coaching and access to instructors. My understanding is that the coaching will guide you on a plan toward your degree, but we haven’t used the coaching, so I’m not completely sure. The third level is $199.99 a month, but this level allows you to earn your credits online remotely.

Let me explain that a minute. When you prepare for a CLEP or DSST exam, you have to find a testing center that will proctor your exam. That means you look online for a university or similar testing center near you that offers these exams, you make an appointment, they stick you at a computer, and they whack your hands with a ruler if you talk to your neighbor. I made that last part up. You must order the test from the College Exam Board. They are bumping that price up to $89 in a few weeks. You also have to pay a sitting fee to the university. We found most sitting fees to be $20, but some ran as high as $40 (California wasn’t kind to us.). Without Study.com, you also would need to buy resources, such as books, which we estimated at $25 per course. That means your CLEP exam is costing you about $135 per three-credit (sometimes six-credit) class. That is not bad at all! Using Study.com, the “study materials” cost varies depending on how long you take for each class, since the study materials can be exclusively the Study.com website itself without anything else.

The third level at Study.com allows you to gain your credits entirely at home, including proctored exams through a program called ACE. Marissa has tested at home and libraries with ACE, and, while it seems scammy, it really isn’t. They make it very difficult to cheat…not that we tried! So the $199.99 is all you pay–no sitting fees, no books, no nothing. If it takes you ten months to finish one class, then that class cost you…move the decimal…$1,999.90. If it takes you two weeks, then it cost you $99.98, which is phenomenal.

Is all of this clear so far? If you have questions, please ask in the comments or send an email to Study.com. They’re pretty good about answering questions through email, although not as efficient or knowledgeable via phone calls, in our limited experience. Honestly, when we began this process years ago I read masses of information and still was overwhelmed. Please ask your questions! There are no dumb questions that I haven’t already asked. Ha!

Let’s talk about us.

We used Study.com in three different ways. We have a middle schooler who wants to live in France someday. She casually worked through some of the videos in the French course, skipping the non-video lessons. There are numerous lessons for middle school and also for teachers to use to prepare classes for their middle schoolers.

We also have a high schooler who is not currently interested in college, but she is interested in learning for the sake of learning. She brushed up on her Spanish, studied some German, and worked through some American government. If your sole interest is in learning, what a feast you have before you!

Emily just turned 16 and wants to test the waters of earning her college degree. She is working through American government in preparation for the CLEP exam. She is taking about eight weeks to do it, since it is her first exam. I will update this if and when she takes the test to let you know how she did. From our current understanding, everything she needs to prepare for this exam is available right on the site, so, upon completing the video lessons, the practice quizzes, and the final exam, and using the flashcards to study more and strengthen her weak areas, she should be ready to test and pass. We’ll let you know.

All of Emily’s classes are video classes. She watches the videos and takes a quiz. Then she takes a chapter test. At the end of her studies, she will take a practice test to see if she’s prepared for the CLEP.

So far Emily is enjoying the program. She likes that you can speed up the videos to make the conversation a comfortable level for her and save time. She also likes being able to move at her own speed throughout the course, giving her the option of saving money or taking the extra time needed for a difficult subject. It’s very convenient for her, because she uses her Study.com phone app. Easy peasy. That said, if she sticks with Study.com longterm, I’m going to switch her to a laptop or a larger screen for the sake of her longterm eye health.

A few extra notes.

Study.com has an agreement with Thomas Edison University to receive a discount on your degree there. I believe, but am not positive, that they have a similar arrangement with Excelsior. Liberty University accepts 3/4 of your degree through testing, so if you’re interested in a Christian university, you can test through Study.com’s ACE program or get your credits through CLEP and transfer them in. Most universities that accept transfer, AP, or other testing credits will readily accept some level of testing through Study.com.

Using a program like Study.com that guides you through the process is especially beneficial when you’re sending your first child through the system. The money you save on not taking unnecessary classes (although, hello! far too many classes at college are totally unnecessary! Where are my real world people with an amen?!) and on the discount they work with some colleges goes a long way toward deferring the cost of the program.

Please, again, ask questions. It’s not as overwhelming as it seems. Other reviewers shared their thoughts at this link.

Please follow Study.com on social media if that’s your thing:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StudyDotCom/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Studydotcom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.