Credit By Exam


Credit by examination is a way to earn college credit without taking a class. If you feel that your facility with one of the languages offered by the Department of Foreign Languages is advanced enough whereby you could take a test to demonstrate that you meet or exceed the proficiency required to pass a particular course level, then credit by examination might be a good option for you. There are three ways by which you may receive foreign language college credit through examination: (1) AP/IB Exam scores, (2) the ACC Challenge Exam, and (3) the CLEP National Exam. Deciding which one may be best for you will depend largely on your situation.

Advanced (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit by Exam

Please refer to the 2023-2024 Course Catalog for up to date minimum scores required. You can also follow our departmental guide to ACC AP & IB Minimum Scores for credit. This is only an option if you already have existing qualifying scores obtained in high school.


In order to be eligible to take a Course Challenge Exam, you must be a current or former ACC student and meet the course prerequisites and institutional enrollment requirements. Students must complete at least one college credit awarding course at ACC before challenge exam results will be recorded on an official transcript. You may not challenge a course more than once. You may not challenge a course for which you are currently enrolled or have received a grade of “A, B, C, D, F, I, W” or AU.

There is a specific Course Challenge Exam that has been developed to correspond with each respective level of a course, taking a Course Challenge Exams is similar to taking a final exam for that class. There are Course Challenge Exams available for each of the 10 languages offered in our department: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. There are Challenges Exams available through the 4th course level (Level IV or 2312). If you wish to gain credit for more than one level via the Course Challenge Exam method, you will need to take the exams in succession allowing for processing time between each exam. If you do not yet have college credit for Level I (1411) or Level II (1412), and your degree requires Level III (2311), then you must begin with Level I.

You will need to earn an “A” or a “B” on your exam in order to be awarded college-credit for having taken the exam. Credit received by way of the Course Challenge is reflected as a letter grade on your academic transcript. Please note that that this letter grade will not be calculated into your overall ACC Grade Point Average (GPA). Certain institutions may include this letter grade in their calculations as they evaluate your academic transcript for transfer. As a result, the letter grade may positively impact your candidacy as a transfer student in some instances. If you plan to transfer to another college or university, please consult that particular institution for more information about their transcript evaluation policies.

Challenge Exams are administered from the beginning of the semester until the last two weeks of a given semester. This is due to the fact that faculty grading and contact hours with students tends to increase dramatically moving into finals.
Here is our current testing schedule:

  • The Fall 2023 testing window is now closed for the remainder of the year.
  • The Spring 2024 testing window will be open starting the week of January 16th until Friday, April 26th of 2024.

Please note that for access and convenience we are mostly offering remote appointments. Your exam may include a videoconference with the professor, so please check with your assigned professor about requirements for a camera and/or mic.

In order to take an ACC Challenge Exam, please ensure that you understand the process involved by carefully reading through the following seven steps:

  1. Starting on Tuesday, January 16th email Professor Mariela Prato-WilliamsInterim Department Chair of World Languages, to begin the process at [email protected]. Professor Prato-Williams will begin the needed paperwork and assign an instructor to administer and grade the exam.
  2. The Department Chair will send the form to Admissions for them to verify your eligibility. You are eligible if:
    (a) you are not currently enrolled in the level you wish to challenge, and,
    (b) you have not challenged that level in the past.
    The Department Chair will also add your assigned professor to the email thread to facilitate communication. It is imperative you keep your assigned professor included in your communication from this point forward.
  3. Once Admissions has verified the form, the Department Chair will then prompt you with payment instructions to pay for the exam. The fee is $10.00 per credit hour ($40.00 for 1411 & 1412, $30.00 for 2311 & 2312).
  4. Email Professor Prato-Williams back with the six digit order number (authorization/activation code). This six digit number needs to be included on the finalized form so that the Registrar’s Office can process the paperwork to post the credit.
  5. Email the professor the Department Chair has assigned you to so that you can arrange a date and time to take the exam virtually. Please keep in mind that:
    (a) it is your responsibility to contact the professor to make arrangements, and,
    (b) you let your assigned professor know you have completed the exam so they know they can grade it.
  6. The professor will grade the exam and pass along the date and grade received to the Department Chair.
  7. The Department Chair will send the completed form to the Registrar’s Office for processing.

Please feel free to contact the departmental office with any questions you may have about the Challenge Exam guidelines and procedures.

International students may not apply course challenges toward the 12-hour enrollment requirement established by the Department of Homeland Security.

French, German & Spanish only

ACC has now resumed service and can offer The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP ) at the Highland and Round Rock Testing Centers Monday through Friday on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students still have two options to take the CLEP: (1) at ACC or (2) at Home.

(1) Taking the CLEP at ACC: If you would like to take the CLEP National Exam at the Testing Center at the Highland or Round Rock Campuses, please visit ACC’s CLEP Site for more information.

(2) Taking the CLEP at Home (PC only): The College Board recently added a remote testing option for taking the CLEP National Exam at Home. Please carefully read over the computer requirements (PC only) and other specifications by following this link to Take a CLEP Exam at Home.

Also note that ACC students can test at the Testing Centers at Texas State University in Round Rock or San Marcos.

The CLEP gives students the opportunity to receive college-credit by earning qualifying scores on an exam. The CLEP is comprised of a single, 90 minute test with multiple choice questions that potentially awards college-credit based on your score. For instance, earning a score of 58 on the Spanish CLEP would grant you college credit from Level I through Level III at ACC (1411, 1412, and 2311). If you would like to earn as much credit as you can as quickly as possible, then the CLEP is the best option for you. Currently there are world language CLEP Exams available for French, German, and Spanish. If you sign up for the Spanish CLEP Exam, please consider signing up for the version without the additional writing component.

Credit received via the CLEP will be reflected as Credit Received (CR) on your official ACC transcript. CR is not factored into your ACC GPA. Credit Received shows up as a CR on your transcript. This CR is typically located toward the end of your transcript if not applied to your degree program. Please note that although ACC accepts the CLEP for world language college-credit, it is advisable that transfer students contact the college or university they plan to transfer to determine if their CLEP scores are accepted and if so, what the course equivalency may be for that particular college or university. Please refer to the chart below for CLEP score course equivalency at Austin Community College.


For more detailed information about The College-Level Examination Program®,  or to find other authorized CLEP testing centers near you, please go to the College Board CLEP website.