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 two ways by which you may receive foreign language college credit through examination: taking the ACC Challenge Exam or the CLEP. 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 Course Catalog (pg 198-200) for up to date minimum scores required.


In order to be eligible to take a Course Challenge Exam, the applicant 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. The student may not challenge a course more than once. No student may challenge a course for which she/he is currently enrolled or has received a grade of “A, B, C, D, F, I, W” or AU.

There is a different 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 languages offered in our department: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. For most languages, there are Challenges Exams available through the 4th course level (ex: Spanish 4/SPAN 2312.) If you wish to gain credit for more than one level via the Course Challenge Exam method, you would need to take the exams in succession allowing for processing time between each exam.

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, but it is important to note that this letter grade will not be calculated into your overall ACC GPA. However, 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, you should 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 week of a given semester. You must take the challenge exam before the last two weeks of the semester.

In order to take an ACC Challenge Exam, please follow these procedures:

  1. Email the Department Chair of Foreign Languages to begin the process.  The Department Chair will sign the form and assign an instructor to grade the exam.  You will meet with that professor assigned to obtain his/her signature.
  2. Meet with the professor assigned by the Department Chair to pick  up the form and learn more about the exam.
  3. Pay for the exam at the Cashier’s Office.The fee is $10.00 per credit hour ($40.00 for 1411 & 1412, $30.00 for 2311 & 2312). Please make sure the receipt number is written on the form.
  4. Take the form to a testing center when you are ready to take the exam, as long as it is before the last two weeks of classes. At this point the form stays with the exam.
  5. Email the assigned professor that you have completed the exam so that the exam can be picked up and graded.  The professor will hand in the form to Admissions for processing.

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

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


The College-Level Examination Program® ( 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 that potentially awards college-credit based on well you score. For instance, making a score of “58” on the Spanish CLEP would earn you college credit through the 3rd level at ACC (SPAN 2312.) If you would like to earn as much credit as you can as quickly as possible, then the CLEP may be the right method of credit by examination for you. Currently there are foreign languages CLEP Tests available for French, German, and Spanish.

Credit received via the CLEP will be reflected as “credit received” on your official ACC transcript; “credit received” has no impact on your ACC GPA. Please note that although ACC accepts the CLEP Test for foreign 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.

ACC’s Highland Campus Testing Center offers the CLEP National Exam.  You can visit their website for the most up-to-date information regarding CLEP Test requirements here to find the fees and other useful information.  Please follow this link to register:  .

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