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 2021-2022 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, 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 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. For most languages, 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 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, 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 weeks of a given semester. You must take the Challenge Exam before the last two weeks of the semester. The window for the Spring 2022 semester closed on Friday, April 29th, 2022.  The Summer 2022 testing window will be open from Tuesday, May 31st, 2022 until Friday, July 22nd, 2022. 

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 follow these procedures:

  1. Email the Department Chair (DC) of Foreign Languages, Vanessa G. Lazo, Ph.D., to begin the process at  Dr. Lazo will sign the form and assign an instructor to grade the exam.
  2. The Department Chair will send the form to Admissions for them to verify your eligibility. You are eligible if you are not currently enrolled in the level you wish to challenge and if you have not challenged that level in the past. The DC will also add your assigned professor to the email thread to facilitate communication.
  3. Once Admissions has verified the form, the Department Chair will then prompt you with payment instructions to pay for the exam through the Cashier’s Office. 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 note that as of Fall 2021, the fee for Dual Credit students has been waived. If you are a Dual Credit student you will skip step 4 below.
  4. Make sure to email Dr. Lazo back with the six digit order number, so that this can be included on the finalized form.
  5. You will need to email the professor the Department Chair has assigned you to to arrange a date and time to take the exam virtually.
  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 on 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.

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

French, German & Spanish

ACC has now resumed service and can offer the CLEP National Exam at the Highland and Round Rock Testing Centers Monday through Friday on a first-come, first-serve basis at the on a limited schedule. 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: 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 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 with multiple choice questions 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 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” on your official ACC transcript; “credit received” has no impact on 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 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.

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.