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 2020-2021 Course Catalog for up to date minimum scores required. You can also follow our departmental guide to ACC AP & IB Minimum Scores for credit embedded.


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 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 week of a given semester. You must take the Challenge Exam before the last two weeks of the semester. The window for the summer 2021 semester closed on Friday, July 23rd. The window will open again during the first week of the fall term.  The window for fall 2021 Challenge Exam testing will close on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021.

Please note that during the Covid-19 pandemic, we are only offering remote appointments since all of our instruction is offered through distance learning at this time.  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 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.
  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).
  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 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.

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.