The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

So you think you can pass?

No matter what semester, City College students can pass a course by taking advantage of the credit by examination process.

It is a convenient opportunity benefiting busy students with the knowledge or experience in a subject.

“Take it seriously,” urges Miriam Blanc, department chair of Foreign Languages.
“Prepare for the test,” Spanish instructor Andrea Lucas suggests, adding that students should read the instructions closely.

It is no secret but the best way to succeed is to study. Since students are familiar with the material for which they are seeking credit, there is a tendency to put off reviewing.
This is a pass or fail option, meaning it won’t affect a student’s cumulative grade point average. There are no units accumulated either, but payment for the class is required.

Students benefit from the process if they know the material.

“It is a convenience,” Blanc said. “They don’t have to come to class and they can just study for the final exam.”

She makes an agreement for the student to show up during classroom finals, which allows them to study the text on reserve in the library along with additional online resources.

“On the other hand, many times students taking…the exam would be rather weak in grammar, pass with a C-, and they really didn’t learn much,” Blanc said. “So from an academic point of view, it was not a benefit to them if they didn’t learn anything new.”

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For example Spanish 401, first semester in Spanish, and asks to take a credit by examination.

If the teacher is willing to provide the test, the student pulls up the request form online or picks one up at the registration office on campus, fills out the form and gets the signatures of the instructor and the division dean, turns in the form, pays for the class and shows up for the test date as agreed upon.

“It is completely up to the instructor,” Blanc said. “We don’t have an obligation. It is a service for the students.”

The process is handled individually by each department and students may read about Credit by Examination/Course Challenge and other options on page 28 of the 2009-2010 SCC Catalog. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) does not apply in taking this exam, but the Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGW) is applicable as part of the tuition waiver for the course.  To download and view the student catalog visit

Additional options for completing a course based on student knowledge include accredited online courses and other online college level examinations. Always confirm courses and exams are required and accepted as part of an educational plan for graduation, to obtain a degree, and just as important, for transfer.

California Virtual Campus offers information on distance learning in California. Visit the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office at to find out what courses are offered and what the process is.

The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) gives students another option to get college credit. It is similar to the credit by examination process except students pay $72 for study books. Although 34 examinations are offered, it is important to check with the City College counseling center to see if the credits are accepted and again to see if they are transferrable. It is an independent study and examination program. To read more, visit

ASSIST is the online student transfer resource where a student sees how course credits earned at one public California college or university apply when transferring to another public California college or university. For this resource, visit

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