The world of academia can be extremely competitive, and for some college students, the quicker they get a degree under their belt, the quicker they can use that degree in the workforce. Many high school students across the country are ensuring they start college ahead of the game by either taking Advanced Placement Courses or CLEP tests.

The AP classes are actual courses the high school students take that satisfy high-school requirements while also giving college credit, whereas the CLEP tests are exams to gauge a student's mastery of a certain subject. If they pass the CLEP, they get college credit for that class. In both cases, any courses passed through AP or CLEP are courses that an incoming college student won't have to take in college, freeing up their schedule for more "major intensive classes."

This past school year Louisiana students broke records in both AP and CLEP placement. A press release from The Louisiana Department of Education outlines this remarkable academic feat:

Louisiana high school students earned 845 more qualifying scores of 3, 4, or 5 on Advanced Placement® (AP®) exams in 2016 than in 2015, increasing the total from 7,703 to 8,548, an 11 percent increase. Since 2012, the number of qualifying scores earned annually has increased 108 percent, from 4,112 in 2012. Credits earned by students who score a qualifying score of 3, 4, or 5 on the AP® exams are transferable to nearly any college in the nation and all colleges in Louisiana.

The one-year increase is due to both growth in overall participation in challenging AP® courses and an increase in the percentage of participating students achieving qualifying scores. The percentage of test takers earning a 3 or higher increased, from 31.9 percent in 2015 to 33.5 percent in 2016.

Louisiana students are also earning record numbers of college credit by successfully taking College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) exams. During the 2015-2016 school year total number of CLEP® exams taken increased from 41 in 2013-2014 to 6,053. The total number of college-accepted CLEP® scores increased from 25 in 2013-2014 to 2,630. The College Board's CLEP® program is a nationally recognized credit-by-examination program that provides high school students an opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of college-level materials in introductory subjects and earn college credit.

Congrats to all the students who lightened their college load, and good luck on your freshman year!!

To read more about this report, go to the Louisiana Department of Education's Website.

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