There are basically three traditional ways to get out of college courses. All three involve taking a test that shows basic competency in the course material. Many high school students are familiar with AP (Advanced Placement) courses. You take a course in high school, then at the end of the school year, you take the AP test, and if you score high enough on it, you get college credit.
The main problem with AP courses is that they are only available to high school students. Once you've graduated, it's too late. Another problem is that it takes a whole school year to get your credit. This is where CLEP (College Level Examination Program) and DSST (Dantes Standardized Subject Tests) come in.
Both of these can be taken any time before or after college graduation. Better yet, you study at your own pace, so you can knock out two or three in a very short time if you put your mind and effort to it. There are some limits. Generally speaking:
Some subjects are covered only by one of the companies. In that case, you choose what is available. If both companies have the test, do some reading on forums and choose one.
Generally speaking, you get a text book and study it. Many subjects have dedicated CLEP study guides or CLEP text books. For math tests, I would highly recommend Khan Academy.
It would also be a good idea search online forums for other people's recent experiences with the test. For example, the Public Speaking test requires you to submit a video taped speech. Apparently one of the most important things is that the speech be within the time limit.
Additional tips below under specific tests.
Here is a PDF document of the exams that most Florida colleges and Universities will accept from Facts.org. However, just because a school will accept your credit does not mean that it will help you graduate.
The following recommendations are specifically for Palm Beach Atlantic University (because that's where I work) nursing students:
"I bought an AP Psychology prep book, and read it diligently while also taking notes on it. I then got on quizlet.com and used the flashcard for the Intro to Psychology Clep Test to practice my vocab. I studied about 2 hours a day for 2 1/2 weeks. I scored a 53 on the test.
As far as the test is concerned, a majority of it was giving you a scenario and you are asked what psychology concept is being used in the scenario. If you understand the vocabulary for Psychology, you should be able to successfully take the test. After taking the test, I reviewed what I studied, the only other thing I wish I had done, is there is a plastic card sold at Barnes n Noble for Intro to Psychology, it has every psychology vocab word used on the test." -- C.B., 2012, Freshman Nursing Student
"The Lifespan Psychology test was quite simple for me to study and pass. I bought the review guide for this test and read the book in about 3 weeks. It was an easy read because the previous fall I had taken General Psychology which was a solid foundation to Lifespan. The material was not too difficult to understand and majority of it was interesting for me. I passed this test with a score of 59, in which passing is 50." --T.M., 2012 Freshman Nursing Student
"Principles of Statistics however was much more difficult for me [than Lifespan Development]. I had never taken any statistics classes and therefore I was not able to understand it as well. Not having a teacher or tutor for an unfamiliar subject can be very frustrating at times. I researched the test and found many people suggesting “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Statistics” as a good research that simplified the material. I found the book to be very helpful despite the difficult content. I passed the DSST test with a 447 with the passing score of 400. --T.M., 2012 Freshman Nursing Student