1/4/17 – College Algebra & Trigonometry

In the spirit of knocking out any potential math credits for $19.95 total, I decided to take College Algebra and Trigonometry today on ALEKS. This leaves only Intro to Statistics.

College Algebra wasn’t that much harder than the last two algebra assessments, but Trig was tough. I managed an 84% on the initial assessment for College Algebra. Trig, on the other hand, required a lot more reading and studying, but I still managed a 73% on the initial assessment.

Math is a strong subject for me, but I still can’t wait for it to be over.

I have a bunch more Saylor classes I can take, but I will need to start researching some other options like CLEP, DSST and Straighterline. More on that in the next few days.

If you throw out Beginning Algebra, that’s 14 credits in 4 days. Not a bad start.


1/3/17 – Saylor, ProctorU, and Principles of Management

So my plan was to take another ALEKS assessment, but the other two are still showing “Pending Organization Review” in ACE. I decided to hold off from taking another assessment until those are showing complete.

In the meantime, I decided to take an exam through Saylor Academy. They offer all of their content for free, the only thing you need to pay for is to have an exam proctored for credit. ($25 per exam)


Since I’m currently in management, I decided to go for Principles of Management. The reading for this class is so voluminous I can’t imagine how long it would take someone to read it all. If it wasn’t on a topic I was already comfortable with, I’m not sure I would have gone forward with it, and might have selected another exam.

To prepare, I took the quizzes at the end of each section, took the practice exam (72%) and then decided to take the proctored exam right away while it was fresh in my mind.

To take the proctored exam, you need to go to ProctorU. Again, I was able to sign up in a few minutes on my phone, but it might be easier from a desktop or laptop.


I splurged for the additional $25 “fast track” since I plan to take a bunch of exams there and have a very busy schedule. I created a “Ucard” in a few minutes to make life easier and scheduled my exam for 8:30pm. I was done by 9:10pm. I would say that I nailed the theory of the content, but didn’t know some of the management pioneers by name as well as some of the acronyms.

I scored a 71%. Made it, barely, but 3 more credits down for $50 and maybe 3-4 hours. Hopefully more ALEKS tomorrow.


1/2/17 – Ethics 312, The Institutes

Since I am ahem, frugal, I wanted to stick with free or nearly free sources of credit as long as possible. It would be nice to knock out a semester’s worth of credit spending only $19.95.

The Institutes provides a free learning module on Ethics and the CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter) Code of Professional Conduct. There are two options – I chose the free one, as I am not looking for CE (Continuing Education) credit.


It is a ton of information and not exactly a breeze, but I was able to get through it in about four to five hours and pass with 42 of 50 correct answers (84%). There isn’t much of a way around it other than to read through all the modules and take the test at the end.

When you’re finished, don’t forget to head back over to ACE and request credit for the test.

Two days & three exams down and I’ve only spent $19.95. Tomorrow – more ALEKS.

1/1/17 – ACE & ALEKS

It’s the first day of the new year and I want to complete my degree as quickly and inexpensively as possible. To accomplish this, I plan to take as many credit-granting tests as possible. Since I’m not enrolled at a college yet, I need a place to “store” all those credits – a transcript.


Luckily, the American Council on Education “ACE” does just this. I registered at the ACE CREDIT website in about five minutes on my phone, although I would recommend doing it on a desktop or laptop. I plan to use this system to keep track of many of my completed tests. Later on, for a small fee, they’ll send my transcript to the university I plan to graduate from.

Now, I’m not one to wait to take action, so I wanted to take a test right away to get started and prove that I can do this. I went over to Aleks.com and got signed up to knock out some math requirements. You pay a $19.95/month monthly fee but can take as many assessments as you want. To receive ACE credit, you need to manage a 70% or greater on each course. Here are more detailed instructions.

Once registered, you assign yourself to a class and take an initial assessment to see how much you know and how much you need to learn. If you get 70% or greater on this initial assessment, you’re done! You can go right to ACE and request credit for the course.

My goal is to knock out all the math-related assessments I can get credit for in the first 30 days then cancel my subscription.

In high school, I made it all the way through Calculus, but it’s still been about 15 years since I’ve taken any algebra. I brushed up quickly using a couple of online resources (which I’ll talk about more later) and managed an 83% on Beginning Algebra and 72% on Intermediate Algebra.

Bam, done. A couple hours factoring equations, calculating slopes of lines and distributing exponents and two tests are done. 6 credits. (Based on the major I’m planning, I probably won’t be able to use Beginning Algebra, but that doesn’t mean you can’t – more on that later.)


1/1/17 – Hello, World!

Hi, my name is Brian and I’m 33 (almost 34). I’m married, have two daughters (8 & 10), have a great management job, a house, and I’ve got my health. I lead a happy life and am grateful for everything I have. Last year I published a book. This year, I’m going to get my bachelor’s degree, which I plan to chronicle in this blog.


I graduated high school in Pennsylvania in 2001 and went to a private University for mechanical engineering. I took way too many credit hours and didn’t have much discipline at the time, so I quickly dropped out. I planned to continue my studies at the local community college and transfer back into a 4 year program later on.

Once I got home, I started working as a mechanic and enjoyed what I was doing. I got married and moved to North Carolina in 2005 and had my first daughter in 2006. My career has progressed quickly from technician to service advisor to service manager at a new car dealership. I always wanted to go back to school but “never got around to it.”

Over the years, I wasn’t able to apply for some jobs because I didn’t have a bachelor’s degree. Also, I’ve wanted to pursue an MBA for some time now, which is next to impossible without an undergraduate degree.

I was searching on the internet and came across a few sites like bain4weeks.com and degreeforum.net, and realized you didn’t need to get into tens of thousands of dollars in debt, take time off from work, or even physically sit in a classroom to earn a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university.

Everybody’s situation is different, so this will not be a one-size-fits-all plan for everyone. My plan is to post daily for an entire year (maybe less?) until I’ve earned my bachelor’s degree. I hope my story helps you in some way to earn your degree or help someone you know to earn theirs.

I hope you follow along and feel free to comment or ask questions. I’m happy to help. If you’ve read this far, thank you and welcome to my one year bachelor’s degree blog.