CLEP GENERAL EXAMS
1. Do the general CLEP exams. If enrolled in Excelsior
College, substitute the ECE exam "English Composition" for
the CLEP "English Composition with Essay".
2. There are five CLEP general exams. Each is worth 6
semester hours credit. Each is 90 minutes in length, split into two 45
minute sections. Successful completion of the five exams will fulfill
freshman year requirements at COSC and TESC. Excelsior students should
substitute ECE "English composition" as noted above.
3. The five exams can be completed in two days of
testing. The exams are:
· English Composition with Essay*
· College Mathematics
· Natural Sciences
· Social Sciences and History
*or ECE English Composition for Excelsior
4. If you have the choice (i.e. not an Excelsior
student), avoid ECE English Composition and go with the CLEP English
composition with Essay, it's far easier, not to mention a lot cheaper. The
ECE English Composition exam is three hours in length and consists of three
one-hour essays. As I remember it, essays are a "contrast and
compare", an advocacy letter/report, and an article critique. There is
no "English interpretation" section in the ECE exam.
As stated, the CLEP English Composition with Essay is 90
minutes in length, and consists of one 45 minute objective English
interpretation section, and one 45 minute essay section. The essay is a
response to some talking point. Mine instructed the examinee discuss what
event or invention he/shethought had the greatest impact on the Twentieth
5. These are general exams and as such cover a very wide
area of, for want of a better term, "general knowledge". Except
in mathematics, I do not know that your chances of passing these exams
would be significantly improved by any sort of cramming, precisely because
the tests are so wide ranging.
I think the best strategy is to try the mock exams and
use the results to guide your study efforts. The shallowness of the tests
mean that much of the knowledge deficit exposed by the mock exams may be
filled by quick reference to information on the world wide web via a
search engine like Google.
For the ECE English Composition exam, you might want to
consider purchasing Excelsior College's proprietary English exam package.
Certainly, you must download and study the mock exam PDF file, available
free from the Excelsior web site. For the CLEP English exam, do the mocks
to get the objective part down pat, then practice writing the 45 minute
CLEP REQUIRED MATERIALS
First off , get hold of the CLEP official study guide
from The College Board. You can buy this at many
bookstores, from amazon.com on the Web, or it can be ordered from College
at 1-800-323-7155. This book has sample questions covering all CLEP general
and subject exams. The questions in this book mirror those you will
encounter in the exams in degree of difficulty and in focus. Alas, most of
the other guides do not.
However, as in the case of the GRE subject exams, there
is one exception. The Princeton Review
Cracking the CLEP. This book covers all five
general examinations with a full complement of questions for each. There
are detailed notes in the answer section. Most importantly, the difficulty
and scope of the tests match (pretty nearly) the genuine article.
The REA offering only serves to mislead. The questions
do not match the difficulty level found in the actual CLEP exams. As with
some of their GRE guides, the questions are a higher order of difficulty
than those found in the CLEP exams proper. This is not simply a matter of
opinion. I have old score sheets of the mock tests taken within a day or so
of each other using the REA tests, the Princeton tests, and the results of
the actual exams. Where REA predicted 50 percentile (a fail or a bare pass)
in Humanities, Princeton indicated 93 percentile; actual was 89 percentile.
REA prediction for Social Science/History 62 percentile, Princeton 99
percentile, actual 99 percentile; Natural Sciences REA 68 percentile,
Princeton 99 percentile, actual 96% and the pattern continues for all the
other exams taken. These are empirical data. The results speak volumes
about the relative utility of the guides.
Note that you don't have to score high in absolute terms
to do well in percentile or scaled-score terms in these exams.For instance,
a raw score of 50 out of 120 will get you a pass in the Natural Science
exam (=500 scaled). That's under 42%. So don't fear that a pass is
unattainable, it is likely comfortably within your reach. Remember that the
passing scores in these exams are meant to reflect the average performance
of a freshman student 18 years old. Cannot speak for others, but at 18 my
main interests and goals in life were sex, booze and getting into show
business. You bring many advantages of experience, maturity and focus to
the fray. You have managed to hold down a responsible job and perhaps have
raised or are raising a family. Most freshman can't keep their room clean!
Get the Official CLEP Guide and the Princeton Review.
Try out the mock exams. If you're scoring greater than 500 scaled score,
sit the exams without further ado. Remember, a pass at 500 yields exactly
the same credit as a pass at 800. There are no grades attached to the
general exams. In the unlikely event you do fail, you can resit the exam
and suppress the failure..... no one will know, or care.
A link to the free exam guide for ECE English
Composition can be found in the BA in 4 weeks main menu
Note that with the move to computer based testing in the U.S., the
standard score ranges for the CLEP general exams has been changed from
200-800 to 20-80. Passing scores at Excelsior College are now 50 for the
CLEP general exams. At TESC, the paper test passing score for the
generals was 500. At COSC, 500 and 470. The pass requirements at these
institutions under the new scoring system will be entered here shortly.
It's a fairly safe bet that they are likely to reflect previous
requirements (around 500) with the end zero lopped off! [i.e. 50]
See the information in the CLEP update page. That page is revised as new information becomes
available, and then as issues and uncertainties over scoring are
resolved, verified information is incorporated into the BA in 4 weeks
CLEP Official Study Guide, The
College Board ~ $20
Cracking the CLEP, Princeton
Review ~ $20
The Best Test preparation for the
CLEP, REA ~ $20
Course Guide for English Composition, Excelsior College