Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I begin my CLEP odyssey!

Today I took the first three of 8 or 10 CLEP (College Level Examination Program) tests. It's like being on a moderately difficult game show where you only have to get 50% to win and you choose the categories. When I have passed thirty hours worth (most tests are 3 credits, some are 6), I move up a "salary step" and make $7,000/year more. (isn't that fantastic!!??) These are the tests:

Composition and Literature

* American Literature
* Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
* College Composition and College Composition Modular
* English Composition
* English Literature
* Freshman College Composition
* Humanities

Foreign Languages

* French Language (Levels 1 and 2)
* German Language (Levels 1 and 2)
* Spanish Language (Levels 1 and 2)

History and Social Sciences

* American Government
* Human Growth and Development
* Introduction to Educational Psychology
* Introductory Psychology
* Introductory Sociology
* Principles of Macroeconomics
* Principles of Microeconomics
* Social Sciences and History
* History of the United States I: Early Colonization to 1877
* History of the United States II: 1865 to the Present
* Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East to 1648
* Western Civilization II: 1648 to the Present

Science and Mathematics

* Biology
* Calculus
* Chemistry
* College Algebra
* College Mathematics
* Natural Sciences
* Precalculus


* Financial Accounting
* Introductory Business Law
* Information Systems and Computer Applications
* Principles of Management
* Principles of Marketing

They are scored 20 to 80 and you need 50 to pass. You can't get credit for the exact same class you took in college. I took American Government (score = 63), History of the United States 1865-present (score=63) and College Algebra (score=77, even though I forgot how to do logs).

CLEP American Government Practice Questions

US Government

1. What is the name of the type of federal grant that gives wide discretion to local officials?

A: fund grant
B: block grant
C: mandated grant
D: revenue-sharing grant
E: categorical grants

2. Whose power is the Bill of Rights intended to restrict?

A: the citizens
B: the President
C: the federal government
D: the Senate
E: the House of Representatives

3. Which amendment to the Constitution specifically outlines the powers delegated to the states?

A: Seventh
B: Eighth
C: Ninth
D: Tenth
E: Eleventh

4. How did political parties nominate presidential candidates until the early nineteenth century?

A: direct election
B: series of state primaries
C: selection by party chairman
D: lottery
E: congressional caucuses

5. Who is responsible for issuing a writ of certiorari?

A: Congress
B: Supreme Court
C: Attorney General
D: President
E: Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

6. According to the Constitution, the members of which body must be chosen by popular election?

A: Senate
B: House of Representatives
C: Supreme Court
D: Cabinet
E: Department of Defense

1. D. Revenue-sharing grants are basically dispersals of federal funds to local officials.
2. C. In the wake of the American Revolution, citizens were unwilling to allow a strong central authority.
3. D. A caucus is a closed meeting in which the members of a political party select a representative.
4. E. A caucus is a closed meeting in which the members of a political party select a representative.
5. B. A writ of certiorari is a higher court's request of a trial transcript.
6. B. The districts represented by the House of Representatives are meant to be equal in population.

US History 1865-present

1. What did the Sixteenth Amendment establish?

A: women's suffrage
B: the Department of Education
C: income tax
D: prohibition
E: direct election of senators

2. Which of the following words characterizes American foreign policy between 1901 and 1920?

A: schizophrenic
B: isolationist
C: apathetic
D: nationalistic
E: disjointed

3. What was the intention of the grandfather clause issued in the 1890s?

A: To prevent non-whites from voting
B: To reduce the voting age to 18
C: To provide health care to senior citizens
D: To avoid conflict between blacks and whites
E: To restrict Native Americans to the reservations.

4. Why were the radio broadcasts of Father Coughlin controversial?

A: They called Franklin Roosevelt a socialist.
B: They were broadcast from Nazi Germany.
C: They used obscene language.
D: They advocated socialism.
E: They were often anti-Semitic.

5. Which of the following statements best expresses the philosophy of Booker T. Washington?

A: African-Americans should acquire their rights by force if necessary.
B: African-Americans should wait and allow rights to be granted them over time.
C: African-Americans do not deserve equal rights.
D: African-Americans should form their own nation in the western United States.
E: African-Americans should help themselves rather than looking for help from others.

6. What was the Democratic response to the oil shortages of the 1970s?

A: an invasion of Iran
B: an emphasis on energy conservation and price controls
C: an embargo against Saudi Arabia
D: a massive shutdown of industry
E: a filibuster on the floor of the Senate

1. C. In Pollock v. Farmer's Loan (1895), the Supreme Court had ruled the federal income tax unconstitutional.
2. D. During this period, the agenda of the United States was to protect its economic interests and expand its influence.
3. A. After establishing extremely strict voting requirements, states declared that individuals whose relatives had voted before 1867 could automatically vote.
4. E. Father (Charles) Coughlin was one of the more popular right-wing speakers during the 1930s.
5. E. In contrast to W.E.B. DuBois, Washington advocated working for equal rights within the preexisting system.
6. B. The 1973 oil crisis began when the OPEC nations declared they would no longer trade with nations that had supported Israel during the Yom Kippur War.

College Algebra

1. A. Isolate the values for y and y2, and determine the values that make the equation true for these variables.
2. C. This problem can be solved in reverse by mentally applying FOIL to the answer choices.
3. B. Distribute the 8 across the parentheses before moving on.
4. D. Determine the value for P and factor in the given subscripts.
5. E. This problem can be simplified to 11 x 4 = 44.
6. D. X-intercepts are the places where the parabola passes through the x-axis.
7. A. This problem can be solved in reverse by mentally applying FOIL to the answer choices.

I take three more on Friday. I'm thinking Macroeconomics, College Mathematics, and maybe Social Sciences and History (it's 6 credits, I'm just not sure what it is). :) Incidentally, I have no idea what question four in the math above is talking about.


John C. Fernandez said...

I'm taking CLEPs for school at NYU now. They're sneaky exams, I must admit.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations for passing your first three CLEP tests, and for your tournament victory.

Math question four asks you to calculate P(9,4), the number of permutations of 9 distinct objects taken 4 at a time. The answer is

P(9,4) = 9!/(9-4)!
= 9x8x7x6
= 3024

es_trick said...

What a great way to earn a 7k raise, since studying for subjects like the ones listed and taking multiple choice exams is almost as much fun as studying chess and playing in tournaments (seriously)!

Unknown said...

CLEP'd out of my freshman year at UMass. Got out in three years only to realize that it was my Dad's way of saving money! I know I couldn't do it it again.

presserp said...

Hi Elizabeth,

I found something of yours on the LIRR tonight. If it is yours, please send me an email at describing what you lost.


Anonymous said...

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Thank the next 5 taxpayers you meet for your raise.

Jason Manion said...


I saw your post here on CLEP, and that's pretty exciting. I've passed 17 different CLEP exams myself, earning about 60 credits with CLEP. I've actually passed all three you are planning to take today. Good luck on those.

I work for an online CLEP preparation company, We offer study guides for most of the common CLEP tests, which are guaranteed to help students earn a passing score. Since you've got several more CLEPs, we'd like to offer you a free trial of our service. Send me an email at, and I'll set you up with a free trial. I'm sure you'll love the study material we offer.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Thank the next 5 taxpayers you meet for your raise.

1) Because teachers don't pay taxes?

2) You're welcome for the roads, the Army, the police, the 50% cut in the top tax rate ofver the past 30 years, etc. etc. etc. ...

Rick Massimo

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Yeah, anon 9:00 am, your comment pissed me off too. I went to Columbia, graduated magna cum laude, scored 2310/2400 on my GREs, decided to become a public school teacher because I was an idealistic young person. I have worked doggedly for 11 years, have in that time won maybe 50 national championships, and all I want is to make $60,000/year. and I have to thank someone?

Also, don't you think it's worth spending a small amount of additional tax dollars to ensure your children are taught by well educated, intellectually engaged people than by complete morons?

Elizabeth Vicary said...

In happier news, I got a 72, 75, and 79 today on the British Literature, Social Sciences and History, and College Mathematics exams!

Anonymous said...

"Also, don't you think it's worth spending a small amount of additional tax dollars to ensure your children are taught by well educated, intellectually engaged people than by complete morons?"

You're talking to someone who probably endorses homeschooling.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

meaning you endorse it or I do? I don't think home schooling is obviously always a bad idea, kinda depends on the education and motivation of the teaching parent. I would do a reasonable job, for example.

Anonymous said...

Meaning I bet Anon 9:00 does.

oddodddodo said...

What I don't understand is why your degree from Columbia and your 2310 on the GRE's and your 11 years of teaching experience don't qualify you for a $60k salary, but taking this multiple choice exam somehow does.

Not that the exams are easy. But the questions you showed us, at least, are more about memorization (and to some extent, test-taking strategy) than about thinking. Neither of those things (ability to memorize and ability to take multiple-choice tests) ranks at the top on my list of qualifications for a school teacher. Empathy, deep understanding of the subject, creativity, ability to challenge the students and be challenged by them -- those rank a lot higher.