Friday, July 16, 2010

I finish my CLEP tests!

I have taken English Literature (72), College Mathematics (79), College Algebra (77), Social Sciences and History (75), American Government (63), History of the US II 1865-present (63), Introductory Psychology (70), Principles of Macroeconomics (69), and Western Civilization II 1648-present (63) for a total of 36 college credits! All tests are scored from 20 to 80 with a passing score of 50.

I was quite proud of myself on today's test. While in Dallas for the US Chess School I broke out in a itchy red full body rash: really horrible and I couldn't stop scratching myself. I went to a doctor yesterday and he told me it was an allergic reaction and gave me a steroid injection + pills and took my blood to test it. (I suspect it will turn out to be walnuts, because I've been eating a crazy amount of them lately.) In any case, before it got so bad that I went to the doctor, I had been self-medicating with antihistamines, to try to reduce my body's freak-outy-ness.

Then on the psychology test today, I was asked what a histronic personality disorder is, and I realized "hist" might mean "things that come out of you" and correctly chose the answer of someone who is inappropriately flamboyant, attention seeking, or hypersexual.

I would like to thank Josh from, who gave me a free trial of their CLEP prep program. I thought it was quite good. (I wouldn't have spent the 3-4 hours I did with it if it wasn't decent.) For $9.95 for the first month, it's a much better deal than the official CLEP guide (=completely worthless).

The format is a series of fill in the blank questions, which I liked because I think the presentation makes you think more than multiple choice and there were a lot of questions for each test. I did a couple hours and didn't get past 1.5% finished in any of the four subjects I was studying. (Hilariously, I studied for the sociology test and then took the psychology one without realizing it until now. I guess that explains why I thought that study guide was the least effective:))

I only had two complaints: a lot of the fill in the blank questions referring to people give you half a person's name, and that makes it too easy. For example, if a question starts "Emile _____, blah blah," you already know it's either Zola or Durkheim, because who else is there? Or try this one:

George Frideric ____ (1685-1759) was a well known German-born British Baroque composer of opera seria and concerto grossi, such as Dixit Dominus, Messiah, and Rodrigo.

I didn't even read past the first two words. Not all their name-that-person questions do this, however.

My other complaint is that if you know nothing about a subject (it turns out I know nothing about continental European history), it would be nice to have an executive summary somewhere (thank you, wikipedia). Piecing together historical movements and their backlashes from a series of shuffled questions is not easy. (although you can check or uncheck the 'shuffle questions' function) Maybe they could add a "major treaties," "major figures," and "vocabulary" sections. Or have a brief explanation of important ideas: what happens when the Fed buys bonds or lowers interest rates.

But for $9.95, it's great.

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