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College Composition Modular CLEP
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Free College Composition Modular CLEP Study Guide

Name of Exam: College Composition Modular CLEP

Number of Questions: 90

Time Limit: 90 Minutes

ACE Recommended Passing Score: 50

Practice Test Available?: Yes - Click here

Cost: $80 + Sitting Fee (Usually no more than $20) at your testing site. Military can take CLEPs for free with Tuition Assistance. Check with your Educational Officer!

Difficulty 1-5 : 2
(One being the easiest, and five being the hardest)

Alternatives: StraighterLine English Composition I and II

Exam Description:

The College Composition Modular CLEP tests your ability in identifying errors in existing sentences and passages.

You will need to have a basic understanding of good sentence structure, but will not necessarily be asked to explain "why" you chose the answer you did.

Note that the College Composition Modular CLEP has two "optional" essays. If your school doesn't require you to take these, then you'll probably never even notice them. If your school does require you to have an essay along with the CLEP, after looking at this study guide, take a look at the College Composition CLEP Study Guide where I go into more detail about these exams.

Personal Thoughts:

Back in 2010, CollegeBoard got rid of the old English Composition CLEP, the English Composition w/ Essay CLEP, and the Freshman College Composition CLEP. They replaced those three with two new CLEP exams - the College Composition CLEP (has essays) and the College Composition Modular CLEP (no essays).

If I had to take a guess at why they did this, it's probably due to the Freshman College Composition CLEP overlapping so much with the old English Composition CLEPs. It was rare that you would find a school that would accept credit for both Freshman and English Composition. I guess someone decided it would be easier just to start with a clean slate.

The good news is that the material hasn't really changed that much. It still covers the basics of sentence structure, your ability to revise sentences to make them clearer, and even your skills at using source materials.

For the sentence structure portion, the College Composition Modular CLEP tests your knowledge of how to put together a sentence and/or paragraph. "How" is the key word there. It tests you on "How" you put the sentences and paragraphs together, not "Why" you put them together. So, first it will give you a sentence like:

"Bob and Mary, went to the mall because he wanted to buy shoes but didn't have enough money so they play video games instead."

The College Composition Modular CLEP will then give you a list of choices with various corrections made to the previous sentence. It will be your task to choose the correct choice that inserts the proper punctuation and correct any syntax errors that may have been included.

You've probably taken exams like this before. It will give you a list of sentences and paragraphs, and you must correct what's wrong. So to hit you with a bunch of grammatical terms; you'll be asked to correct errors in the following: sentence boundaries, active and passive voice, diction and idiom, clarity of expression, and verb tense.

Now here's the important part about the College Composition Modular CLEP - You won't just be asked to define those terms. You will need to understand what they are so you can use them to correct the example work you're given on the test. So it's not enough to know what they are. You have to know how they're used too. Is that explanation any clearer? I certainly hope so.

In the non-essay version of the College Composition Modular CLEP, the object is to correct someone else's writing rather than your own. You will often be asked to read a passage or paragraph written by an author. A series of questions will then test your ability to improve that work and make it more readable. If you read in your spare time, most of the errors will jump off the page. If you don't read that much, you'll probably need some brushing up.

Exam breakdown:

According to the College Board website, the College Composition Modular CLEP (without essay) exam is broken down as follows:

10% Conventions of Standard Written English
Syntax (parallelism, coordination, subordination)
Sentence boundaries (comma splice, run-ons, sentence fragments)
Concord/agreement (pronoun reference, case shift, and number; subject-verb; verb tense)
Logical agreement
Logical comparison
Lack of subject in modifying word group
Active/passive voice
40% Revision Skills, Including Sentence-Level Skills
Awareness of audience, tone and purpose
Coherence between sentences and paragraphs
Main idea, thesis statements and topic sentences
Use of language
Evaluation of reasoning
Consistency of point of view
Sentence-level errors primarily relating to the conventions of standard written English
Level of detail
Consistency of point of view
Sentence variety and structure
Rhetorical effects and emphasis
Evaluation of author's authority and appeal
Sentence-level errors primarily relating to the conventions of standard written English
25% Rhetorical Analysis
Evaluation of evidence
Rhetorical effects
Use of language
25% Ability To Use Source Materials
Chicago Manual of Style, APA, MLA (know these)
Use of reference materials
Evaluation of sources
Integration of resource material

Areas of Study

  • Critical Reasoning
  • Proper Use of Punctuation
  • Proper Verb Tense
  • The use of Capital Letters
  • Subject/Verb Agreement
  • Independent and Dependent Clauses
  • Pronouns
  • Active and Passive Voice
  • Parallelism
  • Dangling Modifiers
  • Prepositions
  • MLA, APA, Chicago Manual of Style

Free study resources

Connecticut Community College - There used to be a website hosted on Yahoo that had over 50 sample questions. I used it for my own study, and it was great. Unfortunately it vanished. The good news is that I found this one instead and it has a TON of outstanding quizzes. Literally start at "1" and work your way down.

If you can answer these backwards and forwards, you should feel ready to take the exam! I'm jealous that I didn't find it sooner. :P

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) - Some very good information here. Don't get too far down in the weeds with the reading. Stick to the more basic topics on the right side of the screen.

The Grammar and Mechanics section will probably be your best bet for the non-essay version of the College Composition Modular CLEP. Reviewing this section will make spotting the errors in the example sentences all the easier.

Citing Sources - Ah Purdue, I'm really liking what you did here. See this link for the Research and Citation Resources section of the Purdue Online Writing Lab. Has links to all of the manuals of style and you should also read up on the Conducting and Using Research sections as well.

How to Identify the Argument of an Essay - A great document that walks you through the steps of identifying an argument. (clicking the link will download the word document) A hat tip to Dr. Ron Milon for posting this on his site.

Commas, Colons, and Semicolons, Oh My! Also a good article on how to put together a decent paragraph. It deals with subject ordering, and making smooth transitions. Know this because you'll be asked to critique and fix a few paragraphs.

The Elements of Style - A book originally written in 1918, it covers most of the common mistakes people make while writing. I only used it for chapters 9 through 18, as those applied to paragraph construction. Glancing briefly through the first half of the book; it appears to be just as valuable as the latter half.

Recommended bargain-priced study resources

Always check your library first! You may be able to find some of these for free. You don't have to buy the officially recommended resources all the time. If you're the type of person that prefers to study from a textbook source however, then please see below.

Also note: I'm including some old resources here for the English and Freshman Composition CLEPs. That's because the material is basically the same and you can get them for cheap. That being said, you will need a supplemental study resource for the new exam when it comes to referencing source material. That isn't included in the old study guides. My advice would be to just read up on APA, MLA, etc. Do this and you should be fine.

CLEP College Composition & College Composition Modular w/CD-ROM (CLEP Test Preparation) - The new REA guide for the College Composition series of CLEPs.

CLEP Freshman College Composition (REA) - The Best Test Prep for the CLEP Exam (Test Preps) - Library on base for the win! Make sure you check your local library before laying down the money for this one, but it does a great job preparing you.

InstantCert Academy - College Composition Modular Specific Exam Feedback - This is linking to the old English Composition CLEP, but they do have a new thread for the College Composition CLEP as well. Five pages of study notes, specific topics of study, and after action reports from returning test-takers. The community has done a great job with this particular thread. Definitely check out the Flashcards! They're for the old English Composition CLEP, but much of the material still applies here.

If you don't know what InstantCert is, then click here for the scoop as well as a discount code: **InstantCert Academy**

You'll find an InstantCert link for every exam here if that gives you an idea of the amount of information they have available. It's an outstanding resource.

Closing Thoughts

Much like the old English Composition CLEP, this is not a terribly hard exam. In fact, for the last three years I've left the English Composition CLEP study guide up since they cover the exact same material. Unfortunately, I was also receiving at least five Emails a week asking where the College Composition Modular CLEP study guide was. Here you go folks, sorry it took so long.

Make sure you know the rules for punctuation. I found the questions dealing with verb tense, point of views, and coherence pretty simple. If you've ever thought to yourself, "This isn't written very well" while reading a book (or this study guide), then you'll probably be fine on this exam as well. In the end, it's about identifying what's wrong, and making it right again. Also, remember that the new exam has a section on source materials and how to reference them. Know how to reference your source material before taking this test and you'll score some free points.

One of the downsides of typing this study guide is that it forced me to review all the writing resources I had copied down from last year. Now I'm counting how long my sentences are and making careful use of commas again. /grumble.. See how I suffer for you? ;)

This exam is worth six credits, though many schools will only award the full amount if you've completed the essay portion. See the College Composition CLEP Study Guide if you plan on going that route.

Best of luck!

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