History of the United States I CLEP
Free Study Guide

Free History of the United States I CLEP Study Guide

Name of Exam: History of the United States I CLEP - Early Colonization to 1877

Number of Questions: 120

Time Limit: 90 Minutes

ACE Recommended Passing Score: 50

Practice Test Available?: Yes - Click here

Quick Prep Package 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)

Exam Description:

The History Of the United States I CLEP covers, much like it sounds, the history of the United States from the time of colonization until the year 1877. This includes indigenous people on the continent, early settlement attempts, and the economic and cultural advancements made during that time.

Personal Thoughts:

If you were good at history in school, or enjoy watching the History Channel on TV, this test should not be that difficult. The area that most people have problems with when it comes to history exams is memorizing those blasted dates. The good news about the History Of the United States I CLEP is that there aren't that many dates to memorize. Most of the information that the test is going to be looking for is of the informative sort.

Now that doesn't mean that you should just walk in to take the test without studying! Even if you're good at history tests there are probably some things on here that you've never heard of. You'll see some questions about early colonization, early political parties such as the Whigs and the Loyalist, Native American nations, battles in the War of 1812, and early Reconstruction efforts after the Civil War. If any of these have you scratching your head, then you'll definitely want to check out some of the below study material.

Exam breakdown:

According to the College Board website, the History of the United States I CLEP exam is broken down as follows:

35%Political institutions and the public policy of the time
25%Social developments
15%Cultural and intellectual developments of the period
15%International relations and diplomacy
10%Economic developments

They've also broken down the test into sections based on the time periods that the questions cover.

30%1500 to 1789
70%1790 to 1877

It's obvious which time periods you need to dedicate more study to, but don't neglect the earlier years either. Though it only counts for 30% of the History of the United States I CLEP, you're dealing with a time span of over 280 years. That equals quite a bit of information to absorb.

Areas of Study

A few of the topics that you will need to know are:
  • Major political parties in early America as well as their beliefs and goals
  • The impact of slavery on early America
  • The notable figures of the abolitionist movement
  • Major wars and military actions, and the reasons behind them
  • Demographics in early America and immigrations impact
  • History of the ethnic minorities of the time
  • Major early American authors, painters, and political figures
  • Native American tribes, nations, and noteworthy Native American figures
  • The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights
  • Notable women in early America and their impact on the nation

This is not a comprehensive list. I've tried to list the topics you will most likely need to study.

I would highly recommend you see the Instant Cert Exam Specific forum for a further breakdown of study topics. They've spent years accumulating their lists, which goes into much greater detail. You'll learn about Instant Cert below if you haven't heard of it already.

Free study resources

Click on the titles to go to the study resource

The US Constitution - Know this, especially the early Amendments (up to the 14th) and especially Bill of Rights. You'll see it again for American Government if you take that exam, so know it well!

HippoCampus Online US History 1 - A good resource for the History Of the United States I CLEP. It breaks down the subject matter by topics allowing you to easily find what you need work on. Look below "Simulations" and check out the "U.S. History before 1877" lesson.

Listing of US Presidential Elections - The US History I CLEP is probably going to ask you some questions about certain US Presidential Elections. For example, they may ask what was so significant about the election of 1820, or who won the election of 1804. The above link takes you to the History Channel's excellent resource on Presidential Elections. I'd be familiar with this page up until the 1870's.

HistoryTeacher.net Free Quizzes - I love this teacher. She created quizzes for students and put them online. They are free to take and cover a majority of the information you will need for this test.

Quizlet US History Cards - A pretty comprehensive set of flashcards for the material covered in the US History I CLEP. I'd use it in conjunction with other materials.

US History Online Textbook Index - US history.org, a website dedicated to teaching US history. Among its many other features, this website also includes a free online textbook.

List of conflicts in the US - You'll want to concentrate on the conflicts that happened until 1877, but this is a good place to start. Make sure to look at the notable figures, have an idea of what the conflict was about, and what terms and treaty (if any) ended the conflict. You don't need to dive into the individual battles too much, but I'd know the larger and well-known ones.

List of political parties in the US - Again, concentrate on the ones that fall within the scope of this exam. You'll likely see a few questions on the parties' beliefs, as well as notable members.

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.

History of the United States I CLEP Quick Prep Package - Our own Quick Prep Package for the History of the United States I CLEP. Need those credits fast and don't have time to do all the research? We've done the work for you right here. Get our Quick Prep Sheet for this exam, two additional full-length practice tests, and even a mp3 file to study from. It's quick, it's cheap, and it's guaranteed to help you pass.

The CLEP History of the United States I w/CD (REA) - The Best Test Prep for the CLEP (Test Preps) - Relatively cheap ($23) but covers the material well, targeting exactly what needs to be targeted and leaving out most of the fluff. Includes a CD with practice exams. Without a doubt will improve your test score.

Making America: A History of the United States, Volume A: To 1877, Brief -Amazon to the rescue again! The normal price for this textbook is over $100, but by selecting a slightly older edition and looking in the used bin we can get it for only $13.

InstantCert Academy US History I Specific Exam Feedback - This is an exam where InstantCert really pays off. Many of the forum members have broken down exactly what the exam is looking for by topic. You'll find most of these in the Specific Feedback section of the forums, but you can also find some free material in the general discussion forums. If you're a member of InstantCert already, don't miss the flash cards! Know these backwards and forwards along with our Quick Prep Package and you should have no problems with this exam.

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

The History Of the United States I CLEP - Early Colonization to 1877 is one of the easier tests that is covered on this website. As always, you're going to want to study, but most people can pass this CLEP by doing so for about a week. Use the study material above and pick yourself up another three humanities credits!

Best of luck!

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