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Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP
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Information Systems & Computer Applications CLEP Study Guide

Name of Exam: Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP

Number of Questions: 100

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 : 4
(One being the easiest, and five being the hardest)


Exam Description:

The Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP covers the material normally learned in an Introductory Business college class. It will test your knowledge not on a particular brand of computer or program, but rather your understanding of the underlying workings of that system or application.

Personal Thoughts:

I hereby declare, for reasons of brevity, the occasional renaming of "Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP" to "Information Systems CLEP" effective immediately! Whew! Now we can move on without my fingers falling off.

The Information Systems CLEP (See how much easier that is?) covers just what the name says. The full name that is, not the shortened one. So why is it a number "4" on the difficulty meter? Well, for three reasons.

  1. Computers didn't really catch on with the public until the last decade. Most people these days understand a spreadsheet, but have no idea what CMOS, DSS, or what a WAN is.
  2. This exam is outdated, and tests on some computer technology and terminology that haven't been used in fifteen to twenty years. Unless you're a no-life having computer geek *cough* me *cough*, you'll probably need to study for this even if you're a little computer savvy.
  3. It's not written that well. Without trying to sound mean, the questions read like they were written by an academic. This is the type of person who uses "microcomputer" instead of "personal computer" or even better yet, "it's a freaking PC". This causes some of the questions to be confusing to the layperson when it's actually looking for a simple answer.

All of that being said, it's not a difficult CLEP exam to study for. In addition to CollegeBoard's list of topics below, I'm going to list some of the other terms you'll need in this study guide. Instant Cert also has some good flashcards for this exam, and Peterson has a practice CLEP test as well. With all of these resources, you shouldn't have a problem passing this one in style.

Exam breakdown:

According to the College Board website, the Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP is broken down as follows:

30%IT Applications in Organizations
20%Computer/Telecomm Hardware and Hardware Functions
20%Information Processing Management
15%Computer Software and Programming
10%Data Management
05%ocial/Ethical Implications and Issues

Areas of Study

I'm going to break down the percentages above with the topics that fall under each category. This should allow you to decide what you need help with, and only study those areas in which you feel a little weak. Less wading through masses of resources, and more targeted studying.

Please read the comments next to each link. I include them to target what exactly in the link you need to study. For the ones without a comment, I feel it's pretty self explanatory. For this particular CLEP, much of it will be self explanatory.

Information Technology Applications in Organizations
(30% of the Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP)

Information Processing Management
(20% of the Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP)

Computer/Telecom Hardware and Hardware Functions
(20% of the Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP)

  • Processors - The local college proctor actually showed me this site. She was going to take a graduate level computer course with no prior computer experience. She credits this site to helping her pass the class. Coincidentally, it covers much of the information we'll need for the Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP. Read the entire lesson on processors.
  • Storage Devices - Again, read the entire lesson.
  • Data Entry Devices - Pretty intuitive, but use the lesson to brush up.
  • Telecommunication Devices - Read this section and then hit "Next" at the bottom, which leads you right into....
  • Network Devices - A decent write up on this section. Make sure you hit "Next" at the bottom and read up on the software side as well.
  • Output Devices
  • Local Area Network
  • Wide Area Network
  • WAN and LAN's - If the above two links are a bit too deep, try this one on for size.
  • Mainframes - It's an in depth explanation, but I like this one even more because it lists all the different types.
  • Client/Server Architectures - Good stuff

Computer Software/ Programming
(20% of the Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP)

Data Management
(20% of the Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP)

  • Databases - Yes I know this isn't on the CollegeBoard list, but we're going to get this out of the way now. Just go through this entire page and then the Database Tutorial at the very bottom (including all four projects). You don't have to actually "do" the projects, but at least read the steps. If you do this, you should be almost certainly able to answer any database question this CLEP throws your way.
  • Data Structures
  • Database Management System
  • Hypertext
  • Hypermedia
  • SQL - People make good livings doing this, so we're not looking to go too deeply into the subject. You will need to understand the Queries section as you will mostly likely get asked about it on the Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP.
  • Document File Formats - I'd recommend going through the common formats at least once.
  • Document Images

Social/Ethical Implications and Issues
(5% of the Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP)

  • Economic Effect - I honestly have no idea what they're asking for here. I never got quizzed on this on my version of the Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP, but here's a pretty lengthy essay on the subject.
  • Privacy Concerns - Of note is the date this was written. Interesting that the concerns haven't changed that much since then.
  • Intellectual property rights and legal issues

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.

CLEP / AP Courseware - Information Systems & Computer Applications - Not much out there for this exam. If you're going to spend some cash on this, I'd suggest InstaCert and using the flashcards. If you just "have" to have a book in your hands though, here you go.

InstantCert Academy - Information Systems & Computer Applications Specific Exam Feedback - Three pages of study notes, specific topics of study, and after action reports. Also don't forget to check out the Instantcert Flashcards for the Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP. You may want to hit the flashcards for the Management Information Systems DSST as well since there's some overlap.

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

If you work in IT or work on computers for fun, then with a little brushing up you shouldn't have much of a problem with the Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP. Most of the rough spots are going to be with old technology that isn't in use today. If you're not in IT, then this exam boils down to memorization, which makes it relatively simple if you dedicate enough study to it.

My personal recommendation for those who don't work with computers - Study first, using either the above free resources or InstantCert, and then take the practice exam from the link at the top of this page. See what you're weak on, and hit those areas again. In the end, it's going to come down to how much effort you give your preparation. You can do this!

Best of luck!

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