Social Sciences and History CLEP
Free Study Guide

Free Social Sciences and History CLEP Study Guide

Name of Exam: Social Sciences and History CLEP

Number of Questions: 120

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 : 3
(One being the easiest, and five being the hardest)

Exam Description:

The Social Sciences and History CLEP is an all-inclusive exam covering the Social Sciences and History disciplines. Rather than concentrate on just one subject like many other CLEP examinations, the Social Sciences and History CLEP touches on many different introductory college courses. Subjects such as US History, Geography, Economics, Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, World History, Political Science, and Western Civilization are all included.

Personal Thoughts:

Not counting the Foreign Language examinations; there are 14 CLEP exams that ACE recommends an award of 6 credits for a successful pass. The Social Sciences and History CLEP is one of these examinations. So let's get the bad news out of the way first. Yes, this exam covers many different subjects. Yes, this means you're going to need to study from a variety of sources.

Now, the good news! This CLEP usually doesn't go into great detail on any of these subjects. If you have taken the other CLEP examinations under the History and Social Sciences category, you could most likely pass this exam without any additional study. That's the route that I took, and it worked for me. After studying for the rest of the Social Sciences and History CLEP's, this was a piece of cake. (You can find a list of those exams on the Clep Exams Home Page)

So what if you haven't taken any of the other exams, and you still need to knock this one out? Well, that means you're going to need to do some studying. Let's take a look at what you'll be covering.

Exam breakdown:

According to the College Board website, the Social Sciences and History CLEP exam is broken down as follows:

17%United States History
15%Western Civilization
08%World History
13%Government/Political Science

Areas of Study

Since this exam covers so many different topics, I've broken them down by subject matter. A few of the topics that you will need to know are:

United States History
(17% of the exam)

  • Colonial Period
  • American Revolution
  • The Civil War/Reconstruction
  • Industrialization
  • Progressive Era
  • First World War
  • The 1920's
  • The Great Depression
  • The New Deal
  • The Second World War
  • The 1950's
  • The Cold War
  • Social Conflicts (1960's-1970's)
  • The Late 20th Century

HippoCampus Online US History II - A good resource for the US History portion. It breaks down the subject matter by topics allowing you to easily find what you need work on. You'll need to hit the link that says "U.S. History Since 1877" as well as the one after that. 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.

Western Civilization
(15% of the exam)

  • Ancient Western Asia
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient Rome
  • European Expansionalism

Norton Companion Website - A great resource for Western Civilization if a little long. You can go through each chapter (though if you do, please take the Western Civ I & 2 and pick up some more credits!).

Quizlet Western Civ Flashcards - Here are some flashcards on Western Civ I. Try the "Test" button if you're feeling confident. You can see all of the Q/A's by scrolling down a bit.

World History - Global Themes, Comparitive Politics, and Interactions
(8% of the exam)

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Europe
  • North America
  • South America

HyperHistory (2,000 files covering 3,000 years of world history - Don't panic on this. Hit the highlights by walking through the seven periods of world history to the right. Or even better yet, use InstantCert to know exactly what to study. ;)

Government/Political Science
(13% of the exam)

  • International relations
  • Consitution and Amendments
  • United States institutions
  • Voting and political behavior

The US Constitution - Know this, especially the Amendments and Bill of Rights. You'll see it again for American Government, as well as both History of the US CLEPS if you take them, so know it well!

(11% of the exam)

  • Cartographic methods
  • Physical geography
  • Population
  • Regional geography

Geography Wikipedia - Everything you need to know all in one place! Concentrate on the topics listed above, but read the entire page and follow the links for the topics. The odds are good that you'll be tested on this knowledge at least once during the Social Sciences and HIstory CLEP.

(10% of the exam)

  • Economic measurements
  • International trade
  • Major theorists and schools
  • Monetary and fiscal policy
  • Scarcity, choice, and cost

CyberEconomics - A great resource for both the Macroeconomics and Microeconomics. Dr. Schenk has truly done a great job with the site. Don't miss the "Who's Who" section on the bottom of the index page. It gives an outstanding timeline for many of the big players in Economics.

Don't read too deeply into this one because it's easy to overdo it. Economics isn't that large a part of the Social Sciences and History CLEP.

(10% of the exam)

  • Group process
  • Major theorists and schools
  • Methods
  • Personality
  • Socialization

Wikipedia - Introductory Psychology - Wikipedia, the bane of paper-grading college professors everywhere. While I wouldn't recommend trying to quote Wikipedia as a source on a term paper, it's still one of the best free research sites on the Internet. Read the main page and then start digging into the specific links.

(10% of the exam)

  • Demography
  • Major theorists and schools
  • Social change
  • Social organization
  • Social stratification
  • Social theory

DelMar College Sociology Site - A professor's study notes gives a brief, but detailed description of sociology.

Introduction to Sociology - An outstanding site for the Introductory Sociology CLEP exam that's got a list of quizzes you can take divided by subject area. I'd hit the ones that match up with the subjects covered on the exam.

(6% of the exam)

  • Cultural anthropology
  • Ethnography
  • Major theorists and schools
  • Methods
  • Paleoanthropology

Anthropology Resource - Another one stop shop for Anthropology! Read the entire article of course, but pay attention and learn the names of the theorists and their theories.

This is not a comprehensive list. I've tried to list the topics you will most likely need to study. It should be obvious looking at the above that the bulk of the test is going to be on History. So really hit those history resources hard!

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.

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.

Cracking the CLEP, 5th Edition (College Test Preparation) - You get quite the bang for your buck with this book. This covers multiple tests, which Social Sciences and History are one of them. It also covers Humanities and Natural Sciences (another two broad but shallow exams), English Composition, and College Mathematics. Definitely worth the money if you plan on taking these exams.

InstantCert Academy - Social Sciences and History Specific Exam Feedback - Three pages of study notes, specific topics of study, and after action reports. Be sure to check out the Flashcards for each of the subject topics.

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 Social Sciences and History CLEP examination is like most of the other 6 credit CLEPs - extremely broad, but very shallow. Obviously you want to study History a lot for this exam. According to College Board, it makes up almost half of the entire exam. I'll say that on my exam, that section was probably closer to 60% of the total, and it was split pretty evenly between US and Western Civ.

This isn't a hard exam. If you're reasonably well read on history, and have an okay understanding of the rest of the topics, you could probably pass with a bare minimum of studying. These are all introductory courses after all. If you are weak on any of these though, I would suggest taking the individual exams first, and then coming back for this one.

If you have your heart absolutely set on taking this, then I'd suggest using the Instant Cert flashcards to do a quick review of each subject. Doing that will almost guarantee you to pass the Social Sciences and History CLEP, and will give you a good shot at passing the individual exams as well. This one's worth six credits, so go get em!

Best of luck!

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