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Western Civilization I CLEP
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Free Western Civilization I CLEP Study Guide

Name of Exam: Western Civilization I CLEP : Ancient Near East to 1648

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 Western Civilization I CLEP covers, among other topics, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and the Near East (Eastern Europe and today's Middle East), the Middle Ages, the Reformation and Renaissance, and Europe up until 1648. The knowledge on causes and impacts of major historical events will also be tested.

Personal Thoughts:

The Western Civilization I CLEP is a History Channel watcher's dream come true. If you're the type that watches the History Channel for fun (Hey, what's wrong with that?!?) then you'll blow this test out of the water. Most of the information covered on this exam is the mainstream ancient history that we've all learned in high school.

The reason this one is ranked as a mid-3 on the difficulty scale is due to the memorization that it requires. For someone that doesn't live and breathe history, this exam may pose a challenge due to the sheer amount of information tested upon. There's no real need to worry. The nice thing about History is that it doesn't change much! Once you learn the material, you'll do fine. I suspect that many people will only need a refresh of the topics. Let's take a look at what the exam covers.

Exam breakdown:

According to the College Board website, the Western Civilization I CLEP exam is broken down as follows:

23%-27%Medieval History
15%-17%Ancient Greece and Hellenistic Civilization
15%-17%Ancient Rome
13%-17%Renaissance and Reformation
10%-15%Early Modern Europe
08%-10%Ancient Near East

Areas of Study

  • Feudal Monarchies
  • The Medieval Church
  • Byzantium and Islam
  • Peloponnesian Wars
  • Hellenistic Political Structure
  • The various City-States
  • Religion of Hellenistic Greece
  • The evolution of Rome from Republic to Empire
  • Roman thought and culture
  • Early Christianity
  • Roman Emperors
  • Germanic Invasions
  • Late Roman Empire (Eastern/Western)
  • The Renaissance in Italy
  • The Renaissance outside Italy
  • Protestantism and Catholicism reformed (How?/Why?)
  • The Monarchies of the later European Nations
  • Religious conflicts of the 16th and 17th century
  • Western Discoveries (Impact on countries such as Portugal and others)
  • Commercial Revolution

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.

Free Study Resources

Click on the titles to go to the study resource

Pearson Companion Website - A great resource for Western Civilization. Go down the list on the left side of the page and hit the areas listed above. Each area has summaries and even practice questions.

Quizlet Flashcards for Western Civ I - I see a lot of the needed material in these flashcards, which someone was kind enough to make. Not a standalone resource (you'll need others) but definitely will get you closer to a pass.

Quizlet Western Civ Flashcards - Why are you even reading this? Go study that first link and take the exam already! Just kidding! 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.

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 Western Civilization I The Best Test Preparation for the CLEP Western Civilization I (REA) - This one's a winner from the REA folks. Use this targeted study if you don't have the time to go through all of the William Patterson study guides. If you're an Instant Cert subscriber, you can use the forums and flashcards in conjunction with this to virtually guarantee a pass.

InstantCert Academy - Western Civilization I Specific Exam Feedback - Three pages of study notes, specific topics of study, and after action reports. Be sure to check out the Flashcards for the Western Civilization I CLEP.

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

As mentioned before, this is your basic "bread and butter" Ancient History. There shouldn't be anything here too difficult for most people, though if you have trouble with memorization then you may want to give this some extra time. Hollywood has been kind enough to help us out lately, with such movies as "Troy", and "300". While I wouldn't put too much stock in the accuracy of those films, at least they re-introduced millions of people to Hellenistic Greece.

In all seriousness, pay attention to the truly Ancient History, with the Summarians and early kings such as Sargon and Hammurabi. Know what they did, or what contributions they made along with the kings/empires that followed. You can do it!

Best of luck!

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