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American Government CLEP
Free Study Guide!

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Name of Exam: American Government CLEP

Number of Questions: 100

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

Exam Description:

The American Government CLEP covers the workings of the United States political system to include all three branches of government. The exam covers items such as the U.S. Constitution, policy processes of the federal government, civil liberties, political parties and interest groups, the federal court system.

Personal Thoughts:

Hopefully you didn't pick this one at random! For most people, the American Government CLEP is one of the more difficult Humanity exams that CLEP offers. History is my forte', and I'm also a rabid reader and long-time fan of the West Wing. I don't need to study right? Wrong! ;) After just skimming through the material I passed with a 50, which was a pleasant suprise. By the end of the exam I was sure I had failed.

A pass is a pass, but I don't like cutting things that close. After the exam I went through the recommended material just because the score offends me. Don't be like me. Study the material first, then take the exam. You know.. like any normal person would do.

If you need to take History of the United States I CLEP or the History of the United States II CLEP then you may want to do so before taking American Government. They overlap somewhat, so you may pick up some knowledge in studying for those two exams that will come in handy for this one. That's often the case with CLEPs and DSSTs/DANTES. If you take the exams in the right order, you can cut down on a lot of duplicate studying.

If you live and breathe our political process, and know the US Constitution inside and out, then you should be fine. If that isn't you, then you'll need to dedicate some time to this one. Take a look at the breakdown below, along with the specific areas to study. Then decide how much time you'll need to set aside for each area.

Exam breakdown:

According to the College Board website, the American Government CLEP exam is broken down as follows:

30%-35%Presidency, Congress, bureaucracy, Institutions and Processes
15%-20% Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, and Federal Courts
15%-20% Interest Groups and Political Parties
10%-15% Political Beliefs and Behavior
15%-20%Constitutional Underpinnings of American Democracy

Areas of Study

The US Constitution - Know this, especially the Amendments and Bill of Rights

The Judicial Branch - An extremely informative breakdown of the different types of courts. Read the entire thing! Know which cases go to which courts, the appeals process, and each court's area of responsibility.

Landmark Supreme Court Cases 1 - These are important to know as well. Know the rulings, as well as the reason the rulings were made.

Landmark Supreme Court Cases 2 - Same as above, in more detail.

The Executive Branch - Know the responsibilities and powers for the entire branch.

Senate Legislative Process - Know how it works, term limits, powers, and it's place in the legislative process.

House of Representatives Legislative Process - Know how it works, term limits, powers, and it's place in the legislative process.

Political Parties in the United States - A fun bit of reading as well as educational. Bet you haven't heard of most of these.

Different Departments of the Federal Government - A ready resource to find out more information about the departments of the US Government. Study the major ones, such as Treasury, Justice, State, ect. This site has a ton of good information on the different branches of government as well. You'll need to know these for the American Government CLEP.

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.

American Government CLEP Quick Prep Package - Our own study package for the American Government CLEP exam. 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.

American Government (Cliffs Quick Review) - I'd supplement this with our Quick Prep Package or Instant Cert (see below). If you upgrade the book for $1 through Amazon, you can read it online immediately while it's being shipped. I'm all about instant gratification, hence my love of CLEP exams!

Government in America: People, Politics, and Policy, Brief 8th Edition - If "Brief" means 686 pages, then I'd hate to see the extended version. Normally this textbook goes for around $90, but the 8th edition is on sale right now at Amazon for $8 (yes, eight dollars).

The Standard Deviants DVD - American Government 2-pack - Check with your local library first, since the Standard Deviants series is starting to be stocked more and more. Your library may have it in VHS, but at least you can save a few dollars. If not, here's a link. This is by far one of the best resources for the American Government CLEP. Watch these, take notes, and with a little supplemental studying of the below you should be golden.

InstantCert Academy - American Government Specific Exam Feedback - If you plan on only taking this CLEP and are low on cash, then I'd hold off and pick up our Quick Prep Package or Cliffs Quick Review instead. If you're planning on taking multiple exams though, InstantCert is a great value. If you're already a subscriber, then you should also check out the Flashcards.

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 American Government CLEP is definitely passable, you just need to give it the proper attention. Don't walk into this one cold unless you live politics in our country. All in all, there are easier CLEP exams out there, but if you absolutely have to have this one then with the above resources you can pass. Consider picking up our Quick Prep Package for this exam as well. It's ridiculously cheap for everything you get, and we've worked hard to make sure it contains what you need for this CLEP.

Best of luck!

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