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Thread: Degree Plan – BS Math Major at Excelsior

  1. #11
    NAP is offline Emperor / Empress
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    Nov 2008


    Thanks irnbru.

    It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one excited about this adventure.

    For Statistics, the math major at EC requires intermediate/upper-level and calculus based. I don’t think the DANTES Statistics is that high. Would you agree?

    I think it’s amazing that you and others are able to do this on an international level. I’m sure it has its own challenges but the fact that it’s possible is great. I even got to tell someone who lives in another country about this opportunity this week.

    I’ll look into ALEKS, too. I know it’s a big topic on the board, but I don’t know anything about it, yet.

    I think you’ll have your associate degree pretty quickly and will have to start thinking bigger picture soon!


  2. #12
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    I think Aleks is definitely worth a try. I just couldn't sit at my computer that long doing math, my least favorite subject. I lost patience with it. You seem to have a more agreeable and patient temperament than I do, so it is likely you would do better.

    NAP and I already discussed some updates to her plan via PM, but she asked me to share what I said, just in case there are any lurkers who are thinking of doing what she is doing so here's what I said:

    1) CLEP Analyzing and Interpreting Literature. I would recommend this exam for almost every degree plan. Of all the CLEP exams, this is nearly the easiest 6 LL credits most people can pick up along the way. It's just a big reading comprehension exam, and I think you can pass it as long as you have good reading speed and if you don't get impatient with poetry. Like you have already pointed out, if you pass this one it will save you some time that you can then use to work on your GRE or foreign language study instead.

    2) U.S. History I & II, DSST Civil War and Reconstruction. For you, I think this is a good line-up. Put American Gov. in there too, but take it after U.S. History I & II. If you pass those three exams, then I think you can attempt the upper level DSST CW&R, which was almost my exact lineup for those, and I studied three weeks for CW&R, after passing U.S. History I, II, American Gov., and SS & History. I do not think American Gov. counts as a history exam, but all these exams do:

    CLEP Western Civilization I--3LL
    CLEP Western Civilization II --3LL
    DSST Intro to the Middle East--3LL
    DSST Rise & Fall of the Soviet Union--3UL
    DSST A History of the Vietnam War --3LL
    DSST Western Europe since 1945--3LL

    So, taking any one of those will give you a depth in history. Then maybe you could carve out one of the GREs or a foreign language from your plan. This will cost a little bit more, but it will decrease your stress level, study time, and most important of all, you will be closer to a degree in less time. Don't forget that the whole point of this is to get your degree. You can learn anything else you want at your leisure after--master 20 languages and take all the GREs, but why not just get one degree first? I don't want to rain on your parade, but I do want to see you get that degree and go on to your bigger goal of a Master's.

    3) I had no idea about what lower level math exams duplicated, thanks to inrbru for answering that more clearly than I ever could have.

    So, after these adjustments, your plan will look something like this:

    English Composition I course - 3 credits *

    Spanish course – 4 credits *
    One Foreign Language --Your choice--CLEP – 6/12 credits--For now, learn just one language really well, instead of two or three adequately, and aim for all 12 credits
    CLEP Analyzing and Interpreting Literature--6LL

    Social Sciences/History
    US History I CLEP – 3 credits *
    US History II CLEP – 3 credits
    CLEP American Governmemt--3LL
    DSST Civil War & Reconstruction--3UL
    DSST Rise & Fall of the Soviet Union--3UL--your first depth would be met here with any history exam listed above, but this one is upper level and will give you a bit more breathing room for upper level credit on the GREs

    Natural Sciences/Math
    College Algebra course – 3 credits *
    Astronomy DANTES – 3 credits
    Biology CLEP – 6 credits
    Chemistry CLEP – 6 credits
    CLEP Natural Sciences--6LL--does NOT duplicate your other exams listed here!(not sure about GRE)
    PreCalculus CLEP – 3 credits
    Calculus CLEP – 3 credits
    Statistics DANTES – 3 credits

    Information Literacy EC course – 1 credit--Penn Foster or LSU Info. Lit for $90, instead of $300 EC charges

    Research and Writing in the Major EC course – 1 credit upper level--Optional--Math and Liberal Studies majors do not require this!

    Major Option/Depth 1/Area of Focus
    Math GRE – up to 33 credits with up to 18/21 upper level--second depth met with a score above 55th percentile--but put your focus here, for all 33 credits if you want to test out of the major. Also, if you pass this and get all 33CR, you could delete one of the other GRE exams from your plan.

    Depth 2/Area of Focus
    Biochemistry GRE – up to 30 credits with up to 18 upper level--just aim for a score above 60th percentile, for 12 LL and 6 UL

    Free Elective/Additional Arts & Sciences
    Computer Science GRE – up to 30 credits with up to 18 upper level--just aim for a score above 55th percentile, for 12 LL and 3 UL

    I am not sure what duplicates, but this is a start. Even if one or two exams duplicate, your cost and workload should not go up more than a few exams, and that wouldn't be too hard to make up the difference, with an easier exam, like DSST Intro. to Law Enforcement. Surely you can take it easy on yourself for just four or five exams, right? The rest of your plan is so strenuous, I doubt that, say, DSST Intro. to Business or something similarly easy will stand out all that much, and some free electives could be fun, maybe for a little variety. After studying hard in one discipline for a long time (gosh all that Calculus!) analyzing a bit of literature might seem like a vacation.

    Good luck, and keep me updated on your progress!
    ~~ Alissa~~
    "Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right." - - Henry Ford
    BS Liberal Studies, Excelsior College May 2009

    Current website favorite:

  3. #13
    NAP is offline Emperor / Empress
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    Wow Alissa! You are truly amazing! Thank you so much for doing all of this for me!

    1. 6 credits for A&I Lit with minimal study sounds great.

    2. History – I was really hoping that American Government would count as history for the depth. Thanks for making a list of my options. I will look into those.

    3. Science – That is good news that the CLEPs won’t cancel each other out.

    4. Math – I’m just the opposite; I could happily do math problems forever, which the math major gives me a good excuse to do.

    I am thinking about bringing the first 60 credits into an associate degree, so even if I lose some overlapping credits with the GREs, they will have counted toward the AS.

    I don’t know yet what I will want to eliminate by using these additions. I’m planning to figure that out as I move along.

    I understand your concerns about foreign languages. In 4 months or less, I could guarantee myself 12 credits. With a foreign language CLEP, I am hoping for 6-12 credits in 2 years time. Since becoming an adult, I don’t let myself do fun things very often (which I consider learning a foreign language to be!). I think getting college credit will be just the incentive I need to allow myself to take the time to learn a language. I am going to do an honest evaluation at 6 months and decide if I’m learning enough to continue to study and get credit.

    Thank you for putting all of these ideas in my degree plan. I hadn’t done that yet. It is especially helpful to see how it affects what I need for the GREs. It provides more breathing room than I had realized.

    Thank you for reminding me to chose carefully where I put my study emphasis. That is good advice.

    This is such a great opportunity that all of us have been given.

    I will definitely be referring to all of this as I work through this process. Thanks again for sharing it with the forum.


  4. #14
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    Default updates

    I’m going to try to keep my degree plan updated so others can follow my progress if they’d like to.

    Also, I posted a separate question about the benefits of enrolling at Excelsior and how to decide when to do so:
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  5. #15
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    Default Social Sciences/History

    US History I (77), US History II (78), Civil War (73=A), American Government (72)
    Astronomy (57=A), Chemistry (67), Biology (77), Natural Sciences (73)
    A&I Literature (78), Information Literacy (pass), NFA Q318 Fire Service Supervision (pass)
    College Math (76), Intro to Computing (72=A), Information Systems & Computer Applications (76), Management Information Systems (73=A)
    Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology GRE score 580, 69th percentile, 12 lower-level and 12 upper-level credits earned
    ALEKS Intro to Statistics (pass), Humanities (67), Substance Abuse (471), Health (479)
    Business Ethics & Society (458), Social Sciences & History (75), Personal Finance (463)
    LSU Analytic Geometry & Calculus I course (A)

    Scroll down for feedback on resources used for each exam.

    US History I CLEP

    This was my first CLEP test. I learned a lot. Thank you all for recommending excellent study materials. I got a 77!

    I plan to study for a month on future tests, but I had some extra time and studied for 6 weeks for this one.

    REA study guide was perfect for this test.
    Barrons EZ 101 filled in extra facts.
    I liked the Resource: A Biography of America videos and website.
    InstantCert was good for review.
    I also had the Official CLEP Guide to make sure I was learning the correct material.
    Peterson’s practice exams were confusing me. I decided to just read through them and was learning the material better that way.

    I plan to use all of the above for US History II. This time I’m going to start by reading the Peterson’s to get an overview of the material and see if that works better for me.

    It seemed like there were more colonial questions than the 30% the guide said. I had studied that a lot so it wasn’t a problem. Don’t skip that time period. I had studied for a harder test, but it did cover some knowledge of every topic.

    I was surprised to learn so much about American Government and the Civil War that I’m thinking about taking the extra time to study for and take those tests, also.

    Update: – I really liked the AP Quizzes for US History II. I wish I had used them for US History I.

    US History II CLEP

    This was my second CLEP test. I learned a lot and studied for 4 weeks. I thought this test was harder than US History I. It took me longer to get through it and I didn’t have time to check for mistakes, so I was surprised to get a 78!

    Thank you all for recommending excellent study materials. I used:

    Peterson’s practice exams – I just read through them to get an overview of the material covered.
    REA study guide seemed too easy for this test, but was a good starting point.
    Barrons EZ 101 was great for extra topics and details.
    Resource: A Biography of America videos
    InstantCert provided info on more topics. – I really liked the AP Quizzes. I wish I had used them for US History I.
    I also had the Official CLEP Guide to make sure I was learning the correct material.

    Even with all of this, I felt like my studying was lacking some depth on certain topics while I was taking the test. It seems that I had learned enough to make lots of educated guesses. Looking more things up on Wikipedia might have helped, too.

    I was surprised to see that Reconstruction is covered on this test also.

    Civil War & Reconstruction DANTES

    This was my first DANTES test. I got a 73, which is an A at Excelsior! I had not even heard of DANTES exams before finding this forum. (They are available for civilians to take.) Thank you all for your help.

    I wasn’t planning to take this exam, but after taking both US History CLEPs, I thought what I had learned for those would be helpful in continuing on to study for the Civil War exam. Also, having several ancestors involved has made this time period interesting to me. I learned a lot and studied for 4 weeks.

    Thank you all for recommending excellent study materials. I used:

    Idiots Guide
    SparkNotes Civil War
    SparkNotes Reconstruction – This had several topics that were not covered elsewhere.
    Ken Burns DVDs and website - The Civil War . The War | PBS
    IC – I should have spent more time on these.
    American Civil War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Quizzes to Test Yourself - This is similar to the AP Quizzes, but there are many more questions. It will help with the basics, but is not as deep as the exam.
    ClassZone - Creating America: Beginnings through Reconstruction
    Civil War Battles Quizzes and Civil War Battles Trivia -- FunTrivia There are a lot of Civil War trivia pages here. This one is for battles. These are fun, but it is too easy to get off track, like what is the name of Grant’s horse? (One was named Cincinnati.)
    Official DSST Fact Sheet (DSST - has 12 sample questions. A couple of the questions were on my exam. There were more battles on my test than what was listed on the fact sheet; they were covered as important battles in the study materials.

    Review materials from US History CLEPs:
    REA has excellent coverage of material in about 30 pages.
    Barrons EZ 101 – AP Quizzes are good for this but there is no coverage of the battles.
    Resource: A Biography of America videos

    I wish I had spent more time looking for some practice exams at textbook websites.

    This exam was not as fact based as I hoped. It helped me to learn the dates so that I had a better idea of the order of events and how they related to each other, but knowing dates was not on my test. I also thought I might need to know the number of casualties and troops at each battle, but that wasn’t on the test either. It just had the total numbers for the whole war.

    I did need to know the second level of generals that made a difference in the battles, not just the main generals. I had trouble with a couple of questions about describing the general’s attitudes/actions.

    Be sure to understand the politics leading to the war, during the war, and during Reconstruction. The Reconstruction SparkNotes was very good, but I still didn’t have enough depth on the consequences of the different reconstruction plans. (What I knew did not match the answers.) Maybe Wikipedia has more.

    There was also a problem with some of the questions missing from my paper-based exam. I posted the details here:

    American Government CLEP

    This was my fourth exam. I passed with a score of 72. I studied for 4 weeks. I am thrilled because it took me 2 years to earn 10 credits through correspondence courses and now I have earned 12 credits in just over 4 months with CLEP/DANTES exams! Thank you all for your help with this!

    I wasn’t planning to take this exam, but after taking both US History CLEPs, I thought what I had learned for those would be helpful in continuing on to study for the Civil War exam and this exam. It did make studying much easier, but it really only helped on a few actual questions.

    Thank you all for recommending excellent study materials. I used:

    CliffsQuickReview book (This is also available for free -
    (New) REA study guide with 2 practice tests
    IC – I liked it for this test for review and because it had different words and meanings than other resources. The other study guides help me put things into context better.
    Friend’s notes from high school class
    Read the Constitution (see link below)

    Reviewed REA for US History I which has excellent coverage of Articles of Confederation and Constitution in about 15 pages.
    Peterson’s practice exams – I actually took these this time and didn’t just read through them. I thought they were helpful.
    I also had the Official CLEP Guide to make sure I was learning the correct material.

    I liked all of these websites, but I didn’t get to spend much time at them:

    U.S. Senate: Reference Home > Constitution of the United States – with explanation

    Quia - 27 Amendments – games

    We the People | 5th Edition - lots of quizzes

    Court Cases Menu

    TheCapitol.Net > Glossary of Congressional and Legislative Terms

    I was well prepared and didn’t find the questions to be tricky. I didn’t even have very many that I had to narrow down to 2 possibilities and then guess, but I did have a couple that I had no idea what the answer was. I took 7 practice tests and some of the questions were actually on the exam. I felt really good about this exam all the way through. I think it is harder to get a higher score with fewer questions (100 vs. 120 on US History). This exam was much closer to the fact-based exam I had been hoping for with all of the previous history exams which weren’t. Knowing definitions was very helpful. It is intro level and a broad test that is not too deep.
    Last edited by ShotoJuku; 08-08-2012 at 12:43 PM. Reason: Info exchange at request of NAP.
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  6. #16
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    Astronomy DSST

    During my 3 week wait to get my score I have been trying to think of what I would do differently if I had to take this exam again. I enjoyed what I used to learn, but it was not quite suited to the actual test.

    I thought this was a tough exam. I knew that I had gotten about half correct, and I was hoping that I had guessed well enough on the rest for a good score. The exam had more depth than I expected. There were only 82 questions, which I think makes it hard to get a really high score. I studied 4 weeks and got a 57, which is an A at Excelsior.

    I chose different materials than what were recommended (Cliff Notes online). I chose the Idiot’s Guide because I wanted to use a book format that was up-to-date. Idiot’s Guide had worked well for the Civil War DSST. Since there have not been a lot of very high scores on the Astronomy test, I wanted to try for a better score, but as you can see, it did not work for me.

    Here is what I used to study:

    Idiot’s Guide to Astronomy – I wanted a book that was up to date plus it has a CD with lots of excellent pictures. I enjoyed reading from an astronomer’s perspective, which made it easy to understand the concepts except for a couple topics. When I was studying it, I thought it would be too deep for the test, but that was not true. I did need to back up and look elsewhere for some of the basics, like tides, moon phases, Kepler’s laws, early astronomers, etc.

    The Sky Observer’s Guide – Golden Guide – It taught the basics about actually looking at the night sky.

    Pass DSST Astronomy the Easy Way – This book is not enough to know for the exam by itself, but it did help me on several questions.

    IC – There are excellent pictures and explanations which helped on several questions.

    Astronomy Study Guides - SparkNotes – quizzes and fact sheets on sun and planets – I was getting about 2/3 of the answers correct.

    Explorations An Introduction to Astonomy! - online textbook – I used the quizzes and was getting about 2/3 of the answers correct. I should have paid more attention to the quiz answers and looked at the chapter summaries and the web tutorials may have been helpful, also.

    Astronomy - CliffsNotes – I looked up a couple things but did not use this site. From others experiences, it may be more adapted to a college level course than the Idiot’s Guide was.

    I thought that all of the other websites mentioned looked good but I did not use them.

    Star evolution handout – - This was great, but not deep enough to answer all of the questions asked on the exam.

    DSST Fact Sheet – I did not do well on this practice exam.

    Having multiple questions on some of the topics helped me piece together some of the answers.

    I did earn an A and got to spend a lot of time studying for this exam. I was disappointed, though, by the number of answers that I did not know and that all I had learned was not deep enough for this exam.

    I have always wanted to learn about all of this and I really enjoyed it. I am looking forward to getting to do some sky observing and will be able to use all that I have learned for the rest of my life.

    Extra note: I really liked the Wiley Self-Teaching Guide for Chemistry and just noticed that they have one for Astronomy also.
    Last edited by NAP; 09-25-2009 at 02:00 PM.

  7. #17
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    Default Chemistry CLEP

    Chemistry CLEP part 1 of 2

    I had only a few minutes of Chemistry in high school, so I started studying with no prior experience, but I did know that I was interested in the subject.

    I studied for this exam for 3 months. I think if I had started with the right materials, I could have studied for only 2 months. I earned an astonishingly high score of 67, which I think means that I got as much as 80% of the questions correct.

    My impression after studying and taking the practice tests is that this is a very learnable topic as long as you have the right study materials. Schaum's Outline of College Chemistry: Jerome L Rosenberg, Lawrence Epstein: Books - I decided to use the 8th ed instead of the 9th because it received a good review from a CLEP tester and said it was for independent study. I was hoping it would be the only book I would need for this exam. I found out, though, that the Schaum's book is not all-inclusive. There are a lot of basic foundational concepts, like how the periodic table is set up, that need to be found elsewhere. I ended up learning a lot of the material backwards. I spent a lot more time lost and frustrated than I would have liked while trying to solve problems. As I took practice tests at the end of my studies, I was getting the impression that the actual test would not be as problem-oriented as I expected. This means I probably wasted a lot of time trying to do the deeper problems and could have just read the book to learn more about some of the concepts, after getting the foundational information in the other sources. That being said, I still could have used more practice solving basic Chemistry problems (not nearly the depth of Schaum’s, which is a good resource for problem-based courses).

    Chemistry - CliffsNotes - These are excellent. Learn every word. They really did a good job of simplifying and making understandable some complicated topics. The only thing I did not like was that the sample problems to work through on my own did not have any answers given. (I suspect there is a book version of this, which probably does have answers.) I also used their glossary and “cheat sheet”.

    online videos - Resource: The World of Chemistry - I took some notes on videos #3-24 out of 26 total. I liked being able to see chemistry experiments and other examples were helpful. There is also a lot that is just a general overview of the topic. As an alternative, I’d recommend finding a website that shows an overview of lab equipment and what each item is used for. I’d also look for some basic chemistry experiments to watch.

    Interactives . The Periodic Table . Intro - I really enjoyed using this excellent website on the Periodic Table. I spent an hour reading the whole site. Be sure to keep the information about characteristics of the different periodic groups to memorize.

    After studying all of this, I added 2 more books - Chemistry Concepts and Problems and REA CLEP. Chemistry: Concepts and Problems: A Self-Teaching Guide (Wiley Self-Teaching Guides): Clifford C. Houk, Richard Post: Books - This is great! I would recommend starting with this book; it starts with the very basic information and builds from there. Next read the periodic table website. Then work through CliffNotes; then add REA. After that, look at the Official Study Guide and see what topics have not been covered yet, and find some resources for those. CLEP Chemistry (REA) The Best Test Prep for (REA Test Preps): Kevin R. Reel: Books (+ download of Errata mentioned in customer feedback at Amazon) This book is a concise list of notes on the topics that need to be studied for the exam. I needed to learn the material through other sources and then use this as a refresher. It is nice to have the guidance of what areas are most important to understand. It also has 2 practice tests.

    Practice test #1 - 45 Correct out of 75 questions, 60%, 56 scaled score

    Practice test #2 - 50 Correct out of 75 questions, 66%, 60 scaled score

    I think Peterson’s online has CLEP and AP practice exams for this. I only used the CLEP exams.

    Practice test #1 - 66 Correct out of 80 questions, 82%

    Practice test #2 - 61 Correct out of 80 questions, 76%

    Practice test #3 - 66 Correct out of 80 questions, 82%

    CLEP Official Study Guide - Practice test - 42 out of 60 questions, 70% (with 10 minutes of extra time)

    I also had a friend’s notes, quizzes, and textbook for General College Chemistry I and II and high school chemistry. Mostly I read through some of the notes and all of the quizzes and looked a few things up in the textbook.

    Plus, this list of online resources (all looked good, but I did not get to use them):

    Chemistry Study Guides - SparkNotes (I noticed they give answers to the practice questions.)

    SparkNotes: SAT Chemistry

    A fellow studier also recommended ALEKS -- Assessment and Learning, K-12, Higher Education, Automated Tutor, Math to me. I believe they offer a free trial.

    I did not get a chance to look at anything that said AP. I did find a CliffNotes AP practice test, which I did not get to try, at this link:

    5 Chemistry Practice Exams:Title Information - CliffsNotes (click PDF on the left)

    Chemistry, 4th Edition :Title Information - CliffsNotes (chapter with sample questions – click PDF on left) (I noticed this has a good explanation of quantum numbers.)

    Chemistry CLEP Free Study Guide! - Just before I was finished studying, I was told about this website. It would have been a good starting point for me, when I needed to look a few topics up on the web for clarification.

    Khan Academy may be another possibility for the basics, but I did not know about these videos at the time I was studying.

    see next post for part 2 of 2
    Last edited by NAP; 07-14-2010 at 12:01 PM.
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  8. #18
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    Default Chemistry CLEP

    Chemistry CLEP part 2 of 2

    Memorize – It’s never too early to start memorizing the important material. Here is a list of some of the information that I memorized and the best source I found for them:

    scientists (REA), nomenclature and ions (Concepts), organic functional groups (Schaum’s**), hybridization (REA), solubility (REA), definitions (Cliffs glossary is a good start, but find another one, too)

    bonds, radioactivity, formulas, periodic properties (a mix of all sources)

    Look for patterns to make memorizing easier, such as positive enthalpy is endothermic as is breaking bonds which is going from solid to liquid to gas.

    I couldn’t learn enough about acids/bases and oxidation/reduction. I used a textbook to memorize the list of acids/bases and oxidizing/reducing agents.

    I tried to learn/memorize as many of the “simple” things as I could and accrue points that way. Things like quantum numbers (REA, Cliffs AP), bond order (Schaum’s**), and orders of reactions (REA, practice tests) were still confusing but I seemed to know enough about them with these resources.

    Strategy – Since it is hard to finish the test on time, I had seen tips to go through and answer easy questions quickly and then start over and work on more difficult parts. When I tried this on practice tests, it left me feeling very unsettled and uncommitted to answering anything on the practice test. For the real test, I ended up answering each question as it came and making sure I stayed on time (25 questions by 30 minutes, half of 75 questions by 45 minutes, 50 questions by 60 minutes, and all 75 questions by 90 minutes). I gave my best answer and marked a lot, but I don’t know why I marked any since I knew I wasn’t going to have the time to look at them again. I didn’t have much time to really think through problems or chemical reactions, so it would help to be as familiar with those as possible.

    Periodic Table – I had read a tip that they don’t always give the full periodic table during the test, but during the pre-test, they show one that you can sketch out on scratch paper. Another idea was to note an early question that does show the whole table. I used both ideas. It is possible, though, that I needed neither because when I checked their table on about 5 questions during the test, it was always complete with atomic symbol, number, and weight for each element. They often give molar mass in the problem, but did not give any formulas.

    Calculator – I had read that I wasn’t allowed to bring my own, but I had some trouble understanding the CLEP calculator on the test computer. Make sure it is in degrees (deg) not radians (rad). Then try floating decimal (flo) and scientific notation (sci) during the pre-test. I used both during the test. I just found the EE button (power of 10 - Schaum’s**) on my calculator – I love it. I wasn’t able to figure out how to use EE with square or square root on their calculator. I also needed to double-check all of my calculations. I am going to need some extra practice before I take a math exam.
    Update: The CLEP Sampler can be downloaded from the official CLEP website. This has the calculator that will be available during the exam. You can use this to practice at home before the exam and get familiar with the features on the calculator.

    Schaum’s** - use the Amazon link and scroll down to “Search inside this book”
    organic functional groups – search IUPAC, choose p. 229
    bond order – search antibonding, choose p. 130, 144, and 145
    EE – search EE4, choose p. 370

    Note: Before you go to all of the work of studying for and taking this exam, be sure that your college will accept it for the credit that you need for your major and make sure that any lab requirements can be earned separately.

    This may seem like an overwhelming amount of material to learn, but it is really not that bad, considering it represents a full year of college chemistry classes. With great resources and giving myself enough time to learn, I was able to pass this exam having started with no prior knowledge. I know that others can do this, too!
    Last edited by NAP; 01-25-2010 at 01:34 PM.
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  9. #19
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    Default Science CLEPs

    Biology CLEP

    I studied for 4 weeks. It is a lot to learn in that amount of time. I was surprised to get a 77! It was the kind of test where you don't wonder which questions you missed, but which questions you got right! I am always surprised by my score, but this was a little higher than my practice tests and I thought the actual test was harder. The wording of the questions and answers was tricky. Knowing lots of facts and vocabulary does help to narrow down the possibilities. It covers a lot of material and I did not get more than 2 questions on any one topic. I did not have any trouble finishing the practice tests on time, but I did have trouble finishing the real test. I left the multiple question chart problems for last. There were about 15-20 of that type of question and I was not sure I left enough time for that many.

    Thank you all for recommending excellent study materials. I used:

    REA Biology – These have always been helpful and I love having practice tests.

    Biology Smart – This is an awesome book. It makes a lot of topics simple and easy to learn. It is great to use with the REA book. Biology Smart (Smart Series) (9780679769088): Deborah Guest: Books

    Cliff’s Notes online – I used their glossary and “cheat sheet”.

    Tools & Resources: Biology Glossary - CliffsNotes

    Tools & Resources: Biology Cheat Sheet - CliffsNotes

    Peterson’s practice exams – These were great for preparing for the real test. The third one is extra difficult, but it is worth at least reading through because some of the new material is on the real exam. (There might be AP exams to use for practice also.)

    Official CLEP Study Guide - for exam topics and practice questions

    I have also read that IC has over 800 flashcards to study for this exam. I did not have time to try them, but I am sure they would be an excellent resource to add.

    Since I just started studying for the Natural Science exam, I have found that the REA study guide for General Exams, which includes Natural Science, has a Biology section which would have been a good starting point. It also has several items that would have helped on the test.

    Note: Before you go to all of the work of studying for and taking this exam, be sure that your college will accept it for the credit that you need for your major and make sure that any lab requirements can be earned separately.

    Natural Sciences CLEP

    This was my last test this year! I have earned 33 credits through taking 8 exams in 10 months. I am going to take a break over the holidays and start studying again in January. I hope to finish an associate degree next year before I start to study for the GREs.

    I studied for this exam for 4 weeks, but technically I had already been studying for this exam for 5 months, since my last 3 exams were Astronomy, Chemistry, and Biology. Having such a good foundation helped make studying and the test a lot easier; my score was a 73! I still needed to learn about physics, geology, and meteorology for this test, which was still a lot of new material.

    As I was studying, I was wondering how you would start this from scratch. It seemed difficult because of having multiple subjects. I think it would be a lot easier to start by studying just one subject – Biology, pass that CLEP, and then add some knowledge and take this CLEP.

    I found that many of the questions were straight-forward and fact-based. Also, many were not covered in my study materials, so life-experience and gathering personal knowledge helped or I just made good and bad guesses.

    I forgot to look at a periodic table the day of the exam. That would have helped to refresh my memory.

    Materials I used:

    REA General Review book (with review/teaching material for each subject plus drills)
    and SEPARATE REA Preparation book (with 3 practice tests) -
    Update: (REA has a book for just the Natural Sciences test available now. I have seen the authors’ (David and Laurie) study materials recommended often for this exam.)

    Peterson's CLEP Success free ebook has review/teaching material for each subject and multiple practice tests.

    Peterson’s practice tests – The printable test is different than the online tests, so there are a total of 4 tests available. The printable test was similar to the REA tests and the online tests were much harder; however, the material covered was useful for the real exam. I would recommend working through the CLEP Success materials first. That should help with these more difficult practice tests.

    CLEP Official Study Guide - Practice test

    I struggled with some of the physics and geology questions; I am not sure what resource would have helped. If I had had more time, I would have done more at the Rader's PHYSICS 4 KIDS.COM and related websites.

    If this is your first and only science exam, I would recommend some of the resources I used for the previous exams and I don’t know how long it will take to study for this. Biology – REA Biology and Biology Smart, Chemistry – Concepts and Problems and/or CliffNotes, Astronomy – Pass DSST Astronomy, IC, and Sparknotes

    Also, be sure to find a very good vocabulary list for each of the subjects.

    My best wishes to all taking this exam! It was a great opportunity to add 6 credits to my previous 15 science credits!

    More of my feedback on other exams is posted on page 3.
    Last edited by NAP; 07-21-2010 at 03:21 PM.

  10. #20
    creationstory is offline Baron / Baroness
    Join Date
    Jan 2008


    Ready for your CLEP exam?

    Study for your exam using the same CLEP Study Guides used by thousands of members of this discussion forum!

    very nice .............
    DSST Environment & Race to Save Humanity 51/80
    Clep CIS 63/80
    College Math 66/80
    DSST Business Law II - No Pass
    Principles of Mgmt 61/80
    A/I Lit 51/80 studying? who knew?! retest 61/80
    Social Sciences and History - 66/80 - A
    Freshman Composition - 60/80
    Intro to Computers 426 -Current System - p/f = pass
    Intro to Modern Middle East Studies - 61/80
    Human Cultural Geography - 61/80
    US History I - A -61/80
    US History II - A 68/80
    Civil War - A 57/80
    Intro to World Religions - A 68/80
    Intro to Bus Law - 64/80 A
    Public Speaking 55/80 A
    MIS 429/500
    Statistics 459/500
    MacroEconomics 57/80
    MicroEconomics 53/80 (ran out no money in meter)
    Criminal Justice 418/500
    English Comp with Essay 58/80
    Personal Finance 406/500 (Ran thru IC once & test once... 40 minutes/98 questions.. close call)
    Principle of Supervision - 436/500
    Clep American Government 67/80
    FEMA's Completed - 49 (sorry i'm addicted to them).

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