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About Research & Education Association
Research & Education Association (REA) is an organization of educators, scientists, and engineers specializing in various academic fields. Founded in 1959 with the purpose of disseminating the most recently developed scientific information to groups in industry, government, high schools, and universities, REA has since become a successful and highly respected publisher of study aids, test preps, handbooks, and reference works.
REA's Test Preparation series includes study guides for all academic levels in almost all disciplines. Research & Education Association publishes test preps for students who have not yet completed high school, as well as high school students preparing to enter college. Students from countries around the world seeking to attend college in the United States will find the assistance they need in REA's publications. For college students seeking advanced degrees, REA publishes test preps for many major graduate school admission examinations in a wide variety of disciplines, including engineering, law, and medicine. Students at every level, in every field, with every ambition can find what they are looking for among REA's publications.
While most test preparation books present practice tests that bear little resemblance to the actual exams, REA's series presents tests that accurately depict the official exams in both degree of difficulty and types of questions. REA's practice tests are always based upon the most recently administered exams, and include every type of question that can be expected on the actual exams.
REA's publications and educational materials are highly regarded and continually receive an unprecedented amount of praise from professionals, instructors, librarians, parents, and students. Our authors are as diverse as the fields represented in the books we publish. They are well-known in their respective disciplines and serve on the faculties of prestigious high schools, colleges, and universities throughout the United States and Canada.
ABOUT THIS BOOK AND TESTware
This book provides you with comprehensive preparation for the CLEP College Algebra Computer-Based Test, or CBT. Inside you will find a concise review of college algebra, as well as tips and strategies for test-taking. We give you three full-length REA practice tests, all based on the official CLEP subject exam. Our practice tests contain every type of question that you can expect to encounter on the CLEP CBT. Following each practice test you will find an answer key with detailed explanations designed to help you more completely absorb the test material.
All 34 CLEP exams are computer-based. As you can see, the practice tests in our book are presented as paper-and-pencil exams. The content and format of the actual CLEP subject exams are faithfully mirrored. We detail the format of the CLEP College Algebra CBT on pages 4-5.
Practice Tests 1 and 2 in this book and software package are included in two formats: in printed form in this book, and in TESTware format on the enclosed CD. We recommend that you begin your preparation by first taking the practice exams on your computer. The software provides timed conditions, automatic scoring, and scoring information, all of which makes it easier to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses.
ABOUT THE EXAM
Who takes CLEP exams and what are they used for?
CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) examinations are usually taken by adults who have acquired knowledge outside the classroom and wish to bypass certain college courses and earn college credit. The CLEP Program is designed to reward students for learning - no matter where or how that knowledge was acquired. The CLEP is the most widely accepted credit-by-examination program in the country, with more than 2,900 colleges and universities granting credit for satisfactory scores on CLEP exams.
Although most CLEP candidates are adults returning to college, many graduating high school seniors, enrolled college students, and international students also take the exams to earn college credit or to demonstrate their ability to perform at the college level. There are no prerequisites, such as age or educational status, for taking CLEP examinations. However, because policies on granting credits vary among colleges, you should contact the particular institution from which you wish to receive CLEP credit.
There are two categories of CLEP examinations:
1. CLEP General Examinations, which are five separate tests that cover material usually taken as requirements during the first two years of college. CLEP General Examinations are available for English Composition (with or without essay), Humanities, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences and History.
2. CLEP Subject Examinations, which include material usually covered in an undergraduate course with a similar title. The CLEP College Algebra exam is one of 29 subject tests.
Who develops and administers the exams?
The CLEP CBTs are developed by the College Entrance Examination Board, administered by Educational Testing Service, and involves the assistance of educators from across the United States. The test development process is designed and carried out to ensure that the content and difficulty of the test are appropriate to the college level.
When and where is this exam given?
The CLEP College Algebra exam is administered each month throughout the year at approximately 1,400 test centers in the U.S. and can be arranged for candidates abroad on request. To find the test center nearest you and to register for the exam, you should obtain a copy of the free booklets CLEP Colleges and CLEP Information for Candidates and Registration Form. These booklets are downloadable and are available at most colleges where CLEP credit is granted, or by contacting the CLEP Program at:
P.O. Box 6601
Princeton, NJ 08541-6601
Phone: (609) 771-7865
Fax: (609) 771-7088
How to Use this Book
What do I study first?
Read over the course review and the suggestions for test-taking. Then use the first practice test as a diagnostic to determine your area(s) of weakness. Once you find out where you need to spend more time, focus your efforts on those specific problem areas. To reinforce your facility with the subject matter, we advise keeping at your side a college-level textbook that covers the appropriate material.
To get the most out of your study time, follow our Independent Study Schedule, which you'll find in the front of this book. The schedule is based on a six-week program, but can be condensed to three weeks if necessary by collapsing each two-week period into a single week.
When should I start studying?
It's never too early to start studying for the CLEP College Algebra exam; the earlier you begin, the more time you will have to sharpen your skills. Don't leave it to the last minute; cramming is not an effective way to study, since it does not allow you the time needed to learn the test material.
Format and Content of the CLEP CBT
The CLEP College Algebra CBT covers the kind of material that is typically part of a one-semester college course in algebra. Test-takers should expect to encounter a test that will be divided almost 50/50 between routine and nonroutine problems - the former requiring basic algebraic skills, the latter requiring you to show your command of algebraic concepts. While you'll be able to avail yourself of an online scientific calculator (non-graphing, non-programmable) during the exam, none of the questions you will be asked will require its use. The exam will present you with 60 multiple-choice and fill-in-the-box questions to be answered in 90 minutes. The approximate breakdown of topics on the CLEP College Algebra CBT is as follows:
25% Algebraic Operations
- Combining algebraic expressions
- Simplifying algebraic fractions
- Operating with powers and roots
20% Equations, Inequalities, and their Graphs
- Linear equations and inequalities
- Quadratic equations and inequalities
- Systems of equations and inequalities
25% Algebraic, Exponential, and Logarithmic Functions and their Graphs
- Inverse of functions
30% Miscellaneous Topics
- Theory of equations
- Real Numbers
- Complex Numbers
- Sequences and series
ABOUT OUR REVIEW
Our review for the CLEP College Algebra CBT includes both a thorough rundown of the major topics found on the exam as well as hints and strategies for attacking algebra questions. The review is divided into these nine sections, corresponding to the subject matter you can expect to encounter on the CLEP exam.
Sets and Set Operations
Number Systems and Fundamental Algebraic Operations
Polynomials and Rational Expressions
Equations of Higher Order
Ratio, Proportion, and Variation
When will I receive my score report?
The test-center administrator will print out a full Candidate Score Report for you immediately upon your completion of the CBT. Your scores are reported only to you, unless you ask to have them sent elsewhere. If you wish to have your scores reported to a college or other institution, you must say so when you take the examination. Since your scores are kept on file for 20 years, you can also request transcripts from Educational Testing Service at a later date.
STUDYING FOR THE EXAM
It is crucial for you to choose the time and place for studying that works best for you. Some students set aside a certain number of hours every morning, while others choose to study at night before going to sleep. Only you can determine when and where your study time will be most effective. But be consistent and use your time wisely. Work out a study routine and stick to it!
When you take our practice tests, try to make your testing conditions as much like the actual test as possible. Turn off the television or radio, and sit down at a quiet table or desk free from distraction. Use a timer to ensure that each section is accurately clocked.
As you complete each practice test, score it and thoroughly review the explanations for the questions you answered incorrectly; but don't review too much at one sitting. Concentrate on one problem area at a time by reviewing the question and explanation, and by studying our review until you are confident that you completely understand the material.
Keep track of your scores and mark them on the scoring worksheet. By doing so, you will be able to gauge your progress and discover general weaknesses in particular sections. You should carefully study the review sections that cover your areas of difficulty, as this will build your skills in those areas.
You may never have taken a standardized computer-based test like the CLEP College Algebra exam, but it's not hard to learn the things you need to know to be comfortable on test day.
Know the format of the CBT. CLEP CBTs are not adaptive but rather fixed-length tests. In a sense, this makes them kin to the familiar paper-and-pencil exam in that you have the same flexibility to go back and review your work in each section. Moreover, the format hasn't changed a great deal from the paper-and-pencil CLEP.
Use the process of elimination. If you don't immediately see the correct answer among the choices, systematically scan the list and eliminate as many as you can by simple inspection. Confidently casting aside choices will help you isolate the correct response, or at least knock your choices down to just a few strong contenders. This approach has the added benefit of keeping you from getting sidetracked and distracted by what in fact may be just an occasional tricky question. Importantly, your score on a CLEP CBT is based only on the number of questions you answer correctly.
Work quickly and steadily. You will have just 90 minutes to work on the 60 questions on the test, this means you will want to devote an average of 90 seconds to each question. So work quickly and steadily to avoid spending an inordinate amount of time on any one question. Taking our practice tests - which, again, have a few more questions than the actual test - will help you learn to budget your time wisely.
Learn the directions and format for each section of the test. This will put extra time on your side that you can use to review your work on test day.
Acquaint yourself with the CBT screen. Familiarize yourself with the CLEP CBT screen beforehand by logging on to the official College Board Website. Waiting until test day to see what the CBT screen looks like in the pretest tutorial risks injecting needless anxiety into your testing experience.
Be sure that your answer registers before you go to the next item. Check the screen to see that your mouse-click causes the pointer to darken the proper oval. This takes far less effort than darkening an oval on paper, but don't lull yourself into taking less care!
THE DAY OF THE EXAM
Preparing for the CLEP CBT
On the day of the test, you should wake up early (after a decent night's rest, one would hope) and have a good breakfast. Dress comfortably so that you are not distracted by being too hot or too cold while taking the test. Plan to arrive at the test center early. This will allow you to collect your thoughts and relax before the test, and will also spare you the anxiety that comes with being late. No one will be allowed into the test session after the test has begun.
Before you set out for the test center, make sure that you have your admission form, Social Security number, and a photo ID with your signature (e.g., driver's license, student identification card, or current alien registration card). You need proper ID to get into the test center.
You may wear a watch to the test center, but it cannot make any noise, which could disturb your fellow test-takers. No computers, dictionaries, textbooks, notebooks, scrap paper, briefcases, or packages will be permitted; drinking, smoking, and eating are prohibited. The use of a scientific calculator (non-graphing, non-programmable) is allowed, though as we said, one will be provided for you online. Do not bring your own.
Good luck on the CLEP College Algebra CBT!