CLEP® Social Sciences & History Book + Online, 2nd Ed.

CLEP® Social Sciences & History Book + Online, 2nd Ed.

by Scott Dittloff

Paperback(Second Edition, Revised)

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CLEP® Social Sciences & History Book + Online Practice Tests
Helps Students Get the College Credits They Deserve!
2nd Edition

In 2017, CLEP® marks 50 years as the most widely trusted credit-by-exam program in the U.S. CLEP® exams help students fast-track their college career, saving them time and possibly thousands in tuition costs. Perfect for adults returning to college, military service members, high school, or home-schooled students, REA's CLEP® test preps provide students with the tools they need to pass their CLEP® exams and get the college credits they deserve.

Fully updated to reflect the September 2016 test changes, REA’s second edition of CLEP® Social Sciences & History covers all the topics found on the official CLEP® exam. Our complete test prep package focuses on what students need to know to pass the exam, bringing them one step closer to earning their college degree.

About REA's Prep:
- Comprehensive review fully aligned with today's exam
- Online diagnostic test pinpoints strengths and weaknesses to personalize prep and focus study.
- Focused 6-week study plan
- Two full-length practice tests with detailed explanations of answers (both in the book and online), provide true-to-format practice
- Online tests feature instant scoring, timed testing, diagnostic feedback, and detailed answers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738612331
Publisher: Research & Education Association
Publication date: 10/19/2017
Series: CLEP Test Preparation
Edition description: Second Edition, Revised
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 815,112
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt



Congratulations! You're joining the millions of people who have discovered the value and educational advantage offered by the College Board's College-Level Examination Program, or CLEP. This test prep focuses on what you need to know to succeed on the CLEP Social Sciences and History exam, and will help you earn the college credit you deserve while reducing your tuition costs.


There are many different ways to prepare for a CLEP exam. What's best for you depends on how much time you have to study and how comfortable you are with the subject matter. To score your highest, you need a system that can be customized to fit you: your schedule, your learning style, and your current level of knowledge.

This book, and the online tools that come with it, allow you to create a personalized study plan through three simple steps: assessment of your knowledge, targeted review of exam content, and reinforcement in the areas where you need the most help.


The best way to personalize your study plan is to get feedback on what you know and what you don't know. At the online REA Study Center ( studycenter), you can access two types of assessment: a diagnostic exam and full-length practice exams. Each of these tools provides true-to-format questions and delivers a detailed score report that follows the topics set by the College Board.

Diagnostic Exam

Before you begin your review with the book, take the online diagnostic exam.

Use your score report to help evaluate your overall understanding of the subject, so you can focus your study on the topics where you need the most review.

Full-Length Practice Exams

Our full-length practice tests give you the most complete picture of your strengths and weaknesses. After you've finished reviewing with the book, test what you've learned by taking the first of the two online practice exams. Review your score report, then go back and study any topics you missed. Take the second practice test to ensure you have mastered the material and are ready for test day.

If you're studying and don't have Internet access, you can take the printed tests in the book. These are the same practice tests offered at the REA Study Center, but without the added benefits of timed testing conditions and diagnostic score reports. Because the actual exam is Internet-based, we recommend you take at least one practice test online to simulate test-day conditions.


The CLEP Social Sciences and History exam consists of approximately 120 multiple-choice questions, each with five possible answer choices, to be answered in 90 minutes.

The exam covers the material one would find in college-level introductory classes in the following disciplines: United States history, Western civilization, world history, government/political science, geography, and economics.

The approximate breakdown of topics is as follows:

History 40%
CLEP and technology-enhanced questions

While most of the questions you will find on your CLEP exam will be primarily standard multiple-choice questions, the College Board is now incorporating some technology-enhanced questions. These new question types include: filling in a numeric answer; shading areas of an object; or putting items in the correct order. In addition, several exams now have an optional essay section.

If you're familiar with basic computer skills, you'll have no trouble handling these question types if you encounter them on your exam.


What is CLEP?

More adult learners use CLEP than any other credit-by-examination program in the United States. The CLEP program's 33 exams span five subject areas. The exams assess the material commonly required in an introductory-level college course. Based on recommendations from the American Council on Education, a passing score can earn you at least three credits per exam at more than 2,900 colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. Policies vary, so check with your school on the exams it accepts and the scores it requires. For a complete list of the CLEP subject examinations offered, visit the College Board website:

Who takes CLEP exams?

CLEP exams are typically taken by people 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 examinees for prior learning — no matter where or how that knowledge was acquired.

Although most CLEP examinees are adults returning to college, home-schooled and high school students, traditional-age college students, military personnel, veterans, and international students take CLEP exams to earn college credit. 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.

How is my CLEP score determined?

Your CLEP score is based on two calculations. First, your CLEP raw score is figured; this is just the total number of test items you answer correctly. After the test is administered, your raw score is converted to a scaled score through a process called equating. Equating adjusts for minor variations in difficulty across test forms and among test items, and ensures that your score accurately represents your performance on the exam regardless of when or where you take it, or on how well others perform on the same test form.

Your scaled score is the number your college will use to determine if you've performed well enough to earn college credit. Scaled scores for the CLEP exams are delivered on a 20–80 scale. Institutions can set their own scores for granting college credit, but a good passing estimate (based on recommendations from the American Council on Education) is generally a scaled score of 50, which usually requires getting roughly 66% of the questions correct.

For more information on scoring, contact the institution where you wish to be awarded the credit.

Who administers the exam?

CLEP exams are developed by the College Board, administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), and involve the assistance of educators from throughout the United States. The test development process is designed and implemented to ensure that the content and difficulty level of the test are appropriate.

When and where is the exam given?

CLEP exams are administered year-round at more than 1,800 test centers in the United States and abroad. To find the test center nearest you and to register for the exam, contact the CLEP Program:

CLEP Services P.O. Box 6600
The CLEP iBT Platform

To improve the testing experience for both institutions and test-takers, the College Board's CLEP Program has transitioned its 33 exams from the eCBT platform to an Internet-based testing (iBT) platform. All CLEP test-takers may now register for exams and manage their personal account information through the "My Account" feature on the CLEP website. This new feature simplifies the registration process and automatically downloads all pertinent information about the test session, making for a more streamlined check-in.


CLEP exams are available free of charge to eligible military personnel as well as eligible civilian employees. All the CLEP exams are available at test centers on college campuses and military bases. Contact your Educational Services Officer or Navy College Education Specialist for more information. Visit the DANTES or College Board websites for details about CLEP opportunities for military personnel. Note that only one attempt per exam is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Eligible U.S. veterans can claim reimbursement for CLEP exams and administration fees pursuant to provisions of the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004. For details on eligibility and submitting a claim for reimbursement, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website at

CLEP can be used in conjunction with the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which applies to veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of operation. Because the GI Bill provides tuition for up to 36 months, earning college credits with CLEP exams expedites academic progress and degree completion within the funded timeframe.


Many test candidates qualify for extra time to take the CLEP exams, but you must make these arrangements in advance. For information, contact:

College Board Services for Students with Disabilities P.O. Box 8060

Although our study plan is designed to be used in the six weeks before your exam, it can be condensed to three weeks by combining each two-week period into one.

Be sure to set aside enough time — at least two hours each day — to study. The more time you spend studying, the more prepared and relaxed you will feel on the day of the exam.


Know the format of the test. Familiarize yourself with the CLEP computer screen beforehand by logging on to the College Board website. Waiting until test day to see what it looks like in the pretest tutorial risks injecting needless anxiety into your testing experience. Also, familiarizing yourself with the directions and format of the exam will save you valuable time on the day of the actual test.

Read all the questions — completely. Make sure you understand each question before looking for the right answer. Reread the question if it doesn't make sense.

Read all of the answers to a question. Just because you think you found the correct response right away, do not assume that it's the best answer. The last answer choice might be the correct answer.

Work quickly and steadily. You will have 90 minutes to answer approximately 120 questions, so work quickly and steadily. Taking the timed practice tests online will help you learn how to budget your time.

Use the process of elimination. Stumped by a question? Don't make a random guess. Eliminate as many of the answer choices as possible. By eliminating just two answer choices, you give yourself a better chance of getting the item correct, since there will only be three choices left from which to make your guess. Remember, your score is based only on the number of questions you answer correctly.

Don't waste time! Don't spend too much time on any one question. Your time is limited, so pacing yourself is very important. Work on the easier questions first. Skip the difficult questions and go back to them if you have the time.

Look for clues to answers in other questions. If you skip a question you don't know the answer to, you might find a clue to the answer elsewhere on the test.

Be sure that your answer registers before you go to the next item. Look at the screen to see that your mouse-click causes the pointer to darken the proper oval. If your answer doesn't register, you won't get credit for that question.


On test day, you should wake up early (after a good night's rest, of course) and have breakfast. Dress comfortably so you are not distracted by being too hot or too cold while taking the test. (Note that "hoodies" are not allowed.) Arrive at the test center early. This will allow you to collect your thoughts and relax before the test, and it will also spare you the anxiety that comes with being late.

Before you leave for the test center, make sure you have your admission form and another form of identification, which must contain a recent photograph, your name, and signature (i.e., driver's license, student identification card, or current alien registration card). You may not wear a digital watch (wrist or pocket), alarm watch, or wristwatch camera. In addition, no cell phones, dictionaries, textbooks, notebooks, briefcases, or packages will be permitted, and drinking, smoking, and eating are prohibited.

Good luck on the CLEP Social Sciences and History exam!




What is Political Science?

Political Science is the organized study of government and politics. It borrows from the related disciplines of history, philosophy, sociology, economics, and law. Politicalscientists explore such fundamental questions as: What are the philosophical foundations of modern political systems? What makes a government legitimate? What are the duties and responsibilities of those who govern? Who participates in the political process and why? What is the nature of relations among nations?

Overview of Political Philosophy

In the 4th century bce, the political writings of Plato and Aristotle sought to combine the realms of ethics and politics. Conjoining the two was especially urgent to Plato after he witnessed the tragic death of his great mentor, Socrates, at the hands of the self-serving political leaders of Athens in 399 bce. Plato is most famous today for writing a series of dialogues in which Socrates played a prominent role. His most famous dialogue on politics is entitled The Republic. In it, he includes the timeless story of the "Allegory of the Cave," which inspired the hit movie The Matrix.

Aristotle was Plato's most famous student and also a tutor to Alexander the Great. Two of Aristotle's best known works are his Politics and Nicomachean Ethics, both of which remain important texts in political philosophy classes today. In both books, Aristotle articulates what he calls the "Golden Mean," where "a virtue is the midpoint between two extremes." In politics, Aristotle argues that the best type of government is the one ruled from the middle (class), because at either extreme — either rule by the rich or rule by the poor — negative consequences will occur: either the rich will exploit the poor, or the poor will seek to destroy the rich.

During the early 1500s, Niccolo Machiavelli wrote a famous political treatise entitled The Prince. In it, he argued that for a ruler, it is "better to be feared than loved." He also noted that rulers may have to separate politics from morality in order to achieve their ambitions. Today, Machiavelli's name is often used as an adjective. Thus, when someone accuses another person of being "Machiavellian," this typically means that the person in question is acting in an immoral manner, using "the ends" (whatever he or she wants) to "justify the means" (the tactics being used).

During the mid-1600s to the late 1700s, three thinkers emerged who made important contributions to the field of political philosophy — Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. All three became known as "Social Contract" theorists, in that each one postulated a possible "social contract" that people entered into while still living in a hypothetical "state of nature," just prior to moving into an organized society.

The section below highlights some of their thoughts:

I. Thomas Hobbes / Principal Book:The Leviathan (1651)

Principal Concepts:

Hobbes had a pessimistic view toward humans. Accordingly, he famously argued that life in the state of nature was "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

Hobbes assumed that, by nature, people are violently self-interested and, if necessary, they will kill others to get what they want. Hobbes thus envisioned a "social contract" whereby people gave up all their rights to the state (or government) in return for protection against a violent death. He thus promoted a totalitarian-style of government. The graphic novel and movie V for Vendetta dramatically depict a Hobbesian type of state.


Excerpted from "CLEP Social Sciences & History"
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Excerpted by permission of Research & Education Association.
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Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

About Our Author vi

About REA vi

Acknowledgments vi

Chapter 1 Passing the CLEP Social Sciences and History Exam 1

Getting Started 1

The REA Study Center 2

An Overview of the Exam 3

All About the CLEP Program 3

Options for Military Personnel and Veterans 5

SSD Accommodations for Candidates with Disabilities 6

6-Week Study Plan 6

Test-Taking Tips 7

The Day of the Exam 8

Chapter 2 Political Science 9

Introduction to Political Science 9

United States Government and Politics 14

Comparative Government and Politics 33

International Relations 36

Chapter 3 Economics 51

Introduction to Economics 51

The Economic Problem 53

Demand and Supply 58

Economic Systems 61

The Public Sector in the American Economy 66

GDP, GNP, and Measuring Economic Performance 67

The Two Primary Schools of Economic Thought 68

Macroeconomic Problems of the American Economy 71

Money and Banking 72

Monetary Policy 77

Chapter 4 Geography 87

Introduction to Geography 87

United States 87

Mexico 89

Canada 89

South and Central America 90

Europe 92

North Africa 93

Sub-Saharan Africa 94

Russia 95

South Asia 96

East Asia 97

Chapter 5 Western Civilization and World History 101

The Ancient and Medieval Worlds 101

The Renaissance, Reformation, and the Wars of Religion (1300-1648) 115

The Growth of the State and the Age of Exploration 121

Bourbon, Baroque, and the Enlightenment 124

The Scientific Revolution and Scientific Societies 130

Revolution and the New World Order (1789-1848) 132

Realism and Materialism (1848-1914) 142

World War I and Europe in Crisis (1914-1935) 154

From World War II to the Post-Communist Era (1935-1996) 171

Chapter 6 United States History 203

American History: The Colonial Period (1500-1763) 203

The American Revolution (1763-1787) 207

The United States Constitution (1787-1789) 212

The New Nation (1789-1824) 213

Jacksonian Democracy and Westward Expansion (1824-1850) 219

Sectional Conflict and the Causes of the Civil War (1850-1860) 226

The Civil War and Reconstruction (1860-1877) 232

Industrialism, War, and the Progressive Era (1877-1912) 239

Wilson and World War I (1912-1920) 249

The Roaring Twenties and Economic Collapse (1920-1929) 255

The Great Depression and the New Deal (1929-1941) 260

World War II and the Postwar Era (1941-1960) 269

The New Frontier, Vietnam, and Social Upheaval (1960-1972) 278

Watergate, Carter, and the New Conservatism, and Post-Cold War Challenges (1972-2008) 284

Practice Test 1 (also available online at 317

Answer Key 353

Detailed Explanations of Answers 354

Practice Test 2 (also available online at 385

Answer Key 419

Detailed Explanations of Answers 420

Answer Sheets 447

Index 451

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