The Sociology exam is a great first CLEP for your teen. The content is manageable in a semester and is a great 1/2 credit elective for high school students that can yield 3 college credits.
Already confused? watch my “What is CLEP?” video
What is sociology? It is the academic study of the development, structure, and function of a human society and its problems.
CLEP at home -vs- COLLEGE ENROLLMENT
Topics like marriage, family, gender roles, politics, and poverty are always included in a basic Sociology 101 course -these are areas you probably want to oversee with your minor teen at this age. College courses are based on the premise that the attendees are adults, so no consideration is given to your teen’s age. Choosing a “more conservative” or “more liberal” college doesn’t assure that the teacher’s opinions will match yours. As a parent, it is my opinion that your minor teen (under age 18) learn this content at home with you, and take the CLEP exam as opposed to as a dual enrollment college course with an instructor/professor.
If you want simple: select a college textbook and simply have your teen read it. That will cover the curriculum. You’ll want to follow learning with some test prep and maybe a few practice tests. In our home, I consistently use a layering technique to teach my children subjects that will also be part of a CLEP exam. I like to include documentaries, homework, field trips, research papers and the like- but how deep you dive is really up to you. I put a video on youtube explaining how to layer resources.
For the curious, I took this exam Feburary 2007 and earned a score of 65. Jennifer Cook-DeRosa
The Introductory Sociology exam is designed to assess an individual’s knowledge of the material typically presented in a one-semester introductory-level sociology course at most colleges and universities. The examination emphasizes basic facts and concepts as well as general theoretical approaches used by sociologists on the topics of institutions, social patterns, social processes, social stratifications, and the sociological perspective. Highly-specialized knowledge of the subject and the methodology of the discipline is not required or measured by the test content.
The exam contains approximately 100 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. Some of these are pretest questions that will not be scored. Any time test takers spend on tutorials and providing personal information is in addition to the actual testing time.
Knowledge and Skills Required
Questions on the Introductory Sociology exam require test takers to demonstrate one or more of the following abilities. Some questions may require more than one of these abilities.
- Identification of specific names, facts, and concepts from sociological literature
- Understanding of relationships between concepts, empirical generalizations, and theoretical propositions of sociology
- Understanding of the methods by which sociological relationships are established
- Application of concepts, propositions, and methods to hypothetical situations
- Interpretation of tables and charts
The subject matter of the Introductory Sociology exam is drawn from the following topics. The percentages next to the main topics indicate the approximate percentage of exam questions on that topic.
Social Patterns (10%)
- Human ecology
- Rural/urban patterns
Social Processes (25%)
- Collective behavior and social movements
- Deviance and social control
- Groups and organizations
- Social change
- Social interaction
Social Stratification (Process and Structure) (25%)
- Power and social inequality
- Professions and occupations
- Race and ethnic relations
- Sex and gender roles
- Social class
- Social mobility
The Sociological Perspective (20%)
- History of sociology
- Sociological theory
As you read sociology textbooks, take notes that address the following issues which are fundamental to most questions that appear on the test:
- What is society? What is culture? What is common to all societies, and what is characteristic of American society?
- What are other basic concepts in sociology that help to describe human nature, human interaction, and the collective behavior of groups, organizations, institutions, and societies?
- What methods do sociologists use to study, describe, analyze, and observe human behavior?
I watched a whole series of videos on YouTube from Crash Course – very helpful!! – 17-year-old teen from Ohio
A survey conducted by CLEP found that the following textbooks are among those used by college faculty who teach the equivalent course. You might purchase one or more of these online or at your local college bookstore.
- Alexander and Thompson, A Contemporary Introduction to Sociology: Culture and Society in Transition (Paradigm)
- Andersen and Taylor, Sociology: The Essentials (Wadsworth)
- Brinkerhoff et al., Essentials of Sociology (Wadsworth)
- Brym and Lie, Sociology: Your Compass for a New World, Brief Edition(Wadsworth)
- Curry et al., Sociology for the Twenty-First Century (Prentice Hall)
- Ferris and Stein, The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology (W. W. Norton)
- Giddens et al., Essentials of Sociology (W.W. Norton)
- Henslin, Essentials of Sociology (Allyn & Bacon)
- Hughes and Kroehler, Sociology: The Core (McGraw-Hill)
- Macionis, Society: The Basics (Prentice Hall)
- Newman and O’Brien, Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life (Pine Forge)
- Schaefer, Sociology: A Brief Introduction (McGraw-Hill)
- Stark, Sociology (Wadsworth)
- Sullivan, Introduction to Social Problems (Allyn & Bacon)
- Thompson and Hickey, Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology(Allyn & Bacon)
- Tischler, Introduction to Sociology (Wadsworth)
Credit Granting Score for Introductory Sociology
ACE Recommended Score*: 50
Semester Hours: 3
Each institution reserves the right to set its own credit-granting policy, which may differ from that of ACE. Contact your college as soon as possible to find out the score it requires to grant credit, the number of credit hours granted, and the course(s) that can be bypassed with a satisfactory score.
This was definitely harder than I anticipated. – 14-year-old homeschooled teen from Texas
Homeschooling for College Credit Recommends…
The best CLEP prep book on the market for this exam is the REA CLEP Sociology Guide. It includes practice tests in the back that explain “why” an answer is right or wrong. HIGHLY recommended.
Free CLEP Prep has a study guide and a practice exam for this test!
InstantCert has an online flashcard study program and a Specific Exam Resource file where members share feedback about the exam in real time. Use code 100150 to get $5 off the $20 cost. *If you drop by, be sure to say hello! I’m a daily contributing member there under the username Cookderosa.
I scored a 59 on the CLEP exam today. -16-year-old Homeschool teen from Iowa
Free online Sociology course through Arizona State University (non-credit) but can serve as your curriculum.
Free online VIDEO based Sociology course through New York University (non-credit) but can serve as your curriculum.
Saylor Academy offers a completely free Sociology 101 online course. They offer an exam that awards college credit for $25, however since their exam is only worth 1 credit, whereas the CLEP exam is worth 3 credits.
The Modern States organization offers a completely free Sociology 101 video-based online course. As a bonus, they are currently issuing vouchers to take the CLEP exam for FREE to anyone who asks. Reducing your CLEP cost to $0? Yes, please!
Crash Course Sociology is youtube based accelerated study series, and a good review tool!
Sparks Notes Sociology Study Guide is a free online note site that outlines all the major aspects of sociology
If you’re looking for something on paper I love laminated study charts like the one in this photo. I have a ton of them covering about a dozen subjects. You can almost always get them for under ten bucks, and they will outline and zero in on all the major topics/dates/names/etc. for the subject without fluff. Sociology Quick Reference Guide
My 17-year-old daughter passed Intro to Sociology today with a 58! -Texas parent