Brain Dump: A strategy used by people to pass their CLEP exams.
Kicking off the new year with CLEP or DSST exam plans? There are a zillion ways to prep for a CLEP exam – so let me lead with this: It is my opinion that “CLEP Prep” is easiest AFTER your student finishes a homeschool class (not instead of). Just as you wouldn’t expect an SAT test prep book to teach your son algebra, my opinion is that a CLEP prep product isn’t designed to teach a subject “from scratch” either.
CLEP & DSST Prep
The following links are NOT affiliate links or sponsored content.
Modern States – take a CLEP for FREE! These free online courses will award you a voucher that pays for your CLEP test. It really is free in every way – free class, free CLEP, free proctoring fee. Many parents report that they use this program for the specific purpose of getting the voucher. This is not a curriculum, it’s more like interactive Cliffs Notes. This product is the ONLY product that is free to prep AND free to test.
Free CLEP Prep Site Excellent tool. Developed by a DSST & CLEP-tester (Justin) he’s written some very good testing outlines and practice tests. Use this as one “part” of your CLEP prep program.
Crash Course Totally free video-based mini-courses that teach you the minimum you have to know in a subject. Perfect for visual learners but fast-paced. I suggest taking notes and using this AFTER a regular high school curriculum to target specific things you’ll need to know for the test. Use this as one “part” of your CLEP program.
Tripod CLEP Prep Lesson Plans A wonderful online site put together by a Christian homeschooler (Tricia Q) and free to use. (Note: There are some links to videos or lectures that are not written by Tripod that are not Christian- this is warned on the site.) The plans are free to use but require additional books for purchase to use the program fully. They also have a large yahoo group.
Credits Before College offers 3 Christian CLEP /DSST prep workbooks that contain everything you need for curriculum and test prep for those 3 subjects: DSST Environmental Science, DSST World Religions, and CLEP Psychology. These books are written by Christian homeschooler (Cheri F) and are physical paper books (not digital). The curriculum is designed to give high school credit in addition to test prep.
Dual Credit at Home is a package of 9 CLEP and 4 DSST prep lessons. These lessons are written by a Christian homeschooler (Becky M). The program costs about $1000 and is not all-inclusive. In addition to the program fee, it requires a monthly subscription to InstantCert flashcards ($20/month), a monthly subscription to Speedyprep ($30/month). Feedback from parents about the quality of the content is excellent, but since you can only buy the program as a “package” my advice is to double-check that your teen’s college accepts all 9 CLEP exams and all 4 DSST exams before you decide.
REA Guides are paperback and online prep guides for CLEP and AP. These guides include excellent and thorough practice tests that also have summaries of “why” each test question’s answer is correct. This brand of test prep is considered the golden standard by anyone who has taken multiple exams. I (Jennifer) used an REA guide for every exam I’ve taken, and think they are far superior to any other brand on the market. An additional point is that REA updates its guides along with CLEP exam updates. I am unable to confirm or deny that other companies are updating their content to match new versions of exams, but I know or sure that REA does. REA Guides are often available in your public library or online used in our HS4CC marketplace.
Have a favorite CLEP or DSST prep resource? Share it below!
More great posts to help you earn credit by exam
When I took my first CLEP exam, I felt pretty comfortable with the process and didn’t immediately see any reason to consider other brands like DSST. It wasn’t long before I realized the limits of brand loyalty and soon branched out to add several DSST exams to my scheduled. Continue reading “Compare CLEP vs DSST”
What is the difference between the DSST Math for the Liberal Arts and CLEP College Mathematics exam?
~a question asked by MANY homeschool moms
A very common question that parents ask is, “What should we use to study for the CLEP or DSST test?” A great way to find resources is to go directly to the source – the CLEP and DSST websites. That is exactly what I did to find the following resource for the DSST Math for the Liberal Arts test. This is a new test that came out January 2017 so there are no “tried and true” resources recommended by others. In fact, I couldn’t find any recommendations which propelled a search of my own.
A search of the DSST website led me to their Exam Facts Sheets. One of the resources listed on the DSST Math for the Liberal Arts Exam Sheet is Thinking Mathematically, Sixth Edition. The sixth edition (2014) of this book costs over $200 on Amazon. However, the fifth edition (2011) costs less than $10.
OLDER TEXTBOOK EDITIONS
You do not need the most current edition of textbooks. Older editions have much of the same content with generally only minor updates. You will also find more free resources available on the internet with older editions. Search for lectures on YouTube using the textbook title.
Thinking Mathematically, Fifth Edition
How the Book is Organized
Each chapter is divided into several sections. Each section contains Examples (problems with solutions) and Checkpoints (problems for the student to work out). Answers to all Checkpoints are found in the back of the book. Additionally, there is an inexpensive DVD-Rom available with videos showing the solutions (more on that later).
At the end of each section is an Exercise Set that contains the following:
- Practice Exercises
- Practice Plus (additional practice)
- Application Exercises (word problems)
- Writing in Mathematics (essay questions)
- Critical Thinking Exercises
- Technology Exercises (not in every chapter, using a calculator, etc)
- Group Exercises
The answers for all of the odd problems in the Exercise Set are located in the back of the book.
At the end of each chapter is a Chapter Summary, Review, and Test. Answers to all review questions are in the back of the book. Answers and step-by-step solutions for the tests are found on the Blitzer ThinkingMathematically youtube channel.
Helpful Resources in the Book
Answers abound! A cheap, used math textbook is of no value without the answers, but in this situation, answers and solutions are readily available.
- Answers for Checkpoints, odd-numbered problems from the Exercise Set, and Review Questions are located in the back of the book.
- ThinkingMathematically youtube channel has answers and step-by-step solutions to the Chapter Tests. See the example below.
- An inexpensive (around $6) DVD-Rom (ISBN 978-0-321-64640-8) is available that features a set of complete lectures covering every Checkpoint and answers and step-by-step solutions to the Chapter Tests. WARNING: This is an older DVD (2011) and is intended for use on Windows XP or Vista or Mac OS 10.4. Using Windows 10, I was only able to access the Checkpoint videos. I copied the ones that worked into a file on my computer for easy access because the DVD menu didn’t work. Even though I was not able to access everything on the DVD, there were still 822 Checkpoint videos which will be very helpful!
Correlation Btw DSST and Thinking Mathematically
Completing a college textbook might seem daunting to your high schooler. But do they need to finish the whole textbook? No! As you can see from the chart below, 4 out of the 15 chapters do not cover content in the DSST exam. You would not need to work through them. In addition, chapters 6-12 cover 75% of the exam’s content so you would want to spend the bulk of your time in those seven chapters.
|DSST Math for the Liberal Arts||Thinking Mathematically chapters|
|1. Real Number Systems 11%*||4, 5|
|2. Sets and Logic 16%||2, 3|
|3. Metric system, conversions, and geometry 12%||9, 10|
|4. Algebra, graphs, and functions 11%||6, 7|
|5. Linear Systems and Inequalities 8%||7|
|6. Exponents and Logarithms including Financial Literacy 22%||8|
|7. Counting, Probability Theory, and Statistics 20%||11, 12|
|* Percentages indicate the approximate amount of the exam devoted to this content area.
The following chapters have content not tested on the DSST:
1 Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
13 Mathematical Systems
14 Voting and Apportionment
15 Graph Theory
The total that I paid for the book and DVD was $18.23! When you consider the teaching resources available – answers in the textbook, YouTube videos, and DVD-Rom – this could be a very inexpensive, self-teaching resource for the DSST Math for the Liberal Arts test.