Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Lawrie Miller, Apr 3, 2001.

  1. Lawrie Miller

    Lawrie Miller New Member


    The core of the material in these articles I originally posted in AED in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Access to archives is now confined to the last few months historical data. I get a limited but regular trickle of requests for the original articles. This partially revised and expanded version will permit those interested, to access the posts directly and not have to wait for me to remember to gather and email 'em.

    Note that prices have gone up since the articles were first posted or last revised. I've gone through the texts and made adjustments where discrepancies caught my eye. It was not an exhaustive search and a few numbers may still be off a bit. Shouldn't be by too much though.

    I have had complaints that embedded www hot links are causing whole posts to become filled with html code junk, so I've removed all hot links to documents and referenced sites.

    I had complaints that parts of long posts were completely missing in the archive, so I've tried to keep individual posts as brief as possible.

    I had complaints that posts dealing with this subject were mot well identified in the title and were not easily retrievable in the archive. I've tried to rectify that problem by re-titling.

    I've had complaints that achieving a degree by this method is next to impossible without monumental effort, and is only for the gifted few. I've added more of my exam history, including grades and final degree GPAs, to help demonstrate that indolent slackers and the mediocre (like moi), can do this too.

    At the urging of some readers, I've added a copyright notice and a legal disclaimer to the bottom of the introduction.

    Lawrie Miller April 2001


    (BA in 4 weeks series)


    This series is primarily written to benefit mature adults who, for whatever reason, failed to start or failed to complete an undergraduate BA or BS degree, and who now seek some method of demonstrating and translating current competencies into academic credit and thence into an accredited, and widely recognized college degree.

    The series of posts collectively provide a road map detailing the nuts and bolts of the process of gathering credit by examination and converting the credit into a bachelor's diploma, and why it is that you, the motivated intelligent student will likely succeed in that endeavor.

    You may have spent the past ten or twenty years providing for and caring for your family, or have subordinated your academic ambitions to finance or otherwise help support those of your spouse or partner. You may have blown an earlier chance on a mis-spent youth and have long regretted the consequences. Whatever the reason, one way or another you probably feel you have paid your dues and that now it's your turn again.

    The title of the series is "BA in 4 weeks". Four weeks is the practical minimum amount of time in which this process can reasonably be completed. The process includes the completion of all degree credit requirements. There will probably be an additional delay while administrative gears whir and turn, before the actual degree diploma is cranked out.

    It's estimated that 15% to 20% of motivated adults could complete the process in under a month if inclined to do so. I think it entirely likely that fully 60% of motivated adults taking on this project, could complete degree requirements within six months. I am as sure as I can be that close to 90% of motivated adults could complete degree requirements within a year.

    My opinion is based on the practical experience of having earned two bachelor's degrees largely by examination, encompassing forty proficiency exams for a total of 190 semester hours credit. I note that 92.6% of all credit hours appearing in my Regents/Excelsior college transcripts
    were awarded for passing proficiency exams.

    The 15% to 20% passing in four weeks is not an estimate plucked out of the air. Although I sat eleven exams with no study, that was only because I was looking for a score in every exam, above the 90th percentile. Had I required a bare pass, I could have passed over thirty of the exams with no study.

    This is not because I am a remarkable human being, as much as I'd like that to be the case. It is because these exams are "normed" relative to the performance of a population of young college students. It is my experience that many a mature, motivated adult, who sets himself the task of completing these exams, can constantly outperform his younger brethren by quite a margin.

    The 15% to 20% of students who can consistently score "A"s in these exams or score in the top 20% of all students, can likely pass most of the same exams (within the top 50%) with no study at all. This is not because the exams are a sham, but because these adults have accumulated a wealth of knowledge over the course of a lifetime that has direct application in these tests.

    If you have less knowledge coming into the process, it will take you longer to complete it. How much longer depends on your existing knowledge base, how efficiently you study, and your native wit.

    I think it a slam-dunk that fully 60% of adult learners could successfully negotiate this process in six months if they chose to do so. 90% of mature, motivated learners could do it within a year.

    Now clearly, if you spent your life reading Batman comics and watching "Days of our Lives", and were never intellectually curious, you're going to have a harder time of it. However, most reading this series, and intent on completing a degree, are self selecting for success. To read even this far demonstrates curiosity and motivation. This series isn't for everyone, but it IS for everyone who has the motivation to read it through to the end and implement the suggestions contained herein.

    There is nothing in the actions proposed in this series that I and others as average adult learners have not already proved doable, and that you, at least our equal, cannot do too. This series is not borne of theory and wishful thinking but of practical experience and demonstrable accomplishment. It is not a prospectus for the gifted elite, but a usable guide for ordinary men and women who dare to do something extraordinary.

    It should be noted that examinations are not the only route to college credit. Portfolio assessment is one alternative. This method requires that you map some demonstrable skill to a college credit course. For instance, assembly language programming 301 and (say) microprocessor systems design and peripheral interfacing 457 (from XYZ university) course requirements might be met and competency demonstrated by presenting narrative, source code, and schematic, of a Z80 based single board computer *you* designed in the 1980s (liberal arts credit - engineering credit would be time limited). You may have written a killer budget report for financial year 1995/1996 that could be used in evidence to garner credit in the equivalent Financial Management course FIN3AXD at UCLA. Alternatively, you may just play the banjo like a banshee and have sniffed out a collegecredit course that maps to that demonstrable skill. The key point is that the competency for which you request
    credit must have a corollary in some accredited college course. You choose the course and the college. Very flexible.

    The other main source of credit is via the traditional route of class, assignment, exam/assessment. Many if not most adult learners starting out on this journey will already have some credit, though it be decades old, upon which they can call. Note though, that for the purposes of this series we assume no prior credit.

    It is likely that most people will earn their degree using credit earned in a variety of ways. The game here is not necessarily to earn all credit via examination, or by way of portfolio assessment, or even to do it all in a month. The trick is to make efficient use of your existing credit and native talent to achieve your goal. "BA in 4 weeks" seeks to provide a template that you can apply in whole or in part to your particular set of circumstances where and when you think it appropriate.

    The works comprising "BA in 4 Weeks", "Earn a 2nd BA in 3 hours", and "A BUSINESS DEGREE IN 4 WEEKS", are the copyright of Lawrie Miller 1997 - 2001

    The advice and information contained in this series is not endorsed by any education institution or agency. The opinions expressed are those of the author alone.

    Information contained in this series should be used as a guide only and should not be relied upon as the sole source of information relating to its content. Additional sources of information may be listed herein. No warranty, either express or implied, is made with respect to the information contained herein. The author is not responsible for any loss, inconvenience, damage (whether special or consequential) or claims arising out of the use of the information contained on this series.

    You are encouraged to do your own research and obtain your information from as many sources as possible. No one source can provide you with all of the information you may need.

    All references to colleges and universities are to regionally accredited institutions. "[A]ccredited" where it appears means regionally accredited.
  2. Lawrie Miller

    Lawrie Miller New Member

    (BA in 4 Weeks Series)

    A BUSINESS DEGREE IN 4 WEEKS - Which College and When to Enroll

    Many if not most colleges and universities in the U.S. accept credit earned, or will themselves award credit for, proficiency exams. However, most limit as a proportion of the total required for a degree, how much of that credit can be culled from standardized examinations.

    There are three institutions that will accept 100% of credits required for a degree, from proficiency exams. These are:

    Charter Oak State College (COSC),
    Excelsior College,
    Thomas Edison State College (TESC).

    These three are known as assessment institutions, since they can be used to collect and collate credit from disparate origins. When enough credit of the correct type and in the correct proportions has been earned, these institutions will then award the student an accredited bachelor's degree that will enjoy wide recognition in the United States.

    A number of factors should be considered before that decision is made.

    COSC and TESC are state funded, Excelsior is not. If money is tight, COSC and TESC can sup at the public trough but Excelsior cannot.

    Both COSC and TESC evaluate portfolio credit. Excelsior accepts portfolio credit but does not evaluate it, that is done elsewhere.

    Excelsior has a very comprehensive and easily accessible online library of catalogs, sample test papers, and other student related reference documents. These make life much easier for self-starters to act as their own best advisor. This is a big factor in favor of Excelsior in my opinion.

    Excelsior awards letter grades (from which GPA may be calculated) for proficiency exams, COSC and TESC do not.

    Some believe that a GPA is unnecessary for grad school. I would (and have) argued strongly to the contrary. Most graduate schools and most graduate programs require some minimum GPA (usually 3.00 for the last 60 hours of credit). It may be a candidate will be accepted into a particular graduate program without a GPA, but he may not. Not having a bachelor's degree with a GPA would likely reduce one's options down the road. Excelsior College is the only one of the three assessment institutions that letter grades proficiency examinations.

    The foregoing is a double edged sword, of course. If you're scoring "C"s in the exams, that fact might be best left unrecorded by opting for a college that only awards pass/fail grades.

    Excelsior awards generous credit for a good pass in GRE subject exams. COSC awards less generous credit in GRE subject exams but accepts a mediocre pass score. TESC awards no credit for GRE subject exams.

    Name matters. State institutions such as COSC or TESC may find greater acceptance than Excelsior. Some feel more assured by a state college. Some feel the name "Excelsior" leaves much to be desired. I think it sucks.


    Yes, you can take exams and apply for credit later or you can bank the credit right away with Excelsior. There are a few things to consider before choosing this option too. These are discussed in the next.


    The Excelsior College Credit Bank allows consolidation of existing and new credit in the form of a recognized college transcript. The cost of the service is about $200 and $25 per subsequent credit update. The resulting transcript can then be hawked to your institution of choice. There is no guarantee, however, that the receiving institution will accept all or any of the credits, though they may be more likely to accept these credits than award credit for raw proficiency exam passes garnered out with their "care".

    If you are sure you will enroll in one of the assessment institutions there is nothing to stop you going over the degree requirements, then simply sitting the relevant exams. You can send the results to which ever institution you like at some later date.

    If you enroll in Excelsior, all existing credit will be transcribed at no extra cost. All future credit will be transcribed at no further cost*. All credit can be transferred to another institution (transcript issued) for around $8 to $25 (for rush service). Most institutions are more likely to accept a regionally accredited college's transcript than raw examinations. This wont matter in the case of exam credit transfer to COSC or TESC, they're enlightened, but other institutions may be wary of accepting such credits "in the raw" (there may be a
    problem where COSC is concerned related to the order in which examsare taken - e.g. taking advanced psy exams *before* psychology 101 - at Excelsior and TESC you can take exams in any order).

    *If your enrolled more than a year, there's an annual fee to consider.


    Let's assume you are familiar with the requirements of the degree you are seeking (Liberal Arts component, UD credits needed)

    It may pay you to wait. Three factors to consider.

    1) The amount and level of credit awarded for GRE subject
    exams and your likely performance in these tests.

    2) That Regents College awards letter grades to CLEP,
    DANTES and RCE exam scores, TESC and COSC
    do not.

    3) The pass threshold of CLEP general exams.

    If you do well in the GRE exams and/or in the subject exams,
    you have the option of choosing Excelsior to harvest maximum
    credit and/or an impressive GPA.

    If you do not perform well in the GRE exams and/or the
    subject exams, you can plump for COSC and salvage the
    best possible GRE credit (COSC) and/or hide poor "C"
    letter grades as pass/fail grades (COSC or TESC).

    Since the pass threshold for CLEP general exams varies by
    institution, and because the general exams are necessary
    to fulfill a major part of the General Ed. requirement (it's
    assumed you want to do all of this be examination), this
    may be an important factor. Excelsior is probably the
    most generous, requiring a score of 420 to pass, TESC
    the least, requiring a score around 500. COSC requires 500
    for one exam and 470 for the rest


    It may *not* pay you to wait. The moving target factor.

    1) Regents, TESC, and COSC, can and frequently do change
    their rules and regulations year to year, and not
    necessarily to the benefit of students.

    For example, in 1997, Regents (Excelsior) changed its
    requirement for English Composition, and after September
    of that year would no longer accept the CLEP exam taken
    after that date, and submitted by students enrolled after
    that date.

    Once you are enrolled, you are locked into the current set
    of rules and regs. If Excelsior should suddenly decide to
    stop awarding GRE credit, and you are an enrolled
    student who has not yet written the GRE exam, you
    should be entitled to proceed under the old regulation
    in force at the time of your enrollment. If you are not
    an enrolled student, and have not yet written the exam,
    you are out of luck.

    (Note that if you have not enrolled but have written the
    GRE exam prior to the rule change, Regents would
    accept submission of the scores for the award of
    semester hour credit under the old rules.)


    GRE details to consider. . . ..

    Regents awards credit for GRE subject exams on a sliding scale. A score above the 80th percentile will net you 30 sem hrs credits. A score above the 35th percentile will net you 3 sem hrs. In between, credits are accumulated in 3 credits per 5 percentile

    Charter Oak State College (COSC) Awards 18 or 24 credits for GRE subject exams for any score above the 40th percentile. 24 credits are awarded for quantitative exams, 18 credits are awarded for non quantitative exams.

    Thomas Edison State College (TESC) does not award credit for GRE subject exams.

    In addition to the above, it should be noted that Regents awards the first 12 credits as lower division (LD) credits. That is, a pass above the 50th percentile will yield 12 LD credits. All additional credits awarded are upper division credits (UD). So, a score above the 80th percentile yields 12 LD and 18 UD semester hour credits, for a total of 30 credit hours.

    COSC awards 15 LD credits + 9 UD credits in the quantitative GREs, and 15 LD credits + 3 UD credits in the non quantitative GREs, for a total of 24 and 18 credit hours respectively.

    (COSC breaks LD credits into basic level and advanced level, but to all intents and purposes they are LD credits so far as I can establish. COSC graduates may know better.)
  3. Lawrie Miller

    Lawrie Miller New Member

    (BA in 4 weeks Series)

    A BUSINESS DEGREE IN 4 WEEKS - Frequently Asked Questions

    [What is credit by examination?]

    For our purposes it can be defined as college semester hour credit awarded for passing standardized proficiency exams of various hues.

    Exams are offered by:

    CLEP - College Level Examination Program
    DANTES - Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Educational Support
    RCE - Regents College Exams (AKA "ECE" Excelsior College Exams)
    GRE - Graduate Record Exams (subject exams only)
    TECEP - Thomas Edison College Examination Program

    There are other exam programs, but these are the ones we'll be detailing.

    [Can I earn a bachelor's degree entirely by testing out?]

    Yes. You can earn an accredited bachelor's degree exclusively by way of proficiency examinations.

    [Where and how can I earn a degree entirely by examination?]

    3) "Where", would be

    Charter Oak State College, CT (COSC)
    Excelsior College, NY (formally Regents College)
    Thomas Edison State College, NJ (TESC).

    "How", is the subject of this series . . . read on.

    [but are these "real" colleges or scams?]

    All three institutions are regionally accredited. Regional accreditation is *the* standard of fundamental legitimacy for colleges and universities in the United States. This newsgroup is consumed by debates focusing on nuances of accreditation which often quickly descend into theology. However, you could do worse than adopt a utilitarian approach by following the admonition: if it's a US school it has to be regionally accredited to warrant consideration.

    (Incidentally, if you are currently in an undergraduate program at a U.S. non regionally accredited school, you may want to consider British politician Denis Healy's First Law of Holes: when you're in one, stop digging. There are many regionally accredited distance undergraduate programs available rendering reliance upon non regionally accredited offerings unnecessary. This point, of course, has for years has been a mantra of the eloquent grandee of DL, Dr. John Bear.)

    [How many semester hours do I need to get a bachelor's degree?]

    Normally you must accumulate 120 semester hours of credit in the correct ratios defined by kind (lib arts, science, etc), subject, and level (upper and lower division), in order to qualify for degree conferral. If all of the earned credit were to be derived from testing, this would most often translate to between seven and thirty-five examinations

    [At the higher end, is it really likely I can pass all these exams?]

    It is entirely possible to take and pass all exams necessary to meet the requirements for a BA or BS degree without extensive study (details follow).

    It is entirely possible if adequately prepared by life's experiences, through occupation, prior formal education, general reading, personal interests (e.g. politics, history, physics, literature), to review and test out in all necessary disciplines, in four weeks.

    [Isn't it impractical? There aren't enough hours in the day to do it.]

    The average 3-semester hour credit takes 90 minutes to complete, not three hours. It is easily possible to sit three examinations per day and I (and I expect many others) have done so on many occasions.

    Where 3-semester hour exams are three hours in length, it is *still* possible to sit three exams per day. It is not true that if an exam is completed in less than the allotted time, you cannot immediately move on to the next exam, you can. Again, I have sat three 3-hour exams in one day (more than once) that have taken an average of one hour to complete, and have immediately moved on to the next exam, and I am no genius.

    [Are there venues that will allow multiple testing on consecutive days?]

    Enough test stations will allow you to take more than two exams per day. US military bases will allow you to take as many exams per day as you can cram into their test station's hours of operation. All Sylvan centers (RCE exams) will allow three 3-hour exams per day Monday through Friday. You can knock off three RCE exams in about 3 to 4 hours. That's nine semester hours credit.

    The exceptions would be GRE subject exams where it is not possible to sit multiple exams in a day, but in these cases, a total of 30 semester hours can be granted for a pass above the 80th percentile. A score above the 80th percentile is very doable. I have done so on two occasions, others here have done so on three or four occasions. Those who can't meet that requirement can still garner 18 or 24 semester hour credit with a pass above the 40th percentile if enrolled in COSC.

    [Wont it end up costing more than portfolio assessment and be slower?]

    The cost per 3-semester hour test varies by exam type, and prices are always subject to change, but, including administration fees, average cost are in the ball park of $35, $54, $120, $240, per 3-semester hours, for DANTES, CLEP, RCE objective, RCE essay. Note that further saving can be had by using CLEP General Exams at around $54 per 6-semester hours, and GRE subject exams at around $100 per 30-semester hours. Note again, that prices include all exam administration fees and ranscript fees.

    If a learner enrolls in an Excelsior College program, there is no fee for transcription of credits. The initial enrollment fee is around $800 and a graduation fee of around $440. The total amount paid to the college therefore, need be no more than $1300.

    Total costs including books, exam fees, transcripts, and all college fees, will be around $3000+ to $4000, to complete a 120 semester hour bachelor's degree, from scratch in around four weeks.

    [Isn't it better to use portfolio assessment?]

    I had plenty of prior credit going into my first degree, and a bunch of documented evidence to support any claim to credit via portfolio assessment. After doing a couple of competency exams, I decided it was clearly the way to go. Your mileage may vary. There's no doubt that it's quicker to do the exam if you know the subject and if a suitable exam exists. If not, portfolio is certainly a good way to go. Portfolio may also be *your* best choice in the first instance. You must decide that.

    [Exactly how could one complete any entire degree in four weeks without recourse to GRE subject exams?]

    To complete an AS degree in two weeks or BS degree in four weeks (a comfortable period) without using GRE subject exams, military bases are one viable option I know. I guess you could travel from test center to test center, doing the usual two exams per diet, then traveling to the next center for another two exams and so on. Not very practical. There are exam sites other than military bases that allow multiple consecutive day testing. See the DANTES web site for a list of test stations. Many of these will also permit CLEP testing, and some will allow
    multiple day testing*.

    By way of practical, concrete example, consider the following. VAFB near Lompoc, CA (University of La Verne base outpost) will allow testing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday all day and Thursday part of the day. When you work out the practicalities behind the numbers, this restricts you to three exams a day. Three exams a day is also a comfortable pace that can be sustained over a period of weeks (my experience).

    Given the need for some revision, nine or ten exams per week spread over three consecutive days of four consecutive days, is practical and sensible. Note that at least some of the exams will have to be RCE to meet upper division (UD) requirements.

    Since the first five exams should be the CLEP general exams, each worth six credit hours, the freshman year can be completed before the second day's testing has ended. Yes, that's right, a year's worth of college credit in less that 48 hours. By the end of the second day of the second week, the sophomore year will be in the bag. This leaves seven days testing over the next two and a half weeks to complete the junior and senior years. Plenty of time for revision and altogether a walk in the park. :) NB- RCE English Composition required in the case of Excelsior College, not CLEP English with Essay.

    Note that the practical limit on RCE exams is three per day. Each of these exams is three hours in length. However, most can be completed (and passed) in about an hour. Most Sylvan centers are open at least nine hours per day excluding Saturday and Sunday (Saturday a half day normally). I'm not suggesting spending nine hours at a stretch testing, but you can schedule it that way. As previously noted, most RCE exams can be completed in about an hour, and those administering the exams will allow you to start the next scheduled exam early if you have completed the preceding one in short time.

    Of the thirteen RCE I've taken, only two required the full three hours, English Composition and Business Policy and Strategy. Both of these are written (non-objective) exams. So, in the main, you should be in and out, and nine UD credits to the good in less than four hours for each day of RCE testing, on average.

    In two weeks (AS degree) or four weeks (BA or BS degree), you will have completed all degree requirements without prematurely turning gray. All that is then required is that you send in the graduation fee and wait for conferral. The diploma should arrive in the mail a week or so thereafter. Mount in a suitable frame for viewing and keep it out of direct sunlight.

    *Note also that as of July 2001, CLEP is going over to computer based testing (CBT). I don't know the details yet as far as it relates to multiple day testing, but I think that positive side effect is likely inherent in this change. I've tried the sample trial test software, and it's similar to the RCE computer based tests and nearly indistinguishable from the GMAT CBT.
  4. Lawrie Miller

    Lawrie Miller New Member

    (BA in 4 Weeks Series)

    A BUSINESS DEGREE IN 4 WEEKS - Exam Tips and Books


    Use practice tests in the first instance to assess your current knowledge level. Once you have some objective reading of your current ability, you will be able to tailor study to fit the gaps.

    Princeton Review's Cracking the Clep is useful for the CLEP General exams. It is comprehensive and can be a very accurate predictor of performance in the actual exams. The Official Guide from the College Board covers all the exams (from the horses mouth), but suffers from the relatively merge question sample size. Nevertheless, it is essential you read this book and practice these example questions too.

    One thing people often fear when practicing for these exams, is their apparent poor performance. This is a standardized test. It would be very difficult to determine a range of performance if contents were skewed to produce an average "pass mark" of 90% (common in the U.S.). Instead we have to have enough questions and grades of quality of questions, that will accurately assess and reflect a range of abilities of the total population of examinees. Bottom line, look for 40% to 45% raw score for a standardized score of 50 (out of 80) in the subject exams, and 500 (out of 800) in the General exams. This score in the General exams is enough for a pass at TESC (500 required) and Excelsior (420 required) and at COSC (500 and 470 required).

    As a general rule, to be sure of passing a CLEP exam, ensure you're hitting 50% raw score, and you WILL pass each and every one. Raw score is the net result of correct answers minus one quarter incorrect answers.

    As a general rule, to be sure of scoring an "A" (Excelsior students only), ensure you're hitting 77% raw score, and you WILL score an "A" every time.

    In the penalty exams (CLEP and GRE subject), IF YOU CAN ELIMINATE EVEN ONE OF THE FIVE POSSIBLE CHOICES - PICK AN ANSWER - DO NOT LEAVE THE QUESTION BLANK. If you eliminate one choice as definitely wrong, your chances of randomly picking the correct answer are 1/4. If, for the entire exam, for all the questions, you could only eliminate one choice per question, and had to randomly pick the answer from the remaining four possibilities, you will, on average come out 18.75% ahead. That is, in a test of (say) 100 questions, you haven't a clue but CAN eliminate one in five choices per question, your score is 25 - 75x0.25 = 18.75. On the margin, if you are struggling for a pass or to make an "A", such things matter. As someone recently pointed out, other treatments of this issue appear in various test prep books, this is not an original thought.

    [The core of this piece was originally written to answer a poster - "SA", I think, an American TEFOL instructor in Korea - who argued that a monkey could, on average, score 25% in a GRE subject exam. While that was clearly disproved, SA's posts moved one, less charitable reader, to comment he was now convinced that lower primates contribute to AED, and that monkeys can teach English as a foreign language.]

    In the no-penalty exams (RCE and DANTES), MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE NO QUESTION UNANSWERED. Don't have a clue? Don't matter, pick an answer ("One should never miss an opportunity to state the obvious", Confucius).

    . . . . .


    People often ask if one type of exam is easier than another. It seems that the RCE and the TECEP exams in particular are thought significantly more difficult. There *is* one type of exam more difficult than the rest, and that is the GRE subject exam, but that is because it tests the student with questions covering undergraduate freshman to senior years across a whole academic discipline. It is a comprehensive exam, but one that yields a great deal more credit than any of the other types. Looked at in terms of credit-yield-per-unit-effort, GRE subject exams are not more difficult than other exams. If a Regents College exam is akin consuming a ham sandwich, the GRE subject exam is like eating a six course meal in approximately the same period of time.

    On the Regents College exams, my experience offers no evidence that they require different study or revision approaches than those applicable to CLEP, DANTES or the GRE subject exams. In fact, in the case of RCE multiple choice tests, I found that most of these 3-hour exams could be completed in an hour or an hour and a bit. In comparison, I took the full 2 hours and 50 minutes to complete the GRE subject exams and the full 90 minutesto complete most of the CLEP exams (though a few CLEP exams took only 60 minutes (30+30). DANTES exams do not have a time limit, but most agree 90 minutes is appropriate, and, for these exams I took at least that amount of time to finish.

    So, all else being equal (knowledge of the specific subject), which it seldom is I grant, these data would indicate the RCE tests are in fact easier to pass AT THE SAME LEVEL (upper or lower division) than other proficiency exams. Looking at the results in terms of grade or percentile ranking, my performances were remarkably similar for RCE, GRE, DANTES and CLEP examinations, i.e. the outcomes were about the same.

    As with the other exam types, I used none of the recommended preparation material for the RCE tests, too expensive, with the exception of the free tests and notes downloaded from the Excelsior web site. These notes are a vital preparation tool. It may be however, that the exam-specific proprietary study materials available directly from Excelsior College, will prove valuable to some learners.

    Incidentally, for the TECEP examinations, TESC offers a book detailing all of the tests for about 20 bucks. You get a bonus DANTES test book thrown in. Though I ended up taking no TECEP tests, I did intend to do so, and used the practice exams in this book to revise. I found it most useful. Most TESC exams have a passing score of 60% and may be a tad more difficult than DANTES or CLEP due mainly to the higher pass threshold. The book is the "TECEP Examinations Test Description Book", which to repeat, comes with a freebie DANTES test book.

    Bottom line, don't be afraid to take the RCE or the TECEP exams, they are not significantly more difficult than any of the other proficiency exams, level for level. You do not necessarily need to buy Excelsior College study materials to pass their exams (RCE). In fact, you do not need to buy the recommended books to pass any proficiency exam. You *do* have to make sure you understand the subject material before
    writing the test of course. O, would that it were otherwise.


    Standard texts generally work well. The Cliff Notes versions if you can (i.e. any abbreviated text). You don't want to go too deep into the subject if your goal is simply to pass the exam at the appropriate level. That is why doing the example questions first is so important. They provide a benchmark indicating how much you need to know and whether or not you already know enough. If your target is a simple pass and you're scoring 50% - sit the exam. If your target is a sure-fire "A" and you're scoring >77% - sit the exam. If you are not reaching your minimum requirement, use the test as a map to where you must invest your efforts. What categories within the subject area are you failing on? Where within those failures might maximum credit be gained for study effort?

    The texts I used were whatever I had to had in my library, what I could find on the net, and if I had to shell out for a book, whichever was the cheapest. Least expensive and time consuming of all will be where you have tried the mock exam and found you needed no further study (you met your target score). Then you need do nothing but take the test. This may happen to you with comforting regularity. I hope so, but if not use the following algorithm:

    (repeat until pass)


    There's a series of books called "ACT proficiency Series. Rudman's questions and answers on the PEP", from National Learning Corporation. These are ostensibly geared for use with the ACT/PEP exams (now RCE AKA ECE). You might think then that these are ideally suited for RCE exam revision. I tried to use a couple of these and found them worse than useless. I mention it because if you have to buy them, with shipping, it's likely to run you about $25 a pop. If I thought you'd benefit in the slightest from using these things, I'd say nothing, but as it is . . .


    Skeptics have suggested that earning a degree by examination is impossible without monumental effort, and even then, could only be accomplished by a gifted few. Frankly, this is nonsense. I earned two degrees by the method, and no one has ever accused me of being gifted. To counter the skeptics, and answer the question, "all right then bozo, how did YOU do?", I've now included a listing of all my exam grades and the degrees earned, as a practical matter of providing evidence in support of the claims. Please believe me when I say that I am nothing special. Many have done better than I could ever do, and you may too. Whatever your relative performance, what matters is that you see it through to the end and get the degree.

    Another list follows the first detailing the difficulty of the exams on a scale from 1 to 5. "5" the most difficult, "1" no sweat at all. Clearly, everyone's view of hard or easy will be affected by their degree of prior exposure to the particular subject matter and their innate talent relative to the specific discipline. Those not at least semi computer literate should add one point to the difficulty index for computer related exams.

    Last is a listing of the exams I've taken and the books used. All but one of the books are in the range $6 to $25. Where "None" appears, the exam concerned was taken with no study/revision, but I've suggested some titles/sources that might prove useful. Note that in all cases, sample or mock exams were used to asses my competence before any decision to test or to review was taken. Remember, I used these books because I already had them to hand, or because they were cheap. I do consider them equal to the task, however.

    . . . . . . . .


    Graduated from University of the State of New York (now Excelsior College) with a Liberal Arts degree, BS in Political Science (Concentration), overall GPA 3.40

    Graduated from Regents College (now Excelsior College) with a BS in General Business summa cum laude, overall GPA 3.92

    38 exams written, most with little study, 11 with no study at all, targeting a letter grade "A", and a score above the 90th percentile. Over thirty exams could have been taken and passed with no study had only a passing score been required. One of the 38 exams was taken twice - I took ill during the first exam and could not continue to the end but did submit my paper anyway. Of the total of 38 exams, I passed 38.

    Four exams were not letter graded:
    For those not letter credited, the percentile scores were 99th percentile, 97th percentile, 96th percentile, and 89th percentile.

    The rest (34) were letter graded. Results were: 30 A, 3 B, 1 C.

    Detailed exam performance breakdown: Number in parenthesis indicates semester hour credit awarded. Letter grades are denoted A, B, C.


    Social Science (6) 99th percentile
    English Composition with Essay (6) 97th percentile
    Natural Science (6) 96th percentile
    Humanities (6) 89th percentile
    Introductory Psychology (3) A
    Introduction to Educational Psychology (3) A
    Information Systems and Computer Applications (3) A
    Macroeconomics (3) A
    Principles of Management (3) A
    Principles of Marketing (3) A
    Microeconomics (3) A
    Introductory Business Law (3) A
    American Government (3) A
    Principles of Accounting (6) B, A - retaken due to illness during first sitting


    Management Information Systems (3) A
    Principles of Finance (3) A
    Business Law II (3) A
    Principles of Supervision (3) A
    Contemporary Western Europe (3) A
    Money and Banking (3) B
    Criminal Justice (3) A
    Fundamentals of Counseling (3) A
    Principles of Financial Accounting (3) A
    Drug and Alcohol Abuse (3) A


    Abnormal Psychology (3) A
    Ethics Theory and Practice (3) A
    Fundamentals of Gerontology (3) A
    Labor Relations (3) A
    Lifespan Developmental Psychology (3) A
    Organizational Behavior (3) A
    Psychology of Adulthood and Aging (3) A
    English Composition (6) C
    Business Policy and Strategy (3) B
    Human Resource Management (3) A
    Production/Operations Management (3) A
    Research Methods in Psychology (3) A
    World Population (3) A

    GRE Subject

    Psychology (30) 690 >92nd percentile
    Revised Political Science (30) 680 >96th percentile


    Likely relative difficulty an average motivated adult learner would experience scoring at least a "B" in selected proficiency exams

    1 = No study required
    2 = Light revision required
    3 = A reasonable effort required
    4 = Some real study required
    5 = No messing around a good score requires significant effort.

    For a simple "pass", reduce difficulty index by 1 in each case.

    CLEP Examinations

    Introduction to Educational Psychology 2
    Social Science 2
    Introductory Psychology 2
    Information Systems and Computer Appl 1
    Macroeconomics 3
    Principles of Management 2
    English Composition with Essay 1
    Principles of Marketing 3
    Microeconomics 4
    Natural Science 2
    Humanities 3
    Introductory Business Law 2
    American Government 2
    principles of Accounting 4

    DANTES Examinations

    Management Information Systems 1
    Principles of Finance 4
    Business Law II 4
    Principles of Supervision 2
    Contemporary Western Europe 1
    Money and Banking 4
    Criminal Justice 1
    Fundamentals of Counseling 2
    Principals of Financial Accounting 3
    Drug and Alcohol Abuse 1

    RCE Examinations

    Abnormal Psychology 3
    Ethics Theory and Practice 3
    Fundamentals of Gerontology 3
    Labor Relations 3
    Lifespan Developmental Psychology 3
    Organizational Behavior 3
    Psychology of Adulthood and Aging 3
    English Composition 3
    Business Policy and Strategy 5
    Human Resource Management 3
    Production/Operations Management 3
    Research Methods in Psychology 3
    World Population 1

    GRE Subject Examinations

    Psychology 4
    Revised Political Science 4


    CLEP Examinations

    Introduction to Educational (Barron's EZ-101 Psychology)
    Social Science None (Princeton Review Cracking the Clep)
    Introductory Psychology (Barron's EZ-101 Psychology)
    Information Systems and Computer App. None ("For Dummies series")
    Macroeconomics (Cliffs Quick Review Economics)
    Principles of Management (Barron's EZ-101 Management)
    English Composition with Essay None (practice writing 45 min essays)
    (Princeton Review Cracking the Clep)
    Principles of Marketing (Barron's Business Review Marketing)
    Microeconomics (Cliffs Quick Review Economics)
    Natural Science None (Princeton Review Cracking the Clep)
    Humanities None (Princeton Review Cracking the Clep)
    Introductory Business Law (Barron's Business Review Business Law)
    American Government (HarperCollins College Outline Into to Gov)
    Principles of Accounting (Barron's Business Review Accounting)

    DANTES Examinations

    Management Information Systems None ("For Dummies" series)
    Principles of Finance (Barron's Business Library Financial Man'gment)
    Business Law II (Barron's Business Review Business Law)
    Principles of Supervision (Barron's Bus Lib Human Resource Man'gment)
    Contemporary Western Europe None (Suggest any simple Euro primer)
    Money and Banking Various Sources (could obtain no recommended title)
    Criminal Justice None
    Fundamentals of Counseling None (suggest basic HR and psy texts)
    Principles of Financial Accounting (Barron's Financial Man'gment + Accounting books detailed previously)
    Drug and Alcohol Abuse (Practicum)

    RCE Examinations

    Abnormal Psychology (HarperCollins Outline Abnormal Psych)
    Ethics Theory and Practice (HarperCollins Outline Ethics)
    Fundamentals of Gerontology (Princeton Review Cracking GRE Psych)
    Labor Relations (Learn Federal/State Labor Laws from the WWW)
    Lifespan Developmental Psycholog (Princeton Review GRE Psych)
    Organizational Behavior (Barron's Business Lib Human Resources)
    Psychology of Adulthood and Aging (Princeton Review GRE Psych)
    English Composition None (Suggest buy the RCE English primer)
    Business Policy and Strategy (Strategic Mangment, Wheelan)
    Human Resource Management (Barron's Business Lib Human Resources)
    Production/Operations Management (Prentice Hall Vest-Pocket MBA)
    Research Methods in Psychology (Princeton Review GRE Psych)
    World Population None (www CIA World Fact Book)

    GRE Subject Examinations

    Psychology (Princeton Review GRE Psych)
    Revised Political Science (History of Western Political Thought J.S. McClelland, Pub. Routlege)
  5. Lawrie Miller

    Lawrie Miller New Member

    (BA in 4 weeks Series)

    This template is specifically tailored to earning a BS in General Business, from Excelsior College, Albany, NY

    Excelsior college is a regionally accredited institution. Excelsior College has not endorsed any of the information or advice contained herein. The views expressed are those of the author alone.



    This week we are going to do the following exams:

    CLEP Humanities
    CLEP Natural Sciences
    CLEP Social Sciences and History

    RCE English Composition
    CLEP College Algebra

    RCE Ethics Theory and practice
    RCE Statistics

    There are three CLEP general exams applicable to this degree. Each is worth 6 semester hours credit. Each is 90 minutes in length, split into two 45 minute sections. Successful completion of the three exams along with English Composition, College Algebra, Statistics, and Ethics, will fulfill freshman year requirements at Excelsior College.

    The three CLEP General exams can be completed in one day of testing. The exams are:

    CLEP Humanities
    CLEP Natural Sciences
    CLEP Social Sciences and History

    These are general exams and as such cover a very wide area of, for want of a better term, "general knowledge". I do not know that your chances of passing these exams would be significantly improved by any sort of cramming, precisely because the tests are so wide ranging.

    I think the best strategy is to try the mock exams and use the results to guide your study efforts. The shallowness of the tests mean that much of the knowledge deficit exposed by the mock exams may be filled by quick reference to information on the world wide web via a search engine like Google.

    The remaining four exams con be completed over the following two days of testing. They are:

    RCE English Composition
    CLEP College Algebra
    RCE Ethics: Theory and Practice
    RCE Statistics

    RCE English Composition (3)
    CLEP College Algebra (3)

    The RCE English Composition exam is three hours in length and consists of three one-hour essays. As I remember it, essays are a "contrast and compare", an advocacy letter/report, and an article critique. There is no "English interpretation" section in the RCE exam.

    For the RCE English Composition exam, you might want to consider purchasing Excelsior College's proprietary English exam package. Certainly, you must download and study the mock exam PDF file, available free from the Excelsior web site.

    CLEP College Algebra is the simplest math exam allowable that will meet the Business degree math requirement, and that's is why we've chosen it. The Exam consists of 70 questions in 90 minutes split into two 45 minute sections. I comprises questions covering factoring, powers, roots linear equations, inequalities, quadratic equations, exponential and log functions, graphs. If you'd prefer to attempt something a little more complex, please feel free to do so. The are two other CLEP exams that will meet Business degree math requirements: College Algebra and Trigonometry; Calculus and Elementary Functions. The CLEP College Algebra, I believe to be the easiest of the three.

    RCE Ethics Theory and practice (3)
    RCE Statistics (3)

    RCE Ethics Theory and Practice is a three hour exam. Expect to complete it in about two hours or less. It will be one of the more time consuming RCE exams to wrap up. Not because it is difficult but rather that the scenario questions can take a while to read and digest. As with all RCE objective exams, when you have reviewed your answers and indicate you're happy, your score and grade will appear on the screen. That's a buzz: immediate gratification. Download the free practice exam from the Excelsior College web site, and buy the HarperCollins primer, "Ethics". There is also an Excelsior official study guide for this exam, if you feel need of it.

    RCE Statistics exam is three hours in length. There are 100 multiple choice questions on *basic* statistical methods. Questions on regression and correlation, distributions, sampling methods, estimation and hypothesis testing. There is an Excelsior official study guide for this exam, if you feel you need the help. Otherwise, download the free practice exam, and if necessary, use any general purpose elementary statistics

    CLEP Required materials.............................

    First off , get hold of the "CLEP official study guide" from The College Board. You can buy this at many bookstores, from amazon.com on the Web, or it can be ordered from College Board Publications at 1-800-323-7155. This book has sample questions covering all CLEP general and subject exams. The questions in this book mirror those you will encounter in the exams in degree of difficulty and in focus. Alas, most of the other guides do not.

    However, as in the case of the GRE subject exams, there is one exception. The Princeton Review "Cracking the CLEP". This book covers all five general examinations with a full complement of questions for each. There are detailed notes in the answer section. Most importantly, the difficulty and scope of the tests match (pretty nearly) the genuine article. You will need this book for the three GENERAL exams, Humanities, Natural Science, and Social Science/History, required for this degree program.

    The REA offering only serves to mislead. The questions do not match the difficulty level found in the actual CLEP exams. As with some of their GRE guides, the questions are a higher order of difficulty than those found in the CLEP exams proper. This is not simply a matter of opinion. I have old score sheets of the mock tests taken within a day or so of each other using the REA tests, the Princeton tests, and the results of the actual exams. Where REA predicted 50%ile (a fail or a bare pass) in Humanities, Princeton indicated 93%ile; actual was 89%ile. REA prediction for Social Science/History 62%ile, Princeton 99%ile, actual 99%ile; Natural Sciences REA 68%ile, Princeton 99%ile, actual 96% and the pattern continues for all the other exams taken. These are empirical data. The results speak volumes about the relative utility of the guides.

    Note that you don't have to score high in absolute terms to do well in percentile or scaled-score terms in these exams. For instance, a raw score of 50 out of 120 will get you a pass in the Natural Science exam (=500 scaled). That's under 42%. So don't fear that a pass is unattainable, it is likely comfortably within your reach. Remember that the passing scores in these exams are meant to reflect the average
    performance of a freshman student 18 years old. Cannot speak for others, but at 18 my main interests and goals in life were sex, booze and getting into show business. You bring many advantages of experience, maturity and focus to the fray. You have managed to hold down a responsible job and perhaps have raised or are raising a family. Most freshman can't keep their room clean!

    Get the Official CLEP Guide and the Princeton Review. Try out the mock exams. If you're scoring greater than 500 scaled score, sit the exams without further ado. Remember, a pass at 500 yields exactly the same credit as a pass at 800. There are no grades attached to the general exams. In the unlikely event you do fail, you can resit the exam and suppress the failure..... no one will know, or care.

    Note that the passing score at Excelsior College is 420 for the CLEP general exams. At TESC, I believe the passing score is 500. At COSC, 500 and 470.

    The exam guide for RCE English Composition can be found at Excelsior.edu.

    CLEP Humanities (6)
    CLEP Natural Sciences (6)
    CLEP Social Sciences and History (6)
    RCE English Composition (6)
    CLEP College Algebra (3)
    RCE Ethics Theory and practice (3)
    RCE Statistics (3)

    CLEP Official Study Guide, The College Board - $20
    Cracking the CLEP, Princeton Review - $20
    The Best Test preparation for the CLEP, REA - $20
    Course Guide for English Composition, Excelsior College - $25
    Course Guide for Ethics: Theory and Practice, Excelsior College - $25
    Course Guide for Statistics, Excelsior College - $25
  6. Lawrie Miller

    Lawrie Miller New Member

    (BA in 4 Weeks Series)


    We have constructed subject and exam matrices that are synergistic. That is, the interrelated elements in the chosen subjects and the chosen test pairings of subjects mean that facts and concepts learned and absorbed in studying for one exam are directly applicable within one of the others So, for example, elements of knowledge in Human Resources, Organizational Behavior, Business Law I, Business Law II, Macroeconomics, and Microeconomics, are common, reusable and complementary.

    So far we have met the Written English Requirement (WER), the Humanities, Mathematics/Science, and Social Science/History requirements, the Ethics requirement, and the Statistics requirement.

    So, on to the second week. You have already earned 30 semester hours credit. This week you're going to pick up another 30 with a judicious assortment of business exams.

    RCE Management of Human Resources
    RCE Organizational Behavior
    RCE World Population

    CLEP Macroeconomics
    CLEP Microeconomics
    CLEP Introductory Business Law

    DANTES Business Law II
    CLEP Principles of Management
    CLEP Principles of Marketing

    DANTES Principles of Finance

    You need to schedule for Monday a full day at a Sylvan center near you, and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday, at your friendly military base, community center, or other station allowing multiple testing.

    RCE Management of Human Resources
    RCE Organizational Behavior
    RCE World Population

    You finished testing early Tuesday afternoon of last week and have been enjoying periods of relaxation interspersed with study. It's now the following Monday morning, 9:00AM. You've shown your ID at the Sylvan test center, had your mug shot taken, and signed in. The exam proctor escorts you to your seat. You disdain his offer of a pair of neon colored guaranteed sanitized/made in ROK, earplugs (they itch). Ready and confident, you "press any key to begin", and begin.

    The RCE Management of Human Resources Examination. Use Barron's Business Library Human Resources Management book. Simultaneous study for Organizational Behavior, helps here. These two exams complement one another. Should complete this exam in one hour to ninety minutes.

    You signal that you have completed the exam and go back into the proctor's office or wait at the access hatch. He will provide you with a printed and embossed/stamped score sheet.

    An hour to eat, drink (recommend a cooler with a packed lunch and sit in your car), and some light revision for the next exam. Forget about the previous test, it's history and you can't affect the result, but you can influence the outcome of the next one. In every one of the 13 RCE exams I sat, I did significantly better than I would have predicted immediately after the test but before the actual result was revealed. I hope you will be similarly surprised. For many or most, I think it likely.

    "Organizational Behavior" you start at noon. Expect to be through about 1:00PM to 1:15PM. Your next exam is scheduled for 3:00PM but you can elect to take it early, or you can do more eating, or snoozing, or light revision for the final exam of the day.

    "World Population" - we've left this for last because it's the easiest, and if you're feeling a little tired, well, this is nothing to get excited about. You should finish this within about an hour.

    Let me repeat previous note in this series: you will know how you will perform with fair certainty by tracking your performance in the mock exams. I found the mock exams (listed elsewhere) very good predictors of actual performance on forty (40) occasions. I doubt that that would be a fluke, or an experience you would not share, if you were to follow the same bench marking strategy.

    CLEP Macroeconomics
    CLEP Microeconomics
    CLEP Introductory Business Law

    Tuesday, it's the Economics CLEPs (from July 2001 all CLEP exams will be computer based tests like the RCE exams). You'll do them consecutively because of commonality of concepts and procedures. Use Cliffs Quick Review, "Economics", and the MacMillan Master Series, "Mastering Economics", or any other survey of Economics will do, really. I think the performance of the average student against which these exams are "normed", may help you pass these two, in that, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Put another way, have a solid grasp of the very basics, and you will find a little knowledge goes a long way.

    3:00PM "Introductory Business Law". This is pretty obvious stuff. You'll use the same book for Business Law II, Barron's Business Review Series, "Business Law". This exam (Business Law I), is mostly common sense. No sweat. We sit it today to get you primed for Business Law II, tomorrow.

    DANTES Business Law II
    CLEP Principles of Management
    CLEP Principles of Marketing

    Wednesday: Business Law II. This is much more of a challenge than Business Law I, but is very passable. It follow directly from the work you did in Business Law I. Same Book, Barron's Business Review Series, "Business Law".

    That was the only difficult exam of the day. The next two are much easier.

    "Principles of Management". This is one of the easier exams. Most working adults will have at least some practical experience of many of the practices and concepts examined in this test. Use Barron's "EZ-101 Management". It's enough to get you through this..

    Exam finished at 1:30PM and the next one is scheduled for 3:00PM. "Principles of Marketing" is next. Use Barron's Business Review Series book, "Marketing". Do the CLEP mock exam, and sit the real one. Not difficult this one.

    DANTES Principles of Finance

    Only one exam today, DANTES Principles of Finance. We've left this till Thursday to give you time to ensure you have studied sufficiently. Use Barron's Business Library, "Financial Management". Fairly rigorous, in comparison to most other tests in this degree but well passable.


    It's Thursday morning 11:00AM, the sun is shining and testing is over for this week. You earned 30 hours credit, with many of those credits satisfying core requirements. You now have a total of 60 semester hours of college credit, and you're already halfway to an accredited bachelor's in well less than two weeks. Cool!


    RCE Management of Human Resources (3)
    RCE Organizational Behavior (3)
    RCE World Population (3)
    CLEP Macroeconomics (3)
    CLEP Microeconomics (3)
    CLEP Introductory Business Law (3)
    CLEP Principles of Management (3)
    CLEP Principles of Marketing (3)
    DANTES Principles of Finance (3)
    DANTES Business Law II (3)


    Cliffs Quick Review Economics $7.95
    MacMillan Master Series Mastering Economics
    Barron's Business Lib Human Resources $16.95
    www CIA World Fact Book $free
    Barron's Business Library Financial Man'gment $17.95
    Barron's EZ-101 Management $6.95
    Barron's Business Review Business Law $13.95
    Barron's Business Review Marketing $12.95
  7. Lawrie Miller

    Lawrie Miller New Member

    (BA in 4 Weeks series)


    By the end of week 2, the 3-credit WER had been met, you had fulfilled the General Ed requirements in Mathematics/Science, in Social Science/History, and in Humanities. In addition, Business degree specific Humanities and Social Science requirements have been met in Ethics, Organizational Behavior, and Economics, as well as math and statistics. We're on a roll.

    CLEP Principles of Accounting (OR DANTES Financial Accounting IF applicable)
    CLEP Information Systems and Computer Applications
    CLEP Introductory Psychology

    RCE Production/Operations Management
    RCE Labor Relations
    RCE Abnormal Psychology

    DANTES Management Information Systems
    DANTES Principles of Supervision
    DANTES Here's to Your Health

    Foundations of Gerontology

    Week three is about to begin. Last week, Finance and Business Law II were the difficult exams. This week it will be Managerial and Financial Accounting, and to a lesser extent, Production/Operations Management.

    Now, many who are familiar with accounting practices, may have little or no difficulty negotiating this hurdle. I had no prior experience of accounting and found its study exasperating. However, you will be helped by the grading curve of this exam. While you might feel you know little, other examinees probably know much less. Again, in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.

    We've left Accounting until week three to give you time for leisurely study of the subject. Best advice I can give is to practice as many examples as possible to ensure you have inculcated the principles underlying the practices. Don't just go by rote. Ensure you know why your using the procedures. You'll be quizzed on that. In the end, you'll find this exam much easier than anticipated.

    Some of you may already have credit in Managerial Accounting, apparently this is not uncommon. If you're one, you need not sit the CLEP exam, but can use the DANTES Financial Accounting exam to cover the deficit. The CLEP exam is as much a race against time as anything else. The DANTES exam is a much more civilized affair. It's definitely more detailed and perhaps a little more rigorous, but the extra time allowed (relative to the number of questions and their difficulty), more than compensates. I sat both the CLEP and the DANTES, and preferred the DANTES. However, if you have no accounting credit, you have no choice but to sit the CLEP.

    CLEP Principles of Accounting (OR DANTES Financial Accounting IF applicable)
    CLEP Information Systems and Computer Applications
    CLEP Introductory Psychology

    Monday's exam in Principles of Accounting will be in two 45 minute segments. The first will cover Managerial Accounting and will comprise about 40 questions, and the second will cover Financial Accounting and will also comprise approximately 40 questions. Work quickly as you can through the questions while maintaining accuracy. Time has a habit of flying by in this exam.

    That was the hardest exam of the week. The rest of Monday's exams are on the light side. Information Systems and Computer applications covers the most rudimentary principles. Do the CLEP mock exam. If you then feel you need to revise, get one of the "For Dummies" series books or any other basic primer on end-user computing.

    CLEP Introductory Psychology can be "mastered" well enough using Barron's EZ-101 Psychology. Any reasonably intelligent, mature adult will find most of this stuff intuitively obvious.

    RCE Production/Operations Management
    RCE Labor Relations
    RCE Abnormal Psychology

    Production/Operations Management may require some work for those not familiar with the basic concepts. Others with some experience through employment will find this a breeze. The fact is that the exam is not very demanding. Do the RCE mock test (as always) and see how you fare. You can use any text on Operations Management. I used "The Pocket MBA", which had a nice, clear, to-the-point, section on the subject, and most importantly, was very cheap. This was good enough to score an "A".

    Labor Relations. This test follows naturally on the heels of last week's Management of Human Resources. The MUST for this exam is that you read and understand the fundamentals of US labor law and dispute resolution agreements.

    That sounds like a lot, but most American workers will have some experience and familiarity with the basic system. I had no idea, and found it necessary to read-up on federal laws and agreements. That study, and the application of common sense, was enough, so U.S. nationals, bred in the system should be well placed for a good pass. Use the web to find the relevant labor laws and agreements. This new knowledge and that gained for the HR exam last week, will see you through.

    Abnormal Psychology: you have already completed a deal of the ground work in Psych 101 and Organizational Behavior. Books for this exam - the trusty Psych 101 primer, "Abnormal Psychology", Harper Collins, and the Princeton Review Cracking the GRE Psychology.

    DANTES Management Information Systems
    DANTES Principles of Supervision
    DANTES Here's to Your Health

    Management Information Systems, I thought surprisingly easy for an upper division exam. You can ready yourself for this exam with any foundation level MIS primer. If you are computer illiterate, we'll discuss substitute exams at the end of the series, but really, at least try the mock of this exam.

    Principles of Supervision should be a gift to most seasoned adults. The work done in Human Resource Management, Organizational Behavior, and Psychology, will all be helpful here. Try the DANTES mock exam, I doubt you will have difficulty.

    "Here's to your Health", is one exam I have not taken. I include it because all I have read who have taken it and chosen to comment, say it is quite the easiest test imaginable. So, for that reason, and remembering that you want to be a graduate and not a hero, I include it here.

    RCE Foundations of Gerontology

    Only one exam today, Foundations of Gerontology. The previous Psychology exams will help you with this one. Anyone with an aging parent or other elderly relative will understand much of the material in this test. I used no specialized text. Use the Princeton Review, "Cracking the GRE Psychology Exam", and concentrate on the coverage relative to aging. If you feel need of further guidance, please do a search of the internet. There is much free, relevant material there. Again, it is my opinion having written this exam, that mature adults will have an intuitive understanding of the material.


    All rightie then. You've completed week three. Except for the degree capstone course, you have all of the necessary Business core credit and total Business credit required for the degree. You have also met the general ed. requirements, the upper level business course credit requirements, and have accumulated a total of 96 semester hour credits. Another week and you will have earned a Business degree. I'm so excited!


    CLEP Principles of Accounting (6)
    CLEP Information Systems and Computer Applications (3)
    CLEP Introductory Psychology (3)
    DANTES Management Information Systems (3)
    DANTES Principles of Supervision (3)
    DANTES Here's to Your Health (3)
    RCE Production/Operations Management (3)
    RCE Labor Relations (3)
    RCE Abnormal Psychology (3)
    RCE Foundations of Gerontology (3)

    Barron's Business Review Series Accounting $12.95
    Barron's Accounting the Easy Way $12.95
    Prentice Hall The Vest-Pocket MBA $13.95
    Barron's EZ-101 Psychology $6.95
    Harper Collins Abnormal Psychology $12
    Princeton Review Cracking the GRE in Psychology $20
    Any MIS primer about $20
    Harper Collins Introduction to Sociology $12
    www search of US labor laws and federal labor agreements
  8. Lawrie Miller

    Lawrie Miller New Member

    (BA in 4 Weeks Series)


    The last week. You have earned 96 credits to date. You require another 24 credits for a total of 120 semester hours, that's only eight more examinations. All but one of the exams will be easy. We've designed it to be that way so that as much time as possible over the previous few days could be devoted to Business Policy exam preparation.


    RCE Business Policy and Strategy
    RCE Research Methods in Psychology

    CLEP Introduction to Educational Psychology
    CLEP American Government
    CLEP Introduction to Sociology

    DANTES Criminal Justice
    DANTES Fundamentals of Counseling
    DANTES Drug and Alcohol Abuse


    The most difficult hurdle we have left till last. That is the capstone test, Business Policy and Strategy. Now, although this is a difficult exam, it is by no means an insurmountable obstacle. It is an essay exam based on case studies. Relating my own experience may help dispel the notion that this exam is too hard to pass without formal tuition.

    By the time I was due to take this exam I'd gotten a bit complacent. I'd bought a book on strategic planning for 20 bucks that I though would fill the bill. I put it on my book shelf until five days before the exam, when I finally had a good look at it, at which point It was clear it was not adequate for the task. I found another book at the book store but agonized for two days about stumping up the extortionate asking price of $75. Eventually, I gave in and bought the book, but by that time, had only three days left before the test was due to be taken.

    The book was Addison Wesley, Strategic Management and Business Policy, by Wheelen and Hunger. This was enough to get me through the exam in less than three days. I scored a "B". Not great, but good enough under the circumstances. I had a two and a half hour drive to the test center and decided to tape my notes so that I could listen to them on the way there.

    I'm not suggesting you leave it this late. However, it demonstrates the subject is far from intractable. If you are new to this subject as I was, give yourself more time to let the concepts "seep in". When you become familiar with the principles and the processes of analyses employed, it will seem pretty much like common sense. If you are active in business management, you may already be familiar with much of the material.

    If there is one key above all others, I'd say it was that you become real friendly with the following process:

    Environmental Scanning -> Strategy Formulation -> Strategy Implementation-> Evaluation and Control

    and the subordinate processes and factors:

    External factors
    Internal factors




    The text you use may have slightly different terminology, but the processes themselves, will be the same.

    Get a hold of these terms and their definitions. Understand how to use them by applying the principles and the process to a real-world situation (a case study). Reinforce that understanding by applying the same principles and procedures in a range of scenarios.

    Other books may be as useful as the one detailed above. However, there is no doubt at all about the usefulness of the one detailed. You could do worse than buy it at the start of your studies. Read and understand over a period of at least the preceding couple of weeks. Maybe an hour a day. The concepts are not difficult but may require some time to sink in properly. Over the final weekend before sitting the exam, concentrate on applying the procedures outlined above, to various case models.


    RCE Business Policy and Strategy
    RCE Research Methods in Psychology

    We've already talked about Business Policy. The next exam should be Scheduled for 3:00PM, since you will spend a whole three hours on
    Business policy, from 9:00AM to 12:00 noon. You'll need some time to recover and relax. Research Methods in Psychology should take an hour or so to complete.

    Research Methods may sound an intimidating exam, but it's not. The work you did for the statistics exam will stand you in good stead here. Use the Princeton review "Cracking the Psychology GRE Exam" book to brush up on the requirements. The coverage is sparse in that book but contains exactly whet you need to know, no more, no less. Ensure you understand all of it (there's not much) and you'll do just fine in the exam. As always, DO THE MOCK EXAM FIRST!

    CLEP Introduction to Educational Psychology
    CLEP American Government
    CLEP Introduction to Sociology

    Three easy exams today.

    The work already done in Psychology should prepare you well enough for the Educational Psychology exam. Do the mock exam and see how you fare. If you require further study, look at web resources in the first instance via a google search - there are many. The exam should present little difficulty.

    American Government should be passable by every intelligent American citizen. If you are from another country, some revision may be needed. HarperCollins "Introduction to Government" will proved the information needed to pass. Don't get too involved, this is a basic exam. Do the mock test to see how you will score in the real one.

    Introductory Sociology - another freebie. Use HarperCollins, "Introduction to Sociology", if you find you need help.

    DANTES Criminal Justice
    DANTES Fundamentals of Counseling
    DANTES Drug and Alcohol Abuse

    Well, this is the last test day, and it's the easiest. You probably will require no study or revision to pass any of these three exams. If you do, any basic text on criminal justice will do. For counseling, your adult common sense and the work in Psychology, will take you far. If you need to brush up on particular points, do the mock exam, then fill in the deficits using the web to search for the specific information required.

    Again, for Drug and Alcohol Abuse, your mature common sense and the work you've already done in Psychology will almost certainly be enough to see you though. If you require more help, any suitable primer on the subject should suffice.


    120 semester hour credit required - completed

    At least 60 hours in the Arts and Sciences - completed

    General Education requirement - completed

    Ethics requirement - completed

    Business core requirements - completed

    Advanced level Business credit requirement - completed

    Total Business credits component - completed

    Well, that's it. Congratulations, you've just earned a regionally accredited Bachelor of Science degree in Business!

    Next time we'll look at look at how to earn a degree in computing using similar methods. Don't miss the next in the "BA in 4 Weeks" series:


    S U M M A R Y


    CLEP Introduction to Educational Psychology
    CLEP American Government
    CLEP Introduction to Sociology
    DANTES Criminal Justice
    DANTES Fundamentals of Counseling
    DANTES Drug and Alcohol Abuse
    RCE Business Policy and Strategy
    RCE Research Methods in Psychology

    Addison Wesley, Strategic Management and Business Policy, by Wheelen and Hunger
    HarperCollins Introduction to Government
    HarperCollins Introduction to Sociology
    Barron's EZ-101 Psychology $6.95
    Princeton Review Cracking the GRE in Psychology $20

    RCE World Population 3 U
    RCE Abnormal Psychology 3
    RCE Foundations in Gerontology 3 U
    RCE Ethics Theory and Practice 3 U
    RCE Organizational Behavior 3 A
    RCE Research Methods in Psychology 3 U
    RCE Business Policy and Strategy 3 C
    RCE Labor Relations 3 A
    RCE Production/Operations Management 3 C
    RCE Management of Human Resources 3 A
    RCE Statistics 3 L
    DANTES Business Law II 3 A
    DANTES Management Information Systems 3 A
    DANTES Drug and Alcohol Abuse 3
    DANTES Here's to Your Health 3 L
    DANTES Criminal Justice 3 L
    DANTES Fundamentals of Counseling 3 L
    DANTES Principles of Supervision 3 C
    DANTES Principles of Finance 3 C
    CLEP Principles of Accounting 6 C
    CLEP College Algebra 3 L
    CLEP Introductory Business Law 3 C
    CLEP Macroeconomics 3 L
    CLEP Microeconomics 3 L
    CLEP Principles of Management 3 C
    CLEP Principles of Marketing 3 C
    CLEP Introductory Psychology 3 L
    CLEP Introduction to Educational Psychology 3 L
    CLEP American Government 3 L
    CLEP Introduction to Sociology 3 L
    CLEP Information Systems and Computer Applications 3 C
    CLEP Humanities 6 L
    CLEP College Mathematics 6 L
    CLEP Natural Sciences 6 L
    CLEP Social Sciences and History 6 L

    A=Advanced level Business credit; C=Core Business credit; L=lower division; U=upper division

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