Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP

Discussion in 'CLEP, DANTES, and Other Exams for Credit' started by MISin08, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. MISin08

    MISin08 New Member

    I scored a 75 on this exam about a year ago, with minimal study. I scored highly on the CLEP practice test, so only prepared by going through InstantCert once, reviewing the feedback thread there and reviewing some areas I knew I was weak on using Computer Science Made Simple, from the public library, and a computer textbook website. Total study time probably 8 hours.

    I've been working with computers at various jobs and as a hobbyist for almost 20 years. Naturally my greatest difficulty was with questions relating to things I haven’t worked with. I probably had 10 questions I struggled with, three of those I finally had to give up and guess. Another 20 or so I marked for review, just to be certain. Some questions are kind of hair-splitty, and easy to over-think.

    Three questions on psuedocode were unfamiliar (at the time), and a few on system design would have benefited from more time with a book(I've taken the class since), since in real life none of the options 'are FALSE'. I don’t use EDI, so I would have been smart to learn a little more detail on that, and at one point it would have been beneficial to know more about token-ring, but where I come from that's like asking whether you braid the buggy-whip handles to the left or to the right, so…I'm happy with the score.

    This exam goes a little 'beyond the basics' and probably corresponds to 2nd-year IS course for business people and others who may be taking more computer classes. Based on the exam outlines, this is probably harder than the DSST Intro to Computing. The "Applications" in the exam title refers to applications of computers, not 'software applications', which accounts for the questions about information needs of managers -- some students exporess confusion that these topics appear on the test. That said, it's definitely do-able, though I would recommend additional study if you're new to computers.
  2. sando

    sando New Member


    I just took this test yesterday. I also got a 75 and I've been in the software business for 30 years as software engineer and architect. You hit the nail on the head when you said in real life none of the options are false. There were several questions where I could justify multiple answers when they wanted only one or a combination. In those cases I had to guess what they would ask of a first year college student.

    Also, some of the stuff on there is very 'old school'. I don't know if anyone talks about Systems Analysts. So someone who has only been in the business for 5 years is going to have to at least browse a textbook.

    I read the "Finish College Fast" prep the night before. If you aren't already in the business that prep guide won't help and if you are already in the business you don't need it.

    Obviously I can't give specifics, but I was surprised to find questions about spreadsheets on there. Actually the questions covered all sorts of things - very broad based.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2018
  3. PonyGirl93

    PonyGirl93 Member

    Would you recommend using the textbook you mentioned to study? My mom is a web-designer/ex-computer programmer, so I can go to her for help when I need it, but I'm quite unfamiliar with programming. Everything else should be easy for me. REA doesn't have a study guide for this one, and I'm a little leery of buying a guide I know nothing about. I'd rather just get a textbook from the library. Anyone know of a good one for this test?

    And why does practically no one take this test? :\
  4. MISin08

    MISin08 New Member

    Hi, Pony --

    How much do you already know and how highly do you want/need to score on the test? If you're starting with strong computer background, the 'made simple' book will fill in the gaps. If you're a little more new, there are several intro texts around and if your library has a recent edition of any of them, that will help you.

    You could also look at the text website I link to above. It has detailed chapter outlines and powerpoint presentations for each chapter. It might be enough by itself. Study that and use the Web to look up concepts that you need a little more help on. If you're grasping that material well, take the first Peterson test and see how you do.

    I say this test is beyond the basics, because I want to let people know that it goes beyond "what is a mouse?" but this really is a very passable exam. If you want a high score, it's obviously more work than if a score in the 50s will satisfy you.

    Programming: I didn't need to know anything about how to program in specific languages, but terms, concepts, and categories of things are important. I suspect (but I don't know -- only took the exam once :)) that if one knows the fundamentals, they can pass this test without knowing very much of what I write in the next paragraph.

    It's useful to know things like 'the closer a programming language is to English, the more work it is for the creator of the language and the more computing power it requires' (because that's a basic computer concept -- ease of use/computing power tradeoff) and it's good to know what 'pseudocode' is, but I was only asked two questions that required me to look at examples of it. I'm pretty sure I got at least one of them wrong. I recall it was helpful to know the difference between 'interpreted' and 'compiled' languages and that Java uses something called a "virtual machine" -- software on the computer that takes the program a programmer writes and tells the computer what to do. No actual programming in the test. It's good to know a bit about basic Excel formulas, but even that is only one or two questions (and I got one of them wrong too). Know a teensy bit about SQL, like what SELECT FROM WHERE does. It's good to know how a relational database differs other kinds of database, and why its an advantage, but you don't need to know how they work beyond that. The phases of the SDLC and roughly what activities take place in each.

    I would think lots of people would take this test. It satisfied Excelsior's "Computers" requirement for a business degree. Unless one is actually computer averse, this should be a easy 3 credits.

    I hope this helps.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2009
  5. PonyGirl93

    PonyGirl93 Member

    I have a pretty strong background, but it's also pretty lopsided. OK, not pretty lopsided, very lopsided ;) So I'll read up on it, take a Peterson's and see where I am then. I won't be taking this for several months, I'm just planning ahead...
  6. Too Easy

    I wouldn't worry much about this exam.

    I have never worked with computers, and only use them casually (like the majority of people in the western world). I didn't study for this exam at all, and, even as I walked out of the testing center with a 69 (WELL above passing) as my score, I STILL had, and STILL don't have even the faintest clue what an Information System is.

    I try not to even think about it, because it kinda makes me feel guilty that I got 3 credits for doing nothing at all (I did, however, study like a mad man for 2 other exams I took that day). Like many tests, if you know how to read carefully, there should be no problem at all in passing this one.
  7. flevius

    flevius New Member

    Hey, new to these forums but I just took the CLEP IS exam on Monday. I work with computers but found the exam to be extremely easy. There are some questions about development models that might be tough for someone not familiar with software development, but overall I think someone with a general knowlege of computers and business (by general knowlege of business, I mean having worked in an office environment) should pass easily. I scored 80 in about 15 minutes without studying or even looking up the material covered on the test. Good test-taking skills will help a lot on this one, since there are many questions with one or two obviously wrong answers that you can eliminate to make an educated guess if you're not sure. The time limit shouldn't be a problem for anyone, since all of the questions are pretty short.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2018

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