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2022 CLEP Official Study Guide

Book $24.99

This study guide provides practice questions for all 34 CLEP exams. The ideal resource for taking more than one exam. Offered only by the College Board.

CLEP® Information Systems Guide

PDF Document $10.00

The Info Systems and Computer Applications exam covers material that is usually taught in an intro-level business course.

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Information Systems


The Information Systems examination covers material that is usually taught in an introductory college-level business information systems course. Questions test knowledge, terminology, and basic concepts about information systems as well as the application of that knowledge. The examination does not emphasize the details of hardware design and language-specific programming techniques. References to applications such as word processing or spreadsheets do not require knowledge of a specific product. The focus is on concepts and techniques applicable to a variety of products and environments. Knowledge of arithmetic and mathematics equivalent to that of a student who has successfully completed a traditional first-year high school algebra course is assumed.

The examination contains approximately 100 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. Some of these are pretest questions and will not be scored. The time candidates spend on tutorials and providing personal information is in addition to the actual testing time.

Information Systems textbooks differ on the precise definition of the systems development process or life cycle. To avoid ambiguity, CLEP defines the systems development process as consisting of the following discrete phases or stages:

1. Planning
2. Analysis
3. Design
4. Implementation
5. Maintenance

Knowledge and Skills Required

Questions on the Information Systems exam require test takers to demonstrate knowledge of the following content. The percentages next to each main topic indicate the approximate percentage of exam questions on that topic.

Office and Technology Applications (20%)

  • Productivity software (word processing, spreadsheet, presentation package, database package, suites)
  • Office systems (email, conferencing, collaborative work, document imaging/OCR, system resources, voice recognition systems)
  • Specialized systems (knowledge management, expert systems, TPS/OLTP, DSS, GIS, BI/OLAP)
  • E-commerce (EDI, standards, tools, characteristics, types of transactions, business models)
  • Enterprise-wide systems (ERP, CRM, SCM)
  • Business strategies (competition, process reengineering, process modeling, TQM, workflow management, project management)
  • Information processing methods (realtime, transaction, batch)

Internet and World Wide Web (15%)

  • Online networks (intranet, extranet, governance, Internet content)
  • Online services (search engines, cloud storage, content streaming)
  • Communications (protocols, push/pull, Web 2.0)
  • Web browsers (URLs, standards, history, cookies, resource allocation, functionality)
  • Web technologies (HTML/CSS, XML, JavaScript, Web architectures)
  • Website development (analysis, design, functionality, accessibility)

Security (10%-15%)

  • Malware (viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, adware, spyware, scareware, denial of service)
  • Privacy concerns (individual, business, identity theft)
  • Management and controls (authorization and authentication, system access, database security, secure transactions, remote data access, devices, applications)
  • Disaster recovery (purpose, planning, types of disasters, recovery)

Hardware and Systems Technology (15%)

  • Devices (processing, storage, input and output, telecommunications, networking, Internet of Things)
  • Functions (computer, operating systems, telecommunications, network hardware)
  • Network architectures (LAN, WAN, PAN, VPN, enterprise)
  • Computer classification (mainframe, personal computer, client/server, workstation, supercomputer)
  • Wireless technologies (Wi-Fi, cellular, satellite, GPS, RFID, Bluetooth)

Software Development (10%)

  • Methodologies (prototyping, SDLC, RAD, CASE, JAD, agile, spiral)
  • Processes (feasibility, systems analysis, systems design, end-user development)
  • Implementation (testing, training, data conversion, system conversion, system maintenance, post-implementation activities, documentation)
  • Standards (proprietary, open source, purpose)

Data Management and Programming Concepts (15%)

  • Management (data warehousing, data mining, big data, validation, migration, storage, obsolescence)
  • Data (concepts, types, structures, digital representation of data, data transfer)
  • File organization (types, structures, memory management, file management)
  • Database management systems (relational, hierarchical, network, management strategies, data access)
  • Programming logic (Boolean, arithmetic, SQL)
  • Methodologies (object-oriented, structured)

Social and Ethical Implications and Issues (10%-15%)

  • Economic and business decisions (outsourcing, insourcing, offshoring, green computing, investment in technology)
  • Property rights (intellectual, legal, ownership of materials, open-source software/hardware)
  • Effects of information technology on jobs (telecommuting, virtual teams, job design, staffing, ergonomics)
  • Careers in IS (responsibilities, occupation, career path, certification)
  • Social networking (benefits, risks, ethics, technology)

Study Resources

Most textbooks used in college-level introductory business information systems or information technology courses cover the knowledge and skills in the outline above. The approach to certain topics and the emphasis given to them differ; therefore, it is advisable to study one or more current college textbooks to prepare for the Information Systems exam. When selecting a textbook, check the table of contents against the knowledge and skills required for this test.


A survey conducted by CLEP found that the following textbooks are among those used by college faculty who teach the equivalent course. You might purchase one or more of these online or at your local college bookstore.

  • Beekman, Tomorrow's Technology and You (Prentice Hall)
  • Huber, Information Systems: Creating Business Value (Wiley)
  • Laudon, Essentials of Business Information Systems (Prentice Hall)
  • O’Brien, Introduction to Information Systems (Richard D. Irwin)
  • Rainer and Cegielski, Introduction to Information Systems (Wiley)
  • Stair, Principles of Information Systems (Course Technology, Inc.)

Online Resources

These resources, compiled by the CLEP test development committee and staff members, may help you study for your exam. However, none of these sources are designed specifically to provide preparation for a CLEP exam. The College Board has no control over their content and cannot vouch for accuracy.

Score Information

Credit-Granting Score for Information Systems
ACE Recommended Score*: 50
Semester Hours: 3

Each institution reserves the right to set its own credit-granting policy, which may differ from that of ACE. Contact your college as soon as possible to find out the score it requires to grant credit, the number of credit hours granted, and the course(s) that can be bypassed with a satisfactory score.

*The American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) has evaluated CLEP processes and procedures for developing, administering and scoring the exams. The score listed above is equivalent to a grade of C in the corresponding course. The American Council on Education, the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and to influence public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives. Visit the ACE CREDIT website for more information.