Information Systems

The Information Systems exam covers material usually taught in an introductory business course.

Register for $93.00


The Information Systems exam 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 exam 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 exam contains approximately 100 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. Some of these are pretest questions and will not be scored.

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, and spiral)
  • Processes (feasibility, systems analysis, systems design, and end-user development)
  • Implementation (testing, training, data conversion, system conversion, system maintenance, post-implementation activities, and documentation)
  • Standards (proprietary, open source, and purpose)

Data Management and Programming Concepts (15%)

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

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

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

Score Information

ACE Recommendation for Information Systems

Credit-granting Score 50
Semester Hours 3

Note: Each institution reserves the right to set its own credit-granting policy, which may differ from the American Council on Education (ACE). Contact your college to find out the score required for credit and the number of credit hours granted.

Add Study Guides

CLEP Information Systems Guide

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

  • PDF
  • $10.00



Study Resources: Information Systems

A study plan and list of online resources.


ACE Credit Recommendations

Recommendations for credit-granting scores from the American Council on Education.