Introductory Sociology

The Introductory Sociology exam assesses knowledge of material in a one-semester introductory sociology course.

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The Introductory Sociology exam is designed to assess an individual's knowledge of the material typically presented in a one-semester introductory-level sociology course at most colleges and universities. The exam emphasizes basic facts and concepts as well as general theoretical approaches used by sociologists on the topics of institutions, social patterns, social processes, social stratifications, and the sociological perspective. Highly-specialized knowledge of the subject and the methodology of the discipline is not required or measured by the test content.

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

Knowledge and Skills Required

Questions on the Introductory Sociology exam require test takers to demonstrate one or more of the following abilities. Some questions may require more than one of these abilities:

  • Identification of specific names, facts, and concepts from sociological literature
  • Understanding of relationships between concepts, empirical generalizations, and theoretical propositions of sociology
  • Understanding of the methods by which sociological relationships are established
  • Application of concepts, propositions, and methods to hypothetical situations
  • Interpretation of tables and charts

The subject matter of the Introductory Sociology exam is drawn from the following topics. The percentages next to the main topics indicate the approximate percentage of exam questions on that topic.

Institutions (20%)

  • Economic
  • Educational
  • Family
  • Medical
  • Political
  • Religious

Social Patterns (10%)

  • Community
  • Demography
  • Human ecology/environmental sociology
  • Rural/urban patterns

Social Processes (25%)

  • Collective behavior and social movements
  • Culture
  • Deviance and social control
  • Groups and organizations
  • Social change
  • Social interaction
  • Socialization

Social Stratification (Process and Structure) (25%)

  • Aging
  • Power and social inequality
  • Professions and occupations
  • Race and ethnic relations
  • Sex and gender roles
  • Social class
  • Social mobility

The Sociological Perspective (20%)

  • History of sociology
  • Methods
  • Sociological theory

Score Information

ACE Recommendation for Introductory Sociology

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 Introductory Sociology Examination Guide

The Introductory Sociology exam assesses knowledge of the material presented in a one-semester introductory sociology course.

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Study Resources: Introductory Sociology

A study plan and list of online resources.


ACE Credit Recommendations

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