Social Sciences and History

The Social Sciences and History exam covers a wide range of topics from the social sciences and history disciplines.

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The Social Sciences and History exam covers a wide range of topics from the social sciences and history disciplines. While the exam is based on no specific course, its content is drawn from introductory college courses that cover United States history, Western civilization, world history, economics, geography, and political science. The primary objective of the exam is to give you the opportunity to demonstrate that you possess the level of knowledge and understanding expected of college students who meet a distribution or general education requirement in the social sciences and history areas.

The Social Sciences and History exam contains approximately 120 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. Some of them are pretest questions that will not be scored.

Knowledge and Skills Required

The Social Sciences and History exam requires candidates to demonstrate one or more of the following abilities:

  • Familiarity with terminology, facts, conventions, methodology, concepts, principles, generalizations, and theories
  • Ability to understand, interpret, and analyze graphic, pictorial, and written material
  • Ability to apply abstractions to particulars and to apply hypotheses, concepts, theories, and principles to given data
  • Ability to assess evidence and data, to make comparisons, and to draw conclusions

The percentages below reflect the approximate coverage for each subject area of the exam. The main topics covered within each subject are also listed.

History (40%)

Requires general knowledge and understanding of time- and place-specific human experiences. Topics covered include political, diplomatic, social, economic, intellectual, and cultural material.

13–15% United States History

Covers the colonial period, the American Revolution, the early republic, the Civil War and Reconstruction, industrialization, the Progressive Era, the First World War, the 1920s, the Great Depression and the New Deal, the Second World War, the 1950s, the Cold War, social conflict in the 1960s and 1970s, the late 20th century, and the early 21st century.

13–15% Western Civilization

Covers ancient Western Asia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome as well as medieval Europe and modern Europe, including its expansion and outposts in other parts of the world, its imperial contraction, and new economic and political forms.

13–15% World History

Covers Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America from prehistory to the present, including global themes and interactions.

Economics (20%)

  • Economic measurements
  • International trade
  • Major theorists and schools
  • Monetary and fiscal policy
  • Product markets
  • Resource markets
  • Scarcity, choice, and cost

Geography (20%)

  • Key geographical skills
  • Cultural geography
  • Physical geography
  • Population
  • Regional geography
  • Rural and urban land use
  • Spatial interaction

Government/Political Science (20%)

  • Comparative politics
  • International relations
  • Methods
  • United States
    • Civil rights and liberties
    • Constitution and its interpretation
    • Institutions
    • Parties, interest groups, and media
    • Voting and political behavior

Score Information

ACE Recommendation for Social Sciences and History

Credit-granting Score 50
Semester Hours 6

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 Social Sciences and History Examination Guide

The Social Sciences and History exam covers a wide range of topics from the social sciences and history disciplines.

  • PDF
  • $10.00



Study Resources: Social Sciences and History

A study plan and list of online resources.


ACE Credit Recommendations

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