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Social Sciences and History

Description of the Examination 

The Social Sciences and History examination covers the following subjects: United States History, Western Civilization, World History, Economics, Geography, and Political Science. While the exam is based on no specific course, its content is drawn from introductory college courses in these subjects.

The primary objective of the exam is to give candidates the opportunity to demonstrate that they possess the level of knowledge and understanding expected of college students who meet a distribution or general education requirement in the social sciences/history areas.

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

Note: This examination uses the chronological designations B.C.E. (before the common era) and C.E. (common era). These labels correspond to B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (anno Domini), which are used in some textbooks.

Knowledge and Skills Required

The Social Sciences and History examination 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.

Exam Content

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


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

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-the 1960s and 1970s, the late twentieth century, and the early twenty-first 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, focusing on global themes and interactions



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



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


Government/Political Science

  • 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


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