Introductory Sociology

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CLEP® Introductory Sociology Examination Guide

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

2017 CLEP Official Study Guide

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This study guide provides practice questions for all 33 CLEP® exams. The ideal resource for taking more than one exam. Offered only by the College Board.

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Introductory Sociology

Overview

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 examination 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. Any time test takers spend on tutorials and providing personal information is in addition to the actual testing time.

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
  • 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

Study Resources

As you read sociology textbooks, take notes that address the following issues which are fundamental to most questions that appear on the test:

  • What is society? What is culture? What is common to all societies, and what is characteristic of American society?
  • What are other basic concepts in sociology that help to describe human nature, human interaction, and the collective behavior of groups, organizations, institutions, and societies?
  • What methods do sociologists use to study, describe, analyze, and observe human behavior?

Textbooks

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.

  • Alexander and Thompson, A Contemporary Introduction to Sociology: Culture and Society in Transition (Paradigm)
  • Andersen and Taylor, Sociology: The Essentials (Wadsworth)
  • Brinkerhoff et al., Essentials of Sociology (Wadsworth)
  • Brym and Lie, Sociology: Your Compass for a New World, Brief Edition (Wadsworth)
  • Curry et al., Sociology for the Twenty-First Century (Prentice Hall)
  • Ferris and Stein, The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology (W. W. Norton)
  • Giddens et al., Essentials of Sociology (W.W. Norton)
  • Henslin, Essentials of Sociology (Allyn & Bacon)
  • Hughes and Kroehler, Sociology: The Core (McGraw-Hill)
  • Macionis, Society: The Basics (Prentice Hall)
  • Newman and O'Brien, Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life (Pine Forge)
  • Schaefer, Sociology: A Brief Introduction (McGraw-Hill)
  • Stark, Sociology (Wadsworth)
  • Sullivan, Introduction to Social Problems (Allyn & Bacon)
  • Thompson and Hickey, Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology (Allyn & Bacon)
  • Tischler, Introduction to Sociology (Wadsworth)
  • Witt, SOC (McGraw-Hill)

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 Introductory Sociology

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.