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2020 CLEP Official Study Guide

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This study guide provides practice questions for all 34 CLEP exams. The ideal resource for taking more than one exam. Offered only by the College Board.

CLEP® Spanish Language and Spanish with Writing Examination Guide

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This guide provides practice questions for the CLEP Spanish Language (Levels 1 and 2) and Spanish with Writing (Levels 1 and 2) Exams.

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Overview

The Spanish with Writing exam measures listening, reading, and writing skills taught in most first-year and second-year Spanish Language courses at the college level.

Material taught during the first two years is incorporated into a single exam, covering both Level-1 and Level-2 content. A test-taker's proficiency level is dependent on the test score.

Knowledge and Skills Required

The exam's subject matter is drawn from the following skills. The percentages next to the main topics indicate the approximate percentage of exam questions on that skill.

Section I (10%)
Listening: Rejoinders

Listening comprehension through short oral exchanges

Section II (20%)
Listening: Dialogues and Narratives

Listening comprehension through longer spoken selections

Section III (45%)
Reading

13% Part A: Discrete sentences
(vocabulary and structure)

15% Part B: Short cloze passages
(vocabulary and structure)

17% Part C: Reading passages and authentic stimulus materials
(reading comprehension)

Section IV (25%)
Writing

Writing: Interpersonal
Writing: Presentational

Exam Structure

The Spanish with Writing exam contains 100 multiple-choice questions to be answered in approximately 80 minutes and two writing tasks to be written in 30 minutes, for a total of approximately 110 minutes testing time.

Listening Sections

  • The listening section is approximately 27 minutes long.
  • The amount of time you have to answer a question varies according to the section and doesn't include the time you spend listening to the test material.
  • Timing begins after the section directions are dismissed.
  • Volume can be changed by using the Volume testing tool.
  • The audio portions of the listening sections are presented only once.
 

Reading Section

The reading section is approximately 50 minutes long.

Writing Section

The writing section includes two writing tasks that together are 30 minutes long. Scroll down to the Practice section of this page to view a video on how to use the Spanish with Writing toolbar when entering your writing tasks responses.

Task 1: Interpersonal writing—This writing task asks the student to write an e-mail to a friend, relative, or other acquaintance. The student has approximately 10 minutes to write the e-mail, and the response should contain at least 60 words.

Interpersonal Writing Directions: E-mail
For the following question, you will write an e-mail response. You have 10 minutes to read the question and write your response. Your response should be at least 60 words in length.
 
Para la siguiente pregunta, vas a escribir un mensaje electrónico. Vas a tener 10 minutos para leer la pregunta y escribir tu respuesta. Debes escribir un mínimo de 60 palabras.
 
Scoring Guide: Spanish with Writing Interpersonal Writing (E-mail Task)
Readers will assign scores based on the following scoring guide.
 

4 – A 4 writing sample demonstrates command in interpersonal writing.

A typical sample in this category
  • Appropriately addresses and completes the task with a relevant, well-developed treatment of the elements of the topic
  • Responds appropriately to all or almost all parts of the writing task in a well-organized, generally cohesive response
  • Includes generally accurate social and/or cultural references
  • Contains
    • evidence of control of a variety of structures and idioms, although a few grammatical errors may occur, and good to very good control of elementary structures
    • considerable breadth of vocabulary
    • conventions of the written language (orthography, paragraphing, and punctuation) are generally correct
    • a consistent register

3 – A 3 writing sample demonstrates competence in interpersonal writing.

A typical sample in this category
  • Addresses and completes the task with a relevant treatment of the elements of the topic
  • Responds adequately to most parts of the writing task in an organized response with adequate
  • cohesiveness
  • Includes generally appropriate social and/or cultural references
  • Contains
    • some grammatical errors
    • vocabulary is appropriate but may have occasional interference from another language
    • some errors in conventions of the written language (orthography, paragraphing, and punctuation)
    • a generally consistent register

2 – A 2 writing sample approaches competence in interpersonal writing.

A typical sample in this category
  • Partially addresses or partially completes the task but may have some irrelevant treatment of the elements of the topic
  • Responds inappropriately to some parts of the writing task and may have inadequate organization
  • May include inaccurate social and/or cultural references
  • Contains
    • frequent grammatical errors may occur even in elementary structures; there may be some redeeming features, such as correct advanced structures
    • limited vocabulary; frequent interference from another language may occur
    • frequent errors in conventions of the written language (orthography, paragraphing, and punctuation) may be present
    • an inconsistent register
1 - A 1 writing demonstrates a lack of competence in interpersonal writing.
A typical sample in this category
  • Does not complete the task; irrelevant elements predominate
  • Responds inappropriately to most parts of the writing task
  • Includes inaccurate social and/or cultural references
  • Contains
    • numerous grammatical errors that impede communication
    • insufficient vocabulary; constant interference from another language
    • pervasive errors in conventions of the written language (orthography, paragraphing, and punctuation) that may interfere with written communication
    • minimal to no attention to register

0 - A writing sample that receives this score is a restatement of the topic, does not provide evidence of sufficient language to merit a score of 1, is completely irrelevant to the topic, is written in a language other than Spanish, or is completely blank.

Task 2: Presentational writing—The second writing task asks the student to write a composition on a given topic. The student has approximately 20 minutes to write the composition, and the response should contain at least 100 words.

Each writing task is scored based on the content and grammatical accuracy of the response.

Presentational Writing: Composition
For the following question, you will write a composition based on a given situation. You will have 20 minutes to read the task and write your composition. Your response should be at least 100 words in length.
 
Para la siguiente pregunta, vas a escribir una composición sobre un tema dado. Vas a tener 20 minutos para leer la pregunta y escribir tu respuesta. Debes escribir un mínimo de 100 palabras.
 
Scoring Guide: Spanish with Writing Presentational Writing (Composition Task)
Readers will assign scores based on the following scoring guide.

4 – A 4 writing sample demonstrates good to very good command in written expression.

A typical sample in this category

  • Demonstrates relevant and well-developed treatment of the topic
  • Provides required information
  • Includes a well-organized structure
  • Contains:
    • evidence of control of a variety of structures and idioms, although a few grammatical errors may occur, and good to very good control of elementary structures
    • considerable breadth of vocabulary
    • conventions of the written language (orthography, paragraphing, and punctuation) are generally correct

3 – A 3 writing sample demonstrates basic to good command in written expression.

A typical sample in this category

  • Demonstrates relevant treatment of the topic
  • Provides most required information
  • Includes adequate organization
  • Contains
    • some grammatical errors
    • vocabulary is appropriate but may have occasional interference from another language
    • some errors in conventions of the written language (orthography, paragraphing, and punctuation)

2 – The writing sample approaches competence in written expression.

A typical sample in this category

  • Includes a response that may be relevant to the topic but may be partial or incomplete
  • May have inadequate organization
  • Contains
    • frequent grammatical errors may occur even in elementary structures; there may be some redeeming features, such as correct advanced structures
    • limited vocabulary; frequent interference from another language may occur
    • frequent errors in conventions of the written language (orthography, paragraphing, and punctuation) may be present

1 – The writing sample demonstrates a lack of competence in written expression.

A typical sample in this category

  • Includes a response that may be minimally related to the topic and provides little required information
  • May have a disorganized structure
  • Contains
    • numerous grammatical errors that impede communication, and/or sentence fragments
    • insufficient vocabulary; constant interference from another language
    • pervasive errors in conventions of the written language (orthography, paragraphing, and punctuation) that may interfere with written communication

0 – A writing sample that receives this score is a restatement of the topic, does not provide evidence of sufficient language to merit a score of 1, is completely irrelevant to the topic, is written in a language other than Spanish, or is completely blank.

Study Resources

Most textbooks used in college-level Spanish language courses cover the topics in the above outline, but the approaches to certain topics and the emphases given to them may differ. To prepare for the CLEP Spanish with Writing exam, it's advisable to study one or more college textbooks, which can be found in most college bookstores.

Besides studying basic vocabulary, you should understand and be able to apply the grammatical principles that make up the language. To improve your reading comprehension, read passages from textbooks, short magazine or newspaper articles, or other Spanish-language materials of your choice. To improve your listening comprehension, look for chances to hear the language spoken by native speakers and to converse with native speakers. Take advantage of opportunities to join organizations with Spanish-speaking members, to attend Spanish movies, or to listen to Spanish-language television or radio broadcasts.

Practice

Listen to CLEP sample questions in the listening sections.

View the video tutorial on how to use the Spanish with Writing toolbar when entering your writing tasks responses .

Textbooks

A survey conducted by CLEP found that the following textbooks are among those used by college faculty who teach the equivalent course. You can purchase one or more of these online or at your local college bookstore.

  • Armen, Abriendo puertas: Lenguaje (McDougal Littell)
  • Gill et al., En contacto (Heinle)
  • Gilman et al., Nuevos horizontes (Wiley)
  • Iglesias and Meiden, Spanish for Oral and Written Review (Heinle)
  • Kiddle et al., Perspectivas (Heinle)
  • Knorre et al., Puntos de partida (McGraw-Hill)
  • Siskin et al., Entrevistas: An Introduction to Language and Culture (McGraw-Hill)
  • Valdes and Teschner, Español escrito (Prentice Hall)

Grammar Resources

  • Dozier and Iguiña, Manual de gramática: Grammar Reference for Students of Spanish (Heinle)
  • Frances et al., Manual de gramática y ortografía para hispanos (Pearson)
  • Gac-Artigas, Directo al grano (Prentice Hall)

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 can't vouch for their accuracy.

Score Information

Reponses to the exam's writing tasks are scored twice monthly by college Spanish faculty from throughout the country via an online scoring system. Each of the two writing tasks is scored independently by at least two different readers, and the scores are then combined. View the Spanish with Writing Scoring and Score Availability Dates page for more information.

The multiple-choice section score (75%) and writing score (25%) are then combined to yield the test taker’s exam score. The resulting combined score is reported as a single scaled score between 20 and 80. Separate scores aren't reported for the multiple-choice and writing sections.

Credit-Granting Score for Spanish with Writing

Level 1
ACE Recommended Score*: 50
Semester Hours: 6

Level 2
ACE Recommended Score*: 65
Semester Hours: 12

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 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Spanish with Writing exam contains multiple-choice questions that measure interpretive language skills (Listening and Reading) and two writing tasks that measure interpersonal and presentational communication.

No. The Spanish with Writing exam will be offered in addition to the current Spanish Language exam. When the Spanish with Writing exam becomes available, students will have the option to take the Spanish Language exam OR the Spanish with Writing exam.

No. There will be no changes to the current Spanish Language exam. The CLEP Program is introducing a new separate exam called Spanish with Writing that includes a writing section and will be offered in addition to the current Spanish Language exam.

Although both exams are designed to measure knowledge and ability equivalent to that of students who have completed one to two years of college Spanish language study, the Spanish with Writing exam contains multiple-choice questions and a mandatory writing section while the Spanish Language exam only includes multiple-choice questions. The exams also differ with regard to:

  • number of questions found on each exam
    • Spanish Language, approximately 121 MC questions
    • Spanish with Writing, 100 MC questions + two writing tasks
  • how much time is given to complete each exam
    • Spanish Language, approximately 90 mins
    • Spanish with Writing, 110 mins
  • percentage of questions focused on a particular subject matter
    • Spanish Language
      • 15% Section I: Listening: Rejoinders (short answer to a reply)
      • 25% Section II: Listening: Dialogues and Narratives
      • 60% Section III: Reading
        • 16% Part A: Discrete sentences (vocabulary and structure)
        • 20% Part B: Short cloze passages (vocabulary and structure)
        • 24% Part C: Reading passages and authentic stimulus materials (reading comprehension)
    • Spanish with Writing
      • 10% Section I: Listening: Rejoinders
      • 20% Section II: Listening: Dialogues and Narratives
      • 45% Section III: Reading
        • 13% Part A: Discrete sentences
        • 15% Part B: Short cloze passages
        • 17% Part C: Reading passages and authentic stimulus materials (reading comprehension)
      • 25% Section IV: Writing
        • Writing: Interpersonal
        • Writing: Presentational

The Spanish with Writing exam contains 100 multiple-choice questions and two writing tasks.

The Spanish with Writing exam measures the same skills as the Spanish Language exam—listening and reading skills taught in most first-year and second-year Spanish Language courses at the college level. In addition, writing skills are measured.

Students have approximately 110 minutes to take the Spanish with Writing exam, approximately 80 minutes for multiple choice questions and 30 minutes for two writing tasks.

The Spanish with Writing exam will be administered on a computer at over 2,000 CLEP test centers. Responses for the two mandatory writing tasks must also be typed into the computer.

There are no additional technical requirements for a test center to administer the Spanish with Writing exam. If your center already administers CLEP exams, you do not need to do anything additional for Spanish with Writing. The exam will be made available on October 2, 2019 after a scheduled maintenance update on September 30, 2019.

The Spanish with Writing exam will be available at all CLEP test centers on October 2, 2019.

Registration for the Spanish with Writing exam will become available on Monday, September 23, 2019.

Before determining which CLEP Spanish exam a student should take, students should consult the department that is responsible for setting their institution’s CLEP credit policy to ensure the student will receive the credit they need for a qualifying score on either the Spanish Language or Spanish with Writing exam.

Once the student has confirmed their institution's credit policy, they should consider the knowledge and skills each exam measures and their own proficiency in each of the exam subject areas. If a student feels confident in their Spanish writing skills, they should review the Spanish with Writing exam writing prompts to determine whether they think they’d perform well on the exam. If so, the student should register for the Spanish with Writing exam. If the student does not feel comfortable writing an email or essay in Spanish, then perhaps the Spanish Language exam is more suited to their needs.

American Council on Education (ACE) has recommended that colleges and universities grant the following for Spanish with Writing:

  • Level 1: 6 credits for a score of 50, which is equivalent to a first-year course grade of C*
  • Level 2: 12 credits for a score of 65, which is equivalent to a second-year course grade of C*

* For the CLEP World Language exams, material taught in first- and second-year language courses is incorporated into a single exam, covering both Level-1 and Level-2 content. The amount of credit awarded will be determined by the exam score; ACE recommends different credit-granting scores and amounts of credits at Level 1 and Level 2.

To ensure all students with varying skills of Spanish benefit from their college’s CLEP credit policy, we recommend that institutions grant credit for both CLEP Spanish exams. ACE recommends credit granting scores for both the Spanish Language and Spanish with Writing Exams.

For Spanish Language, ACE recommends:

  • Level 1: 6 credits for a score of 50, which is equivalent to a first-year course grade of C*
  • Level 2: 9 credits for a score of 63, which is equivalent to a second-year course grade of C*

For Spanish with Writing, ACE recommends:

  • Level 1: 6 credits for a score of 50, which is equivalent to a first-year course grade of C*
  • Level 2: 12 credits for a score of 65, which is equivalent to a second-year course grade of C*

* For the CLEP World Language exams, material taught in first- and second-year language courses is incorporated into a single exam, covering both Level-1 and Level-2 content. The amount of credit awarded will be determined by the exam score; ACE recommends different credit-granting scores and amounts of credits at Level 1 and Level 2.

Spanish with Writing exam information can be found on the CLEP website and in the Spanish with Writing fact sheet, which also includes 10 sample questions to give students an idea of the types of questions and difficulty level similar to those on the actual exam. The Spanish with Writing test information guide is also available on the CLEP Resource Center and provides information for higher education professionals and those responsible for setting CLEP credit policies.

Sample writing prompts for Spanish with Writing are available on the exam fact sheet at the end of Summer 2019. In addition, students can find writing prompts and sample responses by purchasing the 2020 CLEP Official Study Guide when it becomes available for purchase in July 2019. Students can also buy the individual 2020 Spanish with Writing Examination Guide, which includes the same information as the CLEP Official Study Guide, in Fall 2019.

Students can use the same practice resources recommended for the Spanish Language exam to study for listening and reading comprehension sections of the Spanish with Writing exam. Resources can be found on the Spanish Language exam page on the CLEP website. To prepare for writing tasks on the new exam, students can refer to the Spanish with Writing exam fact sheet. They can also purchase the 2020 CLEP Official Study Guide through the CLEP website or buy the Spanish with Writing Examination Guide available in Fall 2019. However, students should not buy both study publications as they contain the same exam information and sample questions.

The Spanish with Writing compositions are scored twice monthly by college Spanish faculty from throughout the country via an online scoring system. Each of the two writing tasks is scored independently by two different readers, and the scores are then combined.

The multiple-choice section score (75%) and writing score (25%) are combined to yield the candidate’s exam score. The resulting combined score is reported as a single scaled score between 20 and 80. Separate scores are not reported for the multiple-choice and writing sections.

Students will receive Spanish with Writing scores online two to three weeks after testing by logging into My Account and clicking on My Exam Scores.

No. Spanish with Writing exam scores will only be made available online through My Account two to three weeks after testing.

If a student would like to send their score to an institution, they can choose one institution to receive their score at the time of registration. After testing, students can send an official transcript to an institution for a small fee by logging in to My Account.

As with other CLEP exams, CLEP score requirements for awarding credit vary from institution to institution. The College Board recommends that colleges refer to the standards set by the American Council on Education (ACE). For Spanish with Writing ACE recommends colleges and universities grant the following:

  • Level 1: 6 credits for a score of 50, which is equivalent to a first-year course grade of C*
  • Level 2: 12 credits for a score of 65, which is equivalent to a second-year course grade of C*

* For the CLEP World Language exams, material taught in first- and second-year language courses is incorporated into a single exam, covering both Level-1 and Level-2 content. The amount of credit awarded will be determined by the exam score; ACE recommends different credit-granting scores and amounts of credits at Level 1 and Level 2.

However, please note each institution is responsible for determining its own CLEP credit granting policy. Therefore, we strongly recommend the student contact the appropriate person or department at their institution that is responsible for determining credit granting scores for their institution.

For questions regarding the Spanish with Writing exam, please email [email protected] with "Spanish with Writing" in the subject line.