Taking the Analyzing & Interpreting Literature CLEP: What To Expect

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Whilst rummaging through the web in search of pertinent blog topics for CLEP students I’ve noticed that many questions deal with specific subjects and a few subjects seem to pop up more than others so…

Today I’ll be disassembling one that appears more than most. It is the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature CLEP…

The Analyzing and Interpreting Literature CLEP looks like this:

  • 45 – 50% will test your knowledge of particular literary works. It will ask you questions pertaining to authors, characters, plots, themes, styles and settings etc.
  • 25 – 40% will test your ability to read and interpret various works of poetry…both short poems and excerpts from longer ones.
  • 10 – 15% will test your knowledge of the historical and social settings of specific literary works. How did they relate to other works of their time? What was the influence of their authors?

The Analyzing and Interpreting Literature CLEP will cover the following literary Periods in the following approximate percentages:

  • 15% – deals with the Early Natural Period and the Colonial Period ( Founding – 1830).
  • 25% – deals with the Romantic Period (1830 – 1870).
  • 20% – covers the Periods of Realism and Naturalism ( 1870 – 1910) 25% deals with the Modernist Period (1910 – 1945).
  • 15% – covers the Contemporary Period (1945 – Present).

Here’s a some useful study tips that I gleaned from speaking with students who’ve already taken the exam:

Vocab – This was a theme that came up over and over. Figure out a way (flashcards) to boost your retention of such terms as Simile, Metaphor, Alliteration, Assonance, Dissonance etc. Get comfortable reading and analyzing passages that are written in Old English (from about the 5th to the 11th century).

(Example):

Father our thou that art in heavens
be thy name hallowed
come thy kingdom
be-done thy will
on earth as in heavens
our daily bread give us today
and forgive us our sins
as we forgive those-who-have-sinned-against-us
and do not lead thou us into temptation
but deliver us from evil.

Begin by taking a practice test. You won’t know how to study if you don’t have an accurate picture of your strengths/weaknesses.

It all comes down to this: the students who are voracious readers above and beyond school do very well on this test with very little study. The ones who never liked to read, or who struggled with English Lit. in high school tend to have a more difficult time.

Just recently I received an email from a mother who was ecstatic because her 16 yr old son had just passed the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature CLEP with a 71 after only 3 weeks of studying SpeedyPrep. When I asked her if her son liked to read, she said he’d had his nose in a book since he was very young. (Kudos to the Fox family! If only more parents fostered a love for books in their kids!)

So…if reading was never your thing, then we recommend that you obtain the REA CLEP Analyzing and Interpreting Literature Guide which you can purchase on Amazon for around $25.00 (used). Study it over and over as a supplemental resource to the SpeedyPrep flashcards. Like everything else in life, you’ll get out of it what you put into it…so be diligent!

Caleb Craig