College Mathematics

Mathematics is the study of the measurement, properties and relationship of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols. Or, as Eugene Wigner put it, “Mathematics is the science of skillful operations with concepts and rules invested just for this purpose.”

The College Mathematics CLEP exam covers material generally taught in a college course for non-mathematics majors or majors in fields not requiring knowledge of advanced mathematics. These courses teach basic skills covering a number of mathematics disciplines.

The exam contains approximately 60 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. Some of these are pretest questions that will not be scored. The College Board provides the parameters for the exam which we have listed below.

An online scientific (non-graphing) calculator, which is integrated into the exam software will be available during the exam for whenever the student needs it. Students will choose when to use it and will find it helpful for performing certain calculations.


  • Solving routine, straightforward problems
  • Solving non-routine problems requiring and understanding of concepts and the application of skills and concepts

The subject matter of the College Mathematics exam is drawn from the following topics.

ALGEBRA and FUNCTIONS: 20% of the exam

  • Solving equations, linear inequalities, and systems of linear equations by analytic and graphical methods
  • Interpretation, representation, and evaluation of functions: numerical, graphical, symbolic, and descriptive methods
  • Graphs of functions: translations, horizontal and vertical reflections, and symmetry about the x-axis, the y-axis, and the origin
  • Linear and exponential growth
  • Applications

COUNTING and PROBABILITY: 10% of the exam

  • Counting problems: the multiplication rule, combinations, and permutations
  • Probability: union, intersections, independent events, mutually exclusive events, complementary events, conditional probabilities, and expected value
  • Applications

DATA ANALYSIS and STATISTICS: 15% of the exam

  • Data interpretation and representation: tables, bar graphs, line graphs, circle graphs, pie charts, scatterplots, and histograms
  • Numerical summaries of data: mean(average), median, mode, and range
  • Standard deviation, normal distribution (conceptual questions only)
  • Applications


  • Percents, percent change, markups, discounts, taxes, profit, and loss
  • Interest: simple, compound, continuous interest, effective interest rate, effective annual yield or annual percentage rate (APR)
  • Present value and future value
  • Applications

GEOMETRY: 10% of the exam

  • Properties of triangles and quadrilaterals; perimeter, area, similarity, and the Pythagorean theorem
  • Parallel and perpendicular lines
  • Properties of circles: circumference, area, central angles, inscribed angles, and sectors
  • Applications

LOGIC and SETS: 15% of the exam

  • Logical operations and statements: conditional statements, conjunctions, disjunctions, negations, hypotheses, logical conclusions, converses, inverses, counterexamples, contrapositives, logical equivalence
  • Set relationships, subsets, disjoint sets, equality of sets, and Venn diagrams
  • Operations on sets: union, intersections, and complement
  • Applications

NUMBERS: 10% of the exam

  • Properties of numbers and their operations: integers and rational, irrational, and real numbers (including recognizing rational and irrational numbers)
  • Elementary number theory: factors and divisibility, primes and composites, odd and even integers, and the fundamental theorem of arithmetic
  • Measurement: unit conversion, scientific notation, and numerical precision
  • Absolute value
  • Applications

Each college sets their own credit-granting policies for the exam, so check with your college admissions office, test center, or academic adviser before taking the test.

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