CLEP / College Composition (+ Modular)

Free Practice Test: CLEP College Composition (+ Modular)

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  • REA CLEP College Composition

REA CLEP College Composition

*At the time of publishing.


No one wants to do it . . . but everyone has to! Passing freshman composition is a degree requirement for nearly all college students. But why sit in a classroom for fifteen weeks when you can prepare for and take the CLEP Composition Modular test!

The CLEP Composition Modular test assesses what would be covered in a first-year writing class in college. The test is divided into two parts: 90 multiple choice questions in 90 minutes and 2 essays written in 70 minutes.

The multiple-choice section covers basic concepts like The Conventions of Standard Written English (grammar, voice, punctuation, subject-verb agreement, etc), Revision Skills (organization, transitions, evaluation of author, point of view, etc.), Ability to Use Source Materials (evaluating sources, research, and documentation, including MLA, APA, and CMS), and Rhetorical Analysis (appeals, tone, use of language, evaluation of evidence, structure).

The essay section will give students the choice of prompts to write about. Each college has their own way of presenting this section of the test, so make sure you do your research about what the process is for your college.

Fast College Composition (+ Modular) Study Guide

Whether you have been an English scholar or not, remember that you have been speaking English your whole life! You undoubtedly know more than you think you do. And remember, there is no literature on this test. This is strictly about writing, how to write using research, and how to analyze writing.

The Multiple-Choice portion is divided into four areas:

Conventions of Standard Written English (10%)

This section will assess your skills in writing sentences, recognizing fragments and run-ons, agreement (pronouns, subject-verb, case and number), and recognizing things like active versus passive voice and idioms or figures of speech. You will also need to brush up on your punctuation! The two areas most students make mistakes on are in using commas (which have about 50 rules!) and using semi-colons. There are hundreds of interactive grammar quizzes and tests available online if you need some practice.

Revision Skills, Including Sentence-Level Skills (40%)

Here is where the test assesses how well you can proofread and revise a draft. It measures your ability to organize logically, evaluate evidence, your awareness of audience and purpose, your ability to recognize appropriate tone, main ideas, thesis statements, topic sentences, point of view, and sentence-level errors. This test is designed to see how well you pay attention when you are reading a draft. Are you able to see all the errors? Can you correct them properly? Try finding some drafts online to read through or go over some of your high school work and determine what mistakes you tend to make – then you will be more aware of what you are looking for.

Ability to Use Source Materials (25%)

How are your research and reference skills? This is where the test will assess how thoroughly you can integrate research, evaluate research, identify what references are the best, and how thoroughly you document sources (works cited, bibliography, in-text citations). There will be single questions to answer as well as passages where you will have to demonstrate the above skills. If you have never written a research essay before, which is happening more and more, it is in your best interest to read some researched essays and become familiar with documentation formats MLA, APA, and CMS.

Rhetorical Analysis (25%)

When we read literature and write about it, we are usually summarizing. In freshman composition, students move from summarizing to analyzing. This section of the test has reading passages where you will demonstrate your ability to think critically, identify style and purpose, analyze your audience, and identify the context of the writing. These passages will contain the rhetorical appeals, rhetorical effects, evaluation of evidence, and evaluation of language used.

Essay Section (Modular Only)

The Essay Section requires students to respond to two essay prompts; however, the topics are not known to the test taker beforehand. Be prepared to write about just about anything! Each school has its own method for applying this portion of the test. It could be completed on a computer, or it could be written by hand.

College Composition (+ Modular) Free Practice Test

So, are you ready to test the waters? Take this practice quiz and judge your preparation level before diving into deeper study. All test questions are in a multiple-choice format, with one correct answer and three incorrect options. The following are samples of the types of questions that may appear on the exam.
Question 1: Which sentence has a consistent point of view?

  1. As the musicians finished the concert, you could tell the audience wanted more.
  2. As the kids walked away from recess, we were sa
  3. After the movie, Joe and I went to visit our friends.
  4. When Lucy got her dog, you could tell it was mean.

Correct Answer: After the movie, Joe and I went to visit our friends.

Explanation: “Joe and I” matches the use of the pronoun “our”. The other sentences use a mix of different points of view, making them inconsistent. For example, a) should be “she could tell it was mean”, not “you could tell it was mean.”

Question 2: Which of the following is a rhetorical appeal?

  1. Pathos
  2. Logos
  3. Ethos
  4. All of the above

Correct Answer: All of the above

Explanation: The rhetorical appeals are based on an old, Greek dude named Aristotle. He identified them as ways to persuade or argue when using writing. Ethos is the credibility of the person writing the piece, pathos is an emotional appeal to the reader, and logos is the logic of facts and evidence.

Question 3: Which of the following is a method of formal documentation?

  1. APA
  2. SOTA
  3. REM
  4. OPP

Correct Answer: APA

Explanation: APA stands for American Psychological Association format. This format is used primarily in the sciences and political/historical studies. MLA, Modern Language Association, is used in the humanities. CMS, Chicago Manual Style, is used in journalism. Answers b-d are just made up ??

Question 4: Before you begin writing an essay, you have to consider three things

  1. Diction, audience, and purpose
  2. Audience, tone, and purpose
  3. Audience, tone, and format
  4. Vocabulary, diction, and tone

Correct Answer: Audience, tone, and purpose

Explanation: Anytime you are getting ready to write an essay, you really have to think about who it is you are writing for (audience) because you want to use the right tone (conversational or formal). If you are writing for friends or family, you can have that informal, conversational tone, where you don't have to worry about being too serious?? For academic writing, you need to write to your teachers and peers – so, a formal tone would be better. You also need to figure out why you are writing the essay – what is your purpose? Is it to inform, persuade, entertain, compare, or argue?

Question 5: Choose which of the following would be the best search engine to use for reliable research

  1. Wikipedia
  2. EBSCO Host
  3. Google
  4. Google Scholar

Correct Answer: EBSCO Host

Explanation: EBSCO Host is a database of scholarly, peer-reviewed journals and book reviews. The next best choice would be Google Scholar as it has similar resources. Google and Wikipedia are never a good option because their search returns are not always considered reliable.

Question 6: Choose the sentence that is written correctly.

  1. He wanted to race to the gym, climb the rock wall, and swim in the pool.
  2. Josey needed to have her teeth clean, her hair brushed, and her breakfast cooke
  3. Bobby had to collect rock, leaf, and weeds.
  4. The teacher gave each student a printed handout, a printed worksheet, and the story.

Correct Answer: He wanted to race to the gym, climb the rock wall, and swim in the pool.

Explanation: The correct sentence shows a parallel construction. The verbs are all written in the same tense and are followed by a prepositional phrase. The other sentences do not have adequate parallel structure.

Question 7: Choose the sentence that is written correctly.

  1. But Camren did want to see it and went.
  2. There were terrible reviews about that show from lots of critics.
  3. However, Camren never listened to the critics.
  4. Hailey never wanted to see that horrible show so she said no.

Correct Answer: However, Camren never listened to the critics.

Explanation: When you start a sentence with a subordinating conjunction, you must place a comma after it. There must also be commas between conjunctions and independent clauses (which is just a complete simple sentence). The remaining sentences are missing commas or are written in passive voice.

Question 8: Choose the sentence that is written correctly.

  1. Tony and he brother are very close.
  2. Colby drove to the house and eat dinner with his girlfriend.
  3. Fred and Ginger goes to the movie together.
  4. Lucy's meeting with her father was cancelled.

Correct Answer: Lucy's meeting with her father was cancelled.

Explanation: Here we have pronoun agreement between “Lucy” and “her”. The remaining sentences had errors in pronoun use, verb inconsistency, and subject-verb agreement.

Question 9: Which of these sentences would be a good thesis statement for the following essay prompt?

  1. Standardized testing in public schools should not be allowed because students lose class time, the tests are expensive for the schools, and the tests often have errors in them.
  2. Prompt: Write a 5-7 page argument on whether you agree or disagree with standardized testing in public schools.; Standardized testing in public schools is bad for kids because it takes too long.
  3. Kids shouldn't have to take standardized tests because it takes away from learning.
  4. Students should take standardized tests because that's the way it's always been.

Correct Answer: Standardized testing in public schools should not be allowed because students lose class time, the tests are expensive for the schools, and the tests often have errors in them.

Explanation: A good thesis statement has three parts: the topic (standardized testing in public schools), the writer's opinion (agree or disagree), and at least three arguable points to discuss in the essay (claims). Standardized testing in public schools (topic) should not be allowed (opinion) because students lose class time, the tests are expensive for the schools, and the tests often have errors in them (claims).

Question 10: Which of the following is the best example of using proper formal language in a paper?

  1. The lion unceremoniously dove from the craggy edge of the precipice.
  2. A giant cat, in a dramatic swoon, lunged to its death in the abyss.
  3. The beast fell precipitously from the jagged and moory cliff.
  4. Witnesses reported that the lion fell from a stony cliff.

Correct Answer: Witnesses reported that the lion fell from a stony cliff.

Explanation: When you are using formal language, it is important to remember NOT to sound like a thesaurus! Using words like “witnesses” instead of people or “reported” instead of “saw” give your writing a formal tone without overusing pretentious words ??

Question 11: Example of Essay Writing Section (see context for prompt)

  1. Many possible answers

Let’s say you were given a prompt like this: For many years, there has a been a debate over whether or not students should be allowed to have their cell phones on during class. Choose a side and write your point of view.

Correct Answer: Many possible answers

Explanation: This question doesn't have one single correct answer, but should demonstrate your ability to think logically and structure a grammatically correct answer. "Students should not use cell phones in class because they are distracting. When a student is using a cell phone, he or she is not paying attention to the teacher. They also may be distracting their neighbors through their cell phone use. In both cases, the student is not learning about the lesson being taught. Texting on a cell phone may seem acceptable because it doesn't make a lot of noise, but when a teacher is trying to teach a lesson, he or she is looking around the classroom to make sure everyone is paying attention. When a teacher has to stop the lesson to tell someone to put away a cell phone, that is very distracting to everyone."

More CLEP College Composition (+ Modular) Study Resources

Looking for a study guide to fill a couple gaps, or just want a full length practice exam? You can find a few of my favorite resources below. Note that some of the links are affiliate – meaning I’ll make a few dollars if you purchase, but I’m only sharing those resources that were genuinely helpful during my own CLEP journey.
Official CLEP Study Guide

While quite short on the study side of things, the official CLEP book is the go-to final practice test. Since this is the only official practice test available, I normally use it as my final spot check before taking the test.

REA CLEP College Composition

REA offers a great combination of study guide and practice questions. This book functions well as the central pillar of a strong CLEP prep strategy, with resources like the Official CLEP Study Guide (above) providing a great final practice test at the end.

InstantCert Academy

The website looks like it was made before the internet, but it’s legitimately the single most useful study guide I’ve found yet. Basically it’s a series of flashcards that help you study in a fast paced and fun way.

Plenty of other resources exist – just do a quick internet search – but these are the three that I’ve personally found the most helpful back when I did CLEP.