So you’re thinking about taking the Information Systems CLEP exam? Awesome! Here’s what you need to know.
When most people hear of information systems, especially with regards to tests and examinations, they tend to imagine the most difficult technical questions possible being asked. Even though it is not necessarily a walk in the park, it is not impossible either, with proper preparation, anyone can pass the examination and get a decent grade. The information systems examination focuses on evaluating the learner’s understanding of knowledge, terminologies, fundamental concepts about information systems and the application of the knowledge.
The examination focuses on seven primary sections listed below:
This section focuses on the fundamental utilities in an information system including productivity software such as word processors, office systems such as conferencing and collaboration platforms and operating systems. Most people have a decent understanding of productivity software, but only a few have a good grasp of operating systems and office systems. The best way to get a good grasp of productivity software is to go through some practical tutorials to understand the basic concepts. For operating systems, you will need to do a bit of reading on types of operating systems, types of memory and memory management in a computer system. You will also need to read on how computers manage files and what interfaces operating systems have. Additionally, you should also look at office/work systems such as email, and conferencing platforms; understand how they work and their application and relevance to daily tasks or operations.
This is not meant to scare you, but this section covers a broad section of subjects and therefore will require you to sharpen your knowledge in many sections. You will need to understand e-commerce concepts and business models. You will need to know about a bit about enterprise systems such as ERPs and CRMs. You will also have to read up on business strategies and understand concepts like process modeling and quality management. Additionally, learning about data management dimensions such as data warehousing and mining, storage, networking, and security will go a long way in getting your ready for this section. And finally, an understanding of information processing techniques such as batch and real-time processing will be critical.
This section evaluates your understanding of the physical components of information systems and their related dimensions. You will be examined on various types of devices and the category under which they fall in the information system ecosystem. An understanding of network architectures and wireless technologies will be required. Don’t fret, you will not be asked about wavelengths and spectrums, but a high-level understanding of these technologies will go a long way in helping to get you ready for your test. For this section you will also need to learn about computer architectures such as client/server setups and mainframes; and the functions of the main components (computer, network hardware, telecommunication hardware) that make up an information system.
Am sure you are now thinking about how you are going to have to learn to code and understand one or more programming languages to pass this section. But don’t let the title fool you, this segment just requires you to have an understanding of the frameworks and process that go into the software development process. You will need to know about software development methodologies such as SDLC, Agile, JAD and a few others. The software development processes of feasibility study, analysis, design, development and project management will also have to familiar to you. Furthermore, you will need to understand software implementation techniques and post-implementation activities and reviews. Finally, you will need to read up on the two software distribution standards, the proprietary model and the open source model.
This section delves a little deeper into software development. The segment explores programming logic and its concepts such as Boolean operations, arithmetic operations and structured query language (SQL). You will need to learn about conventional programming methodologies such as structured programming and the object-oriented model. You will need to research on many concepts relating to data including, types, structures, and representation. Another area interest in this segment is database management systems. You should make a point of reading up on relational databases, hierarchical databases, networking and database management strategies. Last but not least, you will need to know about file types and file structures.
This individual segment carries a quarter of the total marks in the exam. To score highly in this segment, you will need to understand many different concepts. You will need to appreciate the economic effects of information systems by looking at issues such as transactional security, viruses and malware and the cost of security. You will also need to have a reasonable understanding of privacy concerns and property rights. The segment will touch on the effects of information technology on jobs and workforce strategies in the society. You will need to know about computer security and controls relating to system applications, personal computers, and disaster recovery strategies. To wrap it up, you will also need to understand social networking, the technology that powers it, its benefits, risks, and ethical issues.
Correct Answer: A small piece of information that a browser stores on your machine.
Explanation: Cookies are small bits of information kept on a user's machine during browsing to store various types of information about the user's browsing session. The standard uses of cookies are storage of login state information, storage of user's preferences on websites and personalized content.
Correct Answer: C++
Correct Answer: Client-Server
Explanation: Client-server architecture is a computing model in which one central computer with a high amount resources serves multiple requests from other connected computers with fewer resources. An excellent example of such a scenario is a web server. A web server hosts a website or web application that gets requests for different resources from multiple clients. Other examples of setups that adopt this model include print servers, file servers, and proxy servers.
Correct Answer: FDDI
Explanation: The Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) is not a wireless network technology because it is a network setup standard that uses optical fiber. It is based on the token ring topology and is mainly used as a backbone network in wide area network (WAN) setups.
Correct Answer: FTP
Explanation: From the list above, the file transfer protocol (FTP) is the best for file transfers. FTP uses the client-server model to facilitate the transfer of files from one computer to another. The source computer acts as the server while the destination computer serves as the client.
Correct Answer: GIS system
Explanation: A geographic information system is used for collecting, storing, manipulating, analyzing and presenting spatial data. GIS information can be used in many different industries including management, insurance, engineering and transport and logistics.
Correct Answer: Open-source
Explanation: Open-source software is computer software whose source code has been made freely available to the public by the copyrights holder with rights to study, modify and redistribute. The open source software movement has made significant contributions to the advancement of information technology through many collaborative and private software creation initiatives. Some of the most popular open source licenses include the Apache License 2.0, the MIT license, the Mozilla Public License 2.0 and GNU General Public License (GPL).
Correct Answer: Spreadsheet
Explanation: A spreadsheet is an office productivity application that enables users to organize, store and analyze data in tabular form. One of the most common spreadsheet applications in the market today is Microsoft's Excel.
Correct Answer: Spreadsheets are used to manage numeric data and run formulas and calculations on the data while Word processors allow users to compose documents such as letters and memos.
Explanation: In today's environment, spreadsheets are mainly used to manage, analyze and present datasets. In many cases, spreadsheets and word processors come as separate applications in one software suite. A good example is the Microsoft Office suite which has Microsoft Word as its word processor and Microsoft Excel as its spreadsheet application.
Correct Answer: SSL
Explanation: The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology provides mechanisms for securing web communications by encrypting data being transmitted from one point to another. The technology works using an SSL certificate and two cryptographic keys, one public and one private. The technology is mainly deployed on e-commerce websites and other high-security platforms to safeguard the user and company information.
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 offers a great combination of CLEP study tips, exam study materials, and detailed practice tests. 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.
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.