CLEP Introductory Sociology Exam

The CLEP: Introductory Sociology examination was developed by the College Board as a way for individuals to demonstrate undergraduate-level knowledge and skills in this area. Almost three thousand American colleges give credit to students who pass a CLEP exam; for this reason, many college-bound students take a CLEP exam in order to skip over introductory courses.

To succeed on the Introductory Sociology exam, students will need to master the following topics and skills: specific names, facts, and concepts from sociological literature; the relationships between concepts, empirical generalizations, and theoretical propositions of sociology; the methods by which sociological relationships are established; the application of concepts, propositions, and methods to hypothetical situations; and the interpretation of tables and charts. The content of the exam is broken down as follows: institutions (20%); social patterns (15%); social processes (20%); social stratification (30%); and the sociological perspective (15%). The Introductory Sociology exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within 90 minutes.

After the exam is complete, an unofficial score report will be made available. This score report will include the total score on a scale of 20 to 80; the American Council on Education recommends that students get credit if they score 50 or above. The total score is the raw score (number of correct answers) adjusted according to the difficulty of the exam version. The College Board does not distinguish between unanswered questions and questions answered incorrectly, so test-takers are encouraged to respond to every question. Some of the questions on the exam are pre-test questions, which are used to develop future versions of the exam and do not contribute to the raw score. It is impossible for test-takers to determine which questions are pre-test questions. The CLEP exams are administered in both computer and paper formats at over a thousand locations throughout the world. To register for an exam, visit the College Board website.

CLEP Introductory Sociology Practice Questions

1. What is the sociological term for an individual’s permanent social position based on the status of his or her parents?
A: niche
B: clique
C: caste
D: class
E: strata

2. Which sociologist speculated that the so-called “urban personality” is developed to protect the ego?
A: Theodor Adorno
B: Robert K. Merton
C: Jurgen Habermas
D: Georg Simmel
E: Antonio Gramsci

3. Which economic system features privately-owned means of production and distribution?
A: nationalism
B: socialism
C: communism
D: democracy
E: capitalism

4. Which sociological perspective asserts that social stratification is necessary for society to operate efficiently?
A: originalist
B: structuralist
C: behaviorist
D: postmodern
E: functionalist

5. What is the sociological term for any generally known objects, pictures, words, or designs that represent something other than themselves?
A: signs
B: totems
C: symbols
D: icons
E: artifacts

6. Which theory suggests that individuals in an organization will be promoted until they reach a level at which they are no longer competent?
A: Peter principle
B: biosocial theory
C: patrilineal descent
D: organization theory
E: Taylorization

7. What is the name of the sociological phenomenon in which an individual alters his or her social status, whether positively or negatively?
A: social mobility
B: serial reciprocity
C: representative democracy
D: social simulation
E: gentrification

8. The tendency to resume deviant behavior after a period of conformity is known as _____.
A: conformism
B: recidivism
C: anarchism
D: fallibility
E: criminality

9. What is the sociological term for a marriage between two members of the same minority group?
A: monogamy
B: polygamy
C: endogamy
D: exogamy
E: bigamy

10. What is the name given to the stage of male development between early and middle adulthood?
A: settling down period
B: novice phase
C: late adolescence
D: midlife transition
E: adolescent diffusion

CLEP Introductory Sociology Answer Key

1. C. Although India is famous for its caste system, every country has a social hierarchy to some extent.
2. D. Georg Simmel (1858-1918) contributed to the branch of sociology known as conflict theory.
3. E. Capitalism relies on the free market to stimulate innovation and economic growth.
4. E. Functionalist sociologists assert that systems of interaction between people arise out of biological and social necessities.
5. C. The meaning of a symbol may vary depending on the culture in which it is used.
6. A. The Peter Principle is an attempt to explain inefficiency in organizational structure.
7. A. Capitalist societies tend to have the most opportunity for social mobility.
8. B. Rates of recidivism vary depending on severity of offense and method of rehabilitation.
9. C. Most of the tribes of Africa and the Middle East are endogamous groups.
10. D. Many individuals experience an existential crisis during their midlife transition phase.

CLEP Sociology Practice Questions

CLEP Introductory Sociology Test Breakdown