CLEP Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East To 1648 Exam

The CLEP: Western Civilization I examination was developed by the College Board as a way for individuals to demonstrate undergraduate-level knowledge and skills in this subject. 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 Western Civilization I exam, students will need to master the following topics and skills: the significant facts related to developments in Western civilization; the causes and effects of major historical events; the analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of textual and graphic materials; distinguishing the relevant from the irrelevant; and reaching conclusions on the basis of facts. The content of the exam is broken down as follows: ancient Near East (8-10% of the exam); ancient Greece and Hellenistic civilization (15-17%); ancient Rome (15-17%); medieval history (23-27%); Renaissance and Reformation (13-17%); and early modern Europe, 1560 to 1648 (10-15%). The Western Civilization I exam consists of 120 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 Western Civilization I Practice Questions

1. What was Alexander’s main problem in the campaign against the Persians?
A: Weak navy
B: Weak army
C: No money
D: Rubella
E: Poor infrastructure

2. What was the intent of Luther’s Address to the Christian Nobility?
A: To demonstrate Luther’s literary prowess
B: To enumerate Luther’s economic complaints against the Church in Germany
C: To create a separate nation of Protestants
D: To escape religious persecution
E: To keep him out of prison

3. The First Triumvirate was composed of Caesar, Crassus, and _____.
A: Pompey
B: Hector
C: Lepidus
D: Augustus
E: Brutus

4. Who established the first civilization in Mesopotamia?
A: Macedonians
B: Sumerians
C: Babylonians
D: Egyptians
E: Assyrians

5. What was the name given to the followers of John Wycliffe?
A: Wycliffians
B: Dullards
C: Luddites
D: Lollards
E: Roundheads

6. During the reign of Solon, which of the following was a main problem?
A: the Persian invasion
B: a decline in literacy
C: conflict between landholders and peasants
D: slave revolts
E: the lack of sufficient agriculture

7. Who organized the Society of Jesus?
A: Saint Paul
B: Pope Pius X
C: John Huss
D: Henry VIII
E: Ignatius Loyola

8. Why was Mary, Queen of Scots executed?
A: She was unfaithful to Henry VIII.
B: She sold state secrets to the Spanish.
C: She conspired against Elizabeth I.
D: She failed to pay her taxes.
E: She tortured several peasant leaders.

9. What was the cause of the War of Devolution?
A: the alliance between Spain and Austria
B: the marriage of William II to the daughter of Philip IV
C: The claim to Spanish inheritance made by Louis XIV
D: peasant revolts
E: embargoes against the Spanish Armada

10. What was the main result of the Roman defeat of the Samnites?
A: Rome had access to the towns in southern Italy.
B: Hannibal had to cross the Alps.
C: Rome killed all of the Samnite women.
D: The Samnites moved to Greece.
E: Rome became a monarchy.

CLEP Western Civilization I Answer Key

1. C. Eventually, Alexander’s empire expanded beyond his capacity to fund it.
2. B. This address of 1520 outlined Luther’s plan for social and economic progress.
3. A. The First Triumvirate (unlike the Second) was just a loose structure in which powers were not clearly delegated.
4. B. The Sumerians thrived in the fourth millennium B.C.
5. D. The Lollards were sympathetic to Henry VIII’s creation of the Church of England.
6. E. By the time of Solon, Greek lands were entirely exhausted.
7. E. The Jesuits became well known for their high educational standards.
8. C. Mary was the main Catholic rival to Elizabeth I.
9. C. The War of Devolution was instigated by Louis XIV because he felt he deserved Flanders and other Spanish lands.
10. A. The Samnites controlled central and southern Italy until they were finally defeated in 290 B.C

CLEP Western Civilization I Practice Questions

CLEP Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East To 1648 Test Breakdown