FREE CLEP PRACTICE TEST:
NATURAL SCIENCES


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Are you are dreading the test and have no idea how to or what to study? Don’t worry! We are here to help you out. So let’s look at what this exam is all about.

CLEP Natural science exam covers introductory level topics of both physical and biological sciences. Comprising of about 120 questions, test has to be completed in 90 minutes. It is designed to test the basic science knowledge of students who are looking to major in non-science subjects. College credit earned on basis of this exam may depend on the institution. However, ACE recommends passing of this exam equivalent to six credit hour semester work. Important point to note here is that this exam is not meant for students intending to major in science.

Natural Sciences
Study Guide


natural sciences clep

So, now you know the generalities, let’s dive into the course contents!

The syllabus of the exam is equally divided into two major parts: Biological Science and Physical Science. In a nutshell, Biological Science covers the study of everything that is alive and Physical Science covers the study of inanimate, non-living things. Exam breakdown is as follows:

  • (10%) ORIGINS AND EVOLUTION OF LIFE, CLASSIFICATION OF ORGANISMS

    This will probably prove to be the most interesting part of your study. You will explore the concept of evolution- how humans and all other living things came to be in the form that we see now. Start with learning the origins of life and work through to the theory of evolution. And don’t forget about Darwin! Animals and plants are all classified into categories and you will want to learn them carefully and while you do that you will learn many interesting things along the way like the fact that the house cat and the ferocious leopards are members of the same family!

  • (10%) CELL ORGANIZATION, CELL DIVISION, CHEMICAL NATURE OF GENES, BIOENERGETICS, BIOSYNTHESIS

    Slightly technical but interesting, this portion covers the basic building blocks and process sustaining the life form. This section starts with the most fundamental unit of life called the ‘cell’ and goes on to explore how cells and the processes involved in biosynthesis and bioenergetics sustain life. Furthermore, you will learn about gene composition which will prepare you to study about heredity in the next section.

  • (20%) STRUCTURE, FUNCTION, AND DEVELOPMENT IN ORGANISMS;PATTERNS OF HEREDITY

    This section has the largest share in biological science part of the exam and rightly so, as it covers the fundamentals of core biology. Here you will cover anatomy of animals, details of animal tissue structure and mechanism of reproduction. Further, you will dive into the concept of homeostasis and the role hormones play in the proper functioning of animals. Sounds boring so far? Don’t worry; the boring is compensated by the exciting study of genes and DNA and how it all works in inheritance. And don’t forget to study about plant physiology and reproduction; after all they are living organisms too!

  • (10%) CONCEPTS OF POPULATION BIOLOGY WITH EMPHASIS ON ECOLOGY

    So here you will be studying about how animals interact with each other and with their environment. How communities of living things are formed and how living things depend on each other for survival. Detailed study of ecological cycles, energy cycle, population growth models, community structures and biogeography will get you through this section just fine!

  • (7%) ATOMIC AND NUCLEAR STRUCTURE AND PROPERTIES, ELEMENTARY PARTICLES, NUCLEAR REACTIONS

    Mostly, everyone is familiar with the concept that everything in the physical world is made of atoms. Atoms are the smallest building block of matter. And they are small- like really small- (like The Atom superhero of DC comics!). But what is an atom made of? Even smaller particles called elementary particles exist that form the atoms. Here, you will study these particles and how they form the atomic structure and what kind of the nuclear reactions they are involved in.

  • (10%) CHEMICAL ELEMENTS, COMPOUNDS AND REACTIONS, MOLECULAR STRUCTURE AND BONDING

    Now that you know all about atoms, you are in a position to learn about how these atoms bond together to form elements and compounds. You will look into atomic bonding types and their nature and chemical reactions involved in their formation. You might find this portion to be a bit dry, but putting in a little hard work will take you a long way!

  • (12%) HEAT, THERMODYNAMICS, STATES OF MATTER, CLASSICAL MECHANICS, RELATIVITY

    Fundamental concepts of physics are tested in this portion. You will study about states of matter: solid, liquid and gas. Is there a fourth one? Plasma? You will get to study that in detail and will probably find many interesting things. Further, you would need to know about the thermodynamics. Ever heard of Einstein’s Theory of relativity? While studying this section you will get to know all about that too!

  • (4%) ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM, WAVES, LIGHT AND SOUND

    This section covers fundamental concepts of electricity and magnetism. Do you both these phenomenon are interlinked? You will get to study electric circuits and electromagnetic waves. How electromagnet waves propagate and how often we encounter them in daily life. Further, you will get to know nature of sound waves and how they are different from other waves. Most importantly, you will study all about light! Is light a wave? What are photons? Prepare for all these concepts comprehensively!

  • (7%) THE UNIVERSE: GALAXIES, STARS AND SOLAR SYSTEM

    Here is your chance to alleviate the stress of studying all the boring concepts of science ! Who doesn’t love the night sky filled with twinkling stars! Ever wondered about them? About the mysteries of the universe? Here is your chance to satisfy your curiosity and get good marks at the same time! Study about galaxies and star, how they are formed. And don’t forget our own solar system!

  • (10%) THE EARTH: ATMOSPHERE, HYDROSPHERE, STRUCTURE FEATURES, GEOLOGIC PROCESSES, AND HISTORY

    Here, you will get to learn all about our home planet Earth! You will study in detail all about atmosphere and many layers of the atmosphere. Further you will want to go into detail about the geological processes and history of the planet. This will prove to be an interesting study!

  • IMPORTANT TIPS

    That was all about the course contents of the exam! Further you need to how questions are designed to test particular abilities of the candidates. Let’s take a look: • Factual knowledge: about 40 % of the exam questions will test your knowledge of the facts. It means fundamental theories of biological and physical science; basic concepts and principles. • Comprehension and interpretation: about 20% of the exam will test your understanding and correct interpretation of given information. The information may be in the form of graphs or theoretical passage or tables or any other such similar form. So it is best that you include such type of questions in your practice session. • Application: 40 % of the exam will consist of questions that will require arriving at the answer by applying some scientific principle that you have learned. You might be required to perform quantitative or qualitative analysis based on graphs/figures/tables/ diagrams provided.

Natural Sciences
Practice Quiz


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.

Warning
Please do keep in mind that we can’t guarantee the accuracy of this quiz, so we do recommend you also run through a full-length practice exam.  We’ll recommend some good options in the resources section at the bottom of this page.


Question 1: FOR ALLOPATRIC SPECIATION, WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING CONDITION DISTINGUISHES IT FROM SYMPATRIC SPECIATION?

a) Genetic mutation
b) Natural selection
c) Geographical isolation
d) All of the above

Answer: c

This question relates to evolution. Allotapric speciation happens when organisms are
geographically isolated from each other and over time mutation and genetic drift causes them to
evolve into different species. In sympatric speciation, geographical separation does not occur.
Mutation and natural selection is part of both processes.


Question 2: WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING IS PRESENT IN A PLANT CELL BUT NOT AN ANIMAL CELL?

a) Cell wall
b) Cell membrane
c) Cytoplasm
d) Nucleus

Answer: a

That was an easy one to boost your confidence! Cell wall is fully permeable and present in plant
cells only. It surrounds the cell and helps in maintaining it’s shape. It is made of cellulose and
quite rigid, thus helps in maintaining turgidity of the cell.


Question 3: WHEN PLANT OVARIES MATURE, THEY FORM…

a) Seeds
b) Pollen
c) Fruit
d) Embryo

Answer c

Mature ovaries form the fruit. Embryo is contained inside the seeds. Seeds are inside the fruit.
Under the right conditions seeds germinate.


Question 4: WHICH ONE OF THE FOLLOWING IS STORED IN THE ADIPOSE TISSUE?

a) Fats
b) Proteins
c) Glycogen
d) Iron

Answer: a

Adipose tissues store fat. They are located mainly under the skin and around the internal organs.
It provides cushion to the organs and thermal insulation. Fat is stored as energy reserve.


Question 5: AUTOTROPHS ARE…

a) Primary producers
b) Primary consumers
c) Secondary consumers
d) Tertiary consumers

Answer: a

Another easy one! This question is related to ecology and trophic level of the autotrophs.
Autotrophs are producers and have the ability of producing complex organic substances like carbohydrates from simple elements. They are primary producers and they produce their own food. Green algae are an example of an autotrophs.


Question 6: ISOTOPES OF AN ELEMENT HAVE DIFFERENT NUMBERS OF:

a) Protons
b) Neutrons
c) Electrons
d) Shells

Answer: b
Isotopes are atoms of the same elements with same atomic number but different mass number.
Same atomic number means that number of protons is the same. However, number of neutrons vary, thus varying the mass number as the mass number is the sum of number of protons and number of neutrons. Isotopes have similar chemical properties as their atomic number is the same. Their physical properties vary due to difference in mass.

Question 7: NOBEL GASES ARE INERT GASES AND DO NOT REACT EASILY. THIS IS SO BECAUSE:

a) They have 8 electrons in the valence shell
b) All gases are inert
c) They are diatomic
d) Their number of neutrons is equal to number of protons

Answer d

Atoms with eight number of electrons in their valence shell are stable. All other atoms have the tendency to try to achieve this state. Atoms that do not have 8 electrons in their valence shell undergo chemical reactions to achieve this state. Metals with one two or three valence electrons form positive ions by losing these electrons. When they lose electrons of their valence shell, it becomes empty. Next shell now becomes the valence shell and contains eight electrons. Nonmetals such as chlorine need to gain electrons to complete their valence shells. They become negative ions by gaining electrons. These positive negative ions form covalent bonds. Nonmetals also form the covalent bond in which atoms share their valence electrons with each other in such a way that valence electrons of every element become eight! Since noble gases already have eight electrons in their outer shell, they do not need to undergo any chemical reaction. They are monoatomic gases.


Question 8: HEAT TRANSFER IN SOLIDS TAKE PLACE BY:

a) Convection
b) Conduction
c) Radiation
d) Convection and radiation

Answer: b

Heat transfer in solids takes place by conduction. Particles of solids vibrate at their fix position and transfer heat through vibrations. They do not leave their place. Molecules of liquids and gases transfer heat by actual movement of particles. This one was pretty easy, wasn’t it? But you should better prepare yourself for harder questions of the exams by studying deeply the concepts of thermodynamics.


Question 9: ELECTRIC CHARGE IS MEASURED IN:

a) Amperes
b) Volts
c) Coulombs
d) Ohms

Answer: c

Charge is measured in coulombs. Ampere is the unit of current and it is the rate of flow of
electric charge. Voltage is measured in volts and resistance in ohms.


Question 10: ASSUMING THE BIG BANG THEORY, WHAT CAN WE SAY ABOUT THE UNIVERSE TODAY?

a) It is expanding
b) It is collapsing on itself
c) It is neither expanding not contracting
d) It is dying

Answer: a

The big bang theory posits that our universe originated in an explosion. Accordingly it is thought that it is still expanding even today.

More CLEP 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: It’s quite short on the study side of things, but this is the go-to practice test bank.  I don’t think I’ve done a single CLEP test without taking the practice test in this book first.

REA CLEP Natural Sciences: I’m not huge on reading, but this book series is fantastic if you’re into that kind of thing. It also includes some nifty online practice tests, though I always found the official practice tests more reassuring.

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. Basically it’s a series of flashcards that help you learn about Natural Sciences 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.

Congrats on starting your CLEP study journey! Study hard, earn credit, and most of all remember to have fun.