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Spanish is, according to Education First, the second most spoken language in the world, and that is recognized by College Board. The Spanish CLEP test is a practical way to gain college credits proving that you can carry yourself accordingly through conversations with native Spanish speakers and understand passages in said language.

This test will assess if you are well versed on the romance language and will place you in one of two categories depending on your scores: Level 1 (50 points) or Level 2 (63 points or higher).

Spanish Language
Study Guide

This exam will be divided into a Listening section of 40% and a Reading section of 60%, with sub-sections in each area.

  • Listening Part A (15%)

    Chunk on comprehension of short oral exchanges such as greetings and simple descriptions using the verb ser and estar (To Be); be aware! because as you may realize, they are two different verbs in Spanish. Also, you will have to answer questions with the interrogative words (Por qué, quién, dónde, cuándo) as well as simple yes/no questions. Easy peasy, right?

  • Listening Part B (25%)

    Chunk on comprehension of longer conversations or announcements on diverse topics. Questions in this section will be fairly similar to the ones on the previous section, but you have to be more attentive of the course of the conversation or narrative, for they will be longer (Approximately 1min). Examples of what you might find in this section are: airport announcements, anecdotes, historical facts, interviews, explanations, news, etc. The questions might change in format as you move along with the test. Some of the questions will require you to put lists in order according to what was said in the conversation, complete charts, or choose from a series of pictures to indicate what the speaker was talking about.

  • Reading Part A (16%)

    Completing short sentences using prepositions (a, ante, bajo, cabe, con, contra, de, desde, durante, en, entre, hacia, hasta, mediante, para, por, según, sin, sobre, tras) verb conjugations (present, past, future, continuous tenses –ando –endo, etc), articles (el, la, los, las, un, una, unos), etc. For this section you will also need to be familiar with vocabulary such as places (biblioteca, salon de clases, peluquería, casa) feelings (feliz, triste, asustado, nervioso), times of the day (día, tarde, noche), etc.

  • Reading Part B (20%)

    Completing passages and paragraphs on diverse topics with the correct conjugations and words according to the context. The difficulty level increases in this section because you will need to be able to identify the context of the passage. Apart from that, don’t be afraid! It is recommended for you to read magazine articles, newspapers, academic articles, and novels to practice for this section. I know it sounds complicated, but you will have the opportunity to develop better comprehension skills if you start facing the language as a whole, instead of practicing it piece by piece.

  • Reading Part C (24%)

    Consists on a higher level reading comprehension where the student will have to answer questions based mainly on context. Remember what I told you earlier about context? Well, this is the time to put it into practice. Throughout this section you will find announcements, passages, extracts from academic articles and, unlike the rest of the sections, questions will focus more on context than grammar.
    So, in this section you will be challenged with answering questions such as “¿Cuál es el tema central de este parrafo?” (which is the main theme of this paragraph?), “¿A qué se refieren con…?” (what do they mean by…?), or “Interpreta la siguente frase” (interpret the following phrase). Therefore, in this section you will have the opportunity to show that you truly have a holistic comprehension of the language.
    Now that you understand what you are facing, there are some things to bear in mind:
    • Conjugations: remember that in Spanish conjugations vary not only from tense to tense, but also according to every pronoun, unlike English. So be always attentive to the when’s and the who’s.
    For example, it is not the same to say “Nosotros estamos” as “Ellos estan” (verb to Be). In english, most of the times “we” and “you” are conjugated equally “We are” “You are”, whereas in Spanish both have different formulas.
    • Sentence Structure: in this particular case it is important for you to get into full Spanish mode every time you try to speak and write. Why? Well, you see, Spanish speakers tend to say most of the things the other way around. They play with the order of the words, and they play with our minds!
    • Accents: this is of the utmost importance. An accent or lack thereof in Spanish might modify the meaning of a whole sentence; “el robo” is not the same thing as “él robó”. In the first example I am talking about the theft, whereas in the second I am stating that he stole. Mind-blowing, huh?

Spanish Language
Practice Quiz

Now, are you ready to face a real Spanish test?

I hope so, because here you will find a short and fast Spanish CLEP practice test which will give you an idea of what you’re expected to know and understand. Once you’ve written down your answers, hover over (or tap on a phone) the question to see the answers and explanations.

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.  The CollegeBoard offers a good one that we’ll share in the resources section below.

Question 1: (Woman) ¿Cuándo es la fiesta?

a) Mañana por la tarde.
b) En el parque Los Caobos.
c) Muchas gracias por la invitación.
d) Sí, yo iré.


In this question, the speaker is trying to figure out when is the party. Remember when I told you to keep in mind the interrogative words? (Wh- question words) well, now you see! The interrogative word “Cuándo” means “when”, so whenever you come across this word, rest assured that you must answer with a specific time of the day, a date, a month, or a day of the week.

Question 2: (Woman) ¿Dónde debo guardar el azúcar para que no aparezcan hormigas?

a) Si, hay mucha luz.
b) No, gracias. No me gusta el azúcar.
c) En la nevera. El frío mantiene lejos a las hormigas.
d) Ahí hay dos frascos.


You probably doubted for a minute when seeing the word “azúcar” (sugar) in two of the options, right? However, you must be very aware, for this is not a closed yes/no question which normally starts with the verb, the main action of the sentence. How can you assess what type of question it is? Same as in english, by noticing that at the beginning it has a Wh- question word (Donde= where). Also, they are giving you some extra information in the shape of “complementos” (complements) that complete the idea on the information that is being requested.

Question 3: (Woman) ¿Por qué no viniste al cine con nosotros anoche?

a) No, empezó a las 4pm.
b) Porque estaba ocupada haciendo los deberes de la universidad.
c) Porque quiero hacer jugo para mi mamá.
d) Alejandra comió palomitas de maíz.


Now, let’s mix up the tenses a little bit. Yes, this is a question with the Wh- question word why, however, you must see beyond that specific word and realize the question is being asked in past tense. Option C might answer the “why”, but it doesn’t fulfill the information required by the rest of the question, which is the explanation on why the woman skipped a day out at the movies on the previous day. So, why didn´t go out?

Please use the below dialog for the next questions.

(Narrator) Fuimos a las calles a preguntarles a las personas cuál era su opinión con respecto al nuevo hotel en el centro de la ciudad.
(Carmen) Realmente, yo considero que es un hotel muy bonito. Su arquitectura y diseño son muy modernos y te hacen sentir como si estuvieses de viaje por Europa. Este hotel demuestra que todavía hay gente interesada en invertir en nuestro país, lo cual, en mi opinión, es justo lo que necesitamos. Hay que revivir el turismo como fuente principal de ingresos y así nuestra economía será cada vez más fuerte. ¡Buen trabajo!
(Luis) ¡No me gusta para nada! Yo trabajo en la oficina postal, en el centro de la ciudad y ahora el tráfico para llegar a mi trabajo se ha triplicado. Me parece innecesario agregar más complicaciones al centro de la ciudad, que ya de por si es el lugar más congestionado de todos. ¿Por qué no construyen un hotel a las afueras? Sería mucho mejor tener un lugar a donde escapar los fines de semana, sin calles sucias ni ruidos molestos.

Question 4: ¿A quién le gustó más el hotel?

a) A los dos les gustó.
b) A Carmen.
c) A ninguno les gustó.
d) A Luis.


Now it is time to compare the opinions of two different individuals in regards of a new hotel in town. The key factor to understand this question is not to look for a cookie-cutter answer among the options, but to be able to grasp the perception of the individuals according to the adjectives they are using to describe the hotel and assess its perks and disadvantages. Who likes it the most? You tell me!

Question 5: ¿Qué es necesario revivir para tener una economía fuerte y próspera?

a) La industria.
b) El comercio.
c) El turismo.
d) Ninguna de las anteriores.


Let’s turn it up a nudge and start facing a more sophisticated language. In this case, you must identify who is speaking about matters such as the economy (yes, you guessed right. It is Mrs. Carmen). In the interview, she explains why the hotel is so beneficial for the country’s GDP, and it has a lot to do with people with cameras and fanny packs. Ring a bell? Of course, we are talking about tourism!

Question 6: ¿Dónde sería mejor construir un hotel?

a) En la montaña, cerca de los animales.
b) En la playa, para escuchar las olas del mar.
c) El centro de la ciudad es una locación perfecta.
d) A las afueras de la ciudad, para poder escapar de la rutina.


Preferences, suggestions. It is time to see if you understand conditional clauses in Spanish (verb-ía). In one of the paragraphs (hint: it is the second one) the speaker talks about the ideal location for the new famous hotel. Where should it be? Why? By this moment you should have noticed Mr. Luis is not very content with the new addition to the downtown because of the disturbances it causes. He says the hotel can be anywhere, but it should not cause any disturbances and allow the guest to find peace. Isn’t the countryside the best option? Mr. Luis thinks so! And we agree.

Question 7: Anoche Federico _______ a Susana y ella no contestó.

a) llamó.
b) volvió.
c) llamo.
d) habló.


This section of the test is fairly easy. Remember two things: be aware of the context, and be very vigilant with the tenses. In this case, the question is in simple past tense which, as I already warned you, carries an accent most of the times. So, don’t fall into the trap and get confused with option C! Because it is the same verb llamar (to call), but conjugated in first person for simple present tense.

Question 8: Ella dijo que en el _________ podíamos encontrar la pasta para lasaña.

a) ayer.
b) cárcel.
c) supermercado.
d) jueves.


It is vocab time! In this case we are talking about where to find what we need to cook delicious lasagna, which means we are talking about a location. Now you may ask: how do I Know the question is talking about a place if the word “Donde” is nowhere to be found? Among the options, yes, you can find words to indicate time (ayer, jueves), however, notice the important presence of a preposition “en” in the clause which means in/at, thus indicating place. The rest is pure logics, from all of the options the supermarket (supermercado) is the correct answer.

Please use the below content for the next questions.

Hace tres años yo vivi en Estados Unidos. Allí, formé parte de algo más grande y valioso que yo. Tuve la oportunidad de _____9______ un grupo de amigos de todas partes del mundo, que me enseñaron que el amor no tiene fronteras y la honestidad no presta _____10______ a razas ni credos.

Question 9: Please select the correct word for blank 9 above.

a) Encontrar
b) Encontré
c) Encontraba
d) Encuentro


The general recommendation for this type of exercises is to always be aware of the context. First, you must read the whole passage (even with the blanks) to understand the general idea. Who is speaking? Where is she/he? Is she/he speaking in third person? What tense is being used? Etc. In this case, he/she is speaking in first person about a rewarding experience that happened three years ago. Why choose “encontrar” in infinitive, and not “encuentro” or “encontré”; easy! It is not the main action of the sentence (meaning, not the main verb) which is “tuve” (had), therefore it must not be conjugated.

Question 10: Please select the correct word for blank 10 above.

a) Intención
b) Aprender
c) Atención
d) Aprehensión


Vocab, vocab, vocab. We were given four options: “intención” (intention), “aprender” (to learn), “atención” (attention), and “aprehensión” (to apprehend).By now, you must understand that he/she is speaking about the diversity of friends he/she found while studying abroad, and what is the most valuable characteristic? That no one pays attention to the fact that they are all different. From the four options, the educated guess would be that the answer must be a noun (either A or C), because the action is already stated; and you never pay intentions! You pay attention, am I right?

Please use the below content for the next questions.

¿Quieres participar en obras de teatro?

Si tienes entre 18 y 25 años y te interesa el mundo de la actuación… ¡Esta es tu oportunidad!
Somos una compañía de actuación con 25 años de experiencia en el mercado y un personal de aproximadamente 20 actores. ¿Quieres participar en obras tan importantes como Romeo y Julieta?

¿Qué necesitamos? que seas estudiante de Artes Escénicas, no le tengas miedo al escenario, seas emprendedor y muy apasionado.

Tendremos castings los días lunes y jueves de 2 a 4 de la tarde y nos puedes encontrar en el segundo piso del Centro Comercial Lomas de la Lagunita, piso 2, oficina 2C.

Llámanos! 0416815924.

Question 11: ¿Qué oportunidad se está brindando a través de este anuncio?

a) Viajar por el mundo.
b) Enseñar a un grupo de baile.
c) Formar parte de una agencia de actuación.
d) Formar parte de un nuevo negocio de comida.


This is the last type of exercises you fill find on your CLEP test, and it is the most comprehensive one. Questions and answers will not be based on verbatim chunks of the passages; here is your chance to prove you really understand and are able to analize information in Spanish. In this job announcement they offer a spot in an acting agency and they describe the necessary qualities of the applicants. What are the requirements you must fulfill? Well, is it traveling? (option A), I don´t think so; dancing? (option B), most certainly not; a business with food? (option D) no sir! Option C is the one which indicates that the opportunity is to be a part of an acting agency.

Question 12: ¿Qué cualidades deben tener los aspirantes?

a) Deben ser estudiantes de actuación, tener disponibilidad horaria y vivir en Caracas.
b) Deben ser proactivos, espontáneos y estudiar actuación.
c) Deben estudiar en la Universidad Santa María y estar en quinto semestre.
d) Deben tener de 18 a 25 años y estar interesados en las ciencias sociales.


Again, looking for a new job? Well, this exercise is amazing for you. In this job announcement they offer a spot in an acting agency and they describe the necessary qualities of the applicants. As you may notice, the qualities you must have to apply for this job are beyond standard (age, college major, etc) and you should be able to detect which are those extra-characteristics you must have in order to obtain the spot in the agency. Are they only looking for students from a specific university, background, age, or city? Or are they looking for proactive, willing-to-learn individuals?

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 Spanish Language: 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 (above) more reassuring.

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.