Western Civilization: Ancient Near East To 1648
Are you ready to give the practice quiz a try? Here are 10 sample questions based on the course material. It’s quite a familiar set-up because it will be multiple-choice with only one correct answer. When you write your answer make sure to tap (or hover over) the question to give you the answer and an explanation.
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.
WarningPlease 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: Which of these rivers did not play an important role in the development of the first civilizations?
a) The Nile
b) The Euphrates
c) The Tigris
d) The Volga
The River Volga is in present-day Russia! The Nile gave birth to the Ancient Egyptian Civilization that lasted for thousands of years, but the river valley of the Tigris and Euphrates is considered the cradle of civilization. It’s where we find the first urban settlements, as well as agriculture and law.
Question 2: Which two Greek city-states fought against each other in the Peloponnesian War?
a) The Spartans and the Athenians
b) The Athenians and the Persians
c) The Thebans and the Spartans
d) The Dorians and the Teneans
The Spartans and the Athenians fought against one another during the highly destructive Peloponnesian War. Although Athens was the strongest city-state at the beginning of the war with a vibrant economy and navy, by the end of the war they were completely devastated, and ultimately they lost to their old rivals the Spartans in 404 BCE.
Question 3: When did the Hellenistic Period begin?
a) After Alexander the Great conquered the Persians and took control of their territories
b) When the Greek philosophers Socrates and Plato began teaching
c) When there was an improvement in navigation technology which allowed for safer and faster travel by ship
d) When the first Koine Greek speaking Christians travelled throughout the Near East and Europe
The Hellenistic period began with the huge empire of Alexander the Great. Hellenistic comes from the Greek word for Greece, Ellás. The Greek language quickly became the language of business and trade and spread rapidly among the trade routes in the Eastern Mediterranean. Hellenistic culture and religions also spread throughout the region, becoming very influential. Did you know that Alexander the Great never considered himself Greek, but rather he thought of himself as being Macedonian, which is a region found in the very north of present-day Greece.
Question 4: What marked the change in Roman law from ancient traditions to legal code?
a) The teachings of Aristotle
b) The speeches of Cicero
c) The Declaration of Pax Romana
d) The Twelve Tables of Rome
The creation of the Twelve Tables of Rome was a hugely important turning point in Roman history and Western Civilization. They decided as a people to no longer rely on ancient oral traditions, but to write down their laws and make sure that every Roman would have to be subject to the same laws. The Twelve Tables were inspired by the legislative writings of Greek city-states (remember, the Greeks taught the Romans and the Romans taught the world), and the Twelve Tables would go on to be very influential in Western Europe centuries later.
Question 5: Which group lost power due to the Magna Carta?
a) The Roman Catholic Church
b) The Monarchy
c) The Barons
d) The Peasants
The Magna Carta was designed by the Barons of England to reduce the power of King John and the English monarchy. The document meant that not even the king was above the law, everyone had a right to a fair trial, and that people who are taxed should have some kind of representation. Sound familiar? This document has been hugely influential in Western Civilization, but especially in the English speaking world. You can still see copies of the Magna Carta in museums today.
Question 6: Which architectural style is associated with the Medieval Period?
Gothic architecture is most commonly associated with the Medieval period. If you’ve ever seen or visited an old stone cathedral, the chances are that you’ve seen examples of Gothic art architecture before. Gothic buildings usually have lots of high arches and stained glass windows. Notre Dame in Paris, France is probably the most famous example of a Gothic cathedral.
Question 7: The sale of what prompted Martin Luther to write his 95 theses about the condition of Christianity?
d) Papal bulls
Martin Luther was disgusted about the sale of indulgences by Johann Tetzel. Usually indulgences were only granted to people who did some sort of penance like going on a pilgrimage, or saying a lot of prayers. But the Roman Catholic Church needed money so they allowed indulgences to be bought. Luther believed that it was only faith in God, not doing any special works that saved people.
Question 8: Which Renaissance figure wrote “In Praise of Folly” in an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church from within?
a) Ulrich Zwingli
b) Pope Paul III
c) Niccolò Machiavelli
d) Erasmus of Rotterdam
Erasmus of Rotterdam (can you guess where he was from?) was a humanist scholar and philosopher, but also a Roman Catholic priest. He knew that the Roman Catholic Church needed to be reformed, but he believed that forming a whole new denomination like Martin Luther was wrong. He believed that the Church could be reformed from within.
Question 9: Which French king helped end the wars of religion in France but converted to Catholicism?
a) Francis II
b) Louis VI
c) Charles IX
d) Henry IV
Henry IV helped to end the devastating Wars of Religion in France. Although Henry was baptised Roman Catholic, he was brought up Protestant and many of his family died in anti-Protestant persecutions. When he was able to claim the throne of France for himself, he converted to Catholicism because he believed it would give him the most support and strongest position.
Question 10: The Peace of Westphalia is best remembered for…
a) The formal end of the Wars of Religion in Europe
b) The creation of formal military alliances between European nations
c) The Division of American and Asian colonies among European nations
d) The end of religious toleration for Protestants in Europe.
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.
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 Western Civ I: 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.
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 Western Civilization I 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.