Pros: Easy to understand, lots of information, well written
Cons: This book was quite outdated and didn't help me as much as the others.
Being that I have already spent a large majority of my life going to school, I have really tried hard to spend as little time there as humanly possible. This all started when I started full time college at the age of 14, at Skagit Valley College. I took more credit hours there than most standard aged students took, and I couldn't even drive to get to my own classes. I quickly gained experience in quick study methods, which allowed me to absorb as much information as possible, in the shortest possible time. Soon I found that I didn't have to go to class, I could just self study and easily pass all of my classes with little effort.
I now have a Bachelors in Business Law from University of Michigan, an Associates in Industrial Technology from Baker College, and an Associates in Aircraft Maintenance Technology from Community College of the Air Force. I have nearly 250 credit hours in total, and I'm currently attending more classes through Baker College Online Campus and University of Alaska Anchorage.
With all of that college work going on, I decided that I had to find a better means of producing as many usable credit hours in the shortest period of time possible, so that I could make myself as marketable as possible upon exiting the military. One option for me was to take standardized tests, which essentially test your knowledge of different areas of study and give you credit based upon your ability to pass a standard test in a licensed testing center. Since all of these were paid for through the military, I decided that I would CLEP and DANTES out of as many classes as possible, regardless of whether or not I actually needed the credit or not. Free is free, and I figured that I could need the classes at some point in my life, even if Astronomy doesn't seem to make any sense for a Business major now.
About the book
Clep analysis and interpretation of literature essentially is a primer for the actual test. It doesn't go over the actual questions that are going to be on the test, however, it tries to help you out as much as possible so that it gives you a much more educated guess on each of the questions.
The book starts out with quite a few different study techniques, memorization methods, etc, to help you retain as much of the information as possible. Obviously for a standardized test, you are completely unaware of what you are going to be tested on, because the questions are taken from such a broad number of sources. So essentially you just need to cram as much information from the study guide as possible in order to make it as easy as possible, so the memorization techniques are critical to helping you pass the tests.
Then obviously there are quite a few different practice questions. Actually there are practice exams that you can take and then grade yourself. Once you are comfortably achieving the score that you want on the actual test, then it's probably safe to say that you are ready to take it.
The book is also complete with a scoring chart, so that you know how many questions you need to get right in order to pass the test. It shows the actual study guides put forth but the education board in charge of creating the tests.
How are they written
The books are basically written assuming that you have a little bit of background in the subject. If you don't have a clue about the subject however, you can still with a little bit of work pass the test, regardless of whether or not you truely comprehend the subject or not.
They are written so that anyone with at least a high school education can understand, but generally they are written at a 5th grade level, depending upon the subject matter of course.
Personally, I felt that the book on the interpretation of literature was quite outdated. It didn't seem to actually apply to the topic and when I took the test, I felt like I was testing on something completely different than what I had taken the time to study. Lucky for myself, I have enough knowledge of literature that I was able to pass the test quite easily. I just felt a little let down by the study guide that was supposed to help me out.
I would have to say as an overall series, these CLEP guides are excellent, but this one was definitely too old to really do me any good on the actual test.
As a guide, it's an excellent step by step program that really helps you to prepare for the subject matter tests, however, I think it's still important that you have somewhat of a knowledge of the subject you are trying to test out of. I found that my background knowledge has helped me out on more than just one occasion.