Hola Sr. Riegg,
This morning I took the Spanish CLEP and passed with a high enough score to receive all 12 credits. I know a lot of that was due to your help these past 3 years... thank you so much.
The Spanish Language CLEP test in comprised of three parts:
1) Audio: remark and response In this first section, all that appears on the screen are 4 answer bubbles, labeled A-D. You put on headphones, are given an opportunity to adjust the volume of the headphones (I had no trouble with this), and listen to the test. You'll hear one person make a comment, such as (the hypothetical) "¿Qué vas a hacer en la mañana?" Then you'll hear 4 response choices: "A. 'Vas a comer.' B. 'Mañana es jueves.' C. 'Nadie va.' D. 'Voy a correr.'" Then you have ten seconds to click on the bubble that corresponds with the correct answer choice. In my opinion, the hardest part about this section was getting used to the format- it took me a couple tries with the REA (see resources, below) practice tests before I could remember what the original comment was at the end of all the answers. (This section has about 18 questions.)
2) Audio: longer speaking, several written questions During this section, you'll hear some longer dialogues/speeches/essays, and then have to answer questions about them (written in Spanish on the screen) once the audio has ended. The hardest thing about this one is remember all the details of the passage. I suggest you make use of the scratch paper the testing center provides- take shorthand notes while listening to the audio, because you can only listen to it once. I've heard of some people who could speak Spanish very well who had trouble with this section because the questions asked for such obscure details. Listen especially for lists- lists of places someone has been, ingredients to a recipe, etc. In the questions, they like to give you a list of items and ask you to select everything that was on the list in the audio. Also take notice of the overall plot, and the location(s) of the story or event. As for timing, you'll have 12 minutes, not counting the listening time. Every time the audio stops for you to answer questions, your time starts counting down again. (This section has around 30 questions.)
3) Written: grammar This section is comprised of 3 smaller sections, totaling at about 73 questions:
a) Supply missing word in single sentence You'll be given a sentence with one word missing, and a list of four word choices to fill in the blank. If you have done a lot of Spanish reading, this section shouldn't be too hard. The Schaum's Outline (see resources) is also a big help for this section. (This part includes pronouns, comparisons, verb forms, etc.)
b) Supply missing word in passage Here you'll be given a reading passage with several blanks and asked to select the correct word to fill in the blank. This deals with verb tenses quite a bit- which form goes in which kind of clause, and the kind of stuff you can pick up by doing a lot of Spanish reading. It also has a fair amount of pronouns (be able to identify a pronoun's antecedent- Schaum's Outline has a great section on pronouns, which really helps with that).
c) Reading passages In this section, the test gives you passages in Spanish, and then asks you questions (in Spanish) about the passages. Sometimes the "passages" are advertisements or announcements. This part stresses overall comprehension and vocabulary.
Schaum's Outline of Spanish Grammar was my favorite book for this exam. It typically introduces the grammatical concepts in a clear manner unlike the REA (Research & Education Association) book, which is slightly more ambiguous. Schaum's Outline was very helpful, because it has exercises after each new grammatical concept is introduced, letting you immediately practice what you just read about. It helped me start to "feel" the grammatical rules more, instead of just being able to recite them. Many of the concepts discussed in Schaum's Outline were covered on the test, so this book is definitely a good thing to know well before taking the exam.
REA's CLEP Spanish Language-- Its strength is in the practice audio portions of the test. It comes with 2 audio CD's, containing three practice tests. The audios were a fairly accurate representation of the actual test. Of course the real CLEP test uses a variety of speakers- it doesn't repeat the same ones as the REA audio does. But if you're used to listening to a variety of speakers this shouldn't be a problem.
Also, Multnomah University is a great place to take CLEP exams.
Espero que Ud. y su familia tengan un buen verano,