It’s been a while since Kira has made an attempt at a CLEP exam. After not passing a few in a row, she learned the hard lesson that they are not easy, and need lots of time and attention on them in order to pass.
Passing her eyes over a book that contains the content she needs wasn’t going to be sufficient.
The next test she took needed to plant a seed of confidence, and Analyzing and Interpeting Literature seemed like a good fit.
We didn’t choose this test because Kira likes Literature. In fact, Kira doesn’t like her Literature courses at all. But, I do think the last couple years has prepared her for this exam.
Excellence in Literature
The past two years we used Excellence in Literature (American, then World Lit) for Kira’s high school Literature curriculum. What swayed me to use this program was that it tied in history in order to paint a picture for the student what life was like in the time period of the author.
You get to step into the author’s shoes for a little while, helping you understand what pop culture was like in that period of history.
And I think that was just what Kira needed to be able to see past the words on the page and to see the emotion and aspirations of the author in the piece of work they created for us.
Kira first considered this exam at the beginning of our credit by exam journey, but she didn’t fare well in the practice exams. She kept coming back flustered, saying, “How should I know the answer? They didn’t say anything about that!”
I do think that knowing there’s a layer of the story beyond what is written in words takes some maturity, and that only comes with time. For this particular exam, I think Kira needed time to mature enough to see more than what was before her eyes.
Reading, reading, and more reading
When Kira’s not doing school, she loves to read. During the summer she’ll consume many books, sometimes a book in a single day, because she loves to be entranced by a love story, or an adventure (usually a love story, as sappy as they may be in the teen genre).
Even though teen novels aren’t necessarily study material, it gives her more exposure to seeing the nuances a good story will have within it, if you just pay close enough attention.
I try not to limit what she can read in her free time, other than obviously inappropriate material, and I hope that that freedom allowed her to explore different types of books that opened her mind just enough to be able to reach further academic pursuits.
For this exam, we didn’t have a curriculum plan, or a specific book to study in order for her to pass (though, we did get a test prep book at one point, that didn’t help in the practice tests). The Analyzing and Interpreting Literature exam is largely considered the easiest of all the CLEP and DSST tests, so just exposing Kira to good literature, along with mediocre teen novels, plus a bit of patience, got her to the point that she passed it, earning another 6 college credits with participating colleges, alhamdulilah!