Wednesday, February 19, 2014

CLEP-ing out

From an online advertisement by the College Board, the fine folks who bring you the ACT and SAT testing:

"CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) helps you earn college credit for knowledge you've acquired through independent study, prior course work, on-the-job training, professional development, cultural pursuits, or internships."

Not to mention something called "Life Experience."

"CLEP-ing out" is a term used (often arrogantly and frequently derisively) by university admissions and enrollment counselors to describe the audacity of people appearing in their office unbidden, straight from the unwashed masses, who want to get credit for a course by challenging the university's examinations for that course, rather than actually take the course and sit in class being put to sleep by the lecture-drone of the graduate student assigned by the course professor to do the actual lecture-droning while the august professor himself is off doing research at his favorite bar slash strip club. Usually, the admissions counselor will stand behind his desk and look down his nose at the seated inquirer with equal portions of contempt and disgust, lifting his wise academic chin a bit more as he says something like, "And what makes you think you could pass the examination on this subject?"

Translation: "How dare you!"

Me: "Well, CLEP is for people who have learned things outside the classroom, through life experience and such. Life experience I have. Some education I have too, but I want some more."

Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the table; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said, somewhat alarmed at his own temerity:
'Please, sir, I want some more.'
The master was a fat, healthy man; but he turned very pale. He gazed in stupified astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds, and then clung for support to the copper. The assistants were paralysed with wonder; the boys with fear.
'What!' said the master at length, in a faint voice.
'Please, sir,' replied Oliver, 'I want some more.'
The master aimed a blow at Oliver's head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arm; and shrieked aloud for the beadle.
The board were sitting in solemn conclave, when Mr. Bumble rushed into the room in great excitement, and addressing the gentleman in the high chair, said,
'Mr. Limbkins, I beg your pardon, sir! Oliver Twist has asked for more!'

It's been a long time now since I've felt the need for more paper - paper certificates, transcripts, even diplomas (diplomi?) - to frame on walls, especially since I've been self-employed pretty much all my life and thus don't need the paper in order to get hired. All I need is the learning part. I don't really need to impress people and I don't much want to be around people who are impressed by paper, anyway. But I do still like to learn. A lifelong thirst for truth, as we INTPs like to say. Or for "clarity" if you wonder why this blog is so-named. So it's been a long time, as well, since I've sat in the admissions office of any university. Since all I want is to learn, it's easier to just buy the CLEP study materials for various examinations for this or that learning interest. Then I take the sample tests to prove to myself that I know the subject, and omit entirely both the university admissions office and their cashier. It's a hobby. Perhaps I should caution you that my way won't work for you if you actually want college credit.

For some reason, the following statement precedes all sample questions, thousands of times, in all CLEP study guides. Perhaps some college students need the warning. Who knows.

"The following sample questions do not appear on an actual CLEP examination. They are intended to give potential test-takers an indication of the format and difficulty level of the examination and provide content for practice and review."


My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
  Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
  She walks the sodden pasture lane.5
Her pleasure will not let me stay.
 She talks and I am fain* to list*:
She's glad the birds are gone away,
She's glad her simple worsted grey
  Is silver now with clinging mist.10
The desolate, deserted trees,
  The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
  And vexes me for reason why.15
Not yesterday I learned to know
  The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow;
But it were vain to tell her so,
  And they are better for her praise.


Question 1 of 9:

The central subject of the poem is
  • A.
    a couple's conversation about which season each prefers
  • B.
    the speaker's dislike of autumn weather
  • C.
    the speaker's desire to spend time with his companion
  • D.
    how sadness helps the speaker appreciate late autumn
  • E.
    why the speaker's companion is looking forward to winter

    Question 2 of 9:
    The poet primarily uses which literary device to characterize the speaker's "Sorrow"?
    • A.
    • B.
    • C.
    • D.
    • E.

    Question 3 of 9:
    In context, the word "simple" in line 9 most nearly means
    • A.
    • B.
    • C.
    • D.
    • E.

    Question 4 of 9:
    Lines 7-12 "She's glad … the heavy sky" are best described as a list of
    • A.
      what makes late autumn such a sad time
    • B.
      what the speaker dislikes about his surroundings
    • C.
      what the speaker's "Sorrow" finds appealing
    • D.
      signs that a cold winter is approaching
    • E.
      signs that the speaker's "Sorrow" is biased

    Question 5 of 9:
    Lines 9-10 suggest that "she" is "glad" because
    • A.
      the autumn rain is ending
    • B.
      the mist is another aspect of autumn that pleases her
    • C.
      she is dressed well for the late autumn weather
    • D.
      she likes the new silver color of her clothes
    • E.
      the color of the sky has become more beautiful

    Question 6 of 9:
    The phrase "desolate, deserted" (line 11) is an example of
    • A.
    • B.
    • C.
    • D.
    • E.

    Question 7 of 9:
    The phrase "Not yesterday I learned to know / The love of bare November days" (lines 16-17) suggests that
    • A.
      the speaker fell in love on a November day many years ago
    • B.
      today is the first day of November
    • C.
      the speaker has never learned to love November days
    • D.
      the month of November has just ended
    • E.
      the speaker has loved November days for a long time

    Question 8 of 9:
    In the last stanza (lines 16-20), which of the following reasons does the speaker give for not telling his "Sorrow" how he feels about late autumn days?
    1. The speaker values the perspective given by "Sorrow."
    2. It would be useless for the speaker to reveal his or her feelings.
    3. The speaker is afraid to reveal his or her feelings.
    • A.
      I only
    • B.
      I and II only
    • C.
      I and III only
    • D.
      II and III only
    • E.
      I, II and III

    Question 9 of 9:
    The speaker's attitude in the poem is primarily one of
    • A.
      fear and despair
    • B.
      excitement and anticipation
    • C.
      melancholy tempered with contentment
    • D.
      frustration with his companion
    • E.
      surprise leading to joy


      I'm sorry these were multiple-choice. That's the only kind they have in these things. I took the test cold without studying and I got only one wrong, so it's not rocket science. Not if you like poetry, at least. I got number 4 wrong. I selected "Symbolism" instead of "Personification."

      If you are interested, the answers are here:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Racism anyone? LA not ready yet?

New advertising billboards in Los Angeles are causing a stir. Angelenos are not liking the Billboards, say the newspapers. Chicago is next and then New York. An American GI and his Muslim wife are pictured (they are really married, not just actors) the agency says. There are also TV commercials for the same product which show them dressing for work in the morning. Before she puts on her veil. OMG. Ah, well. No cause for alarm. This is our world today, and I see nothing wrong. Apparently the ad agency thought it would be controversial, though. They have said one of the billboards is going up in NYC about 3 blocks from "ground zero."

So what?

The product is supposed to stop you from snoring, so you can "be together" in bed.

Bigger fish to fry, I say.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Another anniversary


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