Saturday, February 12, 2011

Civil War & Reconstruction DANTES

This was my first DANTES test. I got a 73, which is an A at Excelsior! 

I wasn’t planning to take this exam, but after taking both US History CLEPs, I thought what I had learned for those would be helpful in continuing on to study for the Civil War exam. Also, having several ancestors involved has made this time period interesting to me. I learned a lot and studied for 4 weeks. 

I used:

Idiots Guide
SparkNotes Civil War
SparkNotes Reconstruction – This had several topics that were not covered elsewhere.
Ken Burns DVDs and website - The Civil War . The War | PBS
IC – I should have spent more time on these.
American Civil War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quizzes to Test Yourself - This is similar to the AP Quizzes, but there are many more questions. It will help with the basics, but is not as deep as the exam.
ClassZone - Creating America: Beginnings through Reconstruction
Civil War Battles Quizzes and Civil War Battles Trivia -- FunTrivia There are a lot of Civil War trivia pages here. This one is for battles. These are fun, but it is too easy to get off track, like what is the name of Grant’s horse? (One was named Cincinnati.)
Official DSST Fact Sheet (DSST - has 12 sample questions. A couple of the questions were on my exam. There were more battles on my test than what was listed on the fact sheet; they were covered as important battles in the study materials.

Review materials from US History CLEPs:
REA has excellent coverage of material in about 30 pages. 
Barrons EZ 101 – AP Quizzes are good for this but there is no coverage of the battles. 
Resource: A Biography of America videos 

I wish I had spent more time looking for some practice exams at textbook websites.

This exam was not as fact based as I hoped. It helped me to learn the dates so that I had a better idea of the order of events and how they related to each other, but knowing dates was not on my test. I also thought I might need to know the number of casualties and troops at each battle, but that wasn’t on the test either. It just had the total numbers for the whole war.

I did need to know the second level of generals that made a difference in the battles, not just the main generals. I had trouble with a couple of questions about describing the general’s attitudes/actions.

Be sure to understand the politics leading to the war, during the war, and during Reconstruction. The Reconstruction SparkNotes was very good, but I still didn’t have enough depth on the consequences of the different reconstruction plans. (What I knew did not match the answers.) Maybe Wikipedia has more.