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Undergraduate Communication Experience + Theory

COM 11400

(Please click here for information about the Purdue Presentation Center.)

COM 114, Fundamentals of Speech Communication, is a required course for many majors at Purdue, and it fulfills the oral communication University Core Curriculum requirement. The course comprises the study of communication theories as applied to speech. It involves practical communicative experiences ranging from interpersonal communication and small group processes to informative and persuasive speaking in standard speaker-audience situations.

COM 11400 Test Out

COM 114 credit can be awarded to students who successfully complete the Test Out process by passing a written exam and delivering an effective presentation.

Both exams must be passed to establish credit. A student must meet the following criteria to attempt credit by examination for COM 114:

  • Is officially enrolled at Purdue University.
  • Has not previously attempted the COM 114 test-out exam; each student may attempt only one test out of COM 114.
  • Is a newly admitted student or currently enrolled student who has not received a grade or directed grade in COM 114 other than a grade of W.
  • Is not currently enrolled in COM 114 during the semester that test out is being attempted.
  • Can present a government-issued photo ID or a Purdue University Student ID at the time of the Written and Oral Exams.

Summer 2024 Test Out Information

The written exam will be offered online May 2 – July 4. The oral presentation exam (for those who pass the written exam) will take place on the evenings of August 21 and 22, respectively (oral presentations will be delivered in person on the West Lafayette campus). 

Summer 2024 Session

  • Registration closed.
  • Registration deadline: 11:59 p.m. July 3, 2024
  • Written test window: Tuesday, May 2 – Thursday, July 4, 2024
  • Oral exam: The evenings of August 21 and 22 (6 p.m. or 7:30 p.m.). The specific date will be assigned following the written exam.

A $35 testing fee will be applied to students’ Purdue accounts when they sit to take the written exam. This fee will be applied through the Bursar’s office at the end of the current semester and added to the next semester’s tuition.

All students qualifying for the PELL grant will have the exam fee waived. Please note that this exam fee is non-refundable. No testing fee is applied if you register but do not take the written exam.

Students who pass the written exam will be asked to give an oral presentation during their assigned day and a specific time slot noted above (all students who pass the written test will receive the oral exam presentation prompt shortly after the written test window closes).

For a list of some topics covered on the written exam and sample questions, please consult the COM 114 Test Out Study Guide

Questions may be directed to testout@purdue.edu.

Fall 2024 Test Out Information

Registration information for the two test out sessions held during the fall semester will be posted by approximately August 1, 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What if I need testing accommodations? – When registering to take the COM 114 test, please indicate you need testing accommodations on the second page of the form, and the COM 114 Test Out team will reach out to you shortly. If you wish to contact testout@purdue.edu to discuss your accommodation needs proactively, that is also acceptable. Any documentation you can share is appreciated. 

2. How should I prepare for the written exam? – The COM 114 Test Out exam is not based on any specific textbook but covers broad knowledge taught in most basic presentation-based college courses. Any collegiate public speaking textbook should be sufficient to prepare for the exam. Some students report that a high school speech course also provided substantial background information. 

3. What type of picture identification is necessary? – Your Purdue ID is preferred; if that is not available for some reason, valid government-issued identification is acceptable (driver’s license, passport, military ID, etc.). Please ensure that your name is clearly visible along with your picture when you hold the ID to the camera.

4. If I don’t pass either the written or oral presentation, will it appear on my transcript or negatively affect my GPA? – If you do not pass either part of the COM 114 Test Out process, nothing appears on your Purdue transcript. Your GPA is not affected, but you are still responsible for the $35 testing fee (unless awarded a Pell grant). 

5. I passed the written exam; what’s the next step? – You will be contacted via your Purdue email and Brightspace announcement shortly after your test window closes with information regarding the oral presentation phase of the test-out process (this includes the speech topic, details for the presentation, time limits, visual aid requirements, etc.).

6. When taking the test, can I skip a question and return to it? – Yes, you can. While the questions will be presented one at a time, you may answer them in any order you prefer.

7. Why can I not see the correct answers to missed questions? – While the written exam utilizes a question pool of hundreds of communication-related questions, unfortunately, to keep the exam fair for all students, the questions (and their related answers) are unavailable after the exam is submitted.

8. What happens in the above “windows” of time for the written exam and oral presentation? For the written exam, you can take the online exam at any time and place you wish within the stated time. The Respondus software locks down your computer to prevent other software from being accessible and records the testing session using your computer’s microphone and webcam. For the oral presentation, you will need to prepare a 4-6 minute presentation to be given during the assigned date and time. Trained judges will then listen and review your presentation to ensure all necessary competencies have been met. Your results should be available within 12-24 hours.

9. What is the passing score for the written exam? Students must score at least 37 out of 50 correct questions (74%) to pass the written exam. The written exam score is presented after the written exam.

10. What if I don’t pass and get a 36 or 35 out of 50? Can I retake the written exam? No, you are only permitted to attempt the test-out process once. You must enroll in the COM 114 course (as your academic schedule permits) to earn course credit.

11. Can I participate in the Summer COM 114 Test-Out session if I am not an incoming Purdue student? Yes, any Purdue student can participate during the Summer COM 114 Test-Out session. 

12. What criteria is the oral presentation judged? Nine areas are reviewed, including Topic, Introduction, Supporting Material, Organization, Oral Citations, Vocal Delivery, Physical Delivery, Conclusion, and Visual Aid.