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COMS 100 Oral Communication Foundational Studies Competency Exam (OCFSCE)

The Oral Communication Foundational Competency Examination administered by the Department of Communication will be offered on the following dates:

Part 1 Dates:

  • Wednesday, September 27 - The last day to apply is Monday, September 25 by 2:00 p.m.
    This session will start at 3:00 p.m. in DuSable 428
    Please bring a #2 pencil and ID to the exam
  • Monday, October 23 - The last day to apply is Friday, October 20 by 2:00 p.m. 
  • The session will start at 3:00 p.m. in DuSable 428
    Please bring a #2 pencil and ID to the exam

Any student is eligible to take the Oral Communication Foundational Studies Competency Examination prior to enrolling in COMS 100. The exam consists of two parts; students must pass both to waive the core competency requirement. Part I assesses competence in listening. Part II assesses competence in speaking. Students must pass Part I to be eligible to take Part II. Depending on demand, the exam is offered three times each semester.

Students who fail Part I or pass Part I and fail Part II will automatically fail the OCFSCE. Students failing the OCFSCE must enroll in a COMS 100 course in order to meet NIU graduation requirements. Students can take the OCCE only one time and cannot retake any portion of the exam. Students are not permitted to appeal the results of the exam.

Passing a competency examination fulfills the requirement for the core competency but gives no credit (i.e., it reduces the required number of hours in general education but does not reduce the number of hours required for a degree).

In order to take the exam, the students must currently be enrolled at NIU.

STUDENTS WHO ARE CURRENTLY ENROLLED IN COMS 100, HAVE TAKEN COMS 100, OR HAVE TAKEN THE OCFSCE EXAM ARE NOT ELIGIBLE TO TAKE THE EXAM.

In addition, students planning to take the OCFSCE exam are advised to take the exam AT LEAST one year before graduating from NIU. If students fail the OCFSCE, arrangements must be made to take COMS 100 in order to meet graduation requirements.

Students taking Part I of the OCFSCE are required to do the following:

  • Complete the attached sign-up sheet and return it to Watson Hall 209 by the deadline for the testing session.
  • Bring an NIU student photo ID or an acceptable substitute to Part I. Students without an appropriate form of photo ID will not be permitted to take Part I.
  • Bring a #2 pencil for the exam.
  • Arrive 15 minutes early in order to sign in and complete necessary forms.

PLEASE NOTE: Students who do not show up to take Part I on the date identified on the sign-up sheet must REAPPLY to take the exam on another date.

PLEASE NOTE: Students who arrive late to take Part I, will NOT be allowed to take the exam at that time and will need to REAPPLY to take the exam on another date.

Additional Information Regarding Eligibility

Although any student is welcome to take the exam, students who meet one of the following criteria should be encouraged by their academic advisors to take the exam: 1) students with a 24 or higher on the English part of the ACT, 2) students who have excelled in a rigorous high school speech class), 3) students who have excelled in high school forensics, 4) transfer students who have successfully completed communication courses that did not transfer to NIU as equivalent to COMS 100.

Additional Information Regarding the Exam

Part I is a test containing 20 multiple-choice questions that will be based on a speech. The exam will take approximately 40 minutes to complete. The exam will consist of a set of verbal instructions, a video of a speech and a series of questions on a test sheet.

For Part II, students must prepare and present a 6-8 minute extemporaneous persuasive speech. Students are provided a copy of the rating form used to assess the speech along with a list of topic areas and audiences from which to choose. Students are rated by a panel of COMS 100 faculty. Following the speech, each student will answer a series of brief questions about the speech. The student's answers to those questions are also rated. Excluding the week of provided preparation time, Part II takes 10 minutes to complete. Students should not prepare PowerPoint or similar presentations to accompany their speeches.

PART II MUST BE COMPLETED PRIOR TO THE NEXT SCHEDULED EXAMINATION DATE.

Contact Us

Ferald Bryan
Director
fbryan@niu.edu 
(815) 753-7100

Helena Sivits
COMS 100P Coordinator
hsivits@niu.edu
(815) 753-6999

OCFSCE Sign-Up Form