Core Competency Exams

Core competency exams are optional and do not result in course credit. They allow you to fulfill a requirement for oral communication, English or mathematics. A passing score reduces the number of general education hours, but does not reduce the number of hours required for a degree.

Oral Communication Foundational Studies Competency

The oral communication core competency requirement may be satisfied by passing COMS 100, by transfer credit or by passing the oral Communication Foundational Studies Competency Exam.

A passing score on the exam fulfills your requirement for COMS 100. The exam may be taken only once, and you are advised to take this exam at least one year before graduating from NIU.

Writing Composition Foundational Studies Competency (WCFSC)

The English Writing Foundational Studies competency requirement may be satisfied by passing either ENGL 103P or ENGL 103 and ENGL 203, or ENGL 204 (if recommended for placement into ENGL 204), by transfer credit, by Advanced Placement (AP) credit or by passing the Writing Composition Foundational Studies Competency exam (parts one and two).

Mathematics Core Competency

Students may satisfy core competency in mathematics in several ways including:

  • Passing MATH 101, MATH 104 and MATH 105, MATH 110, MATH 155, MATH 201, MATH 206, MATH 210, MATH 211, MATH 229, STAT 100, STAT 200, UBUS 223, or equivalent transfer course, (including Illinois Articulation Initiative Foundational Studies Quantitative Literacy courses that do not have a direct NIU course equivalent).
  • Passing the Mathematics Competency Examination.
  • Passing Advanced Placement (AP) credit.
  • Passing CLEP Subject Exam credit.

If you already have credit in Stat 208, Basic Statistics, additional options for meeting the mathematics competency requirement may be available to you. Speak with your program's academic advisor or counselor for more details.

Contact Us

Testing Services
Campus Life Building 120
Phone: 815-753-1203


8 a.m.-noon
1-4:30 p.m.

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