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To receive credit for GCOM 121, a student must complete both a written examination and an oral presentation following the guidelines specified below. Please note:

  • Students may attempt the GCOM 121 Credit by Exam ONCE. Failure of any portion (either the written examination or the oral presentation) means that the student will NOT earn credit for this class through the credit by exam process. 
  • No student may attempt the GCOM credit by exam — either the written exam or the oral presentation — while currently registered for any GCOM class.
  • Both the written test and the oral presentation must be completed by the end of September, if done in fall semester and by the end of February if the credit by examination process is done in spring semester.

The Written Test

The written test is the first step in a two-part process by which a student may earn three credits for GCOM 121: Presentations. Students will be allowed to take the written test only once. Passing the written test demonstrates that the student has achieved an appropriate level of competence with the knowledge portion of GCOM. To pass the written test and move on to the oral presentation, a student MUST earn a score of 75% or higher. Passing the test at a 75% is a necessary (but insufficient in and of itself) requirement to receive credit for GCOM 121. If a student doesn't pass the written portion, the process ends and the student must take the class.

The written test covers basic principles of communication such as:

  1. What is communication?
  2. The elements of communication.
  3. What makes a good speaker a good speaker?

Students who wish to review these concepts should look at the textbook used in GCOM 121 (J. Dan Rothwell’s In the Company of Others: An Introduction to Communication, 3rd edition (2010), or a similar basic communication book.  A general study guide to test content can be found here.

Students take the written portion of the exam in the Ashby Computer Lab during regularly scheduled lab hours .

If, after reviewing the study guide, you would like to attempt the written portion of the GCOM 121 Credit by Exam, please follow the steps outlined below.

  1. Print the Enrolled Undergraduate Application for Credit by Examination Form (EUACEF).
  2. Complete the top portion and have the form signed by your academic adviser.
  3. Take the form to Warren 302 and pay the required non-refundable fee of $25.00.
  4. Carry the form to Dr. Tim Ball (balltc@jmu.edu) at the School of Communication Studies in Harrison Hall.
  5. Bring the signed EUACEF form to Ashby Computer Lab when you take the test. 
  6. At the conclusion of the test, you will be informed if you have passed the written portion of the exam.   Regardless of the score, print out the score sheet and bring it and the EUACEF form back to Dr. Ball in Harrison Hall. 
    1.  If you have passed, you will receive an information packet with the specifics regarding the oral presentation requirements.  This information packet will be sent to your JMU email account.
    2. If you have not passed, you will be pre-registered into GCOM for the following semester.

Oral Presentation

To be eligible to give an oral presentation you MUST HAVE PASSED the written portion of the GCOM Credit by Exam. The oral performance portion of the exam will be judged by a minimum of two appropriate evaluators whose scores will be averaged together.  

The specific requirements for the oral presentation are as follows:

  • 8 to 10 minute time requirement
  • Informative or persuasive speech format
  • Extemporaneous delivery (i.e.. minimal notes; not read from a prepared script)
  • Effective use of appropriate delivery techniques
  • Typed outline of presentation with topic, title, and references to be handed in when you make your oral presentation (sample outline provided in speech packet)

Oral presentations for fall semester must be completed prior to September 30. 

Oral presentations for spring semester must be completed prior to February 28.

More detailed information about the requirements for the completion of the oral presentation, including a copy of the evaluation sheet, a list of topics, and other specifics, will be provided to students who pass the written portion of the GCOM 121 Credit by Exam.

Any other questions may be addressed to Dr. Tim Ball at the School of Communication Studies (540) 568-6859 or via e-mail at balltc@jmu.edu.