What is the MREST?

MREST = Madison Research Essentials Skills Test. James Madison University believes that the fundamental knowledge and skills you need to navigate the landscape of scholarly information are necessary for successful completion of your university classes. Information literacy skills are foundational to your university coursework and as such are included in Cluster One of General Education. All students completing General Education at JMU are required to pass the MREST within their first academic year at JMU. 

Information Literacy Competencies
  • Recognize the components of scholarly work and that scholarship can take many forms.
    • Knowledge, skills, dispositions required: recognizing the hallmarks of scholarship regardless of form, matching an information need to a suitable source, recognition of the University as a specific type of information landscape, creativity in using a variety of scholarship in their own work.
  • Demonstrate persistence and employ multiple strategies in research and discovery processes.
    • Knowledge, skills, dispositions required: choosing appropriate research tools, employ efficient searching techniques, recognize that searching is a skill that requires multiple attempts to find the most useful information.
  • Identify gaps in their own knowledge and formulate appropriate questions for investigation in academic settings.
    • Knowledge, skills, dispositions required: an openness to explore new and challenging topics and projects, a willingness to find how scholarship leads to further understanding, a willingness to investigate prior knowledge or assumptions, ability to formulate a manageable research question suitable for an academic audience.
  • Evaluate the quality of information and acknowledge expertise.
    • Knowledge, skills, dispositions required: understand the significance of credentials and traits that make an expert an expert. Distinguish between what counts as high quality information in an academic setting.  An ability to verify claims with evidence.
  • Use information effectively in their work and make contextually appropriate choices for sharing their own scholarship.
    • Knowledge, skills, dispositions required: Effective use source material within their own work regardless of platform (paper, presentation, poster, etc.), using technology or platforms effectively to help an audience or reader understand the purpose of a work.
  • Use information ethically and legally.
    • Knowledge, skills, dispositions required: Recognize that scholarship has value to an author, distinguish between original and attributed ideas and effectively cite utilized sources.
Where do I take the MREST?

You will take this test in the Assessment & Testing Center in the basement of Harper Allen-Lee Hall (entrance is on the Quad). No appointments are necessary during the academic year, but you will need to take your JACard to verify your identity! 

If planning to complete the MREST requirement during summer 2022 (after May 16), you will need to reach out to testingcenter@jmu.edu to schedule an appointment.

When should I complete this requirement?

You must complete the MREST with a passing score before the end of your second semester at JMU.

There are some additional timelines to keep in mind as well (which will also help you to avoid lines and ensure that you complete the test in time):

  • RETURNING STUDENTS
    • Students coming back to campus who did not meet their MREST requirement in the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 will still need to meet the requirement.  
    • First, double-check your MyMadison account to verify that you still need to meet the requirement. If it states that you haven't "satisfied" the Informational Literacy requirement (MREST), you will need to complete it. A hold will appear on your account if you did not take the exam as required. To have the hold removed, complete the assessment immediately. 
  • FIRST-YEAR & TRANSFER STUDENTS ADMITTED FALL 2021: 
    • First-year and transfer students registered for an SCOM 100-level course in Fall 2021 need to fulfill this requirement before November 30, 2021 to avoid a registration hold. You can enroll initially as needed, but this hold could prevent you from making changes to your schedule. If you receive a hold, you can and should complete the MREST by the end of the course. Students who register for a second block SCOM 100-level course should complete the MREST by the end of the block. 
    • First-year and transfer students registered for an SCOM 100-level course in Spring 2022 need to fulfill this requirement before April 22, 2022 to avoid a registration hold. You can enroll initially as needed, but this hold could prevent you from making changes to your schedule. If you receive a hold, you can and should complete the MREST by the end of the course. Students who register for a second block SCOM 100-level course should complete by the end of the block. 
    • New Fall 2021 transfer students who are not enrolled in an SCOM 100-level course in Fall must complete the MREST by April 22, 2022. 
  • FIRST-YEAR & TRANSFER STUDENTS ADMITTED SPRING 2022: 
    • First-year students registered for an SCOM 100-level course in Spring 2022 would need to complete the exam successfully before April 22, 2022 to avoid a registration hold.  
    • New Spring 2022 first-year and transfer students who are not enrolled in an SCOM 100-level course in Spring must complete the MREST before November 30, 2022. 
  • ADULT DEGREE PROGRAM STUDENTS (ALL INCOMING FALL 2021):
    • An ADP version is in development. If you have questions, please contact your adviser. 
What happens if I do not complete the MREST by the deadline?

An enrollment-adjustment hold will be placed on your account just AFTER registration is underway for the upcoming semester - this means that you will be able to initially register for classes, but once the hold is placed, you may not be able to make any changes to your schedule (including adding or dropping any classes from that point on) until you have completed the MREST requirement. 

I've received credit for SCOM already. Do I still need to take the MREST?

Yes. The MREST & SCOM requirements are two separate entities. Both requirements must be met.  

Should I bring anything with me for the test? How should I prepare?

You should be sure to bring your JACard, as this will allow you entrance into the Testing Center. No other materials are needed! 

On the JMU Libraries' website, the Madison Research Essentials Toolkit is a suite of videos designed to help prepare you for the the MREST (and will be useful throughout your university career).

How will I know if I have passed and this requirement has been met?

Scoring 148 or higher means you’ve passed!! Scoring 166 or higher is passing at an advanced level.

These test results are processed by our office, and it could take up to two weeks after you've passed the MREST to be updated in MyMadison. The process includes verification and posting of degree requirements. We ask that you check your academic requirements page in your MyMadison account at the end of each week after passing the test to see if your requirement has been posted. 

To find this in your MyMadison account, you would navigate to the Student Center tab. On that page, select the link on the left for “Academic Requirements.” 

There, you will look for the General Education/Cluster One/Information Literacy section. In that section, the MREST will be marked as "satisfied" (which means you have fulfilled that requirement), or "unsatisfied" (which means you have not yet fulfilled the requirement). 

How many times can I take the MREST?

You may only take the test (which is not timed) once per business day, but you may take it as many times as needed to pass!

Where can I find help for MREST success?

As mentioned above, the Madison Research Essentials Toolkit is a great resource for preparing or reviewing for the MREST! Additionally, the Communication Center in the Student Success Center offers one-to-one tutoring; tutors can help you study for the MREST. It is recommended that you take your scores with you (if you have already attempted the MREST) to an appointment at the Communication Center. You can make an appointment here.

If you find that you are still having some trouble passing: please reach out to gened@jmu.edu

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to our departmental mailbox (gened@jmu.edu) or to our Cluster One Coordinator, Sarah Brooks (ClusterOne@jmu.edu).

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