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Madison Research Essentials Skills Test (MREST)

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. 

When should I complete this requirement?

First, double-check your MyMadison account to verify that you still need to meet the requirement. To find this, 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). 


You will need to complete MREST 3.0 by August 23, 2022 to avoid the replacement of a registration hold on your account. You should have initially received links and additional guidance (sent to your @dukes email address) from on July 1st, but please reach out if you have any additional questions. 


You will receive communciation from General Education (before the start of the fall semester) with guidance for when you should complete the MREST requirement.


You will receive communciation from General Education (before the start of the fall semester) with guidance for when you should complete the MREST requirement.


An ADP version is in development. If you have questions, please contact your adviser. 

Where do I take the MREST?

Students who have been given permission to complete MREST 3.0 will do so remotely following guidance from General Education. Returning students who miss the deadline for MREST 3.0 will take the assessment in the Assessment & Testing Center (ATC) 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! You may only take the test once per day in the ATC. 

What happens if I do not complete the MREST by the deadline?

A registration 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.  

How should I prepare for the MREST?

The following suite of videos - the Madison Research Essentials Toolkit - provided by JMU Libraries, is designed to help prepare you for the the MREST (and will be useful throughout your university career). 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 to an appointment at the Communication Center. You can make an appointment here.

Introduction to JMU Libraries
Scholarship is a Conversation
Components of Scholarly Work (Video – 3:05)
Scholarship Forms (Video – 3:07)
Searching as Strategic Exploration
Research as Inquiry
Identify Gaps (Video – 3:12)
Appropriate Questions (Video – 4:10)
Authority is Constructed and Contextual
Information Creation is a Process
Quoting (Video – 2:45)
Sharing Scholarship (Video – 6:52)
Information Has Value
Intro to Ethics (Video – 3:12)
Copyright and Fair Use (Video – 4:44)
Plagiarism (Video – 3:08)
Personal Information (Video – 4:49)
How will I know if I have passed and this requirement has been met?

The last screen of your test session will let you know whether your passed or not. 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 the 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. 

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to our departmental mailbox ( or to our Cluster One Coordinator, Sarah Brooks (
*Information Literacy Competencies

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Knowledge, skills, dispositions required: Recognize that scholarship has value to an author, distinguish between original and attributed ideas and effectively cite utilized sources.

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