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COMM 200/204 Proficiency Tests

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COMM 200/204 Proficiency Tests

FAQs & Procedural Guidelines

The following are answers to FAQs about the COMM 200/204 proficiency tests.

1. How much does it cost to take a proficiency test?

  • There is a $50 processing fee for each proficiency test. The fee must be paid at the Cashier’s Office in Rhodes Hall prior to taking the test.
  • The URL below has information about fee payment procedures and the Cashier’s Office.
  • Save the payment receipt, and bring the receipt to the test as evidence of payment.

2. Do I need an appointment for the test?

  • Appointments are required for the test and can be made through the Communication Skills Department secretaries, Denise Flowers (Phone: 614/287-3680 or Email:
  • The test takes approximately two hours. Appointments are scheduled between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. No appointments can begin after 6 p.m.
  • The COMM 200/204 proficiency tests must be taken between weeks 2 and 8 of the quarter.

3. What should I to bring to the test?

  • Payment receipt
  • Up-to-date résumé and a cover letter focused on a specific job description (attach the job description to the letter).
  • A research report showing evidence of primary and secondary documentation using MLA or APA guidelines.
  • · Demonstrating mastery of current documentation practices an important requirement for students in COMM 200/204. Therefore, students who take the proficiency exam must be able to show this mastery as well.
  • · If you do not have a single report showing both primary and secondary documentation using MLA or APA guidelines, you may to bring two short reports using either MLA or APA. One report must show primary documentation and the other secondary documentation.

4. What kinds of things are on the tests?

  • There are three parts to the tests in addition to the materials that you bring with you.
  • The COMM 200 test presents three different business scenarios. You will be asked to create the type of business correspondence that would be appropriate for the scenario presented.
  • Typical types of business correspondence that might be appropriate could include letters, memos, or email messages conveying good news, bad news, or neutral news.
  • Typical business scenarios could require test takers to respond to requests for information, to write letters of recommendation, to persuade readers to do something, to inform employees or customers about policy changes, or to deny a request.
  • The COMM 204 test requires you to create three different types of technical documents that you might have to create in a workplace setting
  • Typical types of technical writing documents might include technical summaries, instructions, descriptions, or processes.
  • The subject matter, audience, and purpose of the document will be supplied. You will provide the content.

5. How will my test be evaluated?

  • The COMM 200/204 proficiency tests are graded using the same criteria that are used to evaluate assignments in COMM 200/204 classes.
  • Specifically, the writing problems on the test will be graded on audience awareness, organization, content, tone, format, mechanics, and visuals (where appropriate). The résumé will also be evaluated on visual impact. MLA or APA guidelines will be used to evaluate the documentation in the research report.
  • It is important to reflect current the writing philosophy and practice on the tests regarding language, tone, page layout, and organization. It may be helpful, therefore, to review a recent business communication textbook before taking the COMM 200 proficiency or a technical writing textbook before taking the COMM 204 proficiency to ensure that you understand and can apply the current philosophy and practice in the appropriate discipline.

6. Who grades the proficiency test, and what is considered passing? How will I know if I pass? What happens next?

  • Two full-time faculty members who regularly teach COMM 200/204 grade each proficiency test. A grade of 75 % or higher is required for passing.
  • You will be contacted by a representative of the Communication Skills Department with your test score after you complete the test. Most tests are graded within two weeks.
  • After the test is graded, a Request for Proficiency Credit form is forwarded to the Records and Registration Department indicating either “Pass” or “No Pass.”
  • If you pass the test, your transcript will be updated and will show “X” (proficiency) credit for COMM 200/204. The awarding of “X “credit fulfills the COMM 200/204 course requirement for any Columbus State program and is not calculated as part of your GPA.

7. What happens if I fail the test?

  • You can take the COMM 200/204 proficiency test once. If you fail the test, you will need to register for and pass COMM 200/204.
  • COMM 200/204 is offered every quarter on the main campus and at many off-campus sites. It is offered in both traditional classroom and online formats.
  • If you fail either test, the processing fee will not be refunded, and no record of the test will appear on your transcript.

8. Is there anything else I should know?

  • Each test is given on a computer and requires using Microsoft Word.
  • You will be monitored by the department secretary or a faculty member.
  • No books, notes, reference materials, templates, websites, or other resources are allowed during the test.

For additional information, contact Frankie Hale, Lead Instructor Business Communication, (Phone: 614/287-5184 or Email: or Susan Moran, Program Coordinator Technical Communication, (Phone: 614/287-5453 or Email: