All Ball State students pursuing a baccalaureate degree must complete the University Core Curriculum, including the course COMM 210 Fundamentals of Public Communication.

Some students may be eligible to test out of the course. If eligible, you must apply for the COMM 210 Proficiency Examination and successfully pass both components of the exam to receive COMM 210 credit by examination.

See more on the Eligibility Requirements and Examination Process below: 


NOTE: Seniors are not eligible for credit by examination. 

You may be a good candidate for credit by examination if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • Completed a junior or senior-level public speaking class in high school with a grade of B or better
  • Competed in high school debate or on the speech team in public speaking events such as persuasive or informative speaking (experience in poetry or dramatic interpretation won't help much)
  • Are willing to invest time and effort in preparation for the exam and speech

You should probably NOT seek credit by examination if:

  • You have not completed a public speaking course or have not had one since your freshman or sophomore year in high school
  • You are highly anxious about public speaking

You CANNOT seek credit by examination if:

  • You were once enrolled in the COMM 210 course and dropped it during the drop/add period. (However, you may still apply for the Proficiency Examination as long as your transcript does not list a W for the course COMM 210.)
  • You have ever been enrolled or are currently enrolled in COMM 210
  • You are in your final year of undergraduate studies. 

For more general information about receiving Ball State credit by examination, see the Undergraduate Catalog.

Examination Process

To receive credit by exam for COMM 210, i.e. test out of the course, you must complete the COMM 210 Proficiency Examination, which is a series of three processes:

  1. Application: Fill out and submit this form
  2. Take the written examination
  3. Give a persuasive presentation

Note: The written examination and persuasive presentation must be completed in the Fall semester. The exam is not offered in the Spring or Summer.

The Application Process

  • Fill out the form which is submitted to the director, who will provide further instruction after contact.

The Written Examination

  • The written exam will be offered online in the Computer Based Testing (CBT) labs in September in the Fall semester only.  The exam is not offered in the Spring or Summer.
  • The written exam consists of 50 multiple-choice items covering the information contained in the book Fundamentals of Public Communication by Richard Nitcavic. The test covers chapters one through 15 and appendices A and B. The textbook can be purchased at the Ball State bookstore or ordered online.
  • You must pass the written examination with a score of 75 percent or above. Pass/fail notification will be returned to you onscreen immediately after submission of your completed exam.
  • If you do not pass the written examination, you will not be allowed to continue the Proficiency Examination process and must take COMM 210.

If you pass the Written Exam

  1. Pick up the Credit by Examination form from the Department of Communication Studies office.
  2. Fill out the form and take it to the Bursar’s office (Lucina Hall, room 027) and pay the $50 testing fee. Examination fees are not refundable.
  3. Next, return the form with proof of payment to the Department of Communication Studies office where you will be given the instructions for the persuasive presentation (speech).

The Speech

  • You must set a date and time for your presentation. A scheduling sheet will be available in the Department of Communication Studies office.
  • A copy of the formal outline, including a bibliography, must be brought at the time of your presentation.
  • Be sure to arrive to the presentation site at least 10 minutes before you are scheduled so that you have time to compose yourself before your presentation.
  • This presentation will be evaluated by no fewer than three faculty members and may be taped for evaluation purposes.
  • Pass/fail notification will be e-mailed to you.

If you need adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information, or if you need special arrangements in case of an evacuation, please indicate below what accommodations you may need and provide the Department of Communication Studies with the appropriate documentation. Documentation may be obtained through the office ofDisability Services.