COMM 170 Test-Out


The Communication Lab, located in Barnett Hall 1215, provides students enrolled in communication public speaking courses the opportunity to brainstorm topics, review speaking outlines, and practice public speaking presentations.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Speech Essential Skill Test-out Procedure

Speech is an essential skill required of all Truman students. Most students satisfy the requirement by completing COMM 170 Public Speaking.
Some students with extensive public speaking backgrounds in high school, however, take a higher level speech class or waive the requirement completely through a test-out procedure. If you’ve taken a speech class, participated in forensics or debate, or have experience with public speaking we suggest you try the test-out procedure. The test-out procedure consists of two parts: a written online communication exam and delivering a persuasive speech. Students who score high enough on the exam are invited to give a speech when they arrive on campus in the fall. The online exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions that test your skill of public speaking in terms of theory and practice.
Yes. You may take the online multiple choice practice exam anytime by clicking here. The practice exam keeps a running score of your correct and incorrect answers, so you can review the necessary materials for the scored exam.


All students can find the COMM 170 Placement exam at:
        Remember to select COMM 170.

NOTE: after completing the exam, you must contact Dr. Amanda Medlock-Klyukovski for exam results.  Email Dr. Medlock-Klyukovski:

  1. If you score below 60%, you will have the opportunity to increase your knowledge of and practice in public speaking by taking COMM 170.
  2. If you score between 60%-69%, we encourage you to take a higher level speech class. You can choose from:
    Note:  Business Administration, Accounting, and Communication Disorder majors need to complete a 3 hour speech class.

    COMM 270(3 hours)Advanced Public Speaking
    COMM 272(1 hour)Speech Communication Activities
    COMM 273(3 hours)Oral Interpretation
    COMM 274(1 hour)Parliamentary Procedure
    COMM 276(3 hours)Oral Advocacy and Debate
    COMM 278(3 hours)Business and Professional Communication
  3. If you score at or above 70% you are eligible to completely test out of the Speech Essential Skill requirement by writing and delivering one persuasive speech after you arrive on campus in the fall.


Once you’ve arrived on campus, you’ll have an opportunity to deliver a prepared speech to the Communication Basic Course Coordinator and communication faculty.
You will be expected to:

  1. Choose a persuasive speech topic appropriate for a college classroom.
  2. Include eight citations in your speech from current outside sources (magazines, books, etc).  Only two of your sources may be from Internet websites.
  3. Use a visual aid in your presentation.  The visual must be a PowerPoint presentation, an overhead video, an object, or a video.  The appropriate equipment will be provided for the candidate’s use.  The candidate is responsible for seeing that visual aids are appropriate and professional.
  4. Turn in a copy of a full-sentence outline of your speech including a bibliography and thesis as well as your speaking notes.  The outline should be typed and should follow an accepted outline format.  The bibliography should conform to an accepted citation format (i.e. APA or MLA).
  5. Deliver your speech to the Communication Basic Course Coordinator using brief notes or index cards.  The speech may not be read.
  6. Be prepared to answer questions regarding the content of the speech and the choices you made for the presentation.  You should also be prepared to give specific information regarding the sources used in researching the speech topic.
  1. After you arrive on campus, enroll in COMM 351course entitles COMM 170 test-out.  In that course, you will receive more detailed directions on the process and you will be able to sign-up for a test-out date.  You are required to deliver the speech during your first year.  Please report to the examination room 5-10 minutes early.
  2. Meet individually with the Basic Course Coordinator, Dr. Amanda Medlock-Klyukovski, who will help you present an extemporaneous persuasive speech of 4-6 minutes in length.
  1. You will be evaluated using a standard evaluation form.  This will be available on Blackboard when you enroll in the COMM 387 course.
  2. If your speech is a success, you will receive a waiver of the speech essential skill.
  3. If there are still areas in which you need to improve your public speaking skills, you still qualify to substitute any of the COMM courses listed above for COMM 170.
You will receive the results via local mail within one week of taking the exam.  Results will not be given over the telephone.  The Basic Course Coordinator will inform the Registrar’s office of the names of those who have waived the speech essential skill.

If you have questions about this process or the speech itself, please contact:

Dr. Amanda Medlock-Klyukovski
Phone: 660-785-4515