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Information Literacy Test-Out

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residence hall room

Test-Out Dates

Aug. 19th, 1-3 p.m., Library, Lower Level, Room 11
Aug. 23rd, 9-11 a.m., same location

Students may register for the test-out starting Monday, August 11th by calling the Library Reference Desk, 563-333-6245.


All undergraduates at St. Ambrose University are required to take the Information Literacy 101 class for one hour of credit. All transfer students are also required to take the one hour credit course unless they have taken a similar course at another institution and credit is indicated on their transcripts.

Who could typically benefit from the Information Literacy Test-Out?

  • Someone whose high school had a systematic program of library instruction
  • A transfer student whose previous institution had a systematic and thorough program of library instruction 

Who is eligible to take the Information Literacy Special Examination?

  • If you are in a Learning Community which has Information Literacy 101 as one of its components, you may NOT test out of the Information Literacy General Education requirement.
  • If you have taken IL101 before and either dropped or did not pass the course, you may NOT test out of the Information Literacy General Education requirement.
  • Credit for IL101 will not be granted; only a waiver of the Information Literacy General Education requirement can be gained by passing the Test-out. There is no charge for taking the test, but a student may only take it once.

What material is covered by the Information Literacy Special Examination?

  • How information is organized in books, periodical literature (e.g. journals, magazines, and newspapers), on the Internet, including the major library classification systems 
  • Knowledge of finding aids, their organizational structure and how to use them. Examples of these include library catalogs, periodical indexes like The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, Academic Search Premier in EbscoHOST,  ERIC or Medline in FirstSearch, as well as Internet subject directories, indexes, or search engines 
  • The ability to identify the "key words" or most important identifying terms one would use in a search for information 
  • Use of Boolean logic in structure of informational databases; using the Boolean operators "and", "or", and "not" when searching an online database 
  • Analyzing and interpreting the information found in a bibliographic record, i.e., the description of a book in an online library catalog or of a journal article in an online index 
  • Ethics of information use and misuse, including plagiarism and copyright 
  • Know how to cite information sources properly using MLA and APA styles, as for a bibliography

What do I need to know about the test?

  • There are 2 parts of the test-out: the first part is taken with pencil and paper, largely objective (multiple choice, matching, ordering, etc.), and in the second part, you will use the computer to perform a guided search for information. You must pass both parts with a score of 70% or better. 
  • Useful books for preparation include:
    • Quaratiello, Arlene R. The College Student's Research Companion. 5th ed. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2011. In the SAU Library, this may be found for checkout on the third floor at Z 710 .Q37 2011, or for in-library use on the first floor at REF Z710 .Q37 2011.

When can I take the Information Literacy Special Examination?

  • It is offered in the first week of classes of Fall and Spring terms. 
  • Next offering:
    • Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 (day before classes begin) from 1-3 p.m. in Library lower level Rm. 11
    • Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 from 9-11 a.m., same location
  • Registration to take the test begins Monday, August 11th, 2014 at 8 a.m. by calling the library reference desk 563-333-6245

Where do I go to take the examination?

  • The examination will be in the Library's Media Program Room in the lower level. Bring pencils, erasers, and either your student ID card or a drivers license. 

How do I pass the Special Examination, and how will I know?

  • Students need to score 70% or better on each part of the test out. The test will only be given to a student once. If the student does not pass with 70% or better on BOTH parts, the class must be taken.
  • A letter will be sent to you with your results. 

For more information, contact the reference desk at 563-333-6245.