School of Communication & Journalism

JRNL 1AA0: Journalism Fundamentals Exam

NOTE: Spring 2023 will be the final semester JRNL 1AA0 Journalism Fundamentals Exam will be offered. If you have any questions, regarding this change, please contact the JRNL advisor, Letitia Gulley-Smith,


JRNL 1100: Journalism Fundamentals is required to be eligible to apply to be a major in Journalism or Public Relations. JRNL 1100 is also a required prerequisite for JRNL 2210: Newswriting, which is a required class for JRNL and PRCM majors.

There is an exam-only option for JRNL 1100: Journalism Fundamentals. The course is titled JRNL 1AA0: Journalism Fundamentals Entrance Exam.

Below are details about the exam option, how to register for the test and how it will apply to your curriculum.

What is the exam option to satisfy the JRNL 1100 requirement for JRNL and PR majors?

JRNL 1AA0: Journalism Fundamentals Entrance Exam is a zero-credit course. JRNL 1AA0 is an exam-only option for students who are required to take JRNL 1100. The exam will test students on spelling, grammar, Associated Press Style and word usage. The exam covers the exact same content covered in the in-person course (JRNL 1100).

Students who choose the exam option must register for JRNL 1AA0.

Students will have two opportunities to pass the JRNL 1AA0 exam before they will be required to take JRNL 1100 as a 3-hour, in-person course.

To satisfy the prerequisite requirement for JRNL 2210: Newswriting, students must take JRNL 1AA0: Journalism Fundamentals Entrance Exam and pass with a score of 80 percent or better OR enroll in the three-hour, in-person course JRNL 1100: Journalism Fundamentals and pass the course with an 80 percent or better.

How do I register for the course?

You will register for JRNL 1AA0 via AU Access.

What content will be on the exam?  

The exam will cover the fundamentals of grammar, spelling, Associated Press style and word usage.

Those specific items will include:

  • Correct use of pronouns
  • Correct use of prefixes and suffixes
  • Agreement of pronouns and antecedents
  • Apostrophe usage with contractions, possessive pronouns and plural words
  • Sentence structure concepts, including active and passive voice, sentence fragments and subject-verb agreement
  • Dangling and misplaced modifiers

How should I study for the JRNL 1AA0 exam?

Students who register for JRNL 1AA0 will be given immediate access to the course Canvas site. The course Canvas site includes study guides and practice tests to prepare students for the questions that will be asked on the exam.

How will I take the exam?

Students enrolled in JRNL 1AA0 will take a proctored exam in the Biggin Testing Center. Students registered for JRNL 1AA0 will make a testing appointment via Smarter Proctoring in the class Canvas site. Students will have 90 minutes to take the test. The Biggin Testing Center is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Students will set up individual appointments to take the test during a two-week testing window. Once students register for an individual testing day and time, they will be given an access code that will allow them to take the test in the Biggin Testing Center.

The testing site in Biggin has cameras monitoring the testing area and trained proctors in the room, should questions arise during the test.

Full testing details and dates are available on the JRNL 1AA0 Canvas site. There will be two testing periods each semester.

How will I know if I pass the exam?

After finishing the exam, individual student grades will be sent to Dr. Justin Blankenship, associate director for journalism. He will post student grades in Canvas. Students will receive a “Satisfactory” grade for scoring an 80 percent or higher and an “Unsatisfactory” grade for scoring 79.99% or below.

Students who do not pass the exam during their first attempt will be allowed to register via Smarter Proctoring and take the exam again during the second two-week testing period. Students will be allowed ONLY two attempts at the JRNL 1AA0 exam to earn a Satisfactory grade.

How will JRNL 1AA0 affect my GPA?

JRNL 1AA0 will not affect your GPA. Students will receive an “S” for “Satisfactory” if they score an 80 percent or higher and a “U” for Unsatisfactory grade for scoring 79.99% or below. S and U grades do not enter into grade-point computations

What happens if I don’t pass the JRNL 1AA0 exam after two attempts?

Students who do not pass the JRNL 1AA0 exam after two attempts will be required to register for JRNL 1100: Journalism Fundamentals. JRNL 1100 is a three-hour, in-person course that students will be required to take if they do not pass JRNL 1AA0 after two attempts at the exam.  

Student grades for JRNL 1AA0 will be posted in Canvas and on their transcripts in plenty of time so students can register to take JRNL 1100 the following semester if necessary. JRNL 1100 is offered every fall, spring and summer semester.

How much does the JRNL 1AA0 exam cost?

JRNL 1AA0 is a zero-credit course. Students will not be charged any tuition or student fees to take JRNL 1AA0. Students will be able to take JRNL 1AA0 free of charge in the fall, spring or summer semesters.

Can I take this test if I am not on the Auburn University campus?

No. Only the exam taken at the approved university site, the Biggin Testing Center, will satisfy the application requirement for applying to the Journalism or Public Relations major. In addition, only the exam taken at the Biggin Testing Center counts toward meeting the prerequisite for JRNL 2210: Newswriting.

Can I still enroll in JRNL 1100 and not take the JRNL 1AA0 exam?

Yes. Students may take JRNL 1100: Journalism Fundamentals, the three-hour, in-person course instead of taking the JRNL 1AA0 exam. The in-person course may be better for students who suffer from test anxiety and want an instructor to teach the material that they will be tested on in the course. Students will be charged tuition for the three-credit hour course.

The same material is covered in JRNL 1100 and JRNL 1AA0. The level of difficulty is the same whether a student takes the exam-only option or the in-person course.

If I pass JRNL 1AA0, do I still need the same number of hours to graduate?

Yes. Journalism majors are required to have 48 hours in the major and 120 hours to graduate from Auburn University. Public Relations majors are required to have 45 hours in the major and 120 hours to graduate.

JRNL 1AA0 is a zero-credit course. Journalism majors who pass JRNL 1AA0 will take an additional three-hour Group 3 course. Public Relations majors who pass JRNL 1AA0 will take an additional three-hour Group 2 course. The courses in Group 3 for JRNL and Group 2 for PR include a range of three-hour elective courses offered in CMJN, COMM, JRNL, MDIA and PRCM.

I am a transfer student and took a similar course at another institution. Will I get credit for JRNL 1100 or JRNL 1AA0?

The School of Communication and Journalism follows the Auburn University policy for accepting transfer credit. As stated on the Registrar’s website: “College transcripts will be evaluated after a student has been accepted by the Office of Admissions. The evaluation process may take time, depending upon the courses taken and the location of the institution. Submitting Official Transcripts as quickly as possible will help ensure the Auburn credit awarded will show on the student’s record before the SOS Orientation session.”


  • Students will need their AU student ID to verify identity before taking the exam.
  •  Students should arrive 10 minutes before the start time.
  • Students need to complete the exam in one sitting. Students will not be allowed to stop the exam and come back another time. The exam is scored if the student leaves the testing room for any reason.
  • Please contact our School adviser Lori McLean if you have any questions about your schedule.
  • Please contact Dr. Justin Blankenship, the associate director for journalism, if you have any questions about the test or accessing the Canvas site.

For more information

Dr. Justin Blankenship 

Justin Blankenship
Associate Director of Journalism
105 Tichenor Hall
Auburn University, AL 36849
(334) 844-2727

Last Updated: November 07, 2022