About Information Competency

Information Competency is an AA/AS general education graduation requirement in effect starting with the 2004-2005 catalog. Information Competency is not required if enrolled prior to Fall 2001. It is also not required of Nursing students starting Fall 2002 or PTA students starting Spring 2003.

Information Competency is the ability to identify an information need, to find the needed information efficiently, and to use information effectively and ethically. Information Competency combines aspects of library literacy, research methods, critical thinking, and technological literacy.

Upon receipt of an associate degree from Ohlone College, a student will be able to:

  1. Develop effective research strategies.
  2. Locate, retrieve, evaluate, and use information ethically and legally.

Course Options for Fulfilling the Information Competency Requirement

Students must successfully complete one of the following:

  • LS-101 Steps to Successful Research, 1 unit, online class, (CR)
  • CS/LS-151 Internet for Research, .5 unit, (CR)
  • COMM 100 Introduction to Communication Theory (beginning fall 2011), 3 units, (GR)
  • COMM 111 (formerly SPCH 101) Introduction to Public Speaking (beginning fall 2011)
  • HIST 119A Bad Girls: Women in America before 1890 (beginning fall 2013), 3 units, (GC)
  • HIST 119B Bad Girls: Women in America from 1890 (beginning fall 2013), 3 units, (GC)
  • SOC 103 Social Science Research Methods (beginning spring 2019), 4 units, (GC)

Testing Out of the Information Competency Requirement

Students who believe they possess the required information competency skills may test out of the requirement by passing the Information Competency Proficiency Examination. Students should take the examination before their final semester in case they do not pass and have to enroll in one of the required classes.

The Information Competency Proficiency Examination consists of 33 multiple-choice questions. Each question is worth one point. You will need a total score of at least 23 points to pass the exam. The examination is not repeatable.

The questions on the examination focus on basic research and critical thinking skills. Some of the research skills questions require familiarity with bibliographic citation styles such as MLA (Modern Language Association) or APA (American Psychological Association). Some questions will focus on basic electronic finding tools such as the library's catalog as well as the Internet.

Information Competency Proficiency Exam Procedures

To schedule an Information Competency Proficiency Exam please call the library circulation desk at (510) 659-6160 and ask for either Jovon Johnson or Mariela Torres. All students must show photo ID to exam proctor before taking the exam. There is no charge for the exam. Each exam is 90 minutes, timed, with a set number of questions. Students need to have a passing grade of 70% or higher. No retests are allowed.


If you have questions about the information competency proficiency exam, please contact:

Mark Lieu, Dean, Language, Communication, and Academic Success Division
(510) 659-6276
Location: Room 3420J, Building 3, Fremont Campus

Waivers and Substitutions for the Information Competency Requirement

Please contact:

Simeon Castro
Ohlone College Library