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SPCH 110 Exam Details

on September 3, 2014 by Speech Proficiency Exam

DATES: February 5, 2015 from 6pm-9pm or February 6, 2015 from 1pm-4pm

The Speech Proficiency Examination is an option through which currently enrolled Maryville University students may demonstrate proficiency in public speaking. Students who pass the exam (with a 70 percent or above on both speeches) are eligible for equivalency credit in SPCH 110 Oral Communication or for notation on their transcript that they have shown proficiency in speech. Please read the following information carefully to best prepare for the exam.

To sign up, please click on the following link:

Note: Students who are in their last semester of study at Maryville are not permitted to take the Speech Proficiency Examination.

The Speech Proficiency Examination is composed of tbree elements:
1) A 5-7 minute Informative Speech
2) A 5-7 minute Persuasive Speech
A written outline for each of the speeches. (Create an extemporaneous outline based upon the following directives.)

Note: Please DO NOT READ a manuscript, whether on paper or on a computer screen or a tablet/iPad.  If you do read your speech, you will fail this exam.


The examination is offered twice annually, during the fall and spring semesters, in a day and an evening session (check this blog for updated information). Students must attend the entire three hour session to serve as audience members for the other participants.

Students who pass the examination may receive credit in SPCH 110.60 by registering for this credit within a calendar year after they pass the exam. No attendance is required. The student will receive a grade of P (pass). Regular tuition is charged.
 A second alternative is to have the Registrar indicate on their transcript that they have passed the exam in speech within a calendar year after they have passed the exam. A $45 fee is charged.

There is no fee for the examination itself.
 Only currently enrolled Maryville University students may take the Speech Proficiency Examination.

Directives for the Speech Proficiency Examination are posted below.

1. Choose a topic that interests you.

2. Be sure that your topic is likely to interest an audience of college students of various ages. Do not choose a trivial topic.

3. Adapt everything you say about your topic to the needs and interests of your audience. (A topic such as global warming is suitable for many audiences; the same speech on the topic could not be used for both an elementary school class and a meeting of scientists.)

4. Organize your thoughts so that they accomplish your goal in giving the speech: to inform or to persuade a college audience.

5. Define any terms that need clarification. Do not assume that the audience shares all of your ideas and experiences.

6. Explain or prove your points visually. Use specific examples, evidence, statistics, quotations, anecdotes, analogies, and demonstrations.

7. Research your topic; be sure your information is accurate and current.
 You need to cite OUT LOUD the evidence from your research and cite it in your outlines.

8. If you are discussing a controversial subject, know the arguments of your opponents and refute them during your speech.

9. Keep the audience interested in your speech by incorporating appropriate humor, suspense, and familiar references. Appeal to their curiosity, their desire for health, happiness, wealth, personal fulfillment, etc.

10. Pay careful attention to the introduction and conclusion of your speech. The audience is particularly attentive at those moments, so do not miss your chance to engage them.

11. Make sure that you have effective transitions between ideas in your speech. You know your topic; the audience does not. Make sure that you tell them the relationship between one idea and the next.

12. Be logical in structure, but do not ignore the value of an emotional appeal.

13. Eliminate powerless language such as saying “uh,” “okay,” “you know,” “like.”

14. Have aesthetic value in your speech (vivid vocabulary and imagery, and interesting insights).

15. Let the audience sense your self-confidence and sincerity.

16. Deliver your speech extemporaneously, using conversational delivery of the material you have carefully prepared and organized. You may use a key word outline.  Do not read a manuscript.  If you read your speech to the audience, you will fail the speech.

17. Practice your entire speech out loud several times before the exam date.
  Also, use a timer/stop watch to time your speech.  You must stay within the speech limits.  If you go under or over the allotted time, you will fail the exam.  Additionally, if you go over the time by a minute, you will be asked to stop speaking.  You may have a timer/watch with you and time yourself as you present.

18. Use your nonverbal communication effectively including your body, face, voice, facial expression, voice control, and other elements of delivery that are performance elements that can help the audience remember the content of your speech.

Below is the grading rubric by which your speeches will be graded. Be sure to utilize this rubric when creating your speeches.

If you have any questions and/or concerns, please email Dr. Carver at


Outline & References (10 pts.)
Follows outline format
Outline content complete (all components included)
References correct/sufficient (credible sources cited)

Introduction (10 pts.)
Gained attention
Showed connection of topic to audience
Introduced topic/thesis statement clearly
Previewed body of speech

Body (25 pts.)
Main points clear
Organization effective
Language precise, clear, powerful, vivid
Transitions effective
Adapted to the Purpose (i.e., to inform)
Good use of technique

Conclusion (15 pts.)
Audience prepared for conclusion
Purpose and main points reviewed
Closed speech by reference to intro./other devices

Delivery (20 pts.)
Maintained eye contact
Used voice, diction, & rate for maximum effect
Used space, movement and gestures for emphasis
Used ethos, pathos and logos

Overall Impression (15 pts.)
Topic challenging
Adapted to audience
Maintained time limits
Evidence of preparation & practice
Quality and relevance of visual aids
Was informative or persuasive

TOTAL POINTS _______/100

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