Information-Seeking Skills Test


All students enrolled in General Education Cluster One are required to pass the Information-Seeking Skills Test (ISST) during the freshman year. Students must go to Ashby Lab to take the ISST.

Before taking the ISST, students learn important knowledge and skills by completing the eight self-instruction modules in Go for the Gold. The exercises in Go for the Gold are not the ISST.

Q & A on the ISST

Why is information-seeking important? In other words, why am I required to take this test?
James Madison University believes that the fundamental knowledge and skills you need to find good information, including locating and evaluating different sources as part of academic research, are necessary both for successful completion of your university classes and for life after graduation. The ISST requirement helps us to ensure that all students develop the necessary knowledge and skills early in their university career.

So, when should I take the ISST?
When you have completed all eight modules of Go for the Gold and you feel competent to pass the test. The deadline for first-year students is April 19, 2013.


What kind of test is it?
The ISST is a web-based test of approximately 50 items. It is administered on a walk-in basis in the computer-testing center in Ashby Hall - L7. See Lab hours

What happens if I don't pass?
Students who do not achieve "Meets the Standard" or better on the ISST may take it again after redoing the Go for the Gold modules, consulting with their instructor, or meeting with a librarian. Students who do not pass will have a registration hold placed on their academic record at the end of their freshman year.

What if I am a transfer student, or placed out of freshman writing courses?
Transfer students whose General Education requirements are waived by an approved associate's degree from a Virginia Community College do not have to take the test. All other transfer students, as well as first year students who have placed out of freshman writing courses or have transfer credit for any or all three courses of a Cluster One package, are still expected to take the ISST during their first year at James Madison University. The Go for the Gold modules will be useful for most students in preparation for the test. Use your judgment to decide when you are ready and then go to Ashby Lab to take the test.

What if I still have questions?
Call the General Education Office at x2852 or email