Personal Computer Proficiency Test (PCPT)

Personal Computer Proficiency Test (PCPT) Guide and Information Bulletin

The College of Business Administration requires that every person receiving an undergraduate degree in business administration demonstrates proficiency in the use of personal computers competently in four distinct software areas: (1) word processing, (2) presentations, (3) spreadsheets, (4) database. One means of meeting this requirement is through passing the Personal Computer Proficiency Test (PCPT) adminstered at the University's Test Center. The alternative is to enroll into CIS 101 Introduction to Personal Computing (4 units credit, pass/fail only). Sometimes a similar course taken at a community college may be considered for articulation, however only those present strong evidence (syllabus, textbook, exams, learning software, etc.) and approved by the CIS department.


Q. WHY AND WHEN WILL I BE REQUIRED TO TAKE THE PCPT?
A. Personal computing proficiency is a prerequisite for many courses, both lower and upper division, in the College of Business Administration. If you have not met one of the conditions demonstrating proficiency in this area (i.e., taken and passed CIS 101, or taken a similar course approved for articulation), then we recommend that you consider the PCPT as a means of doing so.

Q. WILL THERE BE A FEE FOR THE TEST?
A. Yes, you must pay a fee when you come take the test. Advanced payment of the fee is not required. If you have to take the PCPT more than once, you must pay the fee each time the exam is taken. This fee will cover the cost of administering the test, scoring, and recording your test result(s). Fee is subject to change. Please consult Test Center for details.


Q. WHEN AND WHERE WILL THE TEST BE GIVEN?
A. Students may take the PCPT at the Test Center, CLA Building, 98P, 2-004. The test is offered Monday through Friday during the academic year and Monday through Thursday during the summer. Test times are available at the Test Center.


Q. HOW AND WHEN MAY I REGISTER FOR THE PCPT?
A. You may register for the PCPT when the Test Center is open. To register, come to the Test Center and BRING YOUR CAL POLY PHOTO ID CARD. You will fill out a registration card and take it with your fee payment to the Cashier's Office. You will then return to the Test Center with the registration card. Test fees will not be refunded except for University-recognized emergencies.


Q. WHAT IS THE LENGTH AND FORMAT OF THE TEST?
A. The PCPT is given in four modules: Word processing, Power Point presentation, Excel spreadsheet, and Access database. Each module test is computer based. Currently a Web-based testing software Cengage SAM 2016 is used. SAM 2016 simulates the environment of Microsoft Office 365 & 2016, including Word , PowerPoint, Excel, and Access.  You will demonstrate your proficiency through the completion of specific tasks assigned by the testing software SAM. All test are autograded by the testing software SAM. The testing software SAM is very specific in what approaches it requires to satisfy a particular task. Read each question carefully and perform each task exactly as instructed. Even if you know a different approach to get the same results, you must use the one required by the test.


Q. CAN I USE MY OWN NOTES OR A HELP SHEET DURING THE TEST?
A. No. The test is closed book and closed notes. No support materials are permitted.


Q IF I TAKE THE TEST AND DONT PASS IT, HOW MANY TIMES CAN I RETAKE THE TEST?
A. If you do not pass an PCPT module after your initial attempt. You may retake the failed module(s) one more time. All modules must be completed within one year from your first test session.


Q IF I DONT PASS THE TEST, CAN I PETITION?
A. No, the test cannot be petitioned. If you have not passed a module after two attempts, you must enroll in CIS 101 to satisfy the Personal Computing Proficiency requirement.


SCORING
A score of 70% or higher on each module is required to pass the test. Module scores cannot be averaged. The result of each module is available as soon as the test is completed. Your official scores and Personal Computing Proficiency credit standing will be mailed to your home one week after the test session.


TESTING AND STUDENT CONDUCT
Cal Poly reserves the right to cancel any test scores if the test taker engages in misconduct or if there is a testing irregularity.
Article 41301, Title 5: California Code of Regulations, Standards for Student Conduct, (b) Grounds for Student Discipline states student behavior that is not consistent with the Student Conduct Code is addressed through an educational process that is designed to promote safety and good citizenship and, when necessary, impose appropriate consequences.
The following are the grounds upon which student discipline can be based:
(1) Dishonesty, including:
(A) Cheating, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty that are intended to gain unfair academic advantage.
(B) Furnishing false information to a University official, faculty member, or campus office.
(C) Forgery, alteration, or misuse of a University document, key, or identification instrument.
(D) Misrepresenting one's self to be an authorized agent of the University or one of its auxiliaries.

A STUDY GUIDE TO PERSONAL COMPUTING PROFICIENCY TEST

THE TEST IN BRIEF
The Personal Computing Proficiency Test (PCPT) is given in four modules corresponding to the four areas of microcomputer skills defined by the College of Business Administration. Specifically, these skills include the ability to use word processing, presentation, spreadsheets, and database software. Each module consists of 30-40 tasks that you are to perform to demonstrate your proficiency, and your knowledge about the features of Microsoft Word, Excel, Power-Point and Access. Currently the version used in the test is Microsoft Office 365 & 2016.

To do well on the test you should keep the following points in mind:
(1) The time limit will be adhered to strictly. Time allocated for one test module cannot be used towards another module of the test. Furthermore, all questions are weighted equally. This means that you will need to work efficiently and distribute your time wisely. Students occasionally run out of time because they spend so long working on one question that they do not have time to complete the other questions.
(2) Read each question very carefully before answering, paying careful attention to specific keywords in the directions.
(3) Pay careful attention to the way the task is worded. In most cases there are multiple approaches to any given task. The testing software is asking for one specific approach. You must use the one requested, as this tests your general knowledge of the application.
(4) If you guess an answer, the testing software will mark you wrong, show the mistake and lead you to the next step.

Download Study Guide Here

CONTACT

For further questions regarding taking the PCPT test, please contact Test Center at (909) 869-3353 or visit their website at https://www.cpp.edu/~testcenter/index.shtml

For further questions regarding the content of the PCPT test, please contact CIS department at (909) 869-3235 or visit their website at http://www.cpp.edu/~cba/computer-information-systems/