Using Adaptive Quizzing to Help Students Prepare for Standardized Tests

Using Adaptive Quizzing to Help Students Prepare for Standardized Tests

Educators who teach nursing should know that helping students remember all the necessary content is a challenge. Nursing students need to learn a lot to become nurses, and preparing them for the NCLEX® exam is a big task. Elsevier Adaptive Quizzing (EAQ) is a tool that can be really helpful in this regard. EAQ has a collection of quiz questions that can assist students in retaining what they learn.

EAQ is based on research about how learning works. Quizzing often improves memory over time. Regular quizzing makes the brain create stronger connections between different pieces of information. When a student faces a question they don’t know, they have to think about it differently, answer the question, and learn from the explanation. This makes learning a bit harder but more effective. Studies show that this “testing effect” actually helps improve test scores.

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Here are our suggestions on how to use EAQ to improve test and HESI scores.

Overview of EAQ

There are two versions of EAQ—EAQ in Sherpath and EAQ for NCLEX. Each version has Mastery, Custom by Topic, and Custom by Question options. Here’s how you can use them effectively:

How to Use NGN Content in Sherpath with EAQ

EAQ in Sherpath

Mastery assignments offer personalized quizzes where students answer harder questions as they progress through the nursing course. To use EAQ effectively:

– Assign a Level 1 (Novice) Mastery quiz on a new concept the same week it’s taught.
– Assign Level 2 (Intermediate) quizzes on important concepts before a unit exam.
– Assign Level 3 (Proficient) quizzes on key concepts before the final exam.

Custom by Topic lets faculty or students choose a topic and the number of questions.

– Use it for practice if students did poorly on their top 3 weak areas after a course exam.
– Assign it as homework after a class to enhance learning.

Custom by Question lets faculty create a quiz by picking questions related to a specific topic.

– Use 5 questions at the start of a class to test recall from the previous class.
– Use 10 questions at the end of a class to assess students’ understanding.
– Make it a requirement to attend class. Include weak areas in case studies or class discussions.

EAQ in Sherpath also includes Next Generation NCLEX questions. Each case study comes with seven questions—one case study question and one unfolding case study with six questions. You can use these at the end of class to help students practice clinical judgment skills.


Like EAQ in Sherpath, Mastery assignments in EAQ NCLEX offer personalized quizzes with progressively tougher questions. You can integrate these as students advance through their nursing program to focus on NCLEX questions. It’s also important to align Mastery expectations with the curriculum.

Custom by Topic lets faculty or students choose a topic and the number of questions.

– Assign one or two 30-question Custom by Topic quizzes per week to help students master the material.

Custom by Question lets faculty create quizzes with questions related to current or past content. Use these in class with novice students to practice NCLEX-style questions.

HESI/Test Prep and Remediation

Here are some tips for preparing for tests and strengthening weak areas:

– Review class and student performance data weekly in EAQ in Sherpath to identify students who might be struggling and need extra help.
– If a student fails a HESI exam or an instructor-made test, use EAQ in Sherpath or EAQ NCLEX to assign three 30-question Custom by Topic quizzes in their three weakest areas for remediation. Have them retake the quizzes until they score 80% or higher. Students can assign these quizzes to themselves to save time.

Test-Taking Tips for Students from HESI® Compass™ Coaches
– During the final semester, use EAQ NCLEX to assign quizzes at Mastery Level 2 (Intermediate) and Mastery Level 3 (Proficient) in the Client Needs Categories to prepare for the HESI Exit Exam and NCLEX. After graduation, students should keep practicing at Mastery Level 3 (Proficient) in their weakest areas until they take the NCLEX exam.

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