Test Taking Strategies

Submitter Information

Author: Janine Messer, BSN, RN
Title: MSN graduate student
Institution: Ohio University
Email: jmesser@hondros.edu

Competency Category(s)
Evidence-Based Practice, Patient-Centered Care, Safety, Teamwork and Collaboration

Learner Level(s)
New Graduates/Transition to Practice

Learner Setting(s)
Classroom, Online or Web-based Modules

Strategy Type
Test/Evaluation/Assessment Strategies

Learning Objectives

  1. The student will develop a basic understanding of nursing skills while reviewing rationales for approaches to care that result in appropriate patient outcomes. Discussion regarding the importance of choice of intervention is highly integrated into this strategy. Students learn to base care plans on patient values, clinical expertise and evidence-based practice.
  2. The student will recognize that patient-centered care is developed through integration of knowledge related to coordination and integration of care and interventions necessary to provide to patients, family and community members. This strategy includes exploration of legal and ethical issues, examination of safe practice, and demonstration of understanding of therapeutic interventions and the role of the nurse in practice.
    3. The student will analyze the process of teamwork and collaboration. This skill is enhanced through a vast knowledge base, which reviews the concepts of effective communication with members of the interdisciplinary team. This includes development of the nursing roles of delegation and prioritization.
    4. The student will develop recognition of safety as a major priority in nursing care. In building the knowledge base of the new nurse, it is essential to integrate safe practice and be proficient in identifying potential errors. Discussing the errors and hazards in the patient care setting is a theme that is presented through question and answer sessions and review of rationales showing safe care techniques and interventions that potentially put the patient at risk.

Strategy Overview

It is apparent that there is a continual necessity to develop strategies to help engage the online learner and promote successful progression of their learning needs. For the purpose of this project, test-taking strategies are utilized in specific relation to becoming proficient in NCLEX style questions. The NCLEX review course is presented in either the classroom or online forum. Sessions are two hours in length and for the purpose of this project were held via the Adobe Connect system. This can be an effective avenue for study in preparation for the HESI exit examination and for alumni students wishing to review material in preparation of their Ohio Board of Nursing examination. A two-hour session consists of NCLEX review questions and detailed power point presentations teaching students the strategies of test taking. Several topics are covered such as study techniques, anxiety reduction strategies, and specific tools to be a successful test taker. Students are able to participate via a chat room and they can hear the instructor via audio. Students can respond and interact by typing into the chat room. In utilizing the following test taking strategies, students can increase their success as a test-taker specifically concentrating on NCLEX style questions. The major strategies implemented are:

  1. POW-put it in your own words (rewording the question)
  2. KEY WORDS-pick out key words to prioritize responses (best, most, first, initial)
  3. ELIMINATION-using the process of elimination to take out the incorrect responses and derive the correct answer
  4. MASLOW’S HEIRARCHY OF NEEDS-utilization of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to determine priority questions (What does the nurse do first?)
  5. ERIKSONS STAGES OF PSYCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT-to determine age specific questions based on developmental milestones
  6. ADPIE-deriving the correct response by using the nursing process (we assess before we implement)
  7. ABC’s-determining the appropriate answer to a priority question by using Airway-Breathing-Circulation (we protect the airway first)
  8. PHAN-Priority-Hierarchy-ABC’s-Nursing Process (the order in which we use the strategies in a priority question)

Submitted Materials

Additional Materials

For additional resources, please feel free to contact me via email at jmesser@hondros.edu

Evaluation Description

This review course has been developed to include both the practical and associate degree-nursing students. There is an attached the power point with respective data showing that the first cohort of students who were active participants in the review sessions significantly increased their scores on their second attempt at the HESI exit examination after attending as active participants in the review sessions.  Active participants are defined as those students who attended three or more online review sessions. Non-active participants are defined as students who attended three or less review sessions.

Data includes information regarding students who were active participants versus non-active participants (those students who attended three or less review sessions) in relation to their scores on the HESI exit examination. This data was obtained via reports in the Adobe Connect system showing student participation and time in the session. Scores from the HESI exit examination were reviewed and included in the data presentation. These students significantly increased their scores on the HESI exit examination. Additionally, the student population has provided extensive verbal and written feedback regarding the effectiveness of the presentations. Review of current HESI and NCLEX pass rates has further substantiated the effectiveness of the project. Included in the attachments are the respective power point presentations regarding test-taking strategies for the faculty and student. The faculty power point presentation educates the instructor on how to facilitate successful student learning in the subject of test taking strategies and study tips. The student version of this presentation instructs the learner in basic test taking strategies and study tips. Also attached is a sample of a review session power point presentation.