Posted: December 11th, 2022

Quiz: APA Style and Format

As a nurse embarking on an advanced degree, you are developing the characteristics of a scholar-practitioner, which include strong communication skills. Writing in a scholarly manner involves supporting your thoughts with evidence from the literature and appropriately using APA formatting.


One of the challenges of scholarly writing is paraphrasing the thoughts of others in your work. Paraphrasing and correctly citing the original author for his or her ideas allows you to take the ideas of others, summarize them, and incorporate them into your writing. When summarizing the ideas of others, it is important to avoid plagiarizing (i.e., copying the words and ideas of others as though they were your own). In addition to expanding your knowledge of APA Style, this module’s Learning Resources help you distinguish between paraphrasing and plagiarizing.

This Quiz will help you determine your understanding of these concepts and preparedness to reflect them in your work. The questions on the Quiz are derived from the Resources related to APA writing standards, plagiarism, and academic integrity.

What Is APA Style?

The American Psychological Association (APA) developed a set of standards that writers in the social sciences follow to create consistency throughout publications. These rules address:

  • crediting sources
  • document formatting
  • writing style and organization

APA’s guidelines assist readers in recognizing a writer’s ideas and information rather than adjusting to inconsistent formatting. This way, APA allows writers to express themselves clearly and easily to readers. The APA materials developed in the Walden Writing Center are based on The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition, often referred to on this website as “APA 7” or “the APA manual.”

Why APA Style?

When writing as a student, you are entering a new writing community; just as you would need to learn the customs and rules of any new country you visit, you need to learn the customs and rules of academic writing. These guidelines will be different than guidelines for writing in other environments (such as letters to friends, emails to coworkers, or writing for blogs). The academic community has its own rules. These standards help writers

  • improve clarity
  • avoid distracting the reader
  • indicate sources for evidence
  • provide uniform formatting

To learn more about transitioning into academic writing, view “What Is Academic Writing?” Remember that it’s your job as the author to engage your readers, and inconsistencies in formatting and citations distract the reader from the content of your writing. Using APA style allows your readers to focus on the ideas you are presenting, offering a familiar format to discuss your new ideas.


Getting Started With APA Style

APA style can seem overwhelming at first. To get started, take some time to look through these resources:

  • Familiarize yourself with the column on the left; peruse the different pages to see what APA says about citations, reference entries, capitalization, numbers, et cetera.
  • Find our APA templates and determine which is the most appropriate for your assignments (hint: the first “Course Paper” template is best for most course assignments).
  • Use this APA Checklist to review your assignments, ensuring you have remembered all of APA’s rules.
  • If you previously used the 6th edition of APA, visit our APA 6 and APA 7 Comparison Tables to learn what’s new in the 7th edition.
  • Review one of our APA webinars (like “How and When to Include APA Citations”), based on your interest.
  • Find the APA resources in our APA Scavenger Hunt, helping you familiarize yourself with the APA resources on the website.
  • Check out our APA-related blog posts.

APA Basics Checklist

Writing Center staff created this APA checklist to help students remember the basics of APA citations, reference lists, and style. It is not meant to be comprehensive, but students should use it as a reminder of the various APA rules that academic papers follow. If students are unsure what a particular item in the checklist refers to or entails, they should follow the link for more information. Additionally, the Writing Center can always help with APA questions.


  • Citations follow APA guidelines articulated in section 8.1 of the APA manual (7th edition).
  • Sources used and cited in the paper are included in the reference list.
  • The abbreviation “et al.” is punctuated appropriately.
  • Parenthetical citations
    • Author(s) and publication year are always included.
    • A page or paragraph number is included for all quoted material, using the appropriate abbreviation: (p. xx) or (para. xx).
    • The citation is included within the ending punctuation for the sentence.
  • Narrative citations
    • Authors of cited studies are included within the sentence.
    • The publication year is included in parentheses immediately after the authors’ names.
    • Publication years are included the first time a source is used in a paragraph; all subsequent uses do not include the publication year. Note: The rule starts over with a new paragraph.
    • Quiz: APA Style and Format

Reference List

  • The title of the list is centered and bolded.
  • Sources listed in the reference list are cited at least once in the paper.
    • Reference entries.
      • Each entry has an automatically formatted hanging indent.
      • Each entry has the basic information (as available): author(s), publication year, title, and retrieval information.
      • Each entry has been compared against the common reference entries and reference list basics on the Writing Center website, checking for:
        • Punctuation: periods and commas
        • Formatting: italics is used only when needed
        • Parentheses and brackets: used only when needed
        • Appropriate electronic information is included

APA Style

  • Past tense is used whenever literature or sources are discussed (i.e., Smith discussed).
  • Serial commas are used for all lists of three or more items (i.e., lions, tigers, and bears).
  • Hyphens are
    • used to join words that work together to modify another word (i.e., evidenced-based practice);
    • used to join “self” compounds (i.e., self-esteem); and
    • not used with prefixes such as “non,” “semi,” “pre,” “post”, “anti,” “multi,” and “inter.”
  • Block quotations (of 40 or more words) are formatted as such.
  • Headings follow proper APA style (i.e., Level 1 headings are centered and bolded).
  • Numbers
    • Ten and above are expressed using numerals,
    • and nine and below are expressed using words.
    • expressing specific numbers and time use numerals, and
    • expressing approximate time use words.
  • Complex lists of items within a sentence or paragraph can use letters to separate the items.
  • Bulleted and numbered lists are used for specific reasons.
  • The third-person editorial “we” is avoided (including “us,” “our,” and “you”).
  • Capitalization rules are followed (i.e., names of models and theories are not capitalized).
  • Formatting
    • Course paper template is used.
    • The title page follows the template guidelines.
    • Double spacing is used throughout the paper (including the reference list).
    • Use one space after periods or other punctuation marks that end a sentence.
    • Quiz: APA Style and Format

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