If you are thinking of going to nursing school, then the chances are that you’ve heard of the TEAS test. The TEAS test is used as an entrance exam for most nursing schools and, like any other large standardized test, isn’t known for being easy. The test may be long, but it isn’t impossible by any means. In this article, we hope to answer any questions you might have about the TEAS test and give you our top study tips to help get you through the TEAS test.
What is the TEAS Test?
The TEAS test, or the Test of Essential Academic Skills, is a test of general academic subject comprehension. It is typically used as a nursing school entrance exam but can be taken to get into some other medical fields. The TEAS test covers science, math, reading, and English, with each section being a multiple-choice timed section with a set number of questions.
The test can be taken in either an in-person proctored setting or online and is administered by the ATI or the Assessment Technologies Institute. The ATI writes the test, administers the test, grades the test, and can provide study materials to help you prep for the test. Basically, the ATI does it all when it comes to the TEAS test.
Like we mentioned before, the TEAS test is broken down into four sections that each have a different number of questions to be answered in a different amount of time. The number of questions and time limits are as follows:
Reading: 64 minutes for 53 questions
Math: 54 minutes for 36 questions
Science: 63 minutes for 53 questions
English: 28 minutes for 28 questions
Total, there are 170 questions, and the exam takes 209 minutes, with a 10-minute break in the middle. Of the 170 questions, only 150 of them will be graded and counted towards your score. The other 20 questions that are mixed in throughout the test are sample questions that the ATI is testing out to possibly put on future TEAS tests. You won’t know which questions they are, though, when you’re taking the exam, so make sure to try your best on every question.
How Do You Prepare for the TEAS Test?
The first thing you should figure out is when you want to take the TEAS test. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to study but don’t push it off forever. Your TEAS results are only valid for 24 months after you take the exam, so plan when to take the exam accordingly.
Once you’ve figured out when you’re going to take your test, you should sit down and create a study schedule for yourself. We recommend studying frequently and for small amounts of time. Studying for shorter amounts of time is the best way to retain the information that you are studying and not get too overwhelmed by studying too much at once. If you need help creating a study schedule, feel free to check out our article on creating a good study schedule.
The next step in preparing for the TEAS test is purchasing or obtaining any study materials you will need. We recommend at least one practice test, either written or online and a good study guide, again either a book or online. The ATI has a great TEAS study guide available, so think about checking out their website when planning how to study for your test.
The ATI website has some great TEAS resources that you can use to help you review, but other companies do make TEAS study materials. If you want help picking out the right TEAS test study book for you, think about checking out our article on TEAS review books.
What is the TEAS Test Passing Score?
Each nursing school will have a different score that they would like their students to achieve, but, in general, most schools want above a 60-70% on your main score. Your main score is a cumulative score based on all four of your sections combined.
The thing to be aware of with scores is that this isn’t the only thing that nursing schools will look at when choosing who to take. They are also looking for good grades and a generally well-rounded person, so the score you get on your TEAS exam is not the only thing that matters.
The best way to figure out what a passing score will be for you is to check with the school or schools you will be applying to. Most nursing schools can give you a good idea of what most students they accepted had as their score, but this doesn’t give you any insight into what other pros or cons these students had on their applications.
How Long Should You Study for the TEAS?
There is no set length of time that you need to study for the TEAS, but like any large standardized exam, you should give yourself enough time to review all the material covered on the test and thoroughly go over the format of the test. Giving yourself enough time to understand both the material and the format is essential to feeling comfortable and confident on the day of the test.
The exact length of time can vary from person to person, but we recommend that you register for an exam that is at least a month away, but probably not more than about six months away unless you are super busy and will need more time to study. It is a good idea to register for the exam and make your study schedule at a similar time. If you start studying and just tell yourself that you’ll register when you feel ready, you are much more likely to put off the exam for a long time.
Is the TEAS Exam Difficult?
If you are prepared for the TEAS test, it doesn’t have to be that difficult at all, but if you go into the exam without preparing and having no idea what to expect, it can seem very difficult. Since the exam is a test that is testing your essential academic skills, it only covers information that you should have learned during high school and should have been reinforced throughout college, meaning that the information itself isn’t usually what makes the exam hard.
If you are worried about how hard the TEAS test will be, see if there is anyone at your school who can help you prepare. Many universities have a dedicated pre-med or pre-nursing advisor who can provide you with advice and resources to help you prepare for your test.
5 TEAS Test Study Tips
There are so many ways to study for a test, but, as with any standardized test, there are more efficient ways and less efficient ways to study and prepare. Here are our top TEAS study tips to help you prepare for your test:
Make a study schedule and stick to it
It might seem simple, but making a study schedule and sticking to it is one of the best TEAS test study tips that we can give you. Take your time and make a study schedule that will work for you. If your schedule is personalized to what time of day you like to study, how frequently you want to study, and how long you like to study, you are much more likely to stick to your newly made schedule and to actually see results from using it.
Invest in good review materials and then use them
We talked briefly above about the ATI study materials that are available to help you prepare for your TEAS test, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to have good study materials to help you prepare. If you like to study from a book, go out and buy yourself a good study book. If you prefer studying online, find an online program that will help you review for your test.
There are free resources that you can find, but many of the resources will cost money. It can be more cost-efficient in the long run to only take the test once, so investing some money in good study resources could save you money down the road. The ATI does have some resources available that don’t cost much, so think about checking out their options.
Find a study buddy, study group, or just someone to hold you accountable
Studying with someone else can be super motivating, but we don’t all have someone looking to take the TEAS test at the same time as us. If you do have a friend or classmate who is taking the exam around the same time, try to schedule a weekly review session together. Some universities will even put together study groups in the month leading up to the next TEAS test. Even if you like studying alone, just going to a study group and listening to others’ questions can help you find areas that you may not have been studying that you really should be.
If you can’t find anyone to study with you, an alternative is to find a friend to keep you accountable to your study schedule. Find someone who is willing to check in with you every few days or once a week and just make sure that you are still on track. Maybe you can even schedule a weekly coffee or ice cream break with them as something to look forward to in your study schedule.
Take at least one practice test
Taking a timed practice test is a great way to start to mentally prepare for your TEAS test. We recommend taking a practice test when you are starting your study schedule, so you know what to focus on while studying, and then take another one a few weeks before your TEAS test, so you know what you still need to cover. Taking practice tests is also a great way to get a good feel for each section’s timing.
Make sure that you grade your practice tests so that you have a good idea of how you’re doing. Trying to take your practice tests in a situation that is as similar to the actual exam setting is another way to gauge how ready you are. Taking practice tests can also make you feel less stressed on the actual exam day and potentially perform better.
Be physically ready on the day of the test
Being physically ready for a test means making sure that you have been taking care of your body as well as your mind. Make sure that you get a good night’s sleep before the test and that you eat a good breakfast. Give yourself plenty of time to get up and get ready on the day of the exam, so you aren’t stressed. It’s a good idea to have your bag packed with anything you might want to bring with you and have your clothes picked out the night before.
If you are unfamiliar with the traffic patterns or the route to get to your testing site, you might want to think about getting up as if you were going to the test a week before and getting yourself to the testing site. This will give you a good idea of how long it will take you and if there is likely to be any hold-ups, like traffic. Getting to the test location with time to spare is a great way to feel as relaxed as possible on the day of your test.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Study for the TEAS Test
The TEAS test can seem overwhelming at first, but just remember that it isn’t the end of the world if you don’t get the score you want. A good study schedule is a great way to give yourself the best shot at the score you want, but over 40% of students who take the TEAS report taking it more than once. The TEAS isn’t designed to be easy, but it isn’t designed to be crazy hard either, so just stick to your study schedule, and you’ll do great!