If you’re considering going through nursing school or a college program related to health sciences, then chances are you heard of the TEAS exam. TEAS stands for Test of Essential Academic Skills. Multiple programs require you to sit for it before being accepted into the program.
The ATI administered the examination, also known as the Assessment Technologies Institute. Their official website even offers multiple packages designed to prepare you for the test. Generally speaking, the exam is quite simple and straightforward, as it is pretty similar to the SAT and ACT.
Moreover, your target school or program might not ask for TEAS scores. Hence it’s always wiser to reach out to the institute and ask them about specifications. Despite that, there are some fundamental aspects of the TEAS test we believe you should know, and taking it will boost your CV or resume.
Is the TEAS Test Hard?
The difficulty level of the TEAS exam is very relative. Some students have stated that they’ve been able to pass on their very first try, while others struggle through the year and sit for it multiple times. Hence, if you work with standardized tests in general, the TEAS might be challenging.
Despite that, the fundamental problem that most students face is not the difficulty of the questions. Instead, people find other aspects of the exam, including the format, more complex and draining. So, what are some common issues that lead students to believe the TEAS exam is challenging? Here are a few:
- Lack of preparation for the exam
- The time of the exam is 209 minutes, so approximately 3.5 hours, which students find to be lengthy and tiring
- Over-confidence while solving past exams that lead to mental block during the actual one
- If you don’t time yourself while doing past tests and practice exams, you might run into trouble with the time
- The TEAS 7 exam includes 5 different question formats instead of only multiple-choice questions
However, around 40% of students repeat the TEAS exam, which means something is a little bit off. One of the problems with the exam is that people find it hard to crunch everything in the limited time they have.
Moreover, keep in mind that there is no passing score for the TEAS test. You’ll be placed on a spectrum of academic preparedness no matter your grade. This gives the nursing school or whichever program you’re applying for an idea of how proficient you are:
- 0% – 40.7%: Developmental
- 3% – 58.0%: Basic
- 7% – 77.3%: Proficient
- 0% – 90.0%: Advanced
- 7% – 100.0%: Exemplar
So, what is the most challenging part of the TEAS test? We believe it is the Science section because it requires solid knowledge and a prior understanding of extensive topics. That includes anatomy, physiology, biological systems, and scientific reasoning.
What Subjects are on the TEAS Exam?
So, what is the TEAS exam like? The TEAS exam is divided into four main sections with multiple subsections. The total amount of questions you will answer is 170 questions, but only 150 of them contribute to your final grade. The remaining 20 are mainly for internal purposes. They often test questions to evaluate whether similar ones should be part of the exam.
Moreover, the grading system for the TEAS test is quite different. It’s similar to other standardized tests, as it uses the equating system. Basically, that means that some questions on the exam have a higher overall weight in your total grade. You won’t be able to distinguish between the low-score ones and the high-score ones.
So, are you sitting for the TEAS 6 or the TEAS 7? Until June 2022, the TEAS 6 will be administered to the student. However, after that, it switches to TEAS 7. So what are the differences between the two of them?
- TEAS 7 has 5 different questions format, while TEAS 6 only has multiple choice
- The distribution of questions differs between them
- In TEAS 7, there are now chemistry and biology subsections
- The time for each section varies slightly. However, for this article, we will focus mainly on the TEAS 7 as the TEAS 6 is soon to be outdated. Below is the upcoming outline for the TEAS 7 test.
- 45 total questions
- Key Ideas & Details: 15 questions
- Craft & Structure:9 questions
- Integration of Knowledge & Ideas:15 questions
- Pretest Questions (unscored):6 questions
- 38 total questions
- Numbers & Algebra: 16 questions
- Measurement & Data:18 questions
- Pretest Questions (unscored):4 questions
- 50 total questions
- Human Anatomy & Physiology: 18 questions
- Biology:9 questions
- Chemistry: 8 questions
- Scientific Reasoning: 9 questions
- Pretest Questions (unscored):6 questions
English & Language Usage
- 37 total questions
- Conventions of Standard English: 12 questions
- Knowledge of Language:11 questions
- Using language & Vocabulary to Express Ideas in Writing:15 questions
- Pretest Questions (unscored):4 questions
What to Study for the TEAS Exam?
Before diving into the material we recommend for the TEAS test preparation, let’s discuss how much time you should spend preparing. While it isn’t absolutely vital, we recommend assigning 6 weeks before sitting for the exam to prepare yourself. We’re not telling you to study the whole day; we advise you to set the same two hours every day and dedicate them to studying.
Practice does make perfect in this case, as the dilemma people face in the TEAS is the shortage of time. You can only avoid falling into that pit by guaranteeing you have enough practice and knowledge through proper studying.
There are also multiple sources and references you can use to study for the TEAS Exam. However, we are going to break them down below. Note that we have not mentioned practice exams, as they are often included in all three materials.
- TEAS Study Guides
- TEAS Flashcards
- TEAS Test Prep Courses
TEAS Study Guides
If you have more of an old-school, traditional preferred way of studying, then TEAS preparation test study guides are an incredible way to do so. Most of them go over necessary exam material, tips & tricks, and practice exams. This is ideal for people who prefer having a hard copy or a pdf file that requires long hours of reading.
Some of our favorite TEAS study guides:
- ATI TEAS Study Manual [updated version to fit the TEAS 7]
- Quick Nursing TEAS Guide[only 48 pages of condensed information]
- Spire Study System's ATI TEAS 7 Study Guide [includes a customizable plan]
Have you ever heard the term cognitive recall? Well, it’s the scientific term given to retrieving stored information from your brain. You can only do that by adequately studying the material, reviewing it, and then quizzing yourself. One of the best ways to do that is through flashcards, as you can do it anywhere, even on the go.
Some of our favorite TEAS flashcards:
- Union Test Prep[approximately 30 free flashcards on each section]
- Quizlet[extensive definitions and helpful information throughout the website]
- Mometrix ATI TEAS Flashcards [updated and includes practice test questions]
TEAS Test Prep Courses
If you struggle with reading a book or using flashcards to revise, then a great alternative would be purchasing a TEAS preparatory course. While these are usually a tas bit more expensive, they give you the luxury of being able to study anywhere and on the go through your phone.
Some of our favorite TEAS prep courses:
- Mometrix[106 lessons, 1450 questions, 190 videos, and 311 flashcards]
- Boost Prep [52 lessons, 56 quizzes, 1000 questions, 3 complete practice exams]
- ATI TEAS Prep[multiple different packages according to your needs]
How Long is the TEAS Test?
The total time designated for the TEAS exam is 209 minutes, which is spread out unevenly across all 4 sections. That is equivalent to 3 hours and 39 minutes, almost four hours of uninterrupted examination. Here is the amount of time you have for individual sections:
- Reading: 55 minutes
- Mathematics: 57 minutes
- Science: 60 minutes
- English & Language Usage: 37 minutes
Moreover, you’ll have one 10-minute break throughout the exam. However, if you do need to use the bathroom again, you’ll have to deduct it from your total examination time. No one is given extra time for any reason.
What Happens If You Fail the TEAS Exam?
If you just failed the TEAS exam or are worried about flanking it, don’t worry. While no one likes the dooming feeling, there are no “F” criteria on the TEAS test. However, almost no university or health program will accept a total overall score lower than 60%.
Moreover, although the theoretical minimum score required is 60%, we recommend aiming for at least 75%. You’ll have better chances of competing with a higher score, and the minimum accepted percentage should not be your goal.
But, let’s say you just failed the TEAS exam. Depending on the institute, you’ll find slightly different policies on how many times you can retake the exam. However, there are specific, general guidelines that almost everyone follows, and they are as follows:
- A student can repeat the TEAS within one year up to 3 times.
- You will have to wait for 30 daysbefore sitting for the TEAS again.
- The TEAS score is valid for only one year.
- Even if you do not do great in any of your three attempts throughout the year, you can later take the exam as many times as you want(as long as you don’t mind paying every time).
- The ATI TEAS can be taken as an online exam.
- 40% of test-takers repeat the TEAS to achieve a passing score.
So, you just took the exam, and you’re not sure whether your grades are good enough. You can evaluate yourself through three steps: what is the program asking for? Are you scoring more than 70%? Does the report say you’re proficient or advanced?
Well, we get one question repeatedly, and that is: how to pass the teas test without studying? We generally do not recommend you sit for any examination without some preparation or learning. However, some people believe they have enough knowledge from their previous academic life to do great in the TEAS.
So, if you really want to sit for the TEAS without studying, prepare yourself for a repeat. Even if you’re excellent at the anatomy and chemistry part, some questions are much trickier than you would expect. Not only that, but the time crunch is something you probably aren’t used to, so it’s not a good idea to gamble with a chance.
How to Prepare for the TEAS Exam? 5 Tips for Success
Dedicate 2 Hours/Day
One of the first pieces of advice we tell students when preparing for the TEAS is to put aside 2 hours a day to study. While that might seem excessive, think about all the material you’re expected to review before the exam. Hence, aside from weekends, put in 2 hours every day at the same time for 6 weeks.
Take It Early
We know you might not be ready for the TEAS exam during your first year at college, but sometimes it’s better to take it early. Moreover, you’re probably fresh out of taking the SAT, a similar test to the TEAS.
Utilize Any Study Resources
Go through any sources from study guides, courses, flashcards, and practice exams. We would also like to stress the importance of practicing for the TEAS, as you can even find free TEAS practice tests on numerous websites such as TEAS Prep.
Go Over Basic Information
Did you know that the TEAS does not test you on any very advanced topics? It actually spans basic mathematics that you probably completed in your high school. Hence, strengthen the basic concepts before submerging yourself in the TEAS study.
Build a Schedule
Write down a schedule. In there, write the days and times you’ll be studying, the material you need to finish on specific days, and what your weak points are. Over time, keep revising your weak point until you’re confident enough about them.
Wrapping Things Up: What is the TEAS Exam Like?
All things summed up, the TEAS exam is not a walk in the park. It requires ample preparation, but the total time that the exam needs feels a little torturous. Spending 3.5 hours on one exam is not easy, but it’s well worth it if you apply for nursing school.
Just remember a few vital notes when preparing for the TEAS: study beforehand, time yourself, practice as many past exams as possible and don’t lose yourself in confidence.