For many students, taking the TEAS exam is a required step before they can get accepted into their healthcare program or nursing school. The Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) is a standardized exam that is commonly taken by students to test their readiness for enrollment in healthcare-related programs. Many schools use this exam as a prerequisite for nursing school, although the score needed to pass varies by school.
The exam consists of 170 multiple-choice questions covering a variety of subject areas that students are expected to have learned during their secondary education. Students have a total of 209 minutes to complete the exam, but each topic is given its own allotted time and questions.
- Reading: This portion assesses your ability to pick up on key themes and details, structure and how you understand the integration of knowledge and ideas. There are 53 questions to answer in 64 minutes.
- Mathematics: This segment will test your algebra, data interpretation and measurement skills. Students will have 54 minutes to answer the 36 questions in this section. You will also be provided with a basic, four-function calculator to use during the exam.
- Science: Some students find this the most challenging section. You will be tested on human anatomy and physiology, life and physical science as well as your scientific reasoning skills. You will have 63 minutes to answer 53 questions.
- English: This is the last section of the exam and is only 28 minutes long. You will have to answer 28 questions about conventions in standard English, language and vocabulary acquisition.
As with any exam, you want to make sure you’re prepared so you can pass on the first attempt. Here are some tips to help you prepare and pass your TEAS:
1. Make a plan
Before you start preparing for your exam, make a plan. Ask yourself questions like:
- How long do I have before I take the TEAS?
- What study environment do I work best in?
- What areas am I most worried about?
- What resources are available to me?
- What other things do I have to do besides prepare for the TEAS?
By asking yourself these questions, you can anticipate some of your challenges and better prepare yourself for the exam. It also allows you to schedule time to get everything done in case something unexpected comes up. Additionally, you’ll be better equipped to take care of your mental and physical health if you have an idea of what you need to accomplish before the test.
2. Don’t cram study
The Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI) recommends that students allow at least six weeks of preparation and study before taking the TEAS. If you are under time constraints and can’t wait six weeks, don’t worry! Try spacing out your studying over the course of a couple of weeks or a few days at the very least.
If you do have the full six weeks to prepare, don’t procrastinate and put yourself in a position where you’re forced to cram. If you are a morning person, you should study in the morning and if you are more of a night owl, schedule most of your study sessions during the evening. It is a good rule of thumb in the last few days before an exam to take plenty of breaks. Although you want to make sure you pass the exam, you also do not want to burn yourself out!
3. Invest in a TEAS practice exam
While you can study different subject areas on your own, you should consider getting a practice exam. Not only will you see what types of questions could be on the exam, but you will also familiarize yourself with the question format. You might find it helpful to set a timer so that you can take your practice exam to get a feel for how long you have for each section.
Herzing University offers support for TEAS practice. You can contact your admissions advisor for more information about the exam and access to a practice TEAS exam. Your local libraries might also have TEAS practice books or resources for online practice tests. These resources may also provide you with additional tips for studying and passing the exam.
4. Practice time management
Time management is important leading up to the TEAS exam and during the exam itself. Since you have a limited amount of time for each section, be sure you use proper time management. Don’t linger too long on a question you don’t know the answer to. You should leave yourself some extra time at the end of the exam so that you review your answers and make any corrections. Taking several practice tests can help you understand any time management challenges you may have and how to address them.
Additionally, although you will be told when your time is up, you might like to wear a watch or sit facing a clock so that you can stay on schedule throughout each section of the exam.
5. Go with your gut!
In high-stress situations, you might tend to overthink your answers. Try not to do this and go with your instincts. Before you look at the multiple-choice answers, you should “answer” the question in your head, that way you should have an idea of what the correct answer should be. Even if the answer you were thinking of isn’t one of the choices, it might help you narrow down what the correct answer could be. This could also help you save time for more difficult questions.
When you answer true or false questions, watch out for modifiers like all, always, none and never. Those answers usually tend to be false just because they are so extreme. Longer or very descriptive answers also generally tend to be correct.
6. Answer every question
If you are a perfectionist, you might want to answer each question thoroughly and accurately. Unfortunately, you may not know the answer to a question, or you may run out of time towards the end of the exam. If this happens, don’t panic. Consider moving on to the next question and then answering questions you left blank near the end of the test to save time. You are not penalized for wrong answers on your exam, so be sure to answer every question. Putting down an answer is better than not having one at all.
7. Take care of yourself
Try not to get too stressed out! Although it is an important exam, you should have confidence in yourself knowing that you prepared yourself as best as you could. On the night before the exam, you should resist the urge to study through the night and try to do something fun and relaxing like watching a movie, reading a book or hanging out with friends. Be sure to get a full night’s rest and always practice self-care when prepping for an exam.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.