teas v exam

Preparing for the TEAS

Everything you need to know for the first step to nursing school.

If you've considered applying for nursing school, you've probably heard about the TEAS. While people seem to be more familiar with the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN examinations, the TEAS is a common preadmission test used by many nursing programs. TEAS, which stands for Test of Essential Academic Skills, is administered through Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI) Nursing Education. The test is a basic aptitude test designed to identify students who would succeed in nursing school and who have the ability to think like a nurse. While all examinations can seem a bit daunting, it's important to remember that it's another step to figuring out if nursing school truly is for you.

TEAS basics

TEAS V, the most recent version of the test, is a multiple-choice assessment of basic academic knowledge in reading, mathematics, science, and English and language usage. The four sections are timed for a total of 209 minutes (approximately 4 hours). Test results will be ready 48 hours after you have completed the test. The test is divided in the following manner:

Reading – 40 questions, 50 minutes
The Reading section covers paragraph comprehension, passage comprehension and inferences/conclusions.

Math – 45 items, 56 minutes
The Math section includes whole numbers, metric conversions, fractions, decimals, algebraic equations, percentages and ratio/proportions.

Science – 30 items, 38 minutes
The Science section includes questions about science reasoning, science knowledge, biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, basic physical principles and general science.

English and Language Usage – 55 items, 65 minutes
The English and Language Usage section includes questions about punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, contextual words and spelling.

How to prepare

A great way to prepare for your test is to find a TEAS prep course, free practice sessions or materials to help you prepare for the TEAS. You can also find study guides and resource materials. Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI), which administers the examination, offers TEAS preparation and skill-building products on their website, including a study manual, online practice assessments and study packages.

No matter how you choose to prepare for your TEAS, start early! The more time you have to prepare for the examination, the more confident you'll feel about taking the test. If you know other students interested in taking the test, it can be beneficial to study with them.

Your instructors or academic advisors at your school can help you figure out how to start preparing for the TEAS.  

What to expect

The day of the test, you should expect to spend at least four hours at the testing facility. The actual test will take 209 minutes, but you should arrive early so you won't feel rushed. It's a smart idea to give yourself a few minutes to focus and make sure you have everything you need. It is recommended that you arrive half an hour before the test starts. Late arrivals are not allowed to test.

For the test, you will need to bring your ATI testing ID number that you received when you registered for the test. You will also need No. 2 pencils, your registration receipt and a valid photo ID. Do not bring calculators or your cell phone with you to the testing locations.

Passing scores

The TEAS is not a pass or fail test. However, many nursing programs require specific scores to be accepted into their program. It is highly recommended that you earn a proficient or higher score if you are applying to a nursing program. You should also check with the nursing school you are applying to ahead of time to see what specific admissions requirements they may have.

If you are not pleased with your TEAS score, you may retake the test. Your admissions counselor can provide you with specific guidelines on when you should retake the test.  You are required to wait a minimum of 45 days before you can retest.

Example TEAS questions

Below are two example questions from the Science component of the TEAS exam. Many test prep companies make TEAS test flashcards with similar questions that can help you prepare.

A _____________ is a naturally occurring assemblage of plants and animals that occupy a common environment.

  1. Society
  2. Biosphere
  3. Community
  4. Population

Name the four states in which matter exists.

  1. Concrete, liquid, gas and plasma
  2. Solid, fluid, gas and plasma
  3. Solid, liquid, vapor and plasma
  4. Solid, liquid, gas and plasma

Remember, the TEAS should not cause you to panic! It's the first step you need to take to pursue your career goals in nursing. With the right preparation, you can take your TEAS with confidence and be ready to enroll in your nursing program.


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