TEAS Party – Why the Test Is Important and Why It Shouldn’t Scare You

If you’re ready to apply to an associate degree in nursing program, congratulations, you’re on your way! You’re probably also on your way to learning about the TEAS. The Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI) Test of Essential Academic Skills, or TEAS, measures basic essential skills in reading, mathematics, science, English, and language usage. The test is designed specifically to assess your preparedness for entering the health science fields and is an entrance requirement for the majority of U.S nursing degree programs. That’s because studies show a consistent link between a student’s performance on the TEAS and future academic success.

As empowering as committing to earn your degree can be, returning to school as a working adult involves planning, balance, and hard work. Getting your application paperwork and requirements in order can be rigorous, and the idea of taking a test on top of everything else can be enough to stress out any prospective student, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve sharpened your No. 2 pencils!

The TEAS is an important first step on the path to your nursing degree, but don’t let it intimidate you. Armed with a little knowledge about the test and some smart preparation, you can not only earn the score you need for your application but also build the confidence and study skills you’ll need for the academic journey ahead.

Here’s what you need to know about how the test is structured and what it covers. The TEAS consists of four-option, multiple-choice questions. The questions are broken up into timed subject sections:

  • Reading (64 minutes)
    • Key ideas and details
    • Craft and structure
    • Integration of knowledge and ideas
  • Mathematics (54 minutes)
    • Number and algebra
    • Measurement and data
  • Science (68 minutes)
    • Human anatomy and physiology
    • Life and physical sciences
    • Scientific reasoning
  • English and Language Usage (28 minutes)
    • Conventions of standard English
    • Knowledge of language
    • Vocabulary acquisition

Each subject section will measure the basic level of the knowledge and skills you’ll use the most in your nursing program. The TEAS is an in-person, proctored test and the exam fee will vary depending on the testing location. You can visit ATI’s website to find a testing location near you.

The TEAS is scored with a percentage of questions correct for each section. Different schools have different score requirements for each section of the test, so make sure you check your program’s specific application requirements. At Excelsior College, 85 percent of students achieve our score requirements on their first attempt. If you don’t pass the first time, don’t worry, but remember a student may only test twice in a calendar year (January-December).

There are many ways to prepare for the TEAS, but Excelsior suggests using the official materials available from ATI, the developers and providers of the TEAS exam. A good way to start is to take a practice test to find out what you already know and what you need to work on. This will help you prioritize what to spend the most time on as you prepare. If you feel you need extra help in a certain subject area, there are several free online resources available to help you study. Many students report the Science and Math sections as being the most challenging, so Excelsior recommends refreshing your knowledge in those subjects with the free algebra resources through Khan Academy and IXL Learning as well as Khan Academy’s Intro to Biology.

Finding a support community of other TEAS takers is another good way to share study tips and gain insight from students who have already taken the test. Just remember that you’re not in this alone and the TEAS really isn’t so scary when you know what to expect.

Ready to conquer the TEAS? Learn more about our associate degree in nursing program at our website and good luck!