HESI® vs. TEAS: What’s the Difference?

HESI® vs. TEAS: What’s the Difference?

If you are applying to nursing school programs, you may be asked to take one of two common entrance exams: the Health Education Systems Incorporated (HESI) exam or the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS).

Many applicants apply to multiple programs and need to take both of these exams. They often wonder on which one they may perform better or about the similarities between the two exams.

The Test Content

The main difference between the HESI and the TEAS is the subject matter on which you will be tested. When you register to take the exam, the program you are applying to will specify which sections are required, which may be as few as four or as many as all nine.


The HESI exam can have a combination of seven academic sections:

There is also a learner profile section on the HESI exam that includes two additional sections: Learning Style and Personality Profile. These sections may or may not be part of your exam depending on the program you are applying to. Some programs like to use this information to help guide their teaching style and curriculum to match the learning styles of prospective and incoming students.

When registering for the HESI exam, pay close attention to what sections are required for the different programs to which you are applying. If you take the exam and have forgotten to register for a required section, you may need to retake the exam as some programs will not accept partial exams.


By contrast, the TEAS has four sections:

Other Differences

There are some other, more minor differences between the two exams.

Length of test: The HESI exam has roughly 350 questions and takes about four hours to complete while the 170 questions on the TEAS take around three and a half hours.

Cost: There may be a difference in the cost of each test, but this will depend on the type of HESI exam you need to take. The TEAS costs around $70, and the HESI exam ranges from $40-$100.

Is One Test Easier?

Many people feel that the TEAS is easier to prepare for as there are fewer sections and the subject matters are less specialized. The TEAS tends to assess more general knowledge that may have been acquired in high school or a non-medical degree program.

On the other hand, the HESI exam focuses on subjects that are more relevant to the medical field in addition to general knowledge. That being said, because the HESI exam has almost double the number of questions, missing a question on that exam does not have as much of an impact as missing a question on the TEAS.

Regardless of which exam you take, preparation is key! Start studying early to ensure success.

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