What Is on the TEAS Test?

What Is on the TEAS Test?

There are over 3.8 million registered nurses (RNs) in the United States, making it the biggest healthcare profession in the nation. And before each of these nurses could get into nursing school, there’s a good chance they had to take the TEAS test.

What is the TEAS test? TEAS stands for Test of Essential Academic Skills. Though it’s not required in every nursing program, it is an essential exam for most of them.

But what kind of questions will you find on the TEAS test? And how can you be sure you’ll pass it? This guide has the answers.

What Is the TEAS Test Used For?

For most candidates applying to nursing school, the TEAS test will be an essential part of their application. The exam assesses your potential for academic success during your courses.

The application for nursing school can include many other components, as well. These include:

  • A written application

  • An essay (or two)

  • Letters of recommendation

  • Transcripts from any other learning institutions

  • Required fees

Some nursing schools may use the Health Education Systems Incorporated Admissions (HESI A2) exam in lieu of the TEAS exam. However, these exams are quite similar in nature and will cover similar materials.

What Is on the TEAS Exam?

The TEAS test covers a variety of basic subjects to measure your academic proficiency. Studies have shown that a student’s performance on the exam is a good indicator of their performance in both Bachelor’s Degree of Nursing (BSN) or Associate Degree of Nursing (ASN) programs.

The test covers four general subjects, including:

Across all four subjects, there are a total of 170 questions on the exam. However, only 150 of these go toward your overall score. The other 20 questions are control questions used for the internal development of the test.

You will have 209 minutes to complete the entirety of the exam.

The sections are broken down as follows:

Math Section

There are 38 questions on the math portion of the exam. These questions cover topics including numbers, measurements, data analysis, and algebra. You will have 57 minutes to complete this portion of the exam and will receive a 10-minute break at the end of this section.

Preparing for the math portion of the TEAS exam is essential for most prospective students. A TEAS practice test is a great way to prepare yourself for the type of questions you’ll find on the actual exam.

Science Section

The science section makes up for 50 questions on the exam. Question topics include human anatomy and physiology, life sciences such as biology and chemistry, and basic scientific reasoning skills. You will have 60 minutes to complete this portion of the exam.

Because science is such a vital part of nursing, it is best to engage in TEAS test prep before embarking on the science portion of the exam. For example, a TEAS test study guide may help you navigate some of the trickier parts of the exam.

Reading Section

There are 45 questions in the reading section of the TEAS test. These questions cover essential critical thinking skills. This includes the integration of ideas or presented knowledge, as well as analysis of craft and structure. You will have 55 minutes to complete this portion of the exam.

To get a feel for the type of reasoning questions you’ll find, a TEAS practice test is also particularly helpful for this part of the exam.

English and Language Use

This section will test your vocabulary, grammar and conventional use of English, and general knowledge of the English language. There are 37 questions in this section of the test. You will have 37 minutes to complete this portion of the exam.

TEAS-specific flashcards are a great way to brush up on your vocabulary. While nursing-specific words are important, you should make sure your language knowledge is well-rounded and versatile.


Types of Questions on the Exam

In previous versions of the TEAS test, there were only multiple-choice questions. In TEAS 7, however, you will find many different types of questions. These include:


You will have to choose one answer from a provided list. Some answer options will feature just text, while others may have graphs or charts to choose from.


Like multiple-choice, you will receive a list of possible answers. However, there will be multiple options that are correct. To correctly answer this question, select all that apply to the question at hand.

Supply Answers

These questions will not provide you with a list of potential answers. Instead, you will have to write in your own answer or fill in certain blanks. You may have to answer in both words and numbers for these types of questions.

Hot Spot

For these questions, you will receive an image that features two or more clickable areas. To get the answer correct, you’ll need to select the appropriate clickable area that corresponds to the question.

Ordered Response

With these questions, you will receive a list of four to six responses. You will have to place these responses in the correct order by dragging them from their box on the left to the correct box on the right.

To get these questions right, you’ll need to place every response in the correct place. You will not receive partial credit for these questions.

How to Sign Up for the TEAS Test

You can register to take the TEAS exam both online and in-person by visiting the ATI TEAS test website. Study experts and former students recommend that you schedule at least 6 weeks of preparation time before taking the exam.

Registration for the TEAS test can vary in cost depending on where you take your exam. Prices can range anywhere from $65 to $140.

How to Study for the TEAS

You can begin to study for the TEAS in a variety of ways. While some may prefer to focus solely on the areas they struggle with, a well-rounded approach can be beneficial in making sure you’re adequately prepared for test day. While certainly not the only way to study, one suggested test prep guideline is outlined below:

  • Week 1: English and Language

  • Week 2: Reading

  • Week 3: Reading

  • Week 4: Science

  • Week 5: Science

  • Week 6: Math

While everyone studies at their own pace, keeping science and math at the top of your mind can be beneficial when heading into the TEAS exam. This is because the exam is largely focused on healthcare professionals and many report these two sections to be the most difficult.

However, do not neglect the Reading or Language Usage sections. Be sure your vocabulary is sharp and your critical thinking skills are well-oiled.

What Happens During the Exam?

You will have 209 minutes to complete all four sections of the TEAS test. Whether you take the test in person or online, there will be a proctor present during testing to ensure fairness in evaluations.

It is important to note that you cannot bring your own calculator to the exam. Instead, proctors will give you an approved calculator. If you are taking the test online, there will be a special calculator that you can use through your computer.

What Happens After the Exam?

How soon you get your results back from the TEAS test depends on where you take it. Some on-campus locations will have a detailed score sheet returned to you almost immediately.

Other campus locations do not share scores. You will have to contact your particular school or university to determine when you will receive scores for in-person exams.

If you are a candidate taking the ATI TEAS exam on paper, ATI will give you results within 24 hours. You will receive online exam scores almost immediately.

For those who do not receive their online results immediately, you can find them on your ATI profile. Check under the “My Results” tab to view them.

What Counts as a Passing Score?

There is no set passing score for the TEAS test. Different schools will have different minimum scores required for admittance.

It is a good idea to contact your prospective school when preparing for the exam. They can provide you with information on optimal scoring practices for their institution.

In general, you will need to score above 60% for most schools.

Another important note is that different questions carry different weights. So, not all questions are counted toward your total score in the same way. You will not know which questions carry more weight during the exam.

What Happens If You Fail the Exam?

Whether or not a score is considered to be “failing” will vary between different schools. In some cases, if your score is not good enough for one school, you may still be able to gain admittance to a different school.

However, you can retake the TEAS test if you would like to try for a higher score. You can retake the exam up to three times in a 12-month period.

Start Your Future in Nursing Today!

Now that you know more about what you’ll face during the TEAS test, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll be prepared come exam day. With a bit of extra preparation, you’ll ace the test in no time. Sign up for Union Test Prep to get all the must-have test prep materials, such as study guides, flashcards, and even top-notch practice tests. With the right tools, your test performance is sure to be stellar.

Keep Reading