What Is The TEAS Exam For Nursing

The TEAS exam for nursing is a standardized admission test that is developed and administered by the Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI). TEAS stands for Test of Essential Academic Skills. 

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What Is The Purpose Of The TEAS Exam?

The TEAS exam tests a student’s readiness for advanced programs in the health sciences, primarily nursing. It is often part of the complete application process for getting into nursing school. The main purpose of the TEAS exam is to predict how well a student will perform in nursing school. Many nursing schools use this exam to assess applications in addition to the applicant’s other credentials including transcripts, application essays, and letters of recommendation. 

A good score on the TEAS indicates that you have the academic proficiency necessary to do well in nursing school and increases your chances of getting into a good nursing program. 

Who Needs To Take The TEAS Exam?

The TEAS exam is a common requirement at many (not all) nursing schools and programs. These nursing schools use the TEAS scores to evaluate applications and identify who is a good candidate for nursing school. You must pass the exam and get a high score to get admission into any nursing school that requires the TEAS. 

Not all nursing schools require applicants to take the TEAS exam. However, if the exam is not mandatory for admission, it’s still advisable to take the test before applying to any nursing program. A good TEAS score can give you a competitive edge and boost your chances of admission. 

What Is On The TEAS Exam For Nursing?

The TEAS exam covers four academic areas – Math, Reading, Science, and English. It uses a multiple-choice format, offering four potential answers to each question. Each subject paper is administered separately and has its own time limit and scores. 

The TEAS exam has 170 questions that must be completed within 209 minutes. 

Each section breaks out as follows:

  • Math section: 38 questions, 57-minute time limit
  • Science section: 50 questions, 60-minute time limit
  • Reading section: 45 questions, 55-minute time limit
  • English section: 37 questions, 37-minute time limit

Breakdown Of The Four TEAS Sections 


The math section of the TEAS exam has 38 questions that cover algebra, numbers, measurements, and data. It is broken down into 3 sub-sections

  1. Numbers and Algebra – 18 questions
  2. Measurement and Data – 16 questions
  3. Unscored Questions – 4 questions

Types of questions you can expect in the math section:

  • Solve math problems containing proportions, ratios, and rate of change
  • Convert between decimals, percents, and fractions
  • Measure the weight, dimensions, and volume of given objects
  • Solve equations with one unknown variable
  • Convert measurements
  • Add and divide mixed numbers and fractions
  • Organize and interpret data pulled from charts, graphs, and tables


The science section of the TEAS exam has 50 questions that cover the human body, earth science, scientific reasoning, and physical science. It is broken down into 5 subsections

The science section of the TEAS exam is broken down into 5 sub-sections:

  1. Anatomy and Physiology – 18 questions 
  2. Biology – 9 questions
  3. Scientific Reasoning – 9 questions
  4. Chemistry – 8 questions
  5. Unscored Questions – 6 questions

These are the types of questions you can expect in the science section:

  • Describe the concepts of general anatomy and physiology
  • Describe the functions of the respiratory, nervous, circulatory, immune, or digestive systems
  • Interpret scientific arguments
  • Explain the difference between mitosis and meiosis or respiration and photosynthesis
  • Interpret pH scale values
  • Explain the properties of atoms or matter
  • Apply the periodic table of elements


The reading section has 45 questions that cover paragraph comprehension, conclusions, and inferences. It is broken down into 4 sub-sections: 

  1. Key Ideas and Details – 15 questions
  2. Integration of Knowledge – 15 questions
  3. Craft and Structure – 9 questions
  4. Unscored Questions – 6 questions

These are the types of questions you can expect in the reading section:

  • Identify main ideas, themes, and supporting details
  • Identify structure and text features
  • Distinguish between opinion and fact
  • Identify/Explain the author’s intent
  • Draw conclusions
  • Interpret graphic representations of information
  • Make inferences


The English section of the TEAS exam has 37 questions that cover grammar, spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, and words. It is broken down into 5 sub-sections:

  1. Convention of English – 12 questions
  2. Knowledge of Language – 11 questions
  3. Using Language and Vocabulary to Express Ideas in Writing – 10 questions
  4. Unscored Questions – 4 questions

Expect these types of questions in the English section:

  • Explain the meaning of words from their context in a sentence
  • Determine the correct spelling of hyphenated or compound words, irregular plurals, and frequently misspelled words
  • Change from passive voice to active voice
  • Identify the correct capitalizations of names, titles, and addresses
  • Identify the correct punctuation of the given sentences
  • Use verb tenses correctly
  • Interpret subject-verb agreement rules

Preparing For The TEAS

The TEAS exam is challenging. About 40% of students take the test more than once to earn a good enough score that will ensure their admission. Focused study and practice are key to helping you prepare for your TEAS exam for nursing. 

Fortunately, ATI, the creator of the TEAS exam, offers a wealth of helpful test-prep resources. These paid resources are available in the form of online and printed study manuals, tutorials, study packages, and practice assessments. These prep materials cover all content areas that are featured on the exam. 

You can find also free TEAS prep resources available through sites dedicated to licensing exams and nursing programs. While these may not be as extensive as the ATI-sponsored prep material, they are good enough to get started if you’re on a budget. 

Whether you choose to study for the TEAS using free or paid prep resources, ATI recommends starting early, at least six months before your scheduled test date. During that time, you should take multiple practice tests to get a better idea of the format, timing, and content areas. 

How To Sign Up For The TEAS Exam For Nursing

You can take the TEAS test at multiple sites across the United States. These include nursing schools, community colleges, and dedicated testing sites. To get started, register at Atitesting.com. Read through all the details on the registration page. Take note of the things you need to know before registering and check your school’s requirements and the rescheduling policy. Make sure you meet the system technical requirements for taking the test. 

The TEAS exam costs $115. After you’ve registered, paid the fee, and chosen your test date and location, you’ll receive an email confirming the date, time, and location of your test. 

Test Day: Things To Keep In Mind

  • Be prepared to sit for about 4 hours once the test starts, with one 10-minute break in between. 
  • Make sure to arrive at your testing center well in advance. Latecomers are not allowed entry and ATI will not reschedule the test or refund the fees. 
  • You will need to carry a valid photo ID, student ID, and copy of your ATI email confirmation to the test center. 
  • You are only allowed to take a photo ID and two No. 2 pencils into the test room. 
  • Phones, calculators, food, drinks, or additional clothing items are not allowed. 
  • If you are taking the test in person, you will be provided a calculator and scratch paper at the test center. If you are taking the test online, you’ll get access to a calculator built into the TEAS exam software. 

Your Teas Score Report

If you take the TEAS test online, your scores will be available immediately after you complete the test, however, if you take the test in person, your scores will be available in your ATI online account after about 48 hours. 

In addition to checking your score on the report, you will also be able to see which questions you got wrong. This can be helpful if you plan on re-taking the test.   

There is no set passing score for the TEAS exam and every nursing school program sets its own standards and minimums scores for admission. However, most schools will only consider candidates who score above 70 on the TEAS. 

Two things to keep in mind about TEAS scores: 

  1. Meeting the minimum score requirement doesn’t guarantee your admission. It only means that you’ve met one of the many requirements to be considered for admission. The school will also assess other aspects of your application before making a final decision.
  2. Getting into nursing school is highly competitive. The higher your TEAS exam score, the better your chances of getting admission into a nursing program of your choice.

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