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All About the TEAS for Health Programs

If you plan to pursue a health major in college, you're going to need to take the Test of Essential Academic Skills. Here's what you should know about the TEAS!

If you’re thinking about applying to a Nursing program or any Allied Health major, it’s likely you’ve heard of the necessary Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS). The TEAS is a common barrier between all health majors and their desired program. This standardized test evaluates if a student is ready to enroll in health-related programs, which implies preparedness is key for success. Since it’s essentially an admission test for many programs, registering for this exam is crucial—and it’s smart to start preparing for it as soon as you commit to a health major. Passing this high-stakes exam will be the beginning of your career journey, so being uncertain is normal, and dominating the TEAS can cause some anxiety. Here’s what you need to know to prepare for test day.

TEAS content

In order to prepare, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with what the test will contain. Directly from the writers and administers of the exam, Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI), the TEAS consists of 170 multiple-choice questions to be answered in exactly 209 minutes. Like many other standardized tests, the TEAS includes a variety of subjects. As stated by ATI, the comprehensive test will cover very particular content in the following subjects:

  • Science: 53 questions in 63 minutes on human anatomy and physiology, life and physical sciences, and scientific reasoning
  • Mathematics: 36 questions in 54 minutes on numbers, algebra, measurement, and data
  • Reading: 53 questions in 64 minutes on key ideas and details, craft and structure, and integration of knowledge and ideas
  • English: 28 questions in 28 minutes on conventions of standard English, knowledge of language, and vocabulary acquisition

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Majors 

TEAS study resources

As confident as you may feel going into the exam, it never hurts to study! The first step to success is increasing your proficiency and poise in each subject. ATI indicates that roughly 40% of students take the exam more than once, which implies that students want to achieve higher or passing scores. In fact, they recommend test takers to give themselves at least six weeks of preparation as proper study time. 

One resource you can use is the TEAS Practice Test site, which includes a practice test of every subject, adding up to 150 free test questions that closely parallel the real test. While they might cost you a pretty penny, ATI also offer study materials. ATI test materials offer a wide variety of study packages such as the Practice Assessment Package (priced at $80) and the Study Manual (priced at $25). These packages are great resources to use as initial practice rounds when you begin studying. 

Both websites will be beneficial during study sessions because they’ll help you conclude what areas to focus on for improvement. Hypothetically, if your practice test concludes your science portion needs improvement, you can then take a deeper dive into the subject and maybe even opt for flash cards or strategic note taking. Organized study sessions will feel less overwhelming while helping you retain necessary information. Keep in mind that reviewing fundamentals is a great way to study, but utilizing available resources directly from verified exam sites is one of your best options. 

Related: 5 Study Smart Tips for All Students

What to expect: Succeeding on test day

After you’ve prepared and studied for the big test, revisit instructions from your proctor and registration email. According to ATI, you’ll need government-issued identification to be allowed into the testing zone, such as a driver’s license, passport, or green card with a current photograph and permanent address. Along with your valid ID, ATI recommends bringing two No. 2 pencils and your registration receipts, which contain your ATI testing ID. Students will be provided four function calculators and scratch paper only during the exam—not before or after, meaning they’ll both be returned to the proctor in charge directly after you finish. Any other required items or additional special instructions will be listed in the confirmation email provided by your school. 

If you’re taking the online version of the TEAS, be sure to set up your student account on ATI’s website before test day. Though this step is typically done while registering for the exam, make sure you’re able to log in with the credentials provided to avoid any technical difficulties the day of. Just like the in-person option, the online version of the test requires you to present government-issued identification before starting the exam. A built-in four function calculator will also still be provided. To ensure the veracity of the TEAS, you’ll be monitored during the entire exam through webcam and audio.

Related: How to Choose a College When You Want to Study Health Sciences

Taking the TEAS is a big part of your health career journey because it ultimately determines if you’ll be admitted into your desired program or not. Understanding what the test entails is important, and doing your research already puts you at an advantage. Remember to get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam and be on time! Tests start promptly at the directed time, so late students won’t be admitted. As you embark on your TEAS journey, don’t forget all the studying and preparation will be worth it. Best of luck! 

For more advice to help you get ready for exam day, check out our Test Prep section.

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