Don't Fear the TEAS Test: Expert Tips to Help You Pass it on the First Try

TEAS Test TipsFor many considering nursing school there is one hurdle standing in the way – the dreaded TEAS test. If you are one of these people, fear not, you are not alone. Aside from the Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper, there are not a lot of people who actually enjoy taking entrance exams.

No – there is no way to get out of taking it. But we’re here to show you that there is no reason to be afraid. With the right preparation and a few tips from current faculty and students, the TEAS test will be behind you and you can be well on your way to starting your education. So if you are passionate about pursuing a career as a nurse, don’t let the fear of a little test get in your way.

Here are the tips you need to know to ensure you pass the TEAS test.

TEAS Test Components

The TEAS test, or Test of Essential Academic Skills, is a pre-admittance test administered through Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI) Nursing Education. Colleges and universities utilize the test to screen prospective students’ ability to be successful in a nursing program.

ATI allots 209 minutes, or approximately four hours, to complete the multiple-choice exam. The test covers material that students should have acquired from their secondary education in the following four areas:

  • Reading: 42 items / 58 minutes

Topics: paragraph and source comprehension

  • Mathematics: 30 items / 51 minutes

Topics: algebra, order of operations, data interpretation and measurement

  • Science: 48 items / 66 minutes

Topics: human body, life science, physical science and scientific reasoning

  • English language and usage: 30 items / 34 minutes

Topics: grammar and context, spelling, punctuation and structure

Preparing for TEAS Test

One of the keys to success is to register more than two weeks out says Amy Matthys, dean of the RN to BSN program at Rasmussen College.  Once you register, ATI will send you a study guide to help you prepare for the exam.

The ATI website also offers two online practice tests modeled after the actual exam. Take the practice test once right away so that you know the areas on which you need to focus, Matthys says.  

Now that you know your areas of focus – study, study, study! The more you review the material the more confident you will be during the exam. Many find the study guide from ATI to provide all of the material they need. If not, a GED review book is an unexpected place that is a great resource for additional reading, math and English tools, suggests Heather Buschena, current Rasmussen College nursing student.

As you close in on the date of your scheduled exam, Matthys recommends retaking the practice test one more time. This will benchmark your improvement and highlight any additional areas that need strengthening.

The Day of the TEAS Test

The day has come and you have been studying for weeks, so there is nothing to fear! Make sure you get a good night’s sleep and eat a well-balanced breakfast the morning of your exam. Some of the best foods for your brain include: eggs, salmon, green tea and acai berries.

If you don’t remember anything else from this article, remember this: Don’t be late! ATI will NOT let you begin the test after the designated start time. Print out detailed driving directions ahead of time to ensure you arrive on time to the testing center.

There are a few things that ATI says you need to bring with you as well:

  • No. 2 pencil
  • Registration receipt with ATI testing ID number
  • Valid photo ID

Also, no calculators or cell phones are allowed during the test.

When planning for the TEAS Test, don’t forget…

There is no reason to fear the TEAS test as long as you plan ahead. The preparation techniques detailed here will also be great practice for the certification test at the end of your nursing program – the NCLEX.

So if you have been worrying about passing the TEAS test, this guide hopefully eases your mind a little. There is no better time than now to become a nurse!


External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

Katy is a Content Marketing Specialist at Collegis Education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. She enjoys creating engaging content to help former, current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.

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