Reading comprehension is a tricky area for a lot of students, so let’s talk about how to improve Reading scores so that you can succeed. If you feel overwhelmed by this section, you are not alone.
You’ve probably looked at practice exams (or maybe even taken the actual TEAS exam) and thought, “What the &*$! are they even talking about? I know how to read…but this makes no sense!”
Students get a little bamboozled by the reading section–it trips up a lot of test takers! After all, everyone taking the exam knows how to read.
Plus, during the actual test, you might discover that some of the answer options have the magical ability of all looking exactly right…and exactly wrong…at the same time.
In fact, lots of students to get STUCK with their TEAS Reading score. Their score here is the *one thing* keeping them out of nursing school.
So let’s talk about how to change that today!
In order to improve your TEAS reading score, you’ll need to get comfortable with strategy.
How to improve TEAS Reading scores with strategy
Most study guides don’t teach you about strategy, so it’s easy to miss this important way to improve TEAS Reading scores.
Getting clear on the types of scored Reading questions and the types of questions that are likely not scored is one of the most important steps.
Once you learn the types of questions–and especially the ones that are designed to waste your time–you can make the answer options work for you.
The TEAS is specifically designed to be confusing. It does this by both wrong answers that look right and with time-wasting questions.
But this is actually good news.
Once you know the formula, you can predict the answers!
Take a look at the pie chart below. You’ll notice that the pie chart has four different sections: Key Ideas of Passages and Paragraphs, Specific Words and Passage Details, Working with Sources, and Unscored Questions.
Here, you can see 3 broad types of questions you’ll have on the TEAS Reading section. Plus, you’ll notice that you have a significant number of questions that don’t even matter!
3 Types of Questions
TEAS Reading Question Type #1: Questions that involve finding the key ideas of passages and paragraphs.
These questions might be about passage structure, organization, or topic, summary, or main idea. You might also need to follow directions.
These questions often require looking at the big picture of, well, a big passage. In my premium course, we talk about how to pinpoint the right answer quickly so that you don’t get overwhelmed by a big wall of text.
TEAS Reading Question Type #2: Questions that focus on specific words and details involve analyzing the author’s tone or bias, determining word meaning, or working with text features like italics.
These questions are all about the details. Many times, you don’t need to read the entire passage to find the answer. In the course, we talk about strategies you can use for specific types of detail questions.
TEAS Reading Question Type #3: Questions that involve using sources, including looking at themes, using charts or graphs, and finding primary sources.
Answering these questions correctly often requires memorizing specific concepts. In this course, you’ll get guidance on what to memorize so that you can answer these questions with confidence.
In short, you’ll need to recognize if a TEAS question requires you to look at the big picture, the details, or the application.
This big picture, small picture, or application strategy is one strategy to follow if you want to know how to increase your TEAS reading score.
How to improve TEAS Reading scores when you feel time pressure
You will get about 1 minute and 12 seconds per question for the TEAS Reading section. If you spend tons of time staring at the passage for every question, you won’t have enough time.
You’ll also need to be comfortable with time-saving strategies on the TEAS
Most study guides do not discuss time-saving strategies. In the online prep course course, we cover methods to save time on specific types of questions.
For example, you’ll have a few types of TEAS Reading questions where you likely don’t have to look at the entire passage. These include…
- Questions that ask you to find the author’s opinion or bias
- Questions that ask you to follow a set of instructions
- Questions that ask you to define a specific word or phrase
Using these strategies is a skill, but they can be so helpful!
One of my past students said, “My Reading section score was crazy! I scored a 90 percent. I’m so happy that I found your program. I really feel that it prepared me, especially with that awful Reading section.” These tips take practice, but they do work.
Another useful tip to improve your TEAS Reading score is to always read the question first. This is helpful for a few reasons:
- You can see if there’s a time-saving strategy to use quickly, as specific question types can use specific strategies.
- You can avoid getting confused by purposely confusing extra information.
- You can quickly determine if the question requires you to read the entire passage or just a section of the passage.
Finally, the TEAS is a standardized test, and standardized tests are designed to make you feel the time pressure.
You can read about how reading standardized tests are structured so that you can avoid these traps. The reading sections of standardized tests use many of the same tricks to make these sections seem extra challenging.
You can practice these topics over time. Yes, the Reading section can be a lot of information With focus, you can absolutely do it! Happy studying!
Kate is a CRLA certified tutor and test prep expert. She founded Prenursing Smarter in 2017. Kate lives in sunny Southern California and is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (Mnikȟówožu Lakȟóta). Prenursing Smarter is an inclusive business and actively seeks opportunities to collaborate with and support diverse voices.