Welcome to this guide on how to pass the TEAS test! We’ll cover what you need to know to successfully pass the test, including how to prepare for your nursing entrance exam, the exact breakdown of TEAS questions, and how you can study to pass the ATI TEAS test.
What is the TEAS Test?
The TEAS test is a nursing entrance exam also used by allied health programs. It’s usually one of the last steps before you submit your program’s application to get into nursing school. You might also see it referred to the ATI TEAS, TEAS 6 or the TEAS VI. These are all the same exam.
Are you taking the TEAS exam after October 2021? Find out about the new ATI TEAS 7 exam.
The TEAS test is a high-stakes, standardized admissions exam. A high-stakes exam means that you, the student, can face consequences (like not getting into nursing) if you don’t do well. Which is why I’ve dedicated my career to helping students like you never have to think about the TEAS again!
Not every nursing program requires that their students take the TEAS. Some require the HESI, the ACT, and many have GPA requirements. There are many paths to working in healthcare. But if your goal is to get into a nursing program that requires the TEAS test, it’s time to figure out how you can pass the test and achieve your goal!
The TEAS is used by nursing schools across the country, but you’ll want to check with your top programs to make sure they require it beforehand.
You’ll want to check:
- How many times can you take the TEAS to pass? Some schools only allow 2 – 3 attempts; other programs allow you to take the TEAS nursing test as many times as you like.
- What does your program consider a passing score? Some programs require students to score in the 60s to be considered for admission; other programs might require a score in the 80s.
- Does your program release its nursing entrance exam statistics? Some schools show the range of scores of admitted students, which can help you know what a good score is for your preferred program.
- Does your program require you to take all 4 sections? Some programs, for example, don’t require the Reading section. If that’s your situation, congratulations! You’re lucky. 🙂
Your school’s nursing program website should provide you with the majority of this information. You can also ask the admissions office for more details.
To prep for your nursing school entrance exam, you’ll want to structure your TEAS studying around 4 main areas: learning, memorizing, applying, and strategizing. You can read about that in the Prenursing Smarter TEAS Prep Study Guide.
TEAS Test Scores
How important is it to get a good score on the TEAS test? Surprisingly, a good TEAS score really depends on the school you want to go to!
When it comes to how to pass the TEAS test, you’ll need to first see how your nursing program defines passing. For example, a passing TEAS test score is about 65 percent, but this score would not be considered for admission at some programs.
Nationally, the average TEAS test score is about 60 percent. For students applying to an associate’s degree program, the typical score is about 66 percent. Students applying to a bachelor’s degree program have an average score around 70 percent.
For very competitive programs, you’ll need a score in the “Advanced” category, which shows TEAS test scores between 80 and 91.3%. This would put you in roughly the top 10th percentile of all test takers nationwide.
The best possible TEAS test score is getting more than 92% of questions correct. Very few test takers ever reach this level, which is the “Exemplary” category.
How Hard is the TEAS Test?
The TEAS has 4 sections: Reading, Math, Science, and English. Each section has a standardized level of difficulty, and you’ll need to master roughly 150 different concepts. How hard the TEAS test depends on how familiar you are with the material covered and how prepared you are to pass the test.
The full test includes 4 sections, Reading, Math, Science, and English, and you’ll get a total of 209 minutes (that’s just about 3.5 hours) to take the exam, but each section has its own time limit.
TEAS Reading – 53 questions in 64 minutes
You’ll have 47 scored questions with 6 unscored questions for a total of 53 TEAS Reading questions. You won’t know for sure which questions are not scored. Your TEAS score will depend on 3 main types of Reading questions.
A TEAS Reading passing score is around 75%. Most schools have specific requirements for scores, so be sure to check with your program.
Key ideas and details – 22 scored questions
- Topic, Main Idea, and Supporting Details
- Following Directions & Sequences
- Printed Communications & Graphs
Craft and structure – 14 scored questions
- Author’s Purpose, Opinion, and Bias
- Context Clues & Figurative Language
- Text Features
- Text Structures & Modes
Integration of knowledge and ideas – 11 scored questions
- Types of Sources
- Logical Conclusions, Inferences, and Predictions
- Evaluating & Integrating Sources
- Evaluating Themes and Arguments
For Reading, the hard part of the TEAS test for many students includes working with long passages, logical conclusions, and the time pressure of this section. To get a passing score on this section, it’s a good idea to plan for three types of questions.
First, you’ll have questions that require understanding the overall big picture of a passage. You’ll need strategies to find the answer quickly so that you don’t get overwhelmed by a giant passage.
Second, you’ll have questions that focus on specific words or details. Many times, you don’t need to read the full passage. Instead, you can use specific strategies for specific question types.
Third, you’ll have questions that require you to use different sources, charts, and graphs. Memorizing types of primary, secondary, and tertiary sources can help you with these TEAS test Reading questions.
TEAS Math – 36 questions in 54 minutes
You’ll have 32 scored TEAS Math questions and 4 unscored questions. TEAS scores depend on two general areas. A TEAS Math passing score is about 70%.
Numbers and algebra – 23 scored questions
- Operations with Numbers and Fractions
- Rational Numbers
- Word Problems
- Algebra with one variable
Measurement and data – 9 scored questions
- Data, Statistics, and Variables
- Geometric Measurements
- Conversions and the Metric System
- Charts, Graphs, & Tables
In general, a passing score on this section requires working with word problems, knowing a few formulas (velocity, mean, percent increase, and area formulas for different shapes) like the back of your hand, and doing TEAS math practice question drills so that you can be ready for test day.
You’ll want to do drills with PEMDAS questions (the order of operations), and converting decimals, fractions, and percentages. It’s also a great idea to practice solving algebra questions with one variable, especially with negative numbers and fractions.
TEAS Science – 53 questions in 63 minutes
You’ll have 47 scored questions and 6 questions that are not scored. TEAS scores are decided by 3 types of science questions. A TEAS Science passing score is roughly a 67%.
Anatomy and Physiology – 32 scored questions
- Body Basics & Organization – Cavities and Planes
- Cells, Tissues, and Organs in the Human Body
- Respiratory System – Structures and Functions
- Cardiovascular System – Circulation, Cells, & Pathology
- Gastrointestinal System – Structures, Hormones, and Enzymes, Digestion & Absorption
- Reproductive System – Structures, Hormones, and Key Differences
- Endocrine System – Organs, Hormones & Communication
- Immune System – Cells and Types of Immunity
- Integumentary System – Skin Layers and Functions
- Genitourinary System – Kidney Anatomy and Urine Production
- Skeletal System – Cells, Bones, & Structures
- Neuromuscular System – Nerves, Muscles, and Signaling
- Human Anatomy & Physiology Pathology
Biology, Chemistry, and Physical Sciences – 8 scored questions
- Phase Changes & States of Matter
- Chemical Bonds and Reactions
- Acids and Bases & Catalysts and Enzymes
- Periodic Table of Elements
- Cellular Biology – Organelles and Differentiation
- DNA & Chromosomes
- Genetics & Inheritance
Scientific method and reasoning – 7 scored questions
- Experimental Design & Analysis
- Scientific Measurement & Tools
- Scientific Relationships & Sequences
- Scientific Reasoning & Logic
The vast majority of your TEAS science questions will be about human anatomy and physiology. In fact, you’ll have twice as many anatomy and physiology questions than the rest of the science section. Focusing on anatomy and physiology is one of the best ways to improve TEAS scores and make sure you pass your TEAS exam.
TEAS English – 28 questions in 28 minutes
You’ll have 24 questions that are scored and 4 questions that are not scored. A TEAS English passing score is around 70%. The TEAS English section pulls questions from 3 main concepts:
Conventions of English
- Spelling & Similar Sounding Words
- Sentence Parts & Terms
- Punctuation Rules
Grammar and Language Knowledge
- Grammar & Clarity
- Formal & Informal Language
- Parts of Speech
- Irregular Plural Nouns
- Medical Terminology and Word Parts
- Word Meaning and Context Clues
The TEAS English section is the very last section you’ll take, so you’ll likely be tired by the time you get to it. It’s also the fastest: you only have a minute per question. Students with higher TEAS scores in this section make sure to study compound, complex, and simple sentences; pronoun-antecedent agreement, and medical terminology.
How to Prepare for the TEAS Test So You Pass
Your TEAS score will make or break your application. Even if you have a great GPA, you still need a great TEAS score to get into nursing school.
Using reliable TEAS practice questions is a great way to help you see how to pass the TEAS test. Check out some of my best TEAS exam practice questions or read more:
- TEAS test practice test questions
- Are practice tests worth it?
- Round of TEAS test study guide information
- What’s the best TEAS study guide?
Common Questions about Passing the TEAS – Tips and Advice
This really depends on your target program. Generally speaking, a TEAS score between 59% – 79% is considered “proficient.” A score in this range often qualifies a student for a nursing program, particularly for ADN/ASN programs. This varies by state and program, however! A score of 80% or above is considered “advanced.” Advanced scores are often required for competitive programs. A score above 92% is considered “exemplary.”
For many students, getting into the 80s is the most difficult hurdle. Other students want above a 92 percent so that they can feel confident about admission into some of the most competitive nursing programs in the country.
Please note that TEAS scores do not indicate quality nursing programs. Sometimes score cutoffs reflect state population and college funding.
The TEAS exam is a standardized test used by nursing schools and allied health programs around the county. It covers reading, math, science, and English language.
If you are taking the TEAS in person, bring your mask and government issued ID. Check with your testing center for whatever else they might recommend. For example, you might be able to bring a water bottle. If you are taking the TEAS remotely, bring a scrap paper, a pen/pencil, and your government-used ID. Be prepared to show your testing room on camera, so tidy up. 🙂
Focus just on reviewing and confidence building. Study in a way that helps you reduce anxiety: write out your notes, tell yourself you will do great, get some exercise, and talk it out with a friend. Rehearse what you’ll do when the exam starts. For example, maybe when the exam starts, you’ll write out some formulas on your scrap paper, so you’ll review those the day before you test.
Yes, during the math section you’ll get a calculator that’s built into the testing program. You can’t bring your own.
You should! Typically, it’s after the math section. If you are taking the TEAS remotely, you’ll want to confirm with your proctor ahead of time.
Yes! You might be limited to only one piece of paper, however. If you are taking the TEAS remotely, you’ll likely show the piece of paper before you begin the test, and you’ll need to rip up the paper on camera.
Maybe. Different schools use different nursing entrance exams. The HESI is another popular test, so check the admission requirements of your target schools.
You’ll spend just under 4 hours taking the TEAS, including a short break. Each section is timed.
Reading = 64 minutes
Math = 54 minutes
Science = 63 minutes
English = 28 minutes
The studying. 🙂 Reading is the longest section, but Science is only one minute less. Generally, 3 sections are about an hour long; English is the shortest section at just 28 minutes.
How to Pass the TEAS Test with My Online Study System
As you can see, there’s SO much that goes into how to pass the TEAS test. If you’d like a step-by-step system for your TEAS prep to help you pass your exam, check out my premium program from Prenursing Smarter. Students who use this program increase their average assessment scores by 25% (that’s a 15 point boost!).
The program’s built around my 4-step study framework that I built after working with thousands of busy college students. You’ll get 60+ lessons, to help you master the most important TEAS concepts necessary for passing the test.
Video lessons will cover
- How to work with long Reading passages
- How to solve TEAS math word problems
- How to master the periodic table of elements
- How to save time on English punctuation questions
- How to understand the cardiovascular system
- And more!
Ready to study smarter? Enroll in Prenursing Smarter today!
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.