Take a deep breath and let’s dive into an important body system for the TEAS, the Respiratory System!
⭐ At the end of this post, you’ll find an audio lesson to review several common TEAS test questions ⭐
You will be tested on the Respiratory System in the TEAS science section. You can’t predict the exact number of questions and the exact topic of each question, but you can prepare for what you are most likely to see on the TEAS. That’s what we’ll discuss here.
In the TEAS science section, you can expect to get 32 scored Anatomy and Physiology questions. You might have a few more because 6 questions in the TEAS science section are not scored (and you won’t know which are which). The Anatomy and Physiology questions focus on the human body and its organ systems, one of them being (obviously) the Respiratory System.
The Respiratory System includes anatomical structures like the nasal cavity, trachea, lungs, and alveoli. This system’s physiological functions include stuff like making air move in and out of the body. Since you are preparing for a health care career, however, you do need to know a few more details than that. 😉
Respiratory System Basics for the TEAS
In particular, the TEAS might ask you details surrounding 4 body processes that we call, in simple terms, “breathing”:
In order to pass the TEAS, you’ll need to be able to define these terms and summarize where they occur in the body. You’ll need to be able to compare and contrast them and identify important organs and/or tissues involved.
Let’s take a closer look now at the fourth process listed, diffusion. Diffusion refers to how gasses are exchanged in the body. The two gasses, oxygen and carbon dioxide, diffuse down a concentration gradient.
What do I mean by a concentration gradient? Let’s look at how diffusion happens when you take a breath in, an inspiration or inhalation.
When you inhale, the air that’s coming into the body (the inhaled breath) has more oxygen concentrated in it than does what’s inside the body. Meaning, there’s more oxygen in the air than in you. Therefore, the oxygen moves from an area of more concentration (the inhaled breath) to an area of low concentration (the oxygen-depleted blood). The reverse happens with carbon dioxide.
Grab your Respiratory System Study Guide Workbook
By the way, if you are thinking, “Wait a minute. I should be taking notes on this…” I got you covered. You are welcome to grab a free copy of the TEAS Respiratory System study guide workbook. This study guide is a sample workbook from the premium course. Every body system gets its own workbook so that you can keep your notes structured and organized. You’ll get checklists, diagrams, practice questions, and a fast-action review for every body system.
Create your free account and get your TEAS respiratory system workbook here.
OK, now let’s get back to a few more details about the Respiratory System.
So, you’ll need to know where diffusion happens in the body. This is a physiological process, and, since this is the Anatomy and Physiology section of the TEAS, you’ll also need to know the anatomical structures involved, too.
Important Respiratory System Anatomy for the TEAS
The alveoli are important structures for diffusion. They are the little sacs that fill the lungs and increase surface area. This increased surface area means that gas exchange, or diffusion, happens efficiently.
More surface area = more opportunities for gas to move between the environment and the body.
It’s like if you are at a ride at Disneyland. If you are waiting to get on the ride, you are oxygen. You are traveling around in the environment when you start to get drawn toward, say, Pirates of the Caribbean. You are being pulled into the ride, like an inhalation into the body. When you get in line for the ride, it’s like you are being inhaled inside the nasal cavity (OK, this is getting weird).
You have to travel through those winding lines (through the trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, etc.) before you finally get to the Pirates of the Caribbean, uh, I mean the lungs. But to actually go on the ride, you first have to get into one of those little cars. This is where the exchange happens. A car pulls up full of tourists who have just had fun hanging out with an animatronic Johnny Depp. They are carbon dioxide. They get out of the car, off the ride, and are exhaled out of the building.
Now you, oxygen, can hop on the ride, and enjoy your tour through the body that is a pirate’s life for me. (OK, this is now definitely weird.)
But back to surface area! If there are more lines, more cars, and more room, Disneyland can process more tourists through Pirates of the Caribbean faster. They’ve increased the surface area to hold more people. That’s why the lines fold around on themselves: it increases the amount of people that can fit into the same space. (By the way, surface area is also very important in the gastrointestinal system, but this metaphor would get *even weirder* if we went there...)
Rather than making the lungs bigger, our bodies increase the surface area so that more points of exchange can fit into a small area, aka you!
OK, so let’s review what we’ve covered so far as you prepare for the TEAS science section. Diffusion happens in the Respiratory System, exchanging of oxygen and carbon dioxide, two gasses. One place diffusion happens in the alveoli, which are small sacs that fill the lungs to increase surface area. An increase of surface area increases the efficiency of gas exchange.
Now, the alveoli are also lined with a liquid called surfactant. This liquid helps move the oxygen that’s in the air into the blood. This is another important point about gas exchange–the body needs to get the oxygen from a gas (air) into a liquid (blood). The surfactant also helps this aspect of the gas exchange.
Therefore, diffusion increases with both increased surface area and surfactant.
More about TEAS Respiratory System Questions
Now, there’s a lot more you might need to know about the Respiratory System for the TEAS. For example, oxygen and carbon dioxide travel through the body via the cardiovascular system. This is called perfusion, and it’s a useful term to know for the TEAS.
Speaking of the Cardiovascular System, you’ll also want to know how the Respiratory System interacts with other body systems. It also interacts with the Neuromuscular System. For instance…
👉 Can you name the muscles involved in ventilation?
👉 Can you name the region of the brain that controls the breathing rate?
You’ll also need to know what can go wrong with the Respiratory System, its pathologies. For instance…
👉 Can you briefly summarize the difference between epiglottitis and cystic fibrosis?
If you’d like to learn more about this, you are welcome to check out this audio lesson that I’m happy to share with you.
If you’ve downloaded the TEAS Respiratory System study guide, you’ll notice that the last page has 10 practice TEAS questions.
We’ll go over the answers to each of these questions in the audio lesson, so please give it a listen and enjoy.
Sign up here to get the TEAS study guide workbook.
The 10-page workbook and audio lesson will help you…
✔ Identify 3 important Respiratory System pathologies that you are likely to see on the TEAS
✔ Label the structures of the upper and lower respiratory tracts
✔ Differentiate the important features of ventilation
Before we end here, I want to share with you how you can apply what we’ve discussed here to every other body system of the TEAS.
When it comes to studying for the Respiratory System–or any other body system for the TEAS–it’s super helpful to focus on 5 key areas:
- The anatomical structures–the body organs, tissues, and/or cells that are unique to each system
- The physiological functions–the processes and actions that occur at the different structures
- The way the system interacts with other body systems
- The way this system communicates with the body
- The pathologies of this system
In general, each of these 5 study points form the foundation of what you’ll be tested on in the TEAS Anatomy and Physiology section. To read more about the body systems on the TEAS, hop on over to this page of more free resources for your TEAS Anatomy and Physiology study prep.
If you’d like to get detailed lessons for every body system tested on the TEAS, be sure to check out my online TEAS prep program.
Here’s what a past student had to say about using Prenursing Smarter to study for the TEAS online:
“I took my TEAS exam yesterday and I received a 92%. I honestly couldn’t have done it without your program so I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Your Prenursing Smarter program is absolutely amazing and tremendously helpful. While taking the exam, I kept hearing your voice in my head about the strategies to take and how to tackle each section. My goal was to score 90 and above and I am so happy to have reached it.”
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.