Frequently Asked Questions About the TEAS Exam

The TEAS Exam is a mandatory test for students to enroll in nursing or allied health school. This critical test can significantly impact whether or not you get into one of these schools, so it’s essential to do well on it.

This exam can feel very overwhelming, as a lot is riding on it, so it’s a good idea to learn a little bit more about it. That’s why we’ve compiled these frequently asked questions about the TEAS Exam below.

How Is the TEAS Exam Structured?

The TEAS exam is 100 percent multiple-choice and has four subjects:

  • Mathematics
  • Reading
  • English Language and Usage
  • Science

These sections cover areas like numbers, algebra, data, life science, the human body, vocabulary, integration of knowledge, and more and a total of 170 multiple choice questions with four possible answers.

How Long Does the TEAS Exam Take?

The TEAS exam takes a total of about three and a half hours. Each section has a designated time limit to break down the total, as seen below:

  • Mathematics: 54 minutes
  • Reading: 64 minutes
  • English Language & Usage: 28 minutes
  • Science: 63 minutes

You may also have short breaks in between each section, which could slightly change the total time.

What Does the TEAS Exam Measure?

The TEAS test is a predictor test, meaning it uses statistics and strategic questions to judge whether or not a student will be able to graduate nursing school. It measures someone’s ability and academic preparedness based on the rigors and expectations of a nursing program.

You must include your TEAS score with your application to nursing school, and the school will consider it during the admissions period. These scores also help nursing students assess their strengths and weaknesses to best prepare for the educational journey ahead.

What Is Considered a Good Score on the TEAS Exam?

Your TEAS score measures your level of academic preparedness. Academic preparedness ranks you on one of five levels starting from the lowest percentage:

  • Developmental
  • Basic
  • Proficient
  • Advanced
  • Exemplary

Generally, the average school’s admissions office will accept scores between 60 percent and 70 percent or higher. Many consider a good score to be over 75; however, every school has a different policy.

Some schools base admissions on a minimum total score, as mentioned above. Other schools require specific minimum scores across each content area of the exam. It’s always best to confirm the minimum necessary TEAS score for the school you’re applying to.

How Long Should I Study for the TEAS Exam?

Generally, studying is more effective when done in shorter, more frequent sessions. It’s best to take three or more days per week and set them aside to study for one to three hours.

ATI Testing recommends students take at least six weeks to prepare for the TEAS.

Every student is different, and some may need more or less time to study the material. If you’re unsure of where you stand for this test, try taking a diagnostic test. There are plenty of free TEAS practice tests online and TEAS exam prep books that can give you a good idea of how much studying you need to complete.

Can You Take the TEAS Exam More Than Once?

The number of times you can take the TEAS Exam depends mainly on the school. Some schools only allow students to take the test twice in total. Other schools will let you take the test twice in 12 months.

Still, more schools allow students to retake the test once every admissions cycle, which is about a three-four-month period spanning the end of one semester and the beginning of the next. At all other times of the academic year, you may take it as many times as you’d like.

Regardless of the retake policy of a school, most institutions will require you to wait 30 to 45 days before retesting.

Can you take the TEAS Exam without studying?

Technically, yes – you can take the TEAS Exam without studying. However, it is not a good idea to do so. The TEAS is an important step in your academic journey, and taking it without studying can put you in a difficult position.

Reflect on the previous question about taking the exam more than once. Taking the TEAS test without studying puts you at a high risk of scoring low. Depending on the school you’re applying to and its policy, you may not be able to take the test in time for their current admissions cycle.

Generally, taking the TEAS Exam without studying is pointless and can set you back in your career goals. You should always prepare ahead of time each time you take this exam.

How Hard Is the TEAS Exam?

The TEAS Exam is fairly difficult simply because nursing schools are very competitive. Therefore, you must secure good, impressive scores to outrank other applicants.

If you struggle with standardized testing, you may find the TEAS Exam even more difficult than others. Some individuals struggle under certain criteria more than others as well. So, it’s essential to identify your weak points in the material and focus your studies on those areas.

The more you study and prepare for the test, the easier it will be. Don’t underestimate the material and walk in unprepared, as it is a challenging exam.

Are You Allowed to Use a Calculator on the TEAS Exam?

The mathematics portion of the TEAS test does allow you to use a calculator. However, you may not bring your own calculator to the exam. The testing center provides calculators to test-takers, and online tests will use a digital version on the computer screen.

What Should I Bring to the TEAS Exam?

You need to bring three basic items to the TEAS Exam:

  • Valid photo ID (example: driver’s license)
  • Student ID card for local schools
  • ATI email confirmation

Students taking the exam will need to register on the ATI website and pay the $81 exam fee.

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Michelle Tsou

Contributor at ExamCave. Michelle graduated with a BA in English from Portland State University. She hopes to one day run her own test-prep organization.