What Is The TEAS? All You Need to Know


The Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) is an exam that evaluates students’ readiness for university programs in the health science field, mainly nursing programs. For institutions that provide competitive nursing programs, the TEAS is an admissions requirement. Such institutions require TEAS scores as proof of fitness for potential nursing programs or other programs in health sciences. A good TEAS score gives students an advantage in the admissions process even if the exam is not explicitly required. 

The exam is administered by the ATI, an examination board that also offers preparatory courses for the exams. The exam is administered in different formats that allow students to sit for the exam at their convenience. A TEAS candidate could take the test in person at school, online (using an ATI-approved service), or at an ATI testing site. Depending on the institution the student is enrolled in, the method of testing may be determined by the institution for the student.

The requirement for passing the course also depends on the institution. Different institutions set different score requirements while ATI scores the test. The test is scored by assigning a weight to each section. The levels of difficulty in the questions fluctuate throughout the exam. 

The exam is made up of 170 questions: 150 scored questions and 20 unscored, covering four basic competency areas which are math, science, reading, and English and language usage. Each competency area has questions that are both scored and unscored. The multiple-choice format test takes about 3hour 30minutes to complete, with four potential answers for each question. 

What Is The Purpose Of The TEAS Test?

The main purpose of the test is to gauge whether or not students are prepared for a nursing program and have an understanding of subjects and concepts that they should have been acquainted with in high school and half of college. College admissions boards use the scores of the exam as a form of an evaluation tool to determine whether the applicant has knowledge of essential subjects and has the basic knowledge to excel in a health science program such as nursing. 

How To Study For The TEAS?

There are several ways to prepare for the TEAS. Although the exams may seem daunting, proper preparation will prevent poor performance. ATI offers students preparatory materials and resources to get the best possible results. The first thing to do is to verify with your institution which type of test you are required to take. Then set a date, time, and location for the test so you are more conscious of how long you have to prepare for the exam. To prepare effectively, make sure to have at least six weeks of study time before the date of the exam. 

The next step would be to have all preparatory materials handy. ATI offers students a variety of study packages that include study manuals, tutorials, and practice tests that are available for purchase on their website. The study packages cost as little as $25 to about $249.  Study materials are available online and could be printed as well. 

Another way to study for the TEAS is to opt for prep resources online and through websites that are focused on nursing programs and nurse licensing exams. Although some of these courses are free, test-takers would have to pay for a more comprehensive resource. If you are working within a budget then studying with the free material provided maybe your best option. 

One of the most important ways to prepare for the exam is to take practice tests. Whether you are using paid or free plans and resources, taking practice plans is necessary. Taking multiple tests allows you to become familiar with the test format, timing, and content areas. This gives students the chance to mentally prepare for the exam by knowing what to expect from the exam and how to get a favorable score. 

How To Pass The TEAS Test?

Nobody writes the exam to fail. The general idea is to be successful. Below are a few tips to ensure that you pass the TEAS test. 

  • Know what to expect 

Before taking the test, have as much knowledge about it as possible. Know what to expect from, how many questions are set, and how much time you would be given to answer those questions. Also learn the sections and format of the exam. The exams consist of 170 questions to be answered within 3hours 30minutes. It is computer-based and calculators will not be permitted however students will be allowed access to a rough sheet for calculations. 

  • Study the subjects on the test

The exam tests student knowledge in three essential subjects: math, English, and science. Having an understanding of these subjects gives students a competitive edge in the TEAS test. Online courses help you identify the areas where you need the most work and help you gain confidence in that area. There are several self-paced courses with flexible plans and budget-friendly packages that allow you to prepare for the exam. 

  • Check out additional TEAS prep resources

Several additional prep resources are available online ranging from books to practice tests and full prep programs. ATI, the company that designed the exam also offers several study materials and options that are available to students for free and for an affordable price should you choose a more comprehensive package. Compare several course offerings in terms of price, product offering, and quality. 


 The TEAS is nothing to be intimidated by. The exams are as easy to pass as they are to fail; it is all a matter of how prepared you are for it. A good TEAS score could be what determines your entrance into the nursing program of your dreams and put you ahead of other students. When writing the exam, students are only allowed to enter the testing centers with a photo ID and a NO.2 pencil. Any additional material will be collected by exam proctors and returned at the end of the exam session. Remember to verify with your institution the mode through which the test would be administered. Also, verify the cut-off points of the institution you are applying to. 

Helen Vlasova
Helen is the co-founder of, a career guidance website for students and young professionals. She has a degree in English from the University of Michigan. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and traveling.

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