The Test of Essential Academic Skills ("TEAS" test) is an exam that potential nursing students may be required to take to ensure they have the academic skills and knowledge to succeed in nursing school. The test has 170 multiple-choice questions and assesses knowledge in the following categories:

  • Reading
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • English and Language Usage

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Because the TEAS test is used as admission criteria in many nursing programs, students should be prepared to take the exam if required. The following are study tips that may help a nursing school applicant get prepared for and succeed in passing this test:

1. Know What to Expect

The TEAS test is a computerized exam consisting of 170 multiple-choice questions. The test taker has up to three and a half hours to complete the test, with each section broken down into specific time limits:

  • Reading – 64 minutes
  • Mathematics – 54 minutes
  • Science – 63 minutes
  • English and Language Usage – 28 minutes

There is a 10-minute break included in the test. If any other breaks are needed, it is deducted from the total test time. Additionally, 20 test questions are not counted towards the final grade as they are "test" questions that may be used in future TEAS exams.

2. Get a Study Buddy, or Form a Study Group

Studying with other test-takers is extremely beneficial. Each member of the group has strengths and weaknesses and can assist others in their weaker areas. One can also share learning techniques that may benefit others. Knowledge-sharing is so valuable in any setting, but especially in the academic realm. Putting a "shout out" or ad at the school or an online community to recruit students to a study group is an excellent idea.

3. Utilize Online Test Prep Resources

The Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI) is the creator of the TEAS test. Their website has various study guides and learning options available for prospective nursing students to use. For example, they offer online tutorials, study manuals, practice tests, and learning strategies to help lead students toward success.

Since ATI developed the TEAS test, its website is a great place to start. However, there are many online resources for students preparing to take the TEAS test. One should always check ratings and ask around before investing in an online TEAS study program.

4. Take an In-Person Test Prep Class

Some learners have more success with in-person instruction or review. The interactive method of learning helps them retain information and better apply concepts to the test material. While some private entities offer test prep classes, some colleges may offer them as well. It behooves the student to do some research to find a reputable class; check ratings and go by word of mouth to ensure the quality of the class.

5. Get Printed Study Guides

There's something to be said for printed books and study guides. It's cost-effective, and students can mark up the pages, flag important concepts, write notes in the margins, and easily flip to the sections they need. Some students learn best by writing down concepts to remember the material. For those types of learners, printed books are beneficial. For those on an extra-tight budget, consider a used study guide or book (just remember to ensure that it includes up-to-date information).

6. Organize Your Study Time

It's essential that the test-taker set aside time to study each day. The TEAS test should NOT be attempted without proper preparation and study time. A great way to stay organized is to assign a specific day and time to study. For example, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. When one makes "appointments" to study, it creates accountability and leads to a higher chance of following through with reviewing the material. Calendars, phone apps/alerts, and personal planners can help students stay on schedule with their study times.

7. Take Breaks

One should be diligent about assigning themselves study time, but break time is equally as important. One can only retain so much information at a time. Too much cramming can lead to a mental shutdown – no more information can be absorbed! Doing something fun or relaxing to break up the intensity is an excellent way to recharge before the next study session. Even a 10-minute walk or coffee break can make a big difference.

8. Take Care of Yourself

It's important for the test-taker to take care of their own health and well-being. It's not mentally or physically healthy to spend every waking hour studying and preparing. That kind of stress can lead to catching a cold or virus right before the test – no fun! One should eat well, drink lots of water, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. Don't forget to spend some time with loved ones as well. It's all about balance. These actions will help one focus during material review as well as during the exam.

9. Take Your Time

Taking an exam should never be a race, and neither should preparing for a test. Slow and steady is the most effective approach to studying and test-taking. One should read questions carefully and answer with the best response. Skimming the material or test questions can lead to key concepts getting missed. However, one should not spend too much time on a test question – the TEAS test is still being timed. When in doubt, take a deep breath to get centered and continue on.

10. Maintain Confidence

One should be confident in their abilities and prepare for the TEAS test. Students looking to enroll in a nursing program have a strong academic background so far – they have learned much of the content they will be tested on. Proper preparation for the TEAS test using the tips listed above will help build confidence and self-assurance, leading to a higher chance of success.

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