What You Need to Know Now About TEAS Preparation

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If you haven’t noticed, the world of nursing is full of acronyms. For example, to become an RN, you should earn your BSN from a CCNE-accredited program with high NCLEX pass rates. While this acronym-stuffed statement describes our accelerated nursing schools in Boston and Charlotte, it doesn’t mention the TEAS® as being an important step to getting started in our ABSN program.

Had your fill of acronyms yet? Allow us to explain. The TEAS acronym stands for the Test of Essential Academic Skills™, a basic aptitude test that allows us to determine if students in our accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program have what it takes to think like a nurse.

Administered through ATI Nursing Education, the TEAS helps our nursing faculty gauge your reading, math, science, and English skills prior to getting started in our ABSN program. By knowing your strengths and weaknesses, we can create a customized remediation plan to help you build any necessary skills and work toward your success in the program.


Overall, you should view taking the TEAS as an opportunity to refresh your academic skills and better position yourself for a successful nursing career. Like any college education, our ABSN program involves a lot of time and money, so you want to make sure you get the maximum return on your investment.

A Look at the Latest TEAS

As the healthcare industry continuously evolves, it is important for ATI to make sure its testing keeps pace with how the current nursing field works. On August 31, 2016, ATI launched its sixth edition of the test, changing how prospective nursing students approach TEAS preparation.

Like the TEAS V, the new ATI TEAS has 170 multiple choice questions in the same four content areas—reading, math, science and English—and gives students 209 minutes to complete the exam. While the content areas are the same, the topics, amount of questions, and time limit for these areas have changed.

There are also numerous unscored questions throughout the test that ATI will consider adding to the test in the future. However, you won’t know which of these questions are unscored, so treat every question equally.

New TEAS Format

Reading Content Area

  • 53 Questions | 64 Minutes | 31% of Test
  • New Subcategories: Key Ideas and Details, Craft and Structure, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Math Content Area

  • 36 Questions | 54 Minutes | 21% of Test
  • New Subcategories: Numbers and Algebra, Measurement and Data

Science Content Area

  • 53 Questions | 63 Minutes | 31% of Test
  • New Subcategories: Human Anatomy and Physiology, Life and Physical Sciences, Scientific Reasoning

This content area reflects the biggest changes to the TEAS, with the new Human Anatomy and Physiology subcategory. In this subcategory, there are 32 questions and up to 6 unscored questions, accounting for a fifth if the entire exam. Given this heavy emphasis on anatomy, this latest edition of the TEAS requires far better preparedness than before.

English Content Area

  • 28 Questions | 28 Minutes | 17% of Test
  • New Subcategories: Conventions of Standard English, Knowledge of Language, Vocabulary Acquisition

TEAS Preparation Tips

  1. Plan. ATI Nursing Education administers the TEAS all year round. However, because our 16-month ABSN program has starts in January, May, and September, we recommend working with your admissions counselor to determine the test date that best aligns with your academic plan. Applicants attending our ABSN Program in Boston can take the TEAS at our program site in Burlington, Massachusetts. Those interested in our ABSN Program in Charlotte are encouraged to visit the ATI Testing website or a PSI test center to find nearby testing locations.
  2. Prepare. The TEAS covers a lot of material. Therefore, it is best to register for the test well in advance of when you plan to take it. After registering, you will need to get your hands on a good TEAS study guide and develop a regular study routine to avoid last-minute cramming sessions. Be sure to buy a study guide for the ATI TEAS, the sixth version of the exam. While ATI has study guides available for purchase, there are third-party study guides, including ATI TEAS Secrets from Mometrix Test Preparation, that contain far more information and full-length practice tests.
  3. Practice. As you begin your TEAS preparation, you should take an initial practice test to identify any areas of weakness, and then adapt your studies accordingly. After you’ve had some time to study, you should take another TEAS practice test to check for improvement. And, finally, you should take a third practice test a few days before test day to get yourself in test-taking mode. You’ll find Mometrix has free TEAS practice tests available online that cover each of the four content areas.

Good Luck on Taking the TEAS

Overall, if you want to become a nurse, the TEAS is a good indicator of whether or not you have the academic foundation to succeed in nursing school. When completing the ATI TEAS, you will be scored within each individual content area as well as on your overall test performance. Based on your test results, you will be placed on one of the following scales:

  • Developmental, student needs vast improvement before entering nursing school
  • Basic, student needs minor improvement before entering nursing school
  • Proficient, student is ready to enter nursing school
  • Advanced, student will most likely do well in nursing school
  • Exemplary, student will have little or no trouble getting a nursing degree

If you have questions about TEAS preparation and how the test correlates with our ABSN programs in Boston and Charlotte, please contact our admissions team today!

Information Sources: atitesting.com and mometrix.com

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