I realized early on that in order to get into nursing school the biggest determining factors were going to be my grades in my science classes as well as what I scored on the TEAS exam.
In fact, at the state school I wanted to get into, 60% of admission was based on my TEAS score.
In August, I scored a 91 on the exam during my first and only attempt and am proud to say I will be starting nursing school at my college of choice in January.
I’ve since spoken to many students who want to follow in my footsteps and are pretty lost on how to go about preparing and taking the TEAS test. This post is for you.
I’ve also spoken to fellow classmates who just barely made it into nursing school because they scored in the high 60’s on the test. There are many others who didn’t score well enough to get into their first-choice (and often more affordable) school.
If you are serious about getting into nursing school like I was, don’t wing this test.
I believe this test is less about smarts, and more about proper preparation.
Preparation, I can help you with. I’m going to tell you exactly what to do so you too can get a high score on your TEAS exam and guarantee your seat into nursing school.
But before we can get into what to do, there are also a few things not to do.
Three Things Not to Do
1. Do Not Take the TEAS Without Studying
That’s right. Under no circumstances should you take the TEAS test without properly studying for it. This is totally pointless.
I’ve heard of many students taking the TEAS just to “see how it was.” Not a good idea.
If you take the test without studying, you are most likely going to do very poorly and this puts you in a bad position.
You can only take the test twice in a calendar year and there must be a 30-day wait between each test. If you blow the first one, which you most likely will if you don’t study, and the next one you do reasonably well on, but could likely do better, you can’t retake it. That is unless you wait another year.
2. Do Not Schedule Your Test Immediately Prior to Your Application Deadline
Many students procrastinate so much to take the TEAS that they end up scheduling the test right before their nursing school’s application deadline. Don’t do this.
As I’ve just mentioned, you can take the test twice in a calendar year, but there is a 30-day wait in between each test. Be sure to schedule your first test in enough time of the application deadline that if you are not 100% satisfied with your first score, you have time to take the test one more time.
3. Do Not Schedule Your Test Too Early Either
Yes, you don’t want to be too close to your application period that you don’t have the opportunity to retake the test again if you choose, but on the other side you don’t want to take the test way too early either.
I found it helpful to have completed at least most of my science and math classes prior to the TEAS because some of what is covered in your prerequisite classes is addressed on the test.
Prior to Your TEAS Test
1. Purchase the TEAS V Study Package
Go to http://www.atitesting.com/ati_store/product.aspx?zpid=1194 and purchase the TEAS V Study Package. As I’m writing this, it is currently on sale for the killer price of $50. Normal price is $92.
This package is absolutely essential and includes the TEAS V Study Manual and two TEAS V Online Practice Assessments, form A and B.
Many students take a cheaper route and buy just the study manual on Amazon or Ebay. While I love both of these sights for buying other textbooks and a million other items, do not buy your study manual here, as it will not come with the online practice assessments.
The only place you can purchase the manual with the two online assessments is from ATI Testing. If you buy the manual separately and later want to purchase the online assessments, it will cost $39 each, for a costly total of $78.
Are we clear? Buy only the TEAS V Study Package at ATI Testing’s website. You will be happy you did.
2. Schedule Your Test
Once your study package arrives, go to https://www.atitesting.com/home.aspx again and on the lower right hand side you can click on “Register for TEAS.” Follow the prompts.
I highly recommend scheduling your test between two and half to three weeks out. This should give you plenty of time to get through your study materials, but also a short enough time to light a fire under your ass.
I had originally wanted to study for the TEAS during a ten-day break between semesters, but the study manual didn’t get opened once. I find I work much better with deadlines, and my guess is, you do too.
3. Study Everyday
With only two or three weeks until your test, you are now forced to study everyday.
I found it easier to study everyday, versus trying to digest huge amounts of information at once.
I don’t know anyone who really likes to study, but try to make it fun in some way. I found going to the Starbucks around the corner from apartment worked for me. I enjoyed the walk to and from there and looked forward to my Green Tea Frappucciano. The $5 yummy drink was a little treat to myself for putting in the time to study toward my future.
Also, I’ve found the lighting and environment at Starbuck’s is especially awesome for studying at night. When at home, I feel tired. At Starbuck’s I feel awake.
Whether it is Starbucks or not, find a place that works well for you to study and find some little reward that keeps you going back. A library might be another alternative.
4. Read the Entire TEAS V Study Manual and Take Notes
That’s right. Read the entire TEAS V Study Manual from front to back. In addition, take notes, especially on things that you don’t feel 100% confident that you know.
For example, if you read something about the periodic table and are like, “Oh, yeah I remember that from chemistry class two semesters ago, but kind of forget how it works,” write it down.
You are much more likely to retain information if you write it down. It is an active way to learn versus a passive way to learn. Remember, you are not reading just to get through the book, but to retain what you have read.
In doubt, write it down. Sleepy, write it down. Bored, write something down.
Additionally, if there are sections that appear to be harder for you to grasp after rereading it and taking notes on it, bunny ear the page for future review.
5. Do at Least Four, Timed Practice Tests
When you have completed reading the entire study manual and have taken a good notebook full of notes, you are ready for the tests. I recommend doing one test per day starting at least five days prior to your scheduled exam.
Block some time for this as each test will take you close to four hours.
TEAS Test Time Limit = 209 minutes (3 hours and 48 minutes)
There are two practice tests located in the back of your study manual and there are two online assessments at ATI Testing. You can take these in an order you wish, but make sure you take them all.
If you want to score high on the TEAS test you need to have knowledge, but you also need to know how to take the test. Many students run into the problem of not being able to complete the various sections because they simply run out of time; consequently, they get many answers wrong that they weren’t even able to attempt to answer. Additionally, I suspect students are unfamiliar with the style of the test.
In order to overcome these challenges and succeed where other students fail, you need to train yourself to take the TEAS as well as complete it in a timely manner. This is why taking the practice tests may be the most strategic part of what you do. Pull out your iPhone and set the timer according to what section you are taking.
Reading Section = 58 minutes
Mathematics Section = 51 minutes
Science Section = 66 minutes
English Section = 34 minutes
Ready, set, go!
Do your best to stay on pace while taking your practice test. You really want to aim to finish each section in the required amount of time, maybe even with a little time to spare.
I found that during my TEAS test I was only able to finish each section within seconds of being timed out. Most students can’t finish. The thing is, there are more distractions and pressure during the real test. This is why it is essential to get yourself “trained” to stay on pace.
6. Review Where You are Weak
After taking each practice test, score the exam and see how you are doing. You want to be aiming for at least somewhere in the 80’s.
It is critical to identify where your weak areas are. While taking the exam I would write down the numbers of questions I felt unsure of so even if I did get them correct, I could still review them. If you got a question wrong or were unsure of the correct answer, review that topic in your manual or find more information on Google until you are clear on why you were wrong and why the right answer is correct.
7. Do One Last Final Prep
The day before the test, go through the study manual one last time and review sections that were unclear to you at first. These pages should be bunny eared. Reread your notes. Make sure you are confident in areas that were once problematic.
During Your TEAS Test
1. Read Thoroughly and Stay Focused
Read like a lawyer. One word can change the whole meaning of everything.
You will not have time to go back later and review questions. Read each question deliberately and slowly. Do the same with every answer.
If you are unsure of the correct answer, read the question and answers one more time.
If you are still unsure, make your best guess and move on.
Stay focused on your computer. There will be people walking around the room and movement from other test takers. Ignore them.
2. Stay on Pace
Remember to stay on pace. Take the test like you practiced.
Don’t let yourself get stuck too long. It is better to guess on a question and keep moving forward than to get hung up on one question and then not have a chance to complete ten questions at the end of the section.
3. Take a Break Between Every Section
I think this may be one of the biggest reasons I scored so well on the test. I took a break between the reading and math section and again during the math and science section.
Did I really need to pee again? No, but by leaving the testing room it gave me a chance to stretch my legs, give my mind a break, and get ready to switch gears for the next section. I don’t do well hungry or thirsty so I had some water and chomped on a granola bar.
Be sure to take your breaks between the sections and not during a section where the timer is running. In between sections, the timer stops so you can go stretch your legs. Just ask a proctor for permission before leaving.
I ended up being the second to last person in the testing room, but who cares. I likely scored better than any of my fellow test takers.
Do yourself a favor and take a break between each section.
After Your TEAS Test
Upon completing the test, you will get your score. If you have followed my instructions, you should have done very well.
If it isn’t exactly where you want it. Reschedule your test for 31 days later and go take it again. During the wait period, reread the study manual and retake the four practice assessments again.
If you end up taking the TEAS twice, you are able to use whichever test you scored the highest on.
Now What Should You Do?
Go do everything I just told you to do, and not do, and you should kill it on your TEAS test! Good luck!
I’d love to hear what you think about this post. Leave a comment or email me!