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Every student in the United States aspiring to go to nursing school must take the TEAS and forward their scores to their desired school along with their application. The TEAS is, therefore, one of the most vital examinations in the United States, as it assesses the aptitude of incoming nursing students before their freshman year in college.
The test is frequently updated to reflect the changing educational landscape in the United States, as well as the growing demands of the nursing profession in various healthcare settings. The exam has four sections evaluating Reading, Mathematics, Science, and English and Language with the sections having 53 questions, 36 questions, 53 questions, and 28 questions, respectively.
The Composite Score on the TEAS Test
An evaluation of the four sections of the TEAS yields a composite score that represents the student’s main score on the exam. There is no standard pass mark for nursing schools since each school has its admission policy. Nonetheless, most schools will admit students who have a composite score of at least 60 percent. Passing the TEAS is a necessary step if you want to be admitted to your desired nursing program. The goal of this study guide is to help you navigate the study process for the exam and ensure that you are adequately prepared to take the test.
The TEAS exam is constantly updated to reflect the changing demands of the nursing profession as well as the changes in the educational landscape. Therefore, the reading materials get revamped from time to time. Recent updates have focused on the Reading section. The subsections have received a revamp to become Key Ideas and Details, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, and Craft and Structure. The Reading section is still presented to candidates with multiple-choice questions, and students are required to provide answers based on texts and passages.
Below is an in-depth review of the question categories:
Having about 11 questions, this is the exam’s shortest section. The focus of this section is how sources and evidence are used in research or academic writing. The student is expected to navigate scenarios with various kinds of evidence and carry out various related tasks, such as analyzing assertions connected to pieces of evidence. Evidence can be presented in several ways, and the student must know how to separate primary sources from secondary ones. The TEAS exam may require you to examine both sources and identify existing similarities or differences. It may also require you to inference your work with the passages provided as the foundation to provide evidence for your arguments.
The Craft and Structure subsection has 14 questions. It focuses on the organization of work as well as the framing of stances and intentions. To answer questions under this category, you will read a passage and use the content of the passage to answer questions, testing your ability to recognize objectivity or subjectivity, your ability to identify the intentions of a writer, and your understanding of the various licenses writers have to organize their work.
This part has 22 questions and is the longest ‘Reading’ section category. It evaluates skills such as the ability to identify sequential patterns, the ability to simplify complicated or lengthy ideas and condense them to a summary that can easily be understood, and the ability to pick out information from various sources, when necessary while making appropriate inferences. It also tests the ability to understand and obey directions, as well as the ability to recognize themes and evidence in a given work.
How to Do Well in the Reading Section
Since the TEAS exam is a timed test, some students try to read the passages provided as fast as possible to save time. Naturally, this leads to the students missing critical information in the text. To avoid this result, you should read the passages carefully, while also remembering that you have a time limit. There is enough time to read each passage provided at least two times. As you read the text, you should note the themes the writer is exploring, the intentions and stances of the author, and the evidence the author provides to support the claims they make.
Besides the passages, data will be presented in various ways using text or graphics, and you will be asked to decipher these data sets. Reading graphic data requires practice, and this is why you should do enough practice before taking the TEAS exam. The average nurse has to read and interpret visual data, so this is a very useful skill to have. In a typical healthcare setting, patients’ data is presented using charts and graphs, and nurses are required to interpret them and arrive at solutions that are ideal for the patients under their care.
To avoid spending more time than is necessary on the Reading section, you should read efficiently. If you encounter vocabulary you don’t understand, don’t dwell on it for too long. Likewise, if you encounter questions you don’t understand, move onto the next question and come back to these questions later on, when you are done with the rest of the test. Naturally, getting good at this process takes practice, and this is why you should practice your test-taking skills using up-to-date TEAS resources.
The three categories in the TEAS ‘English and Language Usage Review’ section are Knowledge of Language, Conventions of Standard English, and Vocabulary Acquisition. A candidate should read the selections of content provided to identify and correct errors, and also recognize style and authorial stance and intent. Each of the three sections is explained below.
This part is pretty straightforward and entails your ability to recognize various words and provide accurate definitions. The process of arriving at the right definition varies from word to word and will depend on the context, your knowledge of the word, its root, prefix or suffix, and the intention of the author. In most instances, the context provides the best clue to the meaning of a word. Nonetheless, in the TEAS exam, a vocabulary question does not, in any shape or form, mirror vocabulary tests in English language vocabulary exams. The section only has six questions.
This part has nine questions, and it evaluates your ability to pinpoint and provide an analysis of the structure and framing of a piece of writing, and the points the writer intends to deliver. It tests a student’s ability to organize ideas. This ability aids communication and is critical in environments such as healthcare settings, where accurate, complete, and reliable communication is crucial. The Knowledge of Language section is delivered in different ways, including asking students to read pieces of text and find ways to develop better and organize the writing or decide whether the work is formal or casual and improve on it to make it clearer.
This part has nine questions and deals with conventions of the English language, also known as grammar. It will, therefore, evaluate your ability to organize sentences, spell words correctly, and use punctuation well.
How to Best Approach the English and Language Usage Section
As noted earlier, carefully reading the material in this section is vital to your success. The time provided is enough to read and understand the texts. You should not rush through the section, and neither should you waste time by dwelling on concepts or ideas you don’t understand for any longer than is necessary. When you understand the provided texts well, you will be able to quickly make out what each question requires of you and know where to find the answers if you have to refer back to the source text. A deep understanding of the text will also make it easier to figure out the meaning of various words or concepts based on the contexts they have been used. Knowing how to navigate this section is a skill that can be learned through practice. Therefore, we recommend that you take some initiative and practice using mock exams or past TEAS tests.
TEAS exams rely on multiple-choice answer questions, and this allows you to utilize the elimination technique to answer questions. By crossing out answers that are obviously wrong, you narrow down your choices to a few options that are likely to be right. This will help you save time and free up a few minutes to direct to more taxing questions.
You should prepare for the English and Language section just as you would prepare for any other test. Read extensively and frequently, so that you develop your ability to spot patterns and formulate answers that often recur in various shapes and forms. Reading extensively also exposes you to a wide array of concepts and vocabularies that are likely to be used in the TEAS test, and this will put you at a tremendous advantage. There are several reading materials you can rely on for this process, including TEAS study guides and practice tests. Take advantage of every resource you can lay your hands on.
Nursing is effectively a science profession, and science goes hand in hand with mathematics. Several math concepts are utilized in nursing education, and you should familiarize yourself with these concepts as a nursing student. A nurse typically uses several math subjects in the healthcare settings they work in daily. The two subsections below give you an overview of what the TEAS test will require of you in the math section. The questions are usually covered under Numbers and Algebra or Measurement and Data.
This section is shorter than the other section, as it has nine questions, while the Numbers and Algebra subsection usually averages about 23 questions. Nonetheless, it is not a walk in the park as it will require you to deal with quantitative data presented in several ways. The subsection will require you to do several things including translating measurement units from standard to metric or vice versa, reading and interpreting data presented in graphs and tables, analyzing various sets of data and information, providing solutions to various equations, describing the relationships of various variables, and analyzing information presented in graphical formats.
This subsection features an average of 23 questions and is more complex than the Measurement and Data subsection above. You will be required to meet several objectives and answer questions that are presented in several different formats. Typical questions include converting mathematical expressions and equations to a different format, translating a statement to a mathematical equation, dealing with percentages, ratios, and fractions, and providing solutions to word problems. The subsection also features single-variable equations and estimations.
How to Best Approach the TEAS Math Section
As you would expect, the Math section is relatively more demanding, and candidates have to give it more attention to pass the test. The question of time also comes into the picture, as you want to be thorough enough in this section, while also leaving enough time to tackle other problems in the TEAS test. Therefore, as has been noted before in the other sections, you need practice, experience, and knowledge to handle this section. During the exam, you want to give every question adequate attention so that you don’t miss any critical information, and so that you can be efficient when answering questions. Paradoxically, giving each question enough attention allows you to spend less time on each question as you get to understand them well, thereby allowing you to figure out what information is necessary to answer the questions adequately. This is important because math questions typically include irrelevant facts and information that are meant to misguide or throw off unprepared students. Giving each question adequate attention will make you perform better by helping you eliminate such irrelevant pieces of information.
To be efficient, you need to take advantage of the elimination technique. The fact that the test is a multiple-choice test makes the elimination technique valuable, and it will help you save a lot of time. If you have adequately prepared for the exam, it will be clear after reading and understanding a question that some of the answers provided can’t be the correct answer. Eliminating them leaves you with a few choices, and so helps you save time. For some math questions, an accurate answer can be found within a certain well-defined range. Knowing this, you can use a ballpark number to gauge the suitability of some of the choices available to you.
Further, if you can’t figure out which specific answer is the correct one, you can look at the numbers in the question and gauge the range where the correct answer will likely fall, and so make an educated guess that is likely to turn out to be the correct answer. Remember, however, that you don’t have to provide an answer to every question before you answer the next one. If you can’t settle on the correct answer, it is best to move to the next question and come back to the troubling question when you are done with the rest of the test.
As is the case with most Math exams, if a question requires you to show your work, be as detailed as possible and don’t skip a step that can earn you additional marks. In instances where the answer is clear to you immediately, don’t be tempted to present it. You may miss out on marks because of this. Further, if you are going through your answers after completing the test, a detailed step-by-step process will allow you to gauge if you arrived at the correct answer, and spot those instances where your judgment and assumptions were wrong. Going over your work is a critical step. Besides helping you spot where you made the incorrect assumptions, you will also be able to spot instances where you misread numbers or symbols or miscalculated something.
Science is an important pillar of the medical field. The nursing field, in particular, draws a lot from science, and nursing students and nurse practitioners are required to have a certain level of understanding of scientific concepts. Therefore, TEAS exams test prospective nursing students on their proficiency in various scientific concepts that are useful in the nursing profession. The Science Review section covers Life and Physical Science, Scientific Reasoning, and Human Anatomy and Physiology. The three subsections are explained below.
This category looks at science fundamentally and will evaluate whether you know how science works, rather than assess your mastery of various scientific facts. For instance, a test may evaluate your knowledge of what constitutes a reliable scientific experiment, how quantitative data is collected using research equipment, how inferences are generated when one is presented with data, and the process of identifying bad and good experimental procedures. This is the shortest subsection of the Science Review section, and it only has seven questions.
This subsection has eight questions and evaluates your knowledge of various concepts in biology, physics, and chemistry. Therefore, you should have basic knowledge of how various chemicals react on interacting with various stimuli, the roles of various macromolecules in biology, as well as the various forms of matter and how they relate to each other.
This is the longest subsection under Science Review, and it features an average of 32 questions. It covers how the human body looks and works. You will be assessed on your understanding of the skeletal system, respiratory system, immune system, cardiovascular system, genitourinary system, endocrine system, neuromuscular system, integumentary system, and the reproductive system. Further, you will be assessed on your knowledge of various aspects of human anatomy.
How to Best Approach the TEAS Science Test
The science section is relatively complex and requires thorough preparation. The test will require you to draw from a wide base of scientific knowledge from several disciplines. Keeping track of all this information can be a challenge as the various scientific disciplines covered under this section are further divided into other smaller scientific disciplines. To avoid getting overwhelmed, you should master one subject at a time before you move onto the next.
Doing one thing at a time is an efficient task management method that will help you a great deal when preparing for this section. You will find that most scientific ideas have crossovers over several disciplines. This means that when you understand one discipline well, the next discipline becomes a lot easier to master. There is always adequate time to prepare for the TEAS as it is offered throughout the year. Do not rush the process and go to the exam unprepared. Because of the nature of science, TEAS rarely test for surface-level understanding of concepts. To answer questions, you will have to dig deep, relate concepts, and figure out ways in which they can be applied to various situations.
Generally, the most important thing to remember to pass the TEAS exams is to study thoroughly and schedule your exam far enough that you have enough time to cover all the topics and sections the exam normally assesses. Since you have information on the general areas that are likely to be assessed, you should familiarize yourself with possible exam questions. This exposure will help you recognize patterns and afford you enough practice to be able to distill questions to their essentials before answering them. Math and science exam questions sometimes have information that is irrelevant or unnecessary to answering the questions, so the ability to distill a question to its essentials will help you a lot during an exam.