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If you’re considering applying to a nursing or allied health program, you’ll need to pass the TEAS or another entrance exam before gaining admission to your desired degree or certificate program.

The Test of Essential Academic Skills, or TEAS, is an entrance exam for applicants of Registered Nursing (RN), Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN/LVN), and other allied health programs. Developed by the Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI), the exam tests a student’s knowledge in science, reading, English, and mathematics. The test consists of 170 multiple choice questions divided into four main sections. Students have 3 hours and 29 minutes to complete the exam. 

Exam components

Each section of the TEAS focuses on a separate content area and is assigned a different time limit. 


The reading section assesses the test-taker’s ability to comprehend multi-paragraph reading passages, in addition to labels, directions, charts, and measurement tools.

Time Limit: 64 minutes

Content covered: 

  • Key ideas and details
  • Craft and structure
  • Integration of knowledge & ideas


Test-takers will be assessed on their knowledge of life sciences, physical science, and earth science, in addition to scientific reasoning and the human body.

Time Limit: 63 minutes

Content covered: 

  • Human anatomy & physiology
  • Life and physical sciences
  • Scientific reasoning

English and Language Usage

Students are expected to demonstrate their knowledge of spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and contextual words.

Time Limit: 28 minutes

Content covered: 

  • Conventions of standard English
  • Knowledge of language
  • Vocabulary acquisition


The mathematics portion of the exam assesses the test-taker’s ability to measure and interpret data in addition to performing various mathematical operations using numbers.

Time Limit: 64 minutes

Content covered: 

  • Numbers and algebra
  • Measurement and data

Source: ATItesting.com 

Tips for success

It’s common for test-takers to feel anxious about an exam. To help you perform your best on test day, Peterson’s recommends students start preparing at least six weeks in advance. A subscription to Peterson’s Nursing School & Allied Health Exams – TEAS Practice Tests gives you the tools you need to assess your understanding of topics you’ll see on the exam and improve your score. Also available from Peterson’s are subscriptions to unlimited test preparation for the National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination (NLN-PAX), and entrance exams developed by the Psychological Services Bureau, including PSB-RN, PSB-PN for nursing students and PSB-HO for health occupation programs.

Before you begin your exam preparation, take a TEAS practice test. Peterson’s test prep subscriptions contain two, full-length practice tests with detailed explanations for every question. Taking a practice test can serve as a diagnostic tool to discover your strengths and weaknesses. Use that information to build a study plan to strengthen your knowledge in areas you need to improve. 

When test day finally arrives, make sure you budget your time on each topic. Pay attention to your pacing on each question to make sure you have enough time to complete each section of the exam.

How to register for an exam

According to ATI Testing, “The ATI TEAS is administered in a standardized environment like a testing center or a school and is overseen by a proctor. Contact the school in which you are applying. Some schools handle administering the test at the school while others will go through a testing center like PSI.”

Register for an exam as soon as you decide to apply for an academic program. Testing dates fill up quickly, as they operate on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Test day

There’s no need to bring a calculator come test day. A four-function calculator will be provided for paper and pencil exams, and a drop-down calculator will be embedded into computerized versions of the test. If you’re taking the exam on a computer, your results should be ready within two days of the test. 

According to ATI Testing, 40 percent of students take the exam more than once. It’s important to note that test-takers are allowed to take the TEAS three times per calendar year. Each school has different admissions requirements, so verify the score needed to pass the exam with your school. 

Need help finding the right program for you? Check out Peterson’s College Discovery Center, featuring quality nursing and healthcare programs.