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How to Pass the TEAS on the First Try

Getting into nursing school means taking the TEAS. Here’s how to pass it on the first try.

If you want to become a nurse you’ll have to take a few tests. The NCLEX is the most well-known of nursing exams, but it’s not the only one. If you want to get into nursing school, you’ll have to pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills or TEAS. The test is just under four hours and will quiz you on reading, math, science, and English. Taking it can be stressful. However, it’s possible to pass the TEAS on the first try. This is how you do it.

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Practice, practice, practice

The last thing you want to do with any major test is go into it cold. If you’re going to pass the TEAS on the first try, you need to practice. Get the ATI Study Manual, and make sure you have the most up-to-date edition for the version of the TEAS that you’re taking. It’s published by the company that makes the test, so you can be assured that the material will be up-to-date and relevant.

Also, go online and try a few sample questions and prep tests, like Kaplan’s practice TEAS. You might have to pay for a few online tests, but it’s worth it. You don’t want test day to be the first time you see the TEAS. Doing practice like this will give you insight into how questions are worded, what the test generally asks about, and how you should come to an answer. It’ll teach you the language and the rhythm of the test, so when you sit down on test day you’ll be in familiar territory.

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Read the directions carefully

After you’ve practiced the test a few times, you’ll start to feel more confident about it. It’s possible you’ll go into test day feeling good and well-equipped, and you might want to speed through the test because you feel like you have it down. Resist that urge. Even if you’ve seen similar practice questions dozens of times, take a moment to read all the directions. Questions might not end up being about what you think they’re about, so watch out for twists or turns that will play on your assumptions.

Answer every question

Skipped questions count as wrong answers on the TEAS, so it’s in your interest to answer every single question, even if you’re not completely certain about what the answer is. Make educated guesses when you have to, and acknowledge that you’re not going to get every question right. Very few people get a perfect score on the TEAS, and the test also includes non-graded segments that are not always apparent to the test-takers. There is a small chance that a particularly hard question might not actually affect your final score, so if you see something complicated and unfamiliar, don’t sweat it. Just make sure it’s complete.

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Don’t keep score in your head

Don’t dwell on the questions or ruminate over whether you got something wrong. At the same time, don’t try to tally your victories while taking the test. That will take your mind away from the task at hand; during the TEAS, you’ll need to give every question your full attention. This can be difficult. You’ll want to think about your progress or how you’re doing. Don’t, though. Stay focused and remember what you studied. Be mindful of your task, and do your best in the moment.


After all, you’ll have to be focused, mindful, and good at recalling information when you become a nurse. The TEAS is just the beginning.


After the TEAS and nursing school, the NCLEX awaits! Be sure to download our free e-book, “49 Proven NCLEX Strategies” for tips on mastering the biggest test in nursing. Good luck studying!