Is the TEAS Test Hard?

Is the ATI TEAS exam difficult to pass? It depends. Each nursing degree candidate is responsible for properly preparing for the ATI TEAS test. 

Free Practice Tests - use's Free TEAS Practice Tests to prepare for your TEAS test
For More Study Tools - see's Recommended TEAS Study Products to improve your chances of passing.

What is the TEAS Exam?

The TEAS test – which is an acronym for the Test of Essential Academic Skills, is a standardized exam taken by students interested in attending a nursing school in the United States. The TEAS exam is administered by the ATI – the Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI). The latest version of the TEAS Test (which retired the TEAS V exam) was released in 2016. It is now known as the ATI TEAS exam.

The ATI TEAS Test is a time-limited test comprised of 170 multiple-choice questions designed to assess a potential nursing student’s basic nursing skills. Questions from a databank of approved ATI TEAS queries are randomly selected for each specific ATI TEAS exam. As a result, there are countless potential versions of the ATI TEAS exam.

Our Recommended TEAS Study Course


If you need more help, recommends The BoostPrep TEAS review course includes:

  • Math – Review of all TEAS math topics and 200 practice questions.
  • English and Language Usage – Complete grammar review with practice questions.
  • Reading  – Reading tips and strategies with practice reading quizzes.
  • Science - Complete review of Life & Physical sciences and Scientific Reasoning topics.
  • Anatomy & Physiology - Thorough review of all A&P topics with practice questions.
  • 3 Full-length Practice Exams – Timed exams with complete answer explanations.

Learn More!

Who is required to take the ATI TEAS Exam?

The ATI TEAS exam is a mandatory test for nursing students for the following reasons:

  • The ATI TEAS exam score is one of the most significant factors that help a nursing school’s admission board finalize admission decisions. 
  • Many future employers will require the submission of an ATI TEAS score as a part of its job application package. 

The ATI TEAS Exam Format

Schools rely on the TEAS Exam because the test measures your preparedness in four main categories – Mathematics, Science, English & Language Usage, and Reading. Students who perform well on the test in these academic topics are more likely to succeed throughout a nursing career.  

Essentially, the ATI TEAS exam integrates and tests the knowledge of a test-taker regarding foundational coursework completed during the first twelve years of education. The table below details the breakdown of questions and time allotments for the ATI TEAS exam:

Sub-Test # Of Questions Time (MIN) Testing Contents
Mathematics 36 54 Data & Algebraic Interpretation
Science 53 63 Physical & Life Sciences & Reasoning
Reading 53 64 Knowledge Integration
English 28 28 Standard English Conventions & Vocabulary
  170 209  

The Sections

Mathematics – this section of the ATI TEAS exam tests a student’s knowledge of number operations, algebra, measurements, and data analysis. 

Science – many students find the science section the most challenging section of the four provided. Overall, the science section seeks to assess a student’s knowledge about the human body, the earth and physical sciences, reasoning, and life science. 

Reading – the reading section is designed to evaluate the test taker’s reading comprehension. The format for each question consists of several paragraphs, followed by associated, relevant questions. Test takers are also tested on their ability to analyze directions, charts, and maps, to name just a few.

English (Language Usage) – as one would expect, the English section of the ATI TEAS exam assesses a test taker’s skills regarding verb agreements/tenses, grammar, compound/complex sentences, and punctuation, among other language use abilities.

When complete, the ATI TEAS test-taker receives a performance report detailing how he or she performed in each section, and if they had passed the test. An example of this performance profile is shown below.

TEAS Performance ReportStress-Reducing ATI TEAS Exam Insight

For many students, the mere thought of having to take a test rustles up all sorts of anxiety. Psychologically speaking, each test-taker understands that their score will reveal (well, actually judge) their knowledge or ability for a specific purpose. And, no one likes to be judged. 

Additionally, the ATI TEAS test is unfamiliar. This uncertainty adds yet another source of stress. 

The following guidance offers helpful insight into how to head-off these typical angst-causing knee-jerk reactions.

ATI TEAS Test Grading

The ATI TEAS exam utilizes a grading system in which the test’s questions have different point values. This grading system is known as equating. Students will not be able to discern the more weighted questions, so you are advised to take the test with the mindset that the questions all have the same value. It is noted that 20 of the 170 questions on the test are used by TEAS staff members internally, and thus have no impact on the test taker’s score. 

ATI TEAS Test Preparations

Online ATI TEAS Practice Tests

Study experts advise that a nursing student needs to commit to at least six-weeks of study time before sitting for the ATI TEAS exam. The online practice tests are a smart way to learn how the test creators want you to think. The following practice tests are quite helpful during this study process:

It is recommended that students take the mathematics practice tests more than once because the mathematics tests are comprised of randomized questions.

A Full-Length TEAS Test is a great study tool and is offered for a small fee.

ATI TEAS Exam – Scoring Insights.

Is there a minimum score?

Nursing school minimum ATI TEAS scores vary from school to school. The minimum score a test taker must generate depends upon the criteria set forth by the schools to which a nursing student applies. In other words, each student’s required score may differ. 

The Release of the ATI TEAS Test result

The ATI TEAS exam scoring results are released to the schools of your choice upon the completion of the test. The test-taker should confirm with their choice schools as to how they would handle the release of the ATI TEAS score to the test taker. The testing center’s personnel should be able to advise you before you take the test.

Options for Re-taking the ATI TEAS test

If a student misses their nursing school-mandated minimum ATI TEAS exam score, he or she has the option to retake the exam. Each school will also set forth test retaking guidelines that refer to –

  • How many times you can retake the test in one year. [The average is three times per year]
  • How long you must wait between the original test and the retake of the test. This is important to understand, as a student must allow ample time to retake the test before the nursing school application is due.
  • On average, most students must wait a minimum of 30 days to retake the ATI TEAS exam. Some schools based their retake policies on their academic cycles, and not a calendar year. 

Rescheduling a Test Date

For students who choose to schedule their ATI TEAS exam through a nursing school, it is unlikely that you will be able to reschedule the test date if you have already registered for the ATI TEAS exam. 

Those students, who schedule their ATI TEAS test through an approved testing center, should confirm with the center as to their rescheduling policies. Students are advised to double-check with the scheduling staff prior to registering for the exam.

Additional ATI TEAS Test-Taker Advice. 

Register Early

Registering early allows a student to focus strictly on studying for the ATI TEAS exam. Most academic counselors suggest that a student register at least two weeks in advance to their test date. This extra time helps alleviate the typical stress one feels when running short of time.

When you officially register, you will receive an ATI TEAS study guide from the exam administrators at ATI. Additionally, it is noted that the fee to take the ATI TEAS exam varies by location and school. Be mindful of how your potential nursing schools manage the ATI TEAS exam process. 

Take a Practice Exam when you Begin to Study 

Taking a practice exam prior to your dedicated ATI TEAS study time acts as a great baseline for the test taker. The first practice test will emphasize those areas a test taker should focus on in the weeks to come. This will help you study more efficeintly.

ATI TEAS Exam-Date Advice

Students sitting for the ATI TEAS exam should follow this principal advice:

  • Arrive well ahead of your scheduled testing time. This too will help keep you calm.
  • Arrive well rested and well fed. Limit water intake to avoid yet another distraction.
  • Arrive appropriately prepared. This includes an acceptable form of ID and several No. 2 pencils. 
  • Before you begin, carefully review the directions. 
  • Read the question, and avoid trying to create more time by attempting to anticipate what the question is asking. Take your time reading the question; this is critical to a student's success.
  • Do not overanalyze any one question. The reality is you will probably not know the answer to some of the questions, so don’t sweat it. Use deductive reasoning to make an educated guess. Remember, some of the questions are included in the test but have no impact on your final ATI TEAS score.
  • When you have answered a question, let it go. Do not try to keep a mental record of how you are doing on the exam. This will only dilute your attention from the test you are taking. This too is critical to succeeding.
  • Try to ignore your own doubtful ego thinking. Focus on the task at hand. 
  • Pay attention to chart and map labels to avoid being misled by a tricky question. 
  • Stay grounded in your abilities.