The Test of Essential Academic Skills – the TEAS test –is a standardized exam taken by students who have an interest in attending nursing school (or a dental hygienist program) 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 forever retired the TEAS V exam) was released in 2016. It is now known as the ATI TEAS VI exam.
The ATI VI TEAS Test is a timed test comprised of 170 questions specifically designed to evaluate a potential nursing degree candidate’s basic nursing skills at that moment in time. The TEAS questions are randomly selected from a large repository of pre-approved ATI TEAS queries. Each test is comprised of different questions. As a result, there are innumerable possible versions of the ATI TEAS exam.
Who is Required to Take the ATI TEAS Exam?
The ATI TEAS exam is a mandatory test for many nursing students. It is required 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 require the submission of an ATI TEAS score as a part of its job application package.
Without a TEAS test result, it may be hard to be approved for a nursing degree program or to even secure a nursing position.
ATI TEAS Exam Format
Schools have become increasingly reliant on the TEAS Exam because of the proven results established over time. The TEAS exam has been shown to accurately measure a test-taker’s abilities. There are four main categories upon which the assessment will focus –
- English and Language Usage.
Students who show significant aptitude in these academic topics when taking the TEAS Exam are more likely to succeed throughout a nursing career.
Essentially, the ATI TEAS exam integrates and assesses the TEAS test-taker’s knowledge of the coursework provided through senior high school – i.e. Grades 1-12.
The Sections of the TEAS Examination
MATHEMATICS – this section of the ATI TEAS exam assesses a student’s knowledge of the mathematics topics that include number operations, algebraic interpretation, measurements, data analysis, and interpretation.
The Mathematics section has a time limit of 54 minutes for 36 questions.
SCIENCE – many students find the science section the most challenging section of the four TEAS sections. Generally speaking, the science section seeks to assess a student’s knowledge about –
- Human anatomy and physiology.
- Life and physical sciences.
- Scientific reasoning.
The Science section has a time limit of 63 minutes for 53 questions.
READING – the reading section is designed to evaluate the test taker’s reading comprehension level. 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.
The Reading section has a time limit of 64 minutes for 53 questions.
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.
The English section has a time limit of 28 minutes for 28 questions.
The TEAS exam requires the completion of 170 questions.
Preparing for the TEAS Exam
Each nursing degree candidate is responsible for properly preparing for the ATI TEAS test. Nursing degree candidates are advised to recognize the importance of carving out enough time to prepare for the TEAS exam as a way to optimize TEAS test scores potential!
To help you prepare, use these recommended resources:
TEAS TEST SCORES EXPLAINED
ATI TEAS TEST GRADING
The ATI TEAS exam utilizes a grading system in which the test’s questions are given a variety of point values. This grading system is known as equating. Test takers will not be able to know which of the questions will receive more weight, so test-takers are advised to complete the test while maintaining a mindset that each question has the same value.
It is noted that 20 of the 170 questions on the examination are used by TEAS staff members for internal purposes, and thus have no impact on the test taker’s score. The test-taker will not be able to discern which questions are for this use.
The TEAS score report will also detail the percentage of questions there was answered correctly, for each sub-section. The report includes suggested areas that could likely benefit from additional studying.
RECEIVING TEAS SCORE RESULTS
The TEAS exam is offered in both an electronic and a paper version. Students who take the test electronically will be able to see their results immediately, right after completing the test. In contrast, students who take the paper version will have their test sent to ATI for review and scoring. The paper version of the TEAS test’s scores will, therefore, take additional time to be disclosed, when compared to those who take the exam digitally.
When completed, the ATI TEAS exam scoring results are released to the test-taker’s schools.
TEAS Test Scores, Average Scores & Ranking Statistics
The TEAS exam utilizes several scores and rankings to help define the TEAS test score and placement.
Deciphering Your TEAS Score Report
ATI TEAS provides three different scores on their score report:
- Total Score - Your overall score on the exam
- Content Area Scores - Your score on the individual exam sections: Math, Science, Reading, and English.
- Sub-Content Area Scores - Your scores on the sub-topics for a particular content area (e.g., Numbers and Algebra)
Note: The total and content area scores are equated which means they are adjusted to account for differences among the different test versions. Because these scores are "equated", you can not calculate the total and content area scores from any scores on your score report (e.g., your total score is not an average of your four content area scores).
In addition, your TEAS score report provides the following information:
ATI Academic Preparedness Level
|Academic Preparedness Level||Definition||Score Range|
|Developmental||Developmental scores generally indicate a very low level of overall academic preparedness necessary to support learning of health sciences-related content. Students at this level will require additional preparation for most objectives assessed on ATI TEAS.||0.0% to 40.7%|
|Basic||Basic scores generally indicate a low level of overall academic preparedness necessary to support learning of health sciences-related content. Students at this level are likely to require additional preparation for many objectives assessed on ATI TEAS.||41.3% to 58.0%|
|Proficient||Proficient scores generally indicate a moderate level of overall academic preparedness necessary to support learning of health sciences-related content. Students at this level can require additional preparation for some objectives assessed on ATI TEAS.||58.7% to 77.3%|
|Advanced||Advanced scores generally indicate a high level of overall academic preparedness necessary to support learning of health sciences-related content. Students at this level are not likely to require additional preparation for the objectives assessed on ATI TEAS.||78.0% to 90.0%|
|Exemplary||Exemplary scores generally indicate a very high level of overall academic preparedness necessary to support learning of health sciences-related content. Students at this level are not likely to require additional preparation for the objectives assessed on ATI TEAS.||90.7% to 100.0%|
National Mean Score
The National Mean Score is the average total score of a sampling of students. The National Mean Score is used to compare each test-taker’s total score. It should be noted that the sample group includes students from all types of health science disciplines.
Program Mean Score
The Program Mean Score is similar to the National Mean Score in that both are calculated based on a random sampling of national test scores. The Program Mean Score is the average total score of all test takers in a specific program type (e.g., BSN Programs).
National Percentile Rank
One’s National Percentile Rank is, once again, calculated based on a sampling of students that represent various health science disciplines. The National Percentile Rank – which will fall between one and 99 - reflects the percentage of students earning a score at (or below) the test-taker’s score. The National Percentile Ranks are reported for each test-taker’s total score and the four content section scores.
Program Percentile Rank
Similar to the above-noted percentile ranks, the Program Percentile Rank is calculated based on a sampling of students. Note though, the sampling of students is from the same health science discipline as you. The Program Percentile Rank reflects the percentage of students earning a score at (or below) the test-taker’s score.
What is a Good TEAS Score? What is a TEAS passing score?
The reality is - what is considered a good score on the ATI TEAS VI exam will vary from school to school. Some schools will require a minimum total score for acceptance. Other schools may require specific minimum scores in each content area. Some schools do not even have specific minimum scores.
As such, it is critical for the test-taker to confirm the minimum TEAS scores required for those schools they apply to.
Although each school's admission criteria are likely to differ, most schools set the admission score bar at least 60% to 70%.
Options for Re-taking the ATI TEAS Test
If a student scores below their nursing school-mandated minimum ATI TEAS exam score, he or she can opt to retake the exam. Each school will also set forth test retaking guidelines that refer to–
- How many times one can retake the test in a year? [The acceptable average is three times per year]
- How long must one wait between the original test date and the retake date? This is important because a student must allow ample time to retake the test - before the nursing school application is due.
- On average, most students are required to wait at least 30 days to retake the ATI TEAS exam. However, it is important to research the facts because some schools base their retake policies based on their academic cycles and not a calendar year.