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The Test of Essential Academic Skills, or TEAS® Test, is a standardized exam given to those who are interested in attending nursing school. Not all students who plan to attend nursing school will need to take it as it is not a requirement everywhere.
The TEAS® Test consists of four sections: Reading, Mathematics, Science, and English and Language Usage. Not all sections have the same number of questions, and the test taker is not given the same amount of time for each section. The longest section is the English and Language Usage section with 55 questions in 65 minutes. The shortest section is the Science section with 30 questions in 38 minutes. The Reading section contains 40 questions in 50 minutes and the Mathematics section contains 45 questions in 56 minutes.
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Like many standardized tests, there is no passing score for the TEAS® Test. Each section is given a composite score, and subscores are given for categories of specific content. Of the four sections, the Reading and Mathematics sections are largely considered the most important.
Those taking the TEAS® Test have the option of taking the test in a computerized format or with the more traditional paper-and-pencil version. An advantage to the computerized version, which most test takers choose, is that the exam is scored immediately, though some schools do not allow scores to be displayed. Scores will be automatically sent to the school where the TEAS® test was administered free of charge, while there is a $26 charge to send scores to additional schools (which can be done after the test has been taken).
Because there is no established passing score, schools instead use the TEAS® Test score (along with the rest of one's application materials) to determine whether test takers will be granted admission to their program. Each school may have their own minimum requirements, although it is unlikely that they will share specific requirements with their applicants.
Many students elect to take the TEAS® Test around the same time they are applying to nursing school. However, students can also take the test well before they decide to apply. In some instances, nursing schools allow applicants to submit TEAS® scores that are up to four years old, but test takers should check with each of the schools they plan to apply to in order to determine whether each school honors that same time frame because some require scores that are more recent. Additionally, some test takers elect to retake the TEAS® Test either if they were unhappy with their first score or if they simply want to improve upon their first score to help improve their overall application package. Again, in this case, test takers should check with each individual school to find out whether they would be allowed to submit additional TEAS® scores.
The TEAS® Test can be taken throughout the year. Prospective test takers can register for the test online at the website of ATI (Assessment Technologies Institute, LLC), the company that administers the test. Test takers need to enter the city and state where they want to take the test, and the available testing centers will appear. While many testing centers almost always have availability, it is highly advisable to register for the test at least one to two months in advance to ensure they will have an opening, especially during the busier times of the year when students are preparing to submit their application (often in the fall, but it depends on the school). If a test taker is considering taking the TEAS® Test more than once, he or she should also take that into consideration when scheduling the exam, as well as whether the schools they are applying to require a certain amount of time to elapse between multiple tests.
A four-hour time frame is allotted to take the test. Test takers are strongly encouraged to arrive 15 minutes early, and will not be allowed to take the test if they arrive after the posted start time. Calculators are not allowed and test takers are required to bring two #2 pencils. Scratch paper will be provided by the testing center. The cost is $65, although this can depend upon the testing site and is subject to change. No refunds will be given for test takers who miss their scheduled time or need to reschedule.
Preparation is a must for those planning to take the TEAS® Test. Numerous companies offer practice materials with practice exams and those interested in taking the test should look for recommendations for the best materials.
Many current nurses have taken the TEAS® Test. Preparation for the exam is essential for those serious about entering the nursing field and applying to schools that require the TEAS® test.
TEAS® test = Test of Essential Academic Skills™
by Enoch Morrison
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