Is the TEAS Test Hard? Top Tips to Help You Prepare.

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If you’re asking, “Is the TEAS test hard?” here are a few strategies that will make it easier. You’ll need to pass the TEAS test to be eligible for the Accelerated BSN track at Mercer. With the right preparation, you can increase your chances of success on the TEAS.

Mercer ABSN student studying at table

Before you apply to nursing school, it’s important to be prepared. The Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) is an admissions requirement for Mercer University’s Second Degree Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track and helps us gauge your level of academic readiness for nursing school. You may be wondering, is the TEAS test hard? With dedicated studying and preparation, you can confidently complete this exam.

For admission to Mercer’s 12-month ABSN track located in Atlanta, Georgia, applicants must score 76% or higher on the exam. This score requirement reflects our commitment to helping students build a strong foundation for success in nursing school.

Mercer nursing student sitting outside using laptop

Learn more about what nursing school is like in Mercer’s ABSN track.

What Is the TEAS Test?

Administered by ATI Nursing Education, the TEAS 7 is a standardized test that focuses on your comprehension of fundamental academic skills in reading, math, science, and English and language usage.

Is the TEAS test hard? Passing the TEAS correlates with the time and effort you devote to your test preparation. And given that nursing school is competitive, the higher your TEAS score, the stronger your application will be.

What is on the TEAS Test?

The ATI TEAS is one of the first steps toward a bright future in Mercer’s ABSN track and the nursing profession. The test provides our nursing faculty with useful information regarding your readiness for an accelerated nursing education. By knowing your academic strengths and weaknesses, we can provide you with the best possible support during nursing school.

The test includes 170 multiple-choice questions — 20 of which are sample questions — that cover the skills needed to succeed in nursing school and has an overall time limit of 209 minutes. Below is a breakdown of what is on the TEAS test.

TEAS Section 1: Reading

Registered nurses frequently send and receive documentation while on the job. Therefore, it is necessary to be able to convey, read, and interpret different types of information. In this section, you will have 45 questions to answer within 55 minutes. Six will be sample questions that do not contribute to your score.

Questions fall into three categories:

  • Key ideas and details
  • Craft and structure
  • Integration of knowledge and ideas
Student studying at desk

TEAS Section 2: Math

Solid math skills are essential in the nursing profession. Nurses work with numerical information daily, from taking and documenting patient vitals to calculating and administering medication dosages. In this section, you will have 38 questions to answer within 57 minutes. Four will be sample questions that do not contribute to your score.

Questions fall into two categories:

  • Numbers and algebra
  • Measurement and data

TEAS Section 3: Science

Having a keen understanding of science is vital to delivering quality patient care. For instance, understanding the biological processes of the human body is key to restoring balance in patients. In this section, you will have 50 questions to answer within 60 minutes. Six will be sample questions that do not contribute to your score.

Questions fall into four categories:

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Scientific reasoning
Scientist in lab coat using microscope

Do you want to become a nurse with a biology degree? Follow our five steps to starting a nursing career.

TEAS Section 4: English and Language Usage

Whether you are a nursing student or a practicing registered nurse, success relies on your ability to communicate clearly and effectively in various situations. In this section, you will have 37 questions to answer within 37 minutes. Four will be sample questions that do not contribute to your score.

Questions fall into three categories:

  • Conventions of standard English
  • Knowledge of language
  • Using language and vocabulary to express ideas in writing

How to Prepare for the TEAS

If you’re asking, “how hard is the TEAS test?” know that there are ways to set yourself up for success. When it comes to TEAS test prep, we recommend that you begin studying at least six weeks before your scheduled exam date — and you do not have to prepare alone.

Mercer offers a free weekly TEAS preparation workshop for prospective ABSN students. During the workshop, our academic success coaches will discuss what you can expect on the exam as well as help you create a personalized study plan. We also provide a free TEAS study guide.

Take advantage of our free TEAS prep workshop for prospective ABSN students.

Mercer ABSN student holding backpack by lockers

Free TEAS Practice Tests

As part of your TEAS preparation, we encourage you to take advantage of ATI study packages, as well as supplemental online and print resources, including:


Many of these websites provide free TEAS practice tests. When taking these tests, make sure the material covers the seventh edition of the TEAS exam, or TEAS 7.

Helpful Hints for Practice Tests

As you begin taking your TEAS practice tests, we recommend you:

  • Take your first practice test as if it were an open-book exam without a time limit.
  • Take your second practice test as if it were an open-book exam with a time limit.
  • Take several practice tests as if you are taking the actual exam.

How to Study for the TEAS Test

If you need guidance on how to study for the TEAS test, here are some helpful tips and test-taking strategies that will prepare you to take the exam with confidence.

  • Begin your TEAS prep six weeks before you take the exam.
  • Maintain a consistent study routine to remain on track.
  • Develop efficient study habits based on how you learn best.
  • Focus on the subjects you find most difficult first.
  • Sign up for Mercer’s free TEAS preparation workshop.
  • Get a copy of an ATI TEAS 7 review book.
  • Make use of the online Anki flashcard app.

Reading Section Tips

You have 55 minutes to complete 45 questions. Many of the questions in this section require you to read long passages of information. To complete the section efficiently, it is helpful to read and understand the question first, so you know what to look for when reading the corresponding passage.

Mercer nursing student sitting at desk reading textbook

You will encounter different passages written in narrative, expository, descriptive, and persuasive forms. You will need to identify what type of passage you are reading. As you study, try to identify unique traits for each writing form. For example, a narrative form has characters and a plot, whereas an expository form focuses on facts.

Math Section Tips

You have 57 minutes to complete 38 questions. Most of the questions in this section will involve algebraic and numerical properties. As you study, be sure to spend time practicing word problems, ratios, rational numbers, proportions, percentages, and arithmetic.

It helps to remember that fractions, decimals, and percentages are different ways of saying the same thing (e.g., 25/100, 0.25, and 25%). Also, if you need help remembering the order of operations, use the acronym PEMDAS to jog your memory.

  • Parentheses
  • Exponents
  • Multiplication and Division
  • Addition and Subtraction

The ordering of these letters represents the order you must use to solve different parts of a math problem — expressions in parentheses come first and addition and subtraction come last. If you cannot remember the acronym PEDMAS, try the mnemonic device: Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.

In this section, you will also encounter questions that involve various units of measurement, different types of data presentations, and geometric and statistical properties and principles. Before the exam, be sure to brush up on the U.S. standard measurement system (pounds, inches, feet) and the metric system (grams, kilos, liters) and how to convert between the two.

Science Section Tips

You have 60 minutes to complete 50 questions. A large portion of the questions in this section involve human anatomy and physiology. Be sure to spend time studying the different systems inside the body (e.g., cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, skeletal) and how they function independently and in conjunction with one another.

Also, take time to review the basics of biology and chemistry, such as atom structure, DNA, and solids, liquids, and gases. The scientific reasoning category in this section tests your basic scientific knowledge, so be sure to know how science works as a process.

nursing students standing in sim lab

English and Language Usage Tips

You have 37 minutes to complete 37 questions — the final and shortest section of the exam. With the finish line in sight, it is easy for test-takers to want to hurry through this section. Be sure to give it the same amount of effort and dedication as the other three.

The questions in this section involve your knowledge of the English language and its conventions, as well as your ability to use language and vocabulary to communicate ideas. It will test you on your ability to define words based on their context. There will also be questions that put your spelling skills to the test. We recommend reviewing a list of the most commonly misspelled words (e.g., vicious, vacuum, and embarrass) as part of your study regime.

TEAS Registration Process

As a Mercer ABSN applicant, you can take your TEAS exam at our ABSN Learning Site — a designated PSI Testing Center. We offer two proctored test sessions per week. To register for an upcoming session, contact your Mercer enrollment counselor and ask for a registration form. After completing the form, email it to [email protected] for processing.

Within 48 hours of taking the exam, you will have access to your TEAS score. Your score reports are official and automatically added to your Mercer ABSN application file. If your TEAS composite score is below 76%, you may retake the exam three times within 12 months. Keep in mind that you’ll need to wait 30 days between exam attempts.

The time between attempts is a great opportunity to work on the skills that need the most strengthening. And remember, Mercer is here to support and guide you through the process. So, any time you have a question or concern about the exam, please feel free to contact your enrollment counselor.

After Passing the TEAS

Once you earn a composite score of 76% or higher on the TEAS and submit your application for Mercer’s ABSN track, you will receive an admissions decision as soon as possible. Take note that your TEAS test date must be within one year of the entry term.

If admitted to Mercer University’s College of Nursing, you will complete a comprehensive education that enables you to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in as few as 12 months. It is a full-time, rigorous learning path that combines online coursework with hands-on labs and in-person clinical rotations.

Nursing student at bedside with patient

Learn more about what to expect in clinical rotations and how to make the most of these valuable experiences.

Ready to Begin the ABSN Admissions Process?

With more information to answer the question, “How hard is the TEAS exam?” and additional tips to help prepare, you can confidently take on the exam and continue the nursing school application process.

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, Mercer’s 12-month ABSN track located in Atlanta may be the path toward a career in nursing for you. An enrollment counselor is ready to support you every step of the way as you learn more and apply for a January, May, or August start date. Contact us today!