Is the TEAS Test Challenging? Not if You Follow This Advice.

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.

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

Administered by ATI Nursing Education, the TEAS 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? It depends. Passing the TEAS correlates with the time and effort you are willing to 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 53 questions to answer within 64 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

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 36 questions to answer within 54 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 are key to restoring balance in patients. In this section, you will have 53 questions to answer within 63 minutes. Six will be sample questions that do not contribute to your score.

Questions fall into three categories:

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Life and physical sciences
  • Scientific reasoning

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 28 questions to answer within 28 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
  • Vocabulary acquisition

How to Prepare for the TEAS

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.

two nursing students in gray scrubs standing and smiling
Take advantage of our free TEAS prep workshop for prospective ABSN students.

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 sixth edition of the TEAS exam, or TEAS 6.

Helpful Hints

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

  • 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.

TEAS Test Tips

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.

Starter Tools and Tips

  • 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 ATI TEAS 6: Secrets Study Guide.
  • Consider downloading the Pocket Prep phone app.
  • Join the ATI TEAS 6 study group on Facebook.
  • Make use of the online Anki flashcard app.
Nursing student studying with notebook and laptop

Reading Section Tips

You have 64 minutes to complete 53 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.

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.

Here is a practice question pulled from Kaplan Test Prep.

Math Section Tips

You have 54 minutes to complete 36 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.

Here is a practice question pulled from Kaplan Test Prep.

Science Section Tips

You have 63 minutes to complete 53 questions. Most 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 life and physical sciences, 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.

Here is a practice question pulled from Kaplan Test Prep.

English and Language Usage Tips

You have 28 minutes to complete 28 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 time and dedication as the other three.

Most of the questions in this section involve vocabulary acquisition and 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.

Here is a practice question pulled from Kaplan Test Prep.

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.

We recommend waiting at least one month between retakes so that you can work on the skills that need the most strengthening. And remember, Mercer is here to support and guide you through the process. So, anytime you have a question or concern about the exam, please feel free to contact your enrollment counselor.

two Mercer ABSN students smiling in hallway
Prospective Mercer ABSN students can take the TEAS exam at our ABSN Learning Site.

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 12 months.

ABSN Track Overview

Mercer Nursing Simulation Lab

Mercer’s ABSN track leverages your non-nursing bachelor’s degree, so you can begin your nursing studies on the first day of class. It is a full-time, rigorous learning path that combines online coursework with hands-on labs and in-person clinical rotations.

As a Mercer ABSN student, you will learn within a supportive environment that fosters academic excellence, innovative professional practice, social responsibility and service to others, and the promotion of health and quality of life.

Online Coursework

Mercer’s online accelerated nursing coursework lays the groundwork for your education. These courses focus on the fundamentals and theories of professional practice, such as health assessment and pharmacology. These classes also set the stage for the hands-on skills you will develop during your nursing labs and clinical rotations.

Nursing Labs

Taking place at Mercer’s ABSN Learning Site, nursing skills and simulation labs are the bridge between your online coursework and clinical rotations. Labs provide a contextual setting for you to develop your skills and clinical judgment without consequence.

Through nursing labs, you will learn how to perform core clinical skills such as catheterization, nasogastric tube insertions, and wound care. You will also develop your critical thinking skills when participating in realistic clinical interventions that involve patient simulators.

Clinical Rotations

Clinical rotations provide you with real-world patient care experiences across the healthcare continuum. Taking place in healthcare facilities across the Atlanta metropolitan area, your clinicals will cover several practice areas, such as acute care, intensive care, adult health, pediatrics, and mental health.

After earning your BSN from Mercer University, you will be prepared to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®) and enter the workforce as a practice-ready nurse.

Mercer nursing students in hospital

Ready to Begin the ABSN Admissions Process?

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, begin your application for Mercer’s 12-month ABSN track. An enrollment counselor is ready to support you every step of the way as you apply for a January, May, or August start date. Contact us today!