The Test of Essential Academic Skills, also known as the TEAS, is used as part of the admissions process for many schools for nursing and various health science disciplines in the United States.
Assessment Technologies Institute LLC, or ATI, administers the TEAS test, covering reading, mathematics, science, English language usage.
This exam aims to assess how well candidates would do as nursing students - to see if they have the academic skills necessary for success in school and on their future career path.
We'll break down the TEAS scores, walk you through the key ideas and how to interpret those numbers, and help you understand what they mean for your future career.
- The TEAS is an admission test for health sciences programs.
- The test is graded on a percentage basis, and TEAS test scores are compared to national and program type averages.
- The TEAS test provides an academic preparedness level analysis for the test-taker.
How the TEAS is Scored
The TEAS is comprised of 170 questions, only 150 of which are actually scored .
Of course, they don't tell you which are graded questions and which are not, and no TEAS prep course can show you the difference, so you need to do your best on all of them. Your score will simply be the percentage of graded questions answered correctly.
For example, if you get 120 questions right out of the 150 total, your score will be 80%.
"In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson."
- Tom Bodett, Author
They also do this percentage calculation for each of the four subsections on the ATI TEAS test, yielding sub-content area scores.
After these calculations are complete, they adjust the final percentage scores to account for some tests being composed of more difficult TEAS questions than others.
The TEAS Score Report
After you take the TEAS test, you will receive a score report that provides not only your overall composite score but also a wealth of other useful information.
First, ATI will describe your academic preparedness level in order to give you a sense of how ready you are to matriculate into a program.
The score report includes the national average for the total score on that particular version of the TEAS exam.
Additionally, they will publish the national percentile rank for the particular program type that you are applying for.
They will also give the program percentile rank for those in the same health science discipline that you are in.
For the composite score, the report will show what percentage of students scored at or below your total score.
Obviously, the bigger this number, the better you have done compared to the rest of the test-takers.
This process is repeated for the subject subtests, thus helping you determine what your strengths and weaknesses are.
TEAS Scores and Ranges
As described before, ATI gives you an "academic preparedness level" as part of your score report.
They divide preparedness based on your overall composite score.
The names for the academic preparedness levels and the score ranges for each are as follows :
- Developmental - 0.0% to 40.7%
- Basic - 41.3% to 58.0%
- Proficient - 58.7% to 77.3%
- Advanced - 78.0% to 90.0%
- Exemplary - 90.7% to 100.0%
TEAS scores that are developmental are indicative of a "very low level" of preparedness to study in the health sciences.
Basic scores are still at a low level, and these students will probably need additional help in getting ready.
Students earning proficient TEAS scores are moderately prepared, and those with advanced scores are highly prepared to learn in the health sciences field.
They will be unlikely to require any further preparation prior to starting a program.
Exemplary TEAS scores mean that the student is very highly prepared to take on and succeed in studying health sciences-related content.
It is a very good score that will likely lead to acceptance into most nursing schools.
What is a Passing TEAS Test Score?
The actual number needed to pass the TEAS exam depends on the particular program you are applying for.
Some programs require a higher score than others, whereas others do not have a minimum score requirement.
Some schools only care about students’ composite scores, but others might have minimums in every content area.
You need to find out about your particular program so that you can prepare appropriately to take the ATI TEAS.
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy- I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”
- Art Williams, Executive
That being said, most schools will not be interested in accepting applicants who score below a 65% on the TEAS exam.
Indeed, there are some programs out there that will not take students who do not have at least 80%.
Again, it is critical to learn what your intended program considers a top TEAS score or national percentile rank.
TEAS Scores: Final Thoughts
The TEAS is one of the most important tests you'll take as it affects whether you will get into the nursing school or allied health program of your choice.
Many people take a TEAS prep course in order to achieve higher TEAS scores, but you can also get a good TEAS score and high national percentile ranks by studying hard long before test day.
It is a high-stakes assessment, but don't let that get to you.
With careful study and preparation, you will be able to take the TEAS with confidence and show that you have what it takes to succeed in a nursing program or allied health school.
About the author