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How to Pass the ATI TEAS Test

How to Pass the ATI TEAS Test

Updated May 17, 2022

By Kimberley Johnson
Kimberley Johnson

What Is the ATI TEAS Test?

The ATI TEAS test is an assessment used to evaluate a student's ability when applying for nursing and healthcare courses.

Not all nursing programs will require students to pass the ATI test before entry to their chosen course, but it is the most popular choice for applicants in the US.

Some will ask for alternative tests to be completed or may base their decision on the student's GPA figures.

The test is split into four designated sections designed to assess an individual's mathematical, scientific, reading and writing skills.

Students will be required to complete all sections of the test.

All of the sections are offered in a multiple-choice format, with 170 questions in total.

Each section is also timed, with a 10-minute break between the first two sections and the second pairing.

Students will have around three and a half hours in total to complete the assessment.

Many students will be asked to attend a designated testing center to complete their assessment, although it is sometimes possible to take the test remotely.

The test is completed using an automated computer program.

What Are the Different Sections of the Test?

Reading

In the reading section, you will find 53 multiple choice questions with an overall time limit of 64 minutes for completion.

Typically, students will have to achieve a score of over 75% to pass this section of the assessment, although it is always good to check with your specific school as some will have different requirements.

Your reading assessment will test your ability to read, understand and interpret a wide variety of passages.

First, you will consider long passages and need to show an ability to understand the big picture.

Second, you will be asked to answer questions that show your ability to pick out specific words and details from a passage.

Finally, you will need to answer questions that use a variety of sources.

This can be given to you in the form of text, charts and graphs.

Example Question

In October 1962, The Beatles released their first single. It was titled 'Love Me Do' and reached number seventeen in the UK singles chart. They didn’t reach the number one spot until six months later with the release of 'From Me To You'. This would be the first of seventeen UK number ones that they would go on to achieve.

What year did The Beatles gain their first UK number one?

a) 1962
b) 1963
c) 1964
d) 1965

Mathematics

For the mathematical section of the assessment, you will be presented with 36 questions with an overall time limit of 54 minutes.

The questions will be separated into two main sections: measurement and data, and numbers and algebra.

A standard passing score for the math section would be 70%.

Individuals taking this assessment will find that they need to understand algebra, formulas, converting decimals and percentages, among other mathematical principles.

Example Question

Convert 63% into a decimal.

a) 6.3
b) 0.63
c) 0.063
d) 0.0063

Science

The science section consists of 53 questions which are expected to be completed in 63 minutes. For most colleges, a passing score would be above 67% for this section.

Students will find three types of questions throughout this test: anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry and physical sciences and scientific method and reasoning.

The majority of this section is made up of questions relating to anatomy and physiology. These are designed to evaluate your ability to correctly recognize parts of the human body.

Focussing on these areas when studying for the assessment is one of your best ways to achieve a higher score.

The other two subjects will look at your understanding of a wide variety of principles, such as your knowledge of the periodic table, genetics, scientific measurements and analyzing data.

Example Question

Which of the following hormones is not produced in the Pituitary Gland?

a) Prolactin
b) Growth Hormone
c) Glucagon
d) Oxytocin

English Language and Usage

The English language and usage section of the ATI test focuses on evaluating your understanding of spelling, grammar and vocabulary.

It contains 28 questions that will need to be completed within 28 minutes.

A typical passing score for this section of the test is 70%.

Example Question

Which of the following is a compound sentence?

a) Mary wanted to leave work on time on Friday.
b) Jennifer didn’t cheat on the exam, she knew it was the wrong thing to do.
c) When Leo found his watch, it was broken.
d) Because Frank was late for work, he lost his job.

Why Are Some Questions Unscored?

There are 20 questions throughout the test that are unscored.

This is designed to test the validity of the assessment.

Students taking the test won't be told whether the question is scored or unscored, so it is important to answer each one to the best of your ability.

How Is the ATI Test Scored?

When you have completed the assessment, you will receive a variety of scores that can be confusing to understand.

If you complete the assessment online, then you should be able to see your scores almost immediately.

Those who complete the test using a pencil and paper may have to wait up to 48 hours for their results.

First, you will find that you have been awarded a percentage score for each section. Then, there will be a composite score which is your overall result.

Although some colleges will have percentage requirements for each individual section, it is often the composite score that is most important.

The composite score will indicate where you sit with other students, offering a percentile ranking that shows how well you performed.

These scores will fall into one of four categories: basic/developmental, proficient, advanced and exemplary.

Most colleges will require students to have advanced or exemplary scores to be accepted onto their chosen program.

  • Basic/Developmental – The students achieving these scores are performing below the national average. The bracket for 'basic' scoring is usually between 0% and 58%.

  • Proficient – Most of the students who gain these scores will be achieving the national average. The bracket for 'proficient' scoring is usually between 58.7% and 77.3%.

  • Advanced – Those achieving advanced scores will be performing above the national average. These are typically scores between 78% and 90%.

  • Exemplary – This is the top-scoring section of students. They are performing at a standard that is significantly above the national average. These students will typically be scoring between 90.7% and 100%.

How To Pass the ATI Test
How To Pass the ATI Test

What Happens if You Fail the ATI TEAS Test?

Around 40% of students will fail their first attempt at the ATI test.

If you fail the ATI test on your first attempt, then you may be able to retake it within a specific time period.

It is always a good idea to check how many resits your college allows.

Some may only allow for two or three resits in order to be accepted to their courses.

Others will allow unlimited resits.

How to Pass the ATI TEAS Test

Practice Reading Complex Materials

You will be asked to read and analyze a variety of materials throughout the test, some of which will be very complex.

Reading a variety of materials will help you become familiar with different writing styles and the different forms of language used.

It is a good idea to read newspapers, medical journals and medical study publications so that you can learn to understand the complex language found in these materials.

Familiarize Yourself With the Numerical Information Found in a Variety of Charts

It is important to familiarise yourself with these types of data before the assessment so that you know how to deduce valuable information from them.

You could try looking at financial data graphs and understanding what they mean.

The ability to extract details can then be transferred into any graph or chart you may present within the test.

Practice Drawing Logical Conclusions

Sometimes, an answer may not be completely clear. In this case, it is helpful to use logic as part of a process of elimination to find the answer that is most likely to be correct.

You will not lose points for incorrect answers; therefore, you should try to answer as many questions as possible.

Even if you are not entirely sure of the answer, it is best to choose the one which you think is most likely in the hope of gaining extra points, rather than automatically scoring nothing for a question that is unanswered.

Have Posters and Notes Visually Around You

Some people learn and remember things visually. If this sounds like you, it might help to create visual posters that can be placed in areas where you will see them.

Some people find that it helps to put notes on their fridge or in the bathroom so that they are constantly surrounded by information that they remember without necessarily realizing it.

Ask Friends and Family to Test You

If possible, ask people to test you.

This can help to cement information within your brain and is useful in highlighting any areas which you find particularly difficult.

Hand them your flashcards and ask them to test you at random so that you aren't always expecting it.

Practice Similar Tests

There are ATI practice tests available to take online.

It is a good idea to use practice tests and similar assessments so that you are familiar with the format.

It is also a good idea to do these with a time limit so that you know you are able to answer questions quickly and thoroughly on the day.

Practice assessments are also useful for highlighting areas with which you are less familiar.

This can help you to know whether there is anything which you need to spend more time learning or revising before you take the ATI test for real.

Revise Arithmetic and Order of Operations Math Problems

A large section of the assessment is based on evaluating your understanding of math problems.

You will have learned all of these things at some point during your high school education; however, it is always a good idea to brush up on them and remind yourself of algebra, fractions, percentages and other principles.

Revise Medical Terminology

During the English Language section of the test, you will be tested on your understanding of medical terms.

It is important to revise these so that you can be sure of what they mean and how they are used.

Flashcards

Flashcards can be a very useful revision tool.

The small amount of data that can be put onto a card can help trigger your memory and ensure that you can remember important information.

You can also ask friends and family to test you using the information written on the cards.

Frequently Asked Questions

The ATI test is predominantly used for nursing school applicants. Because of this, it can be challenging for individuals who have no education or background in this field.

Applicants who have sat the test have reported that the reading and English sections of the examination are quite difficult. However, other test takers have found the mathematical and science sections of the examination hard. The ATI covers a wide range of materials, so it is important to prepare properly.

The passing score for the ATI is around 65%. This is quite a high mark to achieve as the national average on the test is around 60%. However, the passing score will not grant you admission to all nursing colleges or courses. If you are applying for the top schools, you will likely need to score higher than 65%.

40% of students take the ATI TEAS test more than once. With this in mind, it is important not to be too defeated if you are unsuccessful the first time you take the test.

To succeed, you must become familiar with the structure of the test, the time limit and the types of questions you will have to answer. Dedicated revision and mock tests are the best ways to prepare.

There are a total of 170 questions on the ATI test and students get a total of 209 minutes to answer the questions.

The test is separated into four sections: reading, mathematics, science, and English and language usage. The reading and the science parts of the test usually take the longest and have the greatest number of questions – 53 each.

Final Thoughts

If you are considering a career in nursing or healthcare, then it is likely that you will be asked to take the ATI test.

As some colleges will only allow a maximum of two retakes, it is important to ensure that you are as prepared as possible before sitting the exam.

Taking the time to revise, practice and familiarise yourself with the format can help you to feel relaxed and confident ahead of the assessment.

Combined with getting a good night's sleep and ensuring that you eat a balanced breakfast, you will be able to achieve your best possible results on the day.

Giving your best in the ATI test is about so much more than just taking an assessment.

A good score can help you to take the next step in achieving your dream career.