I am so excited to be working with our sponsor, ATI, to bring you these ATI TEAS secrets and a promotional discount for this incredibly important exam. If you’re applying to nursing school (or even thinking about it), your head may be swimming with all the information out there about entrance exams and application requirements. Never fear, my friend, I’m here to clear up some of the confusion around one of the most commonly used entrance exams, the ATI TEAS.

What is the ATI TEAS Exam and Why Is it Used?

The TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) is a proctored exam that tests your readiness and ability to be successful in nursing school. One of the questions I get asked the most is why this is even necessary…isn’t there a nursing shortage? Shouldn’t we be enrolling as many students as possible?

Unfortunately, the nursing shortage is not limited to bedside nursing…it extends to nursing faculty and nursing programs as well. In fact, in 2020, over 80,000 nursing school candidates were turned away, simply because there aren’t enough spots to accommodate everyone who wants to enroll.

Because each nursing school has a limited number of students it can accept, the admissions process is designed to admit the most qualified students who have the highest probability of staying in school, graduating, and becoming licensed RNs. To help make this prediction, many schools utilize an entrance exam such as the TEAS.

So, now that you know a little about the TEAS and why it’s so important, how do you prepare and get the score you need?

Preparing for the TEAS Exam

One of the most important ATI TEAS secrets is to do your prep work before you take the exam. Trust me, this is not a test where you want to “wing it”, as it is actually a pretty rigorous exam (especially if the sciences were in the distant past for you like they were for me!). We’ll talk more about how to study for the exam in a bit.

In addition to not studying adequately, some students miss the mark because they don’t understand the unique requirements of each school. And yes, many nursing students apply to two or more programs, so it can be a lot to keep track of. Here’s what you need to know before registering for the exam, especially if you are applying to more than one program:

  • Know each school’s score cut-off
  • Understand each school’s limitations on how many times you can take the TEAS. Be aware that some schools only take your first attempt.
  • If you are allowed to submit multiple attempts, make sure you know how long you must wait between each attempt and how those dates correlate with admission deadlines.
  • Some schools only accept TEAS transcripts when the test is taken at that institution, so don’t assume that if you take it at School A, it will be accepted at School B.

Did you get all that? If it seems like a lot to keep track of, I invite you to download the Straight A Nursing TEAS tracker here. It’s a Google spreadsheet, so you’ll need to be logged into your Google account in order to make a copy.

Studying for the TEAS Exam

The next ATI TEAS secret is to study just as you would for any other high-stakes exam. There were subjects on the TEAS that I hadn’t reviewed in over 15 years, so yes…I am extremely glad that I gave it serious attention and utilized prep materials that helped me get the score I needed.

Students often ask, “What do I use to study for this exam?” and I always direct them straight to the ATI materials. Please do not get some random person’s notes from a Facebook group, and I would advise you to steer clear of questionable materials on marketplace sites. These materials are not necessarily reliable and can even be detrimental if they waste your precious study time (and dollars!).

If you’re serious about the exam, then get serious about how you study for it. And who better to prepare you for the exam than the people who actually write the questions? All the ATI materials align with what’s actually on the exam and everything they create goes through several levels of review to ensure it’s reliable and accurate. In other words, ATI has got your back!

Here’s the approach I recommend as you study for the TEAS:

  • Use the TEAS SmartPrep Tutorial. The great thing about this resource is you can use it in multiple ways, either as a quick and focused study plan or a comprehensive prep.
    • Focused Study Plan: Take the pre-test to determine what you know and what you need to review. ATI then creates a focused study plan tailored exactly to the material you need to focus on the most. This is a great option if your test is right around the corner and you don’t have a lot of time to prepare.
    • Comprehensive Prep: If you’re like me and feel more confident when you can review everything, then go for it! The “Full Study Mode” takes you through every concept for a thorough TEAS review. Please note that this review does take time, so give yourself at least six weeks to get through it.
  • Do the online practice assessments. These are solid gold, especially if you have even the tiniest bit of test anxiety. These practice assessments mimic the look and feel of the actual TEAS exam, so when you sit down to take the test, you already know what to expect.
  • One more tip: When reviewing right/wrong answers, always look at the rationales for every single answer (even the ones that you got right). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this and STILL learned something extremely valuable (and it’s how I recommend students prep for nursing school exams and NCLEX as well!).

If your school uses the TEAS exam for their entrance requirements, there’s a very good chance they use ATI throughout the program as well. ATI is a company that develops materials (and exams) to prepare students to pass the NCLEX. My school used ATI and I loved the books because they are 100% no fluff or extra material you don’t need. And yes, even though the exams each semester can be stressful, they really do prepare you for NCLEX (I am living proof!).

I hope these ATI TEAS secrets help you understand a little more about ATI and the TEAS exam. I can’t wait to see all the amazing things that you do! Learn all the ways ATI can help you with this crucial exam here!


The information, including but not limited to, audio, video, text, and graphics contained on this website are for educational purposes only. No content on this website is intended to guide nursing practice and does not supersede any individual healthcare provider’s scope of practice or any nursing school curriculum. Additionally, no content on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.