How I Passed the TEAS Exam
I recently took the TEAS V exam and I thought I would share test prep ideas, covered material, as well as test taking hints. Note: To respect forum rules and academic integrity (mine and yours) I will not post specific exam questions or examples, nor will I answer questions in regard to them. Nevertheless, I am hoping that by sharing my experience, I might help you in preparing for and taking the exam.
My Exam Results
- Adjusted Individual Score: 94.3%
- ATI Academic Preparedness Level: Exemplary
- Mean - National: 64.3%
- Mean - Program: 65.7%
- Percentile Rank - National: 99
- Percentile Rank - Program: 99
- Individual Reading Score: 95.2%
- Individual Mathematics Score: 96.7%
- Individual Science Score: 89.6%
- Individual English Score: 96.7%
This post is not intended to replace any post like this that may have come before it. It is very likely that you will see things in this post that have already been stated (more eloquently) by others. I simply wanted to relay my experience. It may help some of you to see patterns in the testing process, and thereby help you focus your efforts. That is my goal, as I am very aware of how taxing this can be.
Let me start by saying that, in my experience, the TEAS V is not necessarily a difficult exam, it simply requires critical thinking. I can not stress how important that concept is. As you study, it is critical to understand why your answer was correct/incorrect. If you understand that, you have already won half the battle.
I used a number of resources to prepare for the TEAS V. However, the content of this thread will deal largely with one source: The ATI Study Manual.
All of the sources I am listing were helpful, but in my opinion, if you are going to spend money on one source it should be the ATI Study Manual. While it is not the easiest book to work with, it does do a better job of introducing you to the subjects and style of questions you will see on the actual exam. After all, it is written by the same company that administers the exam. I purchased the manual/online practice exam combo for $50 from the ATI website. It is well worth the money and you are allowed to take each of the two online practice exams twice. This allows you to take both form A and form B the first time, then use the results to know which subjects you should concentrate the bulk of your study time. What that means for you is that you get to study smarter, not harder!
Though I have noticed that some felt the ATI manual a waste of money, I found that every question (without exception) on my TEAS exam was covered in the manual. It may not have been covered directly. However, the subject was covered, leaving no surprises in content. My suggestion would be to take the subjects covered in the manual and go into each of them a bit more in depth. Make your own notes and research topics that you find difficult, adding the fundamentals to your base knowledge. This is especially true in the sciences.
- McGraw Hill's 5 TEAS Practice Tests (excellent practice)
Comparing the Exam to the Manual/Online Practice Exams
The best money I spent in my prep was on the online practice exams. As I stated, I got them as part of a bundle. Let me tell you, they are worth their weight in gold. These tests are invaluable in helping you understand what to expect on the actual exam, in both form and content. I found neither form A or B superior to the other, yet both are an excellent litmus test for the real deal. Additionally, the online practice exams will also give you an idea of the timing of the test...allowing you to judge whether you are taking too long in a given subject. Many people run out of time on the actual exam. Let these online tests assess how you are doing in that area. It's better to over run your time in practice, than on the actual exam. After all, blank answers are scored as wrong answers. Learn what you need to do faster, then practice, practice, practice.
My first attempt on online practice forms A and B produced a 78% and 82% respectively. I found the results very helpful because a breakdown of areas I needed to concentrate on was included. I simply focused my studies on those subjects. When I retook them, I scored higher...an 82% and 86%.
I found the online practice exams to be more difficult than the study manual questions. Surprisingly, in opposition to what I have read on this site, I found the questions on the actual exam to be more difficult than the practice exams. However, as has been stated by many, I scored significantly higher on the actual exam.
The point of all of this: buy the online exams. There is not a better way to get a feel for the actual exam. By the time you take each of them twice, you will be well versed in the form of the exam; and you will have a better idea of how you need to rationalize your way through each type of question. Trust me...these are your best prep resource.
Reading: Expect the stories on the actual exam to be longer then either the online practice exam or the manual. However, content is very similar, as are questions.
Math: This section was the most similar to both the online practice exams and the manual. After all, there aren't many ways to shake up an algebra problem. It is entirely possible to make a 100% in this section. You just need to practice.
Science: As many have stated, this section is the most random. All of the topics you need to study ARE covered in the manual. Make sure you know them cold. I would further suggest becoming familiar with each subject on a deeper level...keeping it in the fundamentals. You don't need to know graduate level concepts. But, the manual does not necessarily cover every fundamental on each subject. More on this later...
English: I found this section to be very similar to both the online tests and the study manual. If you are comfortable in both, you will do well on this section in the actual exam.
As far as the manual goes, read everything. It reads much like directions to programming a VCR, but force your way through it if necessary. I often found some of the most useful information in the middle of a lengthy, seemingly unimportant paragraph. I won't lie to you and tell you it's fun. But, I can honestly say that it is worth the time.
Moving on...here is a breakdown of the subjects covered on the version of the TEAS V I took. Again, I am listing subjects/concepts that relate specifically to the ATI Manual:
Reading - The First Section
- Know which primary sources make sense for a given type of story
- Be able to distinguish fact from opinion
- Make sure you can discern the difference between the styles of stories given an example. (Ex: is the story Narrative/Persuasive/Technical/Expository)
- Summarizing sentences...be able to choose which is the best fit for a given story.
- Understand what you can logically conclude from a story
- Inference and what can be concluded from a given example
- Identifying the author's intent and purpose
- Identify whether the writing is persuasive, informative, entertaining, or expressive
- Be able to identify text structure as problem/solution, sequencing, cause/effect, or description.
- Follow a set of directions to get to a specific end point. This can be on a map or drawing/turning shapes. (Read these very carefully)
- Identify information based on a label, recipe, or set of directions
- Decipher the meaning of a word based on its context in the sentence (mine were not as easy as the examples, so really think about this style of question.)
- Finding information is a table of contents, ad, index....etc. (familiarize yourself/think about where you would look for information in each of these)
- Deciphering which product is more economical given a set of options. (These take time...and require both reading and basic math skills.)
- Gleaning information out of a telephone book. (sounds easy, but let me caution you to really look at the info. there are often similar answers and headings are very important.)
- Reading a thermometer
- Directions/map reading (Be very cautious of assuming cardinal directions...consult the map legend to acclimate which way is N/S/E/W)
- Choosing an appropriate title for a given paragraph (again, sounds easy, but I had to really think about this one because the answers are similar)
- Be able to identify what the author means to convey with italicized/bold letters.
Math - The Second Section
- Order of operations (If you are unsure, google it...know it...forward and backward)
- Addition/Subtraction/Multiplication/Division of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals.
- Word problems with whole number, fractions, and decimals.
- Know how to figure perimeter.
- Calculation of percentages
- You will only need to memorize two formulas for any section of the TEAS V. If there is a formula to be computed, they will give it to you. The two exceptions to this rule and the two formulas you will need to memorize are for the following: (1) calculating percent increase/decrease (2) Work rate problem formula. Google these if you don't know them. Seriously memorize them. You WILL have a question regarding each of these on your exam.
- Be able to list four numbers in the order requested. These numbers may include whole numbers, fractions, and decimals in any combination. Be VERY careful to order them as requested. (ex: greatest to least, least to greatest)
- Calculating take home pay based on salary, bonuses, and taxes. (These consist of adding and subtracting specific values based on their respective debit/credit values.)
- Calculate the cost of an even given specific values times a number of guests.
- Estimation to the nearest given value. Understand if you are supposed to estimate to tens, hundreds...etc.
- Roman numerals. Know how to change a roman numeral into a number and how to change a number into a roman numeral. Google the values of M,C,D,V,X,L, and I if you are unsure of them. You will have a question like this on your exam.
- Conversion problems (miles to km...etc.) The formula will be given. Do not bother memorizing these.
- Recognizing which variable are dependent/independent in a given scenario. These are easy. Just construct a sentence stating, "Subject A depends on Subject B to be relevant." This gives you the answer every time.
- Familiarize yourself with interpreting information based on charts. (seems easy, but be sure you read headings and info on the charts, as there may be very important information)
- Know when you would use a bar chart/circle graph/histogram/scatter plot/line plot. Ex: if you want to show a change in something over time, you would use a line plot.
- Know the FOIL method
- Solving for 'x' ...these were very basic algebraic equations.
- Be very, very, very familiar with absolute value and how to solve equations that include absolute value.
Science - The Third Section
- Scientific reasoning
- The scientific method (know the steps, in order, and know examples of each step)
- Understand why an experiment is repeated
- Know the fundamentals of electronegativity
- Understand the various physical states of matter (gas, liquid, solid) and how a change in state might change pressure/volume/etc.
- Get a feel for the chemical properties of water, along with the specific values for it (such as specific heat/temp at which it freezes/boils/etc.)
- Understand what happens during serial dilution and what values result from it (these are very easy)
- Know the general concepts of natural selection and adaptation. Make sure you are able to distinguish between the two given an example.
- Know all of the factors that influence birth/fertility rates. Be able to decipher if the population will increase or decrease given an example.
- understand population growth/decline based on rates of emigration immigration/birth/death.
- Know your biological classifications from general to specific: Domain, Kingdom, Phylum...etc. Watch these questions, paying attention to whether they are asking for more specific or more general in the order.
- Know as much as you can possibly learn about Nucleic Acids/DNA/RNA. Know their make up, how they bond, the nitrogenous bases and how they pair, which are unique to DNA or RNA, and which are shared by both DNA/RNA, know which are purines and which are pyrimidines.
- Know what it happening in all of different stages of translation and transcription. Know where it happens.
- Know the parts of a cells in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes, and what those parts do. Know if they produce anything or if they are involved in an immune response...etc.
- Understand the makeup of the cell wall in both plant and animal cells.
- Always, always, always equate protein with amino acids (the building block of proteins)
- Understand what chloroplasts do and how they do it.
- Chromosomes, genes, and alleles...know what they are, how they relate to each other, and how they affect organisms.
- Cell differentiation - know what the meso/endo/ectoderm become.
- Mitosis/Meiosis - understand all phases (ex: G1, S, G2...)of each and what is happening in each. (I found videos useful in this...especially those from Khan Academy) Know what types of cells these happen to.
- Be sure you understand what a heterotroph and autotroph is and how they relate to each other in the life cycle.
- Review photosynthesis - review it again - then review it again. (the entire process) Know what it produces and how that product is used.
- Be very familiar with cellular respiration, why it happens and what is happening.
- Be able to read a codon chart and decipher the outcome from a given example (this question was more difficult than the basic charts I studies. make sure you study both basic and more advanced examples)
- Mutation vs. adaption
- Phenotype/Genotype - what are they and how are they related?
- Punnet squares and calculating probability given an example. You will need to make sure you can set these up properly, which includes knowing the difference between heterozygous/homozygous/recessive/dominant and how they fit into the equation)
- Kinetic and potential energy. Make sure you can recognize an example of each. I suggest googling several examples so you can solidify the difference in your mind. My question was more difficult than the basic, but easy to understand because I had the concept down pat.
- The dreaded earth science question - is there one? Yes. And as covered in the manual, mine was about the sun. It was a concept not covered in the manual, but was easy nonetheless. There were no other earth science questions on my test. No rocks, clouds, water cycle...etc.
- Understand the purpose of a catalyst
- Know everything there is to know about the periodic table and the information you can get from it. Atomic number, atomic mass, how many protons/electrons/neutrons are in a given element. Know how the numbers relate to each other and how to decipher how many of each is in an element if given a specific number. (again, Khan Academy was a great resource on this). Also know the physical and chemical patters withing the table (what the rows mean, what the columns mean, which elements are more likely to have ionic/covalent bonds). Lastly, make sure you understand electron configuration.
- Be very familiar with valence electrons and why they are important
- Enzymes and vitamins - what do they do, where do they come from, why are they important.
- Understand pH balance/acid/base. Know what a given pH means (acidic or basic?) and understand what adding something to it may to to the pH (think about things that may raise or lower the pH of blood, for example)
- Understand bonds - ionic/covalent
- Understand hydrocarbons - saturated/unsaturated
- Make sure you remember how to balance a basic chemical equation (Khan Academy has an excellent video on this.
- Anatomy/Physiology as follows:
- Know the path of blood through the heart, including valves and whether the blood is oxygenated)
- Know the make up of the lungs and where oxygen exchange occurs
- Know the sections of the brain and what each is responsible for
- Tissue types, where you would find them, and what they do. Know several examples of each type of tissue.
- Digestive: follow bollus through the digestive system in its entirety. Know about peristalsis. Know about the digestive enzymes. Know where protein/carbs/fats are broken down. Know where the bulk of nutrients are absorbed. Know which division of the nervous system controls it.
- Know the functions of the liver, spleen and pancreas. Know which systems they belong to (and they may belong to more than one....hint)
- Know what the lymph system does and how it accomplishes it. Be mindful, also, of what it doesn't do. Just a suggestion.
- Be very familiar with the nervous system and its divisions. Know what each controls and the branches that make them up.
- Make sure you understand the structure/function of the kidney...well.
- Anatomical directions (super/inferior, proximal/distal...etc.) apply to an example.
- Know how the thyroid and parathyroid work together and what they do separately.
- Immune system - natural vs. artificial/active vs. passive. Recognize examples of each type. Also know the different cells involved and what they do.
English - The Final Section
- Understand subject/verb agreement (watch for nouns that seem plural, but aren't, such as everyone, anyone, none...etc.) These may seem easy, but I suggest practice.
- Recognize common possessive nouns.
- Pronoun/Antecedent agreement.
- Dialogue - correct punctuation and usage
- First/second/third person voice and recognizing which from a sentence or short story.
- usage for style/clarity (this will make more sense when studied in the ATI manual)
- Using sentence context to decipher the meaning of a word.
- Recognizing a simple vs. complex sentence (more difficult than you're imagining)
- Be able to identify a top and supporting sentence. Know the difference.
- Know the meaning of common prefixes/suffixes/roots (ex: uni, ous, endo...etc.) There is an excellent table in the ATI book.
- Rules of capitalization. (again, sounds easy...but, these rules really need to be reviewed.)
- Correct usage of commas, ellipses, semicolons, colons, hyphens, and parentheses.
- Correct usage of quotation marks and apostrophes.
- Do not forget the word 'whose' and its correct usage.
- Do not forget the difference between it's and its.
- Go over a list of commonly misspelled words. You will have one on your test. if you get confused, look away from the word and write it down. If that doesn't help, write it in a sentence.
- Read the directions carefully. Make sure you understand exactly what is expected of you.
- Read each question carefully. I cannot stress this enough. I came close to making several dumb mistakes because I made assumptions as to what I was being asked. It is easier to do than you think. Make sure you know if you are being asked for least/greatest/first...etc. Take your time and really read the question.
- Do not spend any length of time on any one question. There will be questions you won't know. Don't sweat it. Make an educated guess and move on. If you have time, go back to the question. But, it is more important to answer all questions. Unanswered questions count as incorrect questions.
- Do not keep a mental score of incorrect questions. This will only serve to frustrate you. Consider only the question in front of you, forgetting all others. This is vitally important.
- Many people feel like they are bombing the test as they are taking it. I felt that way. Don't allow that feeling to affect your test. Just keep working and be mindful of your time.
- Make an outline of the subjects covered in this post, as well as those in others posts like this one. Use it as a study guide. It may seem daunting, but just start. No excuses.
- If you do buy the ATI manual, pay attention to words in bold. Research them if necessary. They are bold for a reason.
- Watch for labels on charts and directions on maps. They may not be what you expect them to be.
- In the reading section, consider this: If the story doesn't reference something in one of the answers, that answer is probably incorrect. Check to see what is/isn't references and choose the best answer from there.
- Be very mindful in the math section what they are asking. The order/value they are expecting may be different that you are anticipating.
- Eat a good breakfast, but avoid over hydrating. You don't want that distraction during the exam.
- Be prepared - bring pencils. Despite the directions from the test maker, my testing center did not supply them.
- There are going to be questions you do not know the answer to. Don't worry. There are a small portion of questions that are ungraded.
- Keep in mind, this test is as much about your critical thinking skills as your knowledge base. I suggest using the online exams for exactly that reason...to learn how the test maker wants you to 'think.'
- Get to your testing center early. The last thing you need is the stress of showing up late and wondering if you will even be allowed to test.
- Be confident in your own abilities.
The TEAS V is not an easy test; neither is it an impossible one. It does require some effort and some dedication. But, if I can score a 94, you can too! I spent a month studying for this exam, going over the material for an hour or two a day. But, I am an older student who hadn't had chemistry in 18 years. Remember to focus on the subjects you are least familiar with and simply go over the subjects you are more familiar with. And about all else, practice, practice, practice.
And, last, but not least...Best of luck to you all!!!Last edit by Joe V on Apr 18, '18
Dec 26, '12Thank you for posting this! I'm taking the TEAS V the second week of January. Great advice.Dec 26, '12Thank you so much for posting these tips! I'm taking my test on Jan 18th and I really appreciate this advice! And CONGRATS on doing so well and bless you for sharing your experience!Dec 26, '12Rainbowv--
CONGRATULATIONS upon outstanding!! results of your preparation & efforts. (Or, exemplary, if you prefer.)
And thank you, from (or for) all of us, for your mind-blowing super-analysis of the depth & breadth of the exam. If only all who query here would take thorough note of all you said, and apply it to their own preparations.
Concur with all that you said, from my experience.
English, & Math--96.7%! REALLY outstanding.
(I assume you have had, or soon will have, many requests to set up a tutoring school for TEAS prep in your area.)Dec 27, '12Thank you all! Two things that came to mind that I did not include in the science portion:
-the lungs, surfactant, and surface tension (get a feel for how these things work together)
-mitochondrial DNA (who do you get it from and what is it)
I'll post again if anything else comes to mind. Best of luck @wordsofmymouth and @sjtrk!Dec 27, '12Thank you for posting this. I plan on taking my TEAS-V over the summer and I think I'm already starting to freak out about it. You're post helped me greatly! Congrats on your scores! I hope to be posting in here soon saying that I passed!Dec 29, '12Quote from krystaldickinsonVery best of luck to you! Let us know how you did and what you can add to the study suggestions!Thank you for posting this. I plan on taking my TEAS-V over the summer and I think I'm already starting to freak out about it. You're post helped me greatly! Congrats on your scores! I hope to be posting in here soon saying that I passed!Jan 5, '13Congratulations on your amazing score! Thank you so much for breaking everything down so thoroughly, I know that must have been very time consuming. I will be following all your advice!Jan 25, '13I'm taking the teas 5 in a week an 4 days I'm gonna use this as mine personal study guide! Lol thanks for all the info I'm glad I no what to expect now an prepare for it!!Feb 28, '13Thanks for your post I take my TEAS V on Mar 1 so I will keep your pointers in mind. I will also post an update as to what tips can help the next person once I take my test.Mar 2, '13Congratulations on your high score! Thank you for posting such an in depth breakdown of the test. Your experience and knowledge will surely help many people (myself included.) Best of luck to you in your career!
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