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  • Writer's pictureRnMindset

Tips On Passing HESI or TEAS

Updated: Nov 19, 2018

Tips On Passing the HESI or TEAS

Getting into nursing school is not the easiest thing to do. Anybody that is looking at getting into nursing school will find out very quickly that nursing school is competitive, and there are a lot of hoops to jump through to get your RN. One of the barriers that many students face is passing the HESI or TEAS test. These tests are designed to test your foundational knowledge in core subjects, to evaluate if you are cognitively able to pass courses in nursing school. With most schools, there is no getting around these tests. In order to apply to a nursing program, you will need to meet the minimal standard that the school has set on one of these tests. In many schools around the United States, the score you have on your entrance exam is an evaluating factor for acceptance, among all the hopeful students applying to the program. If you barely pass the minimal standard, the odds of you making it into the program is low, and you might have to apply to another school or wait until next year to re-apply. Here are some tips to make sure you ace your entrance exam.

This may be completely obvious, but study and prepare for the exam. I have seen many students that did not study for the exam, did poorly, and had to retake the exam. This is a waste of time and money. Depending on the college, these tests can cost around 80$. If you procrastinate and need to retake the exam, and you are not able to retake the exam before the application date for the nursing program is over, you will need to wait another year to apply to the program. When you are getting ready for nursing school, be mindful that you will be spending many hours of your life studying while in the program. Start your nursing career off right by creating good study habits that will help you have the confidence to ace the exam.

When you are getting ready to study for your exam, make sure you know what test your school requires. Some use HESI, others use TEAS. The tests have differences, and your study time will be affected by what test you are going to be assigned. When you know what test you will need to take, make sure you know what percentages you need in order to get into your program. If your college is based on a wait time, the minimal standard is all you need to get in. If your program is based off of your GPA and entrance exam score, ask your adviser what the average test score is for your school. This will help you know what score you need in order to be a competitive candidate into getting into the program.

Next step is to make a goal for your exam. Make a goal that is concrete, and one that will affect your study. Knowing what the minimal standard is, and what the average testing score in your college is, will help with your goal setting. If your goal is to get an 80, or 90 on the TEAS, this will be your main goal. Once you have your main goal, break down your goal into smaller goals. If you think of your goal like most sports, the obvious goal is winning the game. In order to win the game, there are many plays to help the team get to the main goal. If you want to get a 90 on the TEAS, break down smaller goals for each week, day, and study hour that will affect your main goal.

If there is a smaller goal that will not help you with your main goal, scratch that goal, and find a goal that will help with your main goal. With any goal you make, set time limits. Plan on when you want to take your exam, and set a goal date for when you want to take the exam. Also make sure you ask your advisor for the deadlines of application. In some colleges, if you miss the application period, you might have to wait another year before being able to apply.

When you have done these steps, now you can get into your study time. There are many study guides for the HESI and TEAS. These are very helpful and will make a big difference on your exam score. You should buy at least one study guide that you can own and write in. Get a study guide that has at least two practice tests. Before you start your study, take the first test and find what areas you need more work on. When you can find the areas you need to work on, make goals on how you will perfect those areas, and make those areas the strongest subjects in your knowledge.

Now that you know what areas you need to study on the most, use several resources. It is healthy for your mind to see different texts, different ways of understanding, and different ways of doing problems in order to have a well rounded base of knowledge to do well on your exam. Libraries will have test prep guides. These guides will be helpful in explaining the same subjects, but with different problems, or even ways of solving the problems. Since checking out these materials won’t cost you, check out other test prep guides that have similar material. The ACT, SAT, or even GRE test prep books have material that will be helpful for you to have a well rounded base of knowledge. If you have taken your practice test and you know that math is a weak spot, getting a test prep math book can be helpful to have a more focused area of study.

One of the greatest resources is YouTube. There are thousands of test prep sources on YouTube, and if you are a visual, or audio learner, the information from YouTube videos will be extremely helpful. The next great resource is quizlet. You can search quizlet and find material that is directly based on the HESI and TEAS that other students have made, but make your own folders. Take the information that you need to work on, and make a folder for your test preparation that is specific to you. If you don’t have a quizlet account, it is free, and it is easy to start making sets. Once you have put in your terms, you can choose flashcards, games, quizzes, and several other modes that quizlet offers to help you study.

If you know of people that are also studying for the exam, try to find times to study with them. Studying with others is good and bad at times. If you are not studying your material and you are just chatting with a friend, this may not be the best option. If you are weak at in your English category, but your friend’s strongest subject is English, this resource will be very useful. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your study partners, and let them know what your weak and strong areas are. Teaching is a great way to solidify information. Letting your study partner know what your strengths are might open up discussions opportunistic for you to teach.

A week before exam day, take the second practice exam in your study guide. If there are other areas you are still not proficient in, study those areas intensely over the next week getting ready for your exam. When you are ready to take your test, make sure you know the testing center rules and times beforehand. These entrance exams take several hours, and if you show up late, you might not be able to take the exam. If the testing center requires you to have two forms of ID, or doesn’t allow sweaters, this will be good information to know before test day. When test day comes, you don’t want any stress outside of doing well on your exam. Get to the testing center with some time to relax, possibly go over a few flashcards, and get pumped to rock your exam, because you will know that you studied well, and you have set appropriate goals.

When your exam is over, you will most likely be able to see your results right away. If you need to send the results to your advisor, make sure you ask for a copy. If you have prepared well, you will know what the minimal standards are, and you will know if you passed. If you did, reward yourself, and make sure everything else is in order for you to apply to your nursing program. If you didn’t, there are guidelines specific to each test on how soon you can retake the exam.

Don’t get discouraged and give up. I have worked with many CNAs that would be great nurses, and when I’ve asked them why they aren’t preparing for nursing school, they mention that they didn’t pass their entrance exam. Failing the entrance exam doesn’t mean that you aren’t smart enough to be a nurse. Look at the areas you did weak on, and then focus your study to perfect those areas. Ask your advisor for the requirements on how soon you can retake the exam, and then start over and study to pass it the next time.


Study! Learn what exam you will need to take. Buy at least one study guide specific to your test. Use the practice tests. Use many resources to build your base of knowledge. Know your testing center rules and times. Rock your test, and get ready for nursing school!


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