Hey there! Today I wanted to share some useful tips to help you score high on your HESI and TEAS exams. These are two of the entrance exams you may come across when applying to your nursing school program. Be sure to check your school’s requirements for what sections of the HESI they require you to take as well as what minimum scores they require for each exam. Depending on the school’s you are applying to you may only have to take one of these exams, but sometimes you end up taking both like I did!
The TEAS was the more difficult test of the two for me. I actually ended up taking my TEAS three times, and fortunately because of that I can tell you from experience what does and does not work when it comes to preparing for this exam! When I sat for this exam for the first time, I foolishly thought “I just took the HESI exam and scored really high so I should be able to just take this exam no problem!” W R O N G. The TEAS and HESI have some similarities, but they also differ, so you should study for these two exams individually. That was my first mistake as I only scored a 76 overall. My second attempt at the exam I only improved my score by two points and earned a 78, but I failed the English section. Yes, I failed the section for the language I speak. But how? Mistake number one, I only studied for this exam for about a week because I was really busy with that current semesters workload. Because I was short on time, I told myself I could skip the english and reading section and focus more on the sections I usually perform weaker in like math and science. I’m proud to say I scored a 97 on the math section, but that was very likely due to me focusing all of my study time on math and science. Had I spread out my studying more evenly, I would have done better on the other sections as well. Moving on to attempt number three. For this third and final attempt I planned my studying out way ahead. I studied for one hour every night for a month, nothing less, nothing more. Once I knew I truly 100% had a certain concept down, I would start to skip it and focus more on the concepts I was still struggling with. Because of this I was able to score an 86 on my final attempt which falls into the advanced level of understanding, meaning I scored in the top 10% of all those who have attempted the exam! I credit my improvement not only to my planned studying, but also to two different study guides that really broke down the information in a way that was easy to understand and study. I used this book initially and then added this book when I was preparing for my third attempt. I really liked these guides because they provided info on how long you had to take each part of the exam, how many questions would be in each section and how many questions would count towards your scores. These guides were very detailed with step by step instructions on how to work the math section, the proper ways to read passage for the reading portion as well as some very detailed info on that english section that I dreaded! While reviewing these study guides I would write out notes for any concepts I wasn’t grasping immediately. Repetition helps me a lot, so when I read it, write it down and then read it again it helps me to get it to stick in my head! I highly recommend reviewing all of the bodily systems for the AP portion and make sure you understand how they work. Practice the math problems, review the concepts for english and understand the vocabulary words. Taking the time to review all of this is why I scored so well on that third and final attempt!
The HESI was not as difficult in my opinion. I used this study guide and it was very easy to read and get through. It was much smaller than my TEAS study guides and less intimidating. Be sure to check and see what sections your school requires you to take for the HESI exam. The school I applied to did not require all sections, so I made sure to skip over those in the study guide and just focused on the ones I needed to know. When you sit for this exam it will show you every section offered for the exam, make sure to SKIP the ones you don’t need. The exam has an overall timer and you don’t want to waste time by taking a section that isn’t required. I set aside an hour every night for a month to review the study guide. I highly recommend reviewing the vocabulary and anatomy sections thoroughly as I felt the exam questions came straight from the book. I think doing this and the fact that I had already taken both A&P I and II helped me score so high on the anatomy section which really helped my overall score. Also, make sure you practice the math problems, some of these a simple concepts from junior high/high school, but if you’re like me and hadn’t reviewed them in a long time then it is best to brush up on those skills! The school I applied to required a minimum grade of a 75 on the HESI exam and I scored a 94 overall including earning a 100 on the Anatomy & Physiology portion (major pat on the back if I may!). When I first sat down to take this test I was extremely nervous because it was the first entrance exam I had ever taken and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but once I got started I felt really comfortable and prepared because I felt like the questions being asked came from information in the book.
Overall, I believe the best things you can two to prepare for either of these entrance exams is to invest in a good study guide and have and actionable plan when it comes to studying! While an hour per day for a month worked for me, you may find that you need more or less time. I recommend using what ever study habits you currently have for your prerequisite courses and apply them to studying for these exams. Don’t change them up and try something different if what you are doing is already working for you! Make sure you schedule your exams in advance especially if you are taking it around the deadline time for nursing school applications. Testing centers fill up fast around deadlines and holidays so do not wait! You also want to plan your exam far enough in advance from your school’s application deadline in case you have to take it more than once. You will have to pay for your exam at the time of booking your appointment if you are using a testing center, and if I recall correctly, in Houston each of these exams costs ~$100. Check with your local community college to see if they offer the TEAS test at their testing center, you can usually save some money that way!
The usual things like getting a good night’s sleep, eating a meal and staying hydrated are also important. For each of these tests, you are allowed to get up and take a bathroom break as long as you are not in the middle of a section. I personally got up after every sections just to walk to the bathroom to stretch my legs and do some light breathing to keep my my mind and focus at ease. If you stick to these study guides and commit to studying them, you should be scoring higher than your school’s minimum requirement!
I hope you found this information helpful and hopefully relieved some stress I am sure you are feeling! I you plan ahead you will do great, if you fail to prepare then you may end up in a situation like I did where you are retaking (and re-paying!) an exam. Thanks for stopping by and let me know in the comments if you have any questions I may have missed!