The Graduate Records Exam, required of applicants to most graduate programs, and the Test of Essential Academic Skills, mandatory for those entering a nursing school, examine a similar set of skills in an overall assessment of your potential success in continued education. While the two exams are quite similar, subtle differences in structure, format, measured skills and scoring are important distinctions to note.

Exam Structure and Format

Both the GRE and the TEAS amount to approximately 3 1/2 hour exams. The GRE is divided into three scored areas, including two 30-minute sections of verbal reasoning, two 35-minute sections of quantitative reasoning and two 30-minute analytical writing questions. Added to these sections is one 30-minute unscored section in either verbal or quantitative reasoning along with another 30- minute portion for a section of questions in development for future exams. The TEAS includes a 58-minute reading section, a 51-minute mathematics section, a 66-minute science section and a 34-minute English and language usage section. Incorporated across these sections are 20 unscored pretest questions. Both the GRE and TEAS are offered in computer-based or paper-based formats.

Number of Questions

In total, the GRE includes 122 questions, broken down into 40 verbal reasoning questions, 40 quantitative reasoning questions, two analytical writing questions and 80 questions that fall into the research or unscored categories. The TEAS totals 170 questions, 42 of which are devoted to reading, 30 to mathematics, 48 to science, and 30 to English and language usage, along with the 20 unscored pretest questions.

Skills Measured

The GRE examines verbal and quantitative reasoning skills along with your analytical thinking skills. Verbal reasoning questions test your reading comprehension, including drawing conclusions, highlighting important arguments, or comprehending diverse vocabulary. Quantitative reasoning questions focus on your abilities to analyze and implement data and mathematical concepts. The analytical writing questions assess your ability to interpret an argument and its claims through coherent writing.

The TEAS sections on reading and mathematics gauge similar concepts to the GRE's verbal and quantitative reasoning sections; however, the TEAS omits a written portion and instead includes an English and language usage section, which tests your grammar, spelling and punctuation. The TEAS also adds a fourth section on scientific reasoning, including life, earth and physical sciences.


The verbal and quantitative reasoning sections of the GRE are scored in one-point increments on a scale between 130 and 170, with the analytical writing section scored in half-point increments on a scale of zero to six points. The TEAS, however, offers results in percentages. TEAS scores are available immediately following completion of the computer-based exam, as are your GRE verbal and quantitative reasoning scores; your score for the analytical writing section, however, will require an additional 10 to 15 days.