The Test of Essential Academic Skills -- also known as the TEAS test -- is an entry requirement for many nursing programs. Some schools require that you simply pass the TEAS test as a prerequisite for admission. Other schools may compare the scores of candidates to determine who the strongest students are. To improve your chance of coming out on top, get to know the test and your own skills.

Know the Topics

The TEAS Test covers reading, math and science, as well as English and language usage. The questions on the TEAS V, the latest version of the test as of this writing, are all four-option multiple-choice questions and are broken down into these four categories: 32 percent are science questions, 28 percent cover reading, 20 percent deal with mathematics and 20 percent test English and language usage skills. Knowing what's covered helps you form a preparation strategy.

Assess Your Knowledge

The TEAS is designed to ensure that you have the basic academic skills of a high school graduate, so that is the minimum level of knowledge you should have going into the test. Identify your strongest and weakest topics and study the hardest subjects first. In the reading section you will read short passages and answer questions about the meaning of vocabulary words, the author's point of view and the overall message. The math section will present problems involving basic percentages, fractions and conversions among different units of measurement. In the English and language usage section, you will be asked to complete sentences with appropriate words and to restructure sentences to correct grammar mistakes. The science section poses questions about basic earth science, biology, chemistry and physics.

Take a Practice Test

Taking a practice test helps you assess your level of preparedness for the TEAS test. Find free sample question sets online or visit the ATI Nursing Education website, where you can find official TEAS test preparation materials, including practice tests meant to gauge your level of knowledge. ATI Testing, the creator of the TEAS test, provides other preparation materials as well, including a study manual that contains all the information that might appear on the test.

Be Prepared on Test Day

A TEAS test session lasts 209 minutes, during which you will answer a total of 170 questions in the four subject areas. If you arrive late at the testing site, you will not be allowed to take the test; arriving at least a half hour early is encouraged.