Before entering nursing school, students take the TEAS.

As students advance in their education, they are often expected to take standardized entrance exams. These tests help show that a student has the necessary skills to succeed at the next level of education. Most graduate schools use the GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, to help determine the eligibility of applicants. Nursing schools use the TEAS, or Test of Essential Academic Skills, as part of the application process. While the tests have many similarities, there are also major differences between the two.

GRE Basics

The GRE predicts how likely you are to succeed in graduate-level studies. It measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing skills. Students can take the GRE via a computer or on paper. The paper-based and computer-based tests vary on the number of sections, questions and time limits. Both verbal and quantitative sections are reported on a scale from 130 to 170 points while the analytical writing section is reported on a scale of zero to six points.

TEAS Basics

The TEAS measures your level of preparedness as required by nursing schools. The test features four weighted areas: reading, mathematics, science and English. The four sections have a total of 170 questions. Test scores are available online 48 hours after completion. Unlike the GRE, the TEAS is scored based on percentiles instead of points.


The TEAS and GRE assess many of the same objectives. The reading sections test your ability to analyze and draw conclusions, identify an author’s perspective, summarize text and understand the meanings of words, sentences and concepts. The math sections test your ability to solve word problems and equations using mathematical skills in areas such as arithmetic, algebra, geometry, probability and statistics. Both tests feature a writing section where you must use correct grammar and sentence structure to present ideas and opinions with supported evidence.


Unlike the GRE, the TEAS features a science section. This section tests your knowledge on human body science, life science, earth and physical science and scientific reasoning. When it comes to calculating mathematical problems, the GRE allows you to use a calculator. With the TEAS, no calculators are permitted. The GRE places an increased emphasis on data interpretation and real-life scenarios compared to the TEAS. The computer-based GRE takes 225 minutes plus the time it takes to complete an additional unscored or research section, while the paper-based test takes 210 minutes. The time limit for the TEAS is 210 minutes.