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Self-Study vs. Coaching: Find the Best TEAS Prep Method for You


The TEAS exam, or Test of Essential Academic Skills, is a crucial hurdle for aspiring nurses seeking admission to nursing programs. Earning a competitive score on the TEAS demonstrates your academic preparedness in core areas like reading, math, science, and English language usage.

Regarding TEAS prep, you have various options at your disposal. Here’s a breakdown of some popular methods to help you decide which approach best suits your learning style and budget:

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Self-Study vs. Coaching For TEAS Prep

Self-Study For TEAS Prep

Self-study is a popular TEAS prep method for aspiring nurses seeking an independent, cost-effective approach. Let’s explain what self-study entails, its advantages and disadvantages, and how to make the most of it.

What is Self-Study?

Self-study for the TEAS exam involves taking charge of your preparation using various resources. Here’s a deeper dive into some of the shared resources you’ll utilize:

Let nursingprepexams do the TEAS for you
Let nursingprepexams do the TEAS for you
  • TEAS Prep Books: These comprehensive guides offer in-depth explanations of TEAS concepts. Look for books that align with the latest TEAS exam format and content areas. Reputable publishers often provide practice questions throughout the chapters to test your understanding. Some prep books even include diagnostic tests to assess your baseline knowledge in each TEAS section, allowing you to identify areas that require more focus.

  • Online Practice Tests: Numerous websites offer TEAS practice tests that simulate exam format and difficulty. These practice tests are invaluable for familiarizing yourself with the questions you’ll encounter on the TEAS. Look for practice tests that provide detailed explanations of answers, allowing you to learn from both correct and incorrect responses. Some websites offer tiered subscription plans, with options for a specific number of practice tests or unlimited access throughout your study period.

  • Online Resources: The internet is a treasure trove of TEAS prep resources. Websites, educational blogs, and even YouTube channels can provide valuable materials to supplement your learning. Explore websites of organizations like the National League for Nursing (NLN), which offers TEAS exam information and resources. Educational blogs and YouTube channels often provide TEAS prep tips, mnemonics (memory aids) for critical concepts, and TEAS exam overviews delivered in engaging formats.

Self-Study vs Coaching
Self-Study vs Coaching

Pros of Self-Study

Self-study offers a multitude of benefits for TEAS prep:

  • Flexibility: You have complete control over your study schedule. Pace yourself comfortably, dedicate more time to challenging areas, and study whenever it works best for you. Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, you can tailor your study sessions to your natural energy levels.

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to coaching or tutoring, self-study is a budget-friendly option. The primary investment is in study materials like prep books and practice tests, which are affordable, especially compared to the cost of TEAS coaching programs.

  • Personalized Approach: Self-study allows you to tailor your study methods to your learning style. Do you learn best by reading, watching videos, or completing practice problems? Identify what works best for you and create a study plan incorporating those methods.

  • Develops Self-Discipline: Self-study fosters time management skills and self-discipline, essential for success in nursing school and beyond. By creating and sticking to a structured study plan, you’ll build valuable habits that will benefit you throughout your academic journey.

Cons of Self-Study

While self-study boasts numerous advantages, there are also some downsides to consider:

  • Lack of Personalized Guidance: Without an instructor or tutor, you may miss out on personalized feedback and targeted instruction. If you get stuck on a concept or struggle with a particular question type, there might not be someone readily available to provide immediate one-on-one assistance.

  • Procrastination: The freedom of self-study can be a double-edged sword. The ability to set your schedule can also lead to procrastination. Maintaining discipline and a structured study plan is crucial for success. Develop strategies to stay accountable, like setting daily or weekly goals and rewarding yourself for completing them.

  • Limited Expert Feedback: While online resources might offer general tips and answer explanations, they may not provide in-depth feedback on your practice test performance or identify specific areas for improvement. Join online TEAS prep communities or forums to connect with other TEAS test-takers and share experiences.

How To Make Self-Study Work for You

Despite the challenges, self-study can be a successful TEAS prep method with the right approach:

  • Create a Study Schedule: Structure your learning with a realistic study plan that allocates time for each TEAS section (reading, math, science, and English language usage). Schedule regular practice tests throughout your study period to gauge your progress and identify areas needing additional focus.

  • Find a Study Buddy: Partnering with a fellow TEAS test-taker can boost accountability and provide a support system for motivation and knowledge sharing. Take a quiz on concepts, discuss study strategies, and encourage each other throughout the TEAS prep process.

  • Utilize Online Resources: Explore high-quality online TEAS prep resources alongside your study materials. Look for reputable websites, educational channels, and TEAS prep communities.

TEAS Coaching and Tutoring For TEAS Prep

While self-study offers a DIY approach to TEAS prep, some aspiring nurses seek a more structured and supported learning experience. TEAS coaching and tutoring provide personalized guidance and expert instruction to help you conquer the exam.

What is Coaching and Tutoring?

Coaching: TEAS coaching involves working with a TEAS instructor, either in-person or online. These instructors provide a structured learning environment, typically through one-on-one or group classes. They offer personalized feedback on your progress, develop targeted study plans, and equip you with effective test-taking strategies.

Tutoring: TEAS tutoring focuses on individualized instruction. A tutor works directly with you to address your specific needs and areas of weakness. They can explain complex concepts, answer questions, and provide practice problems tailored to your learning style. Tutoring sessions can be in-person or online, offering greater scheduling flexibility than coaching programs.

Types of TEAS Coaching

TEAS coaching programs come in various formats to cater to different learning preferences and budgets:

  • One-on-One Coaching: Provides the most personalized attention and allows for a completely customized learning experience.
  • Group Classes: Offer a collaborative learning environment and can be more cost-effective than one-on-one coaching.
  • Online Coaching: Provides the flexibility to attend sessions remotely, on your schedule.

Pros of TEAS Coaching

TEAS coaching offers a multitude of benefits for aspiring nurses:

  • Personalized Instruction and Feedback: Receive tailored guidance and feedback from a TEAS expert to address your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Structured Study Plans and Schedules: Coaching programs provide a structured learning framework with clear study plans and schedules, taking the guesswork out of your TEAS prep.
  • Access to Expert Knowledge and Strategies: Learn from experienced TEAS instructors with in-depth knowledge of the exam content and effective test-taking strategies.

Cons of TEAS Coaching

While coaching offers valuable support, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

  • Higher Cost Compared to Self-Study: TEAS coaching programs can be significantly more expensive than self-study options.
  • Less Flexibility in Scheduling: Coaching sessions, particularly group classes, may have fixed schedules that do not perfectly align with your availability.
  • Dependency on the Tutor’s Availability and Expertise: The quality of your coaching experience depends on the instructor’s knowledge and teaching style. Make sure to research and choose a reputable coaching program.

By understanding the advantages and disadvantages of TEAS coaching and tutoring, you can determine if this structured approach aligns with your learning style and budget. In the next section, we’ll explore additional factors to consider when making your decision.

Comparison of Self-Study and Coaching

Whether you thrive on independent learning or prefer a more guided approach, self-study and coaching can be effective strategies for TEAS prep. Here’s a breakdown to help you choose the best method for your learning style and needs.

1. Effectiveness

Self-Study: Highly disciplined and self-motivated individuals can excel with self-study. Tailoring your study schedule and learning methods to your preferences can be a significant advantage. For instance, visual learners can benefit from creating mind maps or diagrams, while auditory learners might find audio resources particularly helpful.

Case Study: Sarah, a recent nursing school graduate, aced the TEAS using a self-study approach. She created a detailed study plan incorporating TEAS prep books, online practice tests, and flashcards. Since she learns best by doing, she focused on practice problems and self-testing to identify and address her weaknesses.

Coaching: Coaching offers a structured learning environment and personalized guidance, ideal for students who benefit from explicit instruction and regular feedback. A coach can identify knowledge gaps and develop targeted strategies to address them, ensuring efficient use of your study time.

Case Study: Michael, a busy professional juggling work and family commitments, opted for TEAS coaching. He found the structured study plan and accountability provided by his coach invaluable in staying on track. The one-on-one sessions allowed him to clarify concepts he found challenging and receive immediate feedback on his practice tests.

2. Cost Analysis

Self-study is the more cost-effective option, with expenses primarily limited to study materials like prep books and practice tests. While online resources can be free, some high-quality TEAS prep websites require subscriptions.

Coaching programs, on the other hand, can be significantly more expensive. The cost varies depending on the format (one-on-one vs. group classes) and program duration. However, the long-term benefits of achieving a high TEAS score can outweigh the upfront investment, as it can significantly increase your chances of admission to your preferred nursing school.

3. Time Commitment

Self-Study: Requires significant time management skills. You must create a realistic study plan incorporating all the TEAS sections and dedicate sufficient time to each subject area.

Coaching: Coaching programs typically have a defined schedule of classes or sessions, requiring a specific time commitment. However, the structured nature of coaching can help you stay focused and efficient with your studies, potentially leading to less overall study time than self-study.

Balancing Study Time: Both methods require balancing TEAS prep and other responsibilities. Self-study demands self-discipline to ensure you’re dedicating enough time to studying consistently. Coaching programs can help manage your time by providing a schedule, but you’ll still need to devote additional time to practice tests and reviewing course materials.

4. Learning Styles

Self-study is ideal for individuals who are comfortable directing their learning. You can customize your study methods to fit your preferences, whether visual aids, auditory resources, or hands-on practice.

Coaching: Highly beneficial for learners who crave structure and feedback. Coaches can adapt their teaching style to cater to your specific needs, whether you’re a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner.

Adapting Study Methods: Even within self-study, you can incorporate elements of a structured approach. Create a study plan, find a buddy for accountability, and explore online resources offering TEAS prep tips and strategies tailored to different learning styles.

Ultimately, the choice between self-study and coaching depends on your learning style, budget, and time constraints. Evaluate each method based on your needs and find the approach to propel you towards TEAS success. In the next section, we’ll explore additional resources and strategies to optimize your TEAS prep journey, regardless of your chosen method.

How To Choose The Best TEAS Prep Method for You

With a clear understanding of self-study and coaching, you can choose the best TEAS prep method. Here’s how to assess your needs and explore a potential blended approach.

1. Assess Your Needs

Before diving into specific methods, take a moment for self-reflection. Answering these questions can help you identify the TEAS prep approach that best aligns with your unique circumstances:

  • Budget: How much can you invest in TEAS prep materials or coaching programs?
  • Learning Style: Do you learn best independently with self-directed study, or do you thrive in a structured learning environment with an instructor?
  • Time Availability: How much time can you dedicate to TEAS prep every week? Do you have a flexible schedule or need a more structured approach to manage your time effectively?

Considering these factors, you can narrow down your options and determine whether self-study, coaching, or a combination of both suits you.

2. Combine Strategies for Success

Many students find that a blended approach, combining elements of self-study and coaching, offers the most effective TEAS prep strategy. Here’s how you can integrate both methods for a well-rounded learning experience:

  • Utilize Self-Study Resources: Purchase TEAS prep books or access online resources like practice tests and study guides. Use these materials to build a solid foundation in core TEAS subject areas and identify your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Supplement with Coaching: Consider enrolling in a TEAS coaching program for targeted instruction and personalized feedback. A coach can help you address specific areas of difficulty, develop effective test-taking strategies, and keep you motivated throughout your TEAS prep journey.

Examples of a Blended Approach

  • Sarah (mentioned earlier) can use her TEAS prep books and online practice tests as her primary study resources. However, she can also consider supplementing her self-study with a few one-on-one coaching sessions to address specific challenges she encounters during practice tests.
  • Michael (mentioned earlier) is already enrolled in a TEAS coaching program. Still, he can utilize TEAS prep book exercises, online quizzes, and coaching sessions to solidify his understanding of critical concepts.

Remember, the best TEAS prep method is the one that works best for you. By understanding your learning style, budget, and time constraints, you can choose an approach that prepares you for TEAS success. In the next section, we’ll explore additional resources and strategies to enhance your TEAS prep, regardless of your chosen method.


As you embark on your TEAS prep journey, remember there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. This guide has explored the advantages and disadvantages of self-study and coaching to empower you to choose the method that best suits your needs.

Recap of Key Points

  • Self-Study: Offers flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to tailor your study methods to your learning style. However, it requires self-discipline, time management skills, and the ability to independently identify and address knowledge gaps.
  • Coaching provides a structured learning environment, personalized instruction, and expert feedback. However, coaching programs can be more expensive and offer less scheduling flexibility than self-study.

How To Choose the Right Method

The most effective TEAS prep method depends on your unique learning style, budget, and time constraints. Evaluate each option based on these factors, and don’t hesitate to explore a blended approach that incorporates elements of self-study and coaching for a well-rounded learning experience.

Final Thoughts

The TEAS exam is an essential hurdle to becoming a registered nurse. By starting your TEAS prep early and choosing a method that fosters confidence and readiness, you’ll be well-equipped to conquer the exam and take the next step toward your nursing career goals.

We wish you the very best in your TEAS prep journey! In addition to the resources mentioned throughout this guide, explore the official TEAS website for additional information and registration details.

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