TEAS vs. HESI: Which Nursing Entrance Exam is Right for You?


Two of the most common entry exams are the Health Education Systems Inc. (HESI A2) and the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS). Before comparing TEAS and HESI, you must consider what each covers.

As much as both tests evaluate the student’s potential in nursing school, it proves problematic for many to choose the ideal exam. If you are in such a dilemma, this guide will cover both tests to help debunk what they involve.

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What is The TEAS Exam?

The TEAS entrance exam assesses the academic readiness of nursing candidates who wish to join their dream nursing program. This test examines the foundational skills required to succeed in nursing school and healthcare.


Let nursingprepexams do the TEAS for you
Let nursingprepexams do the TEAS for you

Its primary purpose is to ensure that all applicants have the requisite abilities and knowledge in crucial academic areas to support their education and future careers.

TEAS Test Format


  • Interpretation of information
  • Comprehension of passages


  • Algebra and data interpretation
  • Arithmetic and numerical operations


    • Fundamentals of biology, physical science and chemistry
    • Basic concepts in human physiology and anatomy
TEAS vs. HESI: Which Nursing Entrance Exam is Right for You?
TEAS vs. HESI: Which Nursing Entrance Exam is Right for You?

English language usage

  • Sentence structure and contextual words
  • Grammar and punctuation

Typically, the TEAS test focuses on basic academic skills in these areas to ensure that the students possess the requisite knowledge to learn and practice nursing.

What is The HESI A2 Exam?

Often known as the HESI A2 (Admission Assessment), the exam serves a similar purpose to TEAS but on a broader scope. It examines the applicant’s readiness for nursing programs by assessing their understanding of general academic subjects and other specialized healthcare topics.

The HESI A2 admission exam aims to predict applicants’ success in nursing school, helping schools choose candidates likely to perform better professionally and academically.

HESI A2 Format


  • Basic math skills and application in healthcare settings

Reading comprehension

  • Understanding and analyzing written material


  • In-depth coverage of anatomy and physiology
  • Basic knowledge of chemistry, physics, and biology

English language and usage

  • Punctuation, grammar, vocabulary

Additional sections

  • Critical thinking – this section evaluates the applicant’s reasoning and decision-making skills in the healthcare field
  • Chemistry and biology – advanced specialized knowledge that is relevant to healthcare
  • Physiology and anatomy – entail a detailed understanding of the human body systems
  • Personality profile and learning styles – it assesses the candidate’s suitability for the nursing profession and what could be their preferred learning method

Differences Between TEAS and HESI A2

TEAS and HESI A2 Exam Structure


TEAS Sections No of questions Time limit (Minutes)
Science 50 60
Math 38 57
Reading 45 55
English and language usage 37 37


HESI Sections No of questions Time limit (Minutes)
Anatomy and physiology 30 25
Biology 30 25
Chemistry 30 25
Grammar 55 50
Math 55 50
Reading 55 60
Vocabulary 55 50
Physics 25 50
Personality profile 15 15
Learning style 14 15

TEAS and HESI A2 Comparison Table

No of sections Around 10 4
Length of exam 4 hours (Approximate) 3 hours 30 minutes (Approximate)
Cost It varies between $40 to $100 Approximately $70
Specialized knowledge Needs more specialized knowledge, especially in chemistry, biology, anatomy, physiology, and other crucial healthcare fields Based on fundamental knowledge from high school
Preparation Requires more time for studying and preparation Requires less specialized studying
Difficulty It is considered more challenging since you have to cover more content. Generally seen as slightly less challenging
Scoring Its questions have lower individual weight Its questions have higher individual weight

How To Choose the Right Nursing School Entrance Exam

When applying for your ideal nursing program, it is essential to remember that different schools could have preferences for either the HESI or TEAS test. The preference for a particular exam could greatly influence your application strategy and preparation.

1. Institutional Alignment

  • Some schools will choose an exam that best aligns with their admission standards and curriculum.
  • Some programs believe that HESI’s healthcare sections assess the student’s readiness better than the TEAS test, while others believe TEAS does better.

2. Historical Data

  • Some schools could have historical performance data that shows which test better predicts the student’s readiness.
  • The data helps schools refine their admission processes and only select students who are likely better prepared and well-equipped with the necessary knowledge.

3. HESI Customization Options

Among the impressive advantages of the HESI test is the customization capability. It allows nurses to tailor-make the test to their specific needs. The customization includes:

A. Selection For Specific Sections

Institutions can choose the HESI sections to administer that correspond to their program’s focus. For example, a program emphasizing clinical practice may prioritize physiology and anatomy sections. This flexibility ensures the test aligns with competencies the schools deem more essential.

B. Inclusion of Non-academic Assessments

  • Learning styles: They assess how the students learn best and also offer insights on how they could respond to their teaching methods.
  • Personality profiling helps schools evaluate whether the student’s personality fits the nursing and healthcare field.
  • Critical thinking – evaluates your decision-making abilities and reasoning, which are essential for the nursing practice.

Understanding whether your ideal institution prefers the HESI or TEAS exam is vital in the application process. First, you need to determine what exam you want to sit for and then look for the school that offers that program.

You can research their admission requirements online or contact the admissions offices for answers. From there, you can start preparing for that specific test.

How To Pass TEAS and HESI A2 Exams

1. Understand The Exam Format and Content

To pass the HESI or TEAS exam, you require a strategic approach with several crucial steps. First, you need to understand the exam’s content and format. Both tests will cover diverse subjects even though the specific focus areas may differ.

Ensure you familiarize yourself with the sections to be tested and the types of questions you will most likely encounter. That will give you confidence and reduce your anxiety on the exam day.

2. Create a Structured Study Plan

A well-created study schedule will allow you to allocate enough time for each section and will ensure you cover all topics and sub-sections you need to cover. Break down your sessions into manageable chunks, and then set realistic goals on what you wish to achieve for each session. This approach will help you manage your time effectively and promote consistency in your study sessions.

3. Utilize Practice Tests To Identify Weaknesses

Ensure you take practice tests in exam-like conditions to gauge your knowledge and readiness to sit for the TEAS or HESI exam and join your institution of choice.  These tests will help identify the areas where you have challenges or weaknesses and look for ways to take care of them. Practice tests will also help with the actual exam’s timing pressure, which can help improve performance and reduce anxiety.

Review your answers after completing the practice test and assess where you made mistakes. Go through the concepts once more and understand where you made the mistakes. Understanding why you made a mistake in that chemistry question will help you avoid it next time.

4. Review Answers and Refine Test-taking Strategies

Pay attention to the common pitfalls like running out of time and misreading questions. Endeavor to create strategies to manage your time effectively, especially during the exam, such as allocating sufficient time for each section or question.

You could also practice various techniques to deal with difficult questions. That could include eliminating the incorrect answers and making educated guesses when you can’t find the correct answer.  Before you submit the paper, thoroughly review your answers to ensure you have the correct answers and that no questions remain unattended.

FAQs About TEAS and HESI A2 Exams

What are the HESI A2 and TEAS exams?

TEAS is a standardized test that assesses candidates’ academic readiness to enter nursing and allied health programs. The exam evaluates skills in science, reading, math, and English and language usage.

HESI A2 is a comprehensive test that assesses students’ readiness to join their ideal nursing programs. The test also covers the general academic subjects in TEAS and additional healthcare-specific topics such as physiology and anatomy.

Which exam should I take for admission to nursing school?

The choice between a TEAS or HESI test depends on the specific nursing program requirements you wish to join. Some institutions prefer HES A2, while some prefer the TEAS test. Check with the desired school to be sure of what exam to take.

Are there resources available to study for these exams?

Yes, there are various resources you can utilize when preparing for both tests. These resources are available on educational websites, online retailers, and bookstores. Study guides, review books, and online courses tailored for the TEAS or HESI A2 test can be used.

Can I retake the TEAS or HESI A2 if I don’t pass?

Yes, you can take a retake of both exams if you do not get the desired or required score. However, both have different retake policies that you should consider, including the number of allowed retakes and the waiting period between attempts.

These policies could vary depending on the institution. For example, some institutions may have 30 days between the retakes for their test, and candidates may have 2 or three retakes in a testing year. However, you need to check with the school to know their rules.

Is HESI easier than TEAS?

HESI is not easier than TEAS as it covers more content than TEAS tests. It has additional topics like anatomy, which are not covered in TEAS. Due to the increased content and information, some say it is slightly harder simply because you must cover more. You must look for more study materials and spend more time on HESI than TEAS.


When comparing TEAS and HESI, it is essential to fully understand what they both entail. HESI is like a more comprehensive version of the TEAS test; it covers what TEAS covers and additional specific healthcare-related topics.

It has additional topics like anatomy, physiology, personality profile, learning style, and physics. Ensure you contact your target school to know which exam to sit for as the nursing entrance exam choice. It will make the application process seamless.

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