Nursing Exams: TEAS, HESI & NCLEX

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: December 26, 2021  •  8 min read  •  Health
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Every nursing student will reach a point where they have to prepare for and pass an exam. Whether it’s the TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills ), HESI (Health Education System, Inc.), NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination), or another exam, this will be a requirement. There are many things you should be aware of with any nursing exam.

When it’s time to take a nursing exam, you want to make sure you know what you’re getting into. Some exams will be necessary to get into school, while others will be licensing exams.

These exams can be overwhelming. Before you start getting stressed out, it’s best to understand the exam you will be taking better. A closer look at each exam and a few prep courses you can use will likely help you feel more relaxed.

The TEAS Exam

The TEAS exam is a mandatory test you must pass to enroll in allied health school or nursing school. It will test your comprehension of topics and subjects from high school and the first half of college.

The score you get on the TEAS exam will be used to determine if a nursing school lets you in or not. You will also need to do well in a health science program to get into nursing school.

The Structure of the Exam

The TEAS exam allows 3.5 hours to complete it with a time limit for each of the four sections. The four sections are broken down as follows:

The TEAS exam can be rather daunting for many students. However, you can score well on the TEAS with the right study materials. Let’s look at a few tips for taking the TEAS and the top test prep options.

3 Tips for Taking the TEAS

1. Take it Often and Early

You can take the TEAS as many times as you want, and you can start taking it before you apply for a health sciences program. If you take the test early, you can become familiar with it before taking the final version before applying to nursing school.

2. Register Early

Waiting until the last minute will only hinder your ability to score well on the TEAS. You want to register early and work on studying while you wait. It’s necessary to register at least two weeks ahead of time, but longer is always better.

3. Go into the Test Rested

The night before the TEAS exam, you want to get plenty of sleep. You should also make sure you’re comfortable during the test and stay hydrated too.

Top 2 Online Test Prep Courses for the TEAS

1. Mometrix

A highly-rated option with a one-week trial offer, Mometrix offers 1,700+ questions, more than 110 videos, flashcards, practice exams, and more. In addition, they provide a 100% pass guarantee and a great price. So if you’re looking for the top TEAS test prep option, Mometrix is likely the right choice for you.

2. ExamEdge

Offering 20 practice tests with 168 unique questions on each exam, ExamEdge has one of the top TEAS test prep options online. It’s a trusted test prep course with bundles you can choose from to fit your needs. If you want to use practice exams to prepare, this is the right option.

How will the TEAS exam be scored?

You will need to check with your school to understand what a passing score is for your specific situation. The score necessary will vary from one school to another. Each question has a point value assigned, with harder and easier questions scored differently. After completing the TEAS, it will take about two days to get your test results.

The HESI Exam

The HESI (Health Education System, Inc.) exam is used to help health professionals prepare for their board and licensing exams. In addition, it’s an assessment students can use to see their weaknesses and strengths in different subjects.

Types of HESI Exams

Nursing students and health profession students use several different HESI exams. The different options include HESI exams for:

Different schools may require the exam for each type of profession. These are not limited to single exams, either. Instead, they are a series of exams, and each school may choose to use different options for their students.

The HESI admission exams will look at the academic deficiencies of a student. However, the HESI specialty exams may be more difficult and test the student differently. The goal is to prepare you for your board and licensing exams, regardless of which HESI exams your school uses.

Preparing for HESI Exams

Most schools will require you to complete prerequisite classes before taking the HESI admissions test. Therefore, you will likely want to get a good test prep course to help you prepare for the exam.

Top 2 Online Test Prep Courses for the HESI

1. BoostPrep

An excellent option providing six months of access, BoostPrep offers a 100% Pass Guarantee. In addition, they give you more than 900 practice questions and three practice tests. You will also get helpful study guides, along with many other features.

2. ExamEdge

Another excellent choice for your HESI test prep comes from ExamEdge. This option comes with different packages to help you choose what you need. They offer a large bank of practice questions and several practice exams.

How is the HESI test scored?

The HESI test is scored based on how many questions you get correct. Each school will set its passing score. Many nursing schools use a minimum passing score of about 75% to 80%.

The NCLEX Exam

The NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) is the most important nursing exam you will likely ever take. State boards use it to decide if you will be issued a nursing license. This comprehensive exam will cover a variety of nursing concepts. Therefore, you will need to complete your nursing program before taking the NCLEX.

There are two types of NCLEX exams, one for registered nurses and one for practical nurses. The content is very similar from one version to the other.

The Format of the NCLEX

The NCLEX exam covers four major categories and six additional subcategories. Most of the questions are multiple-choice, but some are drag-and-drop, fill-in-the-blank, and even chart/exhibit questions. All questions will relate to nursing topics and concepts.

There are between 75 and 265 questions on the RN (Registered Nurse) exam and 85 to 205 on the PRN (Practical Registered Nurse) exam. In addition, both exams offer 15 experimental questions, which don’t count towards your final score.

The NCLEX exam will cover the following areas:

If you want to make sure you pass the NCLEX, you will likely need an excellent prep course.

Top 2 Online Test Prep Courses for the NCLEX

1. Hurst

The prep course from Hurst provides a great choice. They have a pass rate of 98% on the first try. You will get 1,500 questions, quizzes, flashcards, and so much more. Choose from a variety of options from Hurst for your test prep, as well.

2. Kaplan

Another good option for your NCLEX test prep comes from Kaplan. They offer 18 hours of lectures, 2,000 exam questions, a content review guide, computer-adaptive tests, and much more. You will even get more than 300 videos to help you prepare.

What is the passing score for the NCLEX?

You won’t need to answer a specific number of questions correctly to pass the NCLEX. Instead, this test relies on a confidential interval and a logit score. You will find out if you passed about six weeks after taking the test.


No matter the type of nursing exam you will need to take, make sure you’re well prepared. There are many things you can do to increase your chances of passing. Getting a good night of sleep and going into the test relaxed is very important. In addition, the right test prep course will make a big difference.

When you need to take one of the many nursing exams, you need the right test prep option. These three nursing exams are rather common and require the right studying. If you want to become a nurse or work in healthcare, you will likely need to take one of these tests. Make sure you’re prepared and know what you’re getting into.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path. I, personally, am the high school dropout son of two teacher parents. So how did I get here? That story is coming soon!