How to Study for the TEAS V English and Reading Section

Most test takers find the TEAS V to be a difficult exam, and it often determines whether or not a pre-nursing student gets into the nursing program of his or her choice. It is not surprising to find out that many students have difficulty in the TEAS V Reading and English sections, especially those who learned English as a second language. Even some English native speakers find the reading and English section to be difficult.

TEAS V English and Reading Practice Exams

Students will probably spend between four and six weeks prior to the test studying for the TEAS V Science and math sections. However, the time needed to study varies considerably with the English and reading sections depending on the student’s current level of fluency in English. Unfortunately, English and reading are not topics that can be crammed in a short amount of time.

First thing you need to do is to purchase the official TEAS V Study Manual. The link for this study guide  goes to Amazon, which will be significantly cheaper than the full retail price from ATI, the maker of the TEAS exam. The study guide will contain two written practice tests which resemble the actual test pretty closely. ATI also sells TEAS V online practice exams, but they are more useful for those who need to study or cram the science and math sections within four to six weeks of intensive study before the exam. Take one of the practice exams to see where your weaknesses are in all four subject areas. If you are doing well, a short review of English grammar rules may be all that you need to get a very high score. Others may need much more time to raise their score.

Importance of the TEAS V English and Reading Scores

Although some schools take the composite score from all four sections of the TEAS V to evaluate applicants, many schools are choosing to only count the reading and English sections of the exam as part of the admissions criteria. Nursing faculty have complained that English literacy with foreign born students and even some native speakers is lacking. That will present problems with nursing lectures, nursing exams, and even the NCLEX-RN. Most nursing school instructors will not help the student define or explain a word or phrase during an exam, even if the word or phrase is idiomatic.  That may seem very unfair, but it’s similar to the NCLEX-RN exam policy as well which is required in order to become a registered nurse. Because of this, doing well in the Reading and English sections will be very helpful long after you’ve completed the TEAS exam. It may help you to communicate better with a patient.

TEAS V English and Reading Tips

Unlike the science and math sections, native speaking students with problems in English will require several months of study to raise their English and Reading test scores significantly. Non-native speakers may require one or more years of exposure to English in order to improve scores.  It is important that students who are reading and writing below college freshman level to always take an English or ESL class every semester or quarter until they become sufficient. Hiring a tutor may be a very good long-term  investment.

Along with taking English and ESL courses, there are other things you can do that will greatly help speed up the process of learning how to read and write in English while going through the tasks of daily living:

  • Read books in English.
  • Listen and watch radio and TV entertainment program in English.
  • Practice speaking with native English speakers as much as possible.
  • Converse in English online (Email, Facebook, forum posts, etc.).
  • Listen and read news programs in English.

If you are not living in an English speaking country, you can get many news, radio, and entertainment programs for free in English via the Internet.

Books to Help With Reading, Language, and Grammar on the TEAS V

Here are two books that can help with reaching the level of English language and reading required for the TEAS V:

Painless Grammar by Rebecca Elliott is an easy-to-read handbook of English grammar. Most students find learning from their English or ESL textbook slow and difficult with limited comprehension of the concepts that are being taught.

With this book, it is much easier to learn English grammar. When you need help with a topic in grammar, look in the index and read the correct page.  It’s also quite possible to read this book from cover to cover since Dr. Elliott describes dry topics like nouns and verbs with humor in order to keep eighth grade readers as well as adults from falling asleep.  Many native English speakers use this book as a much easier to use grammar reference instead of the better-known authoritative handbook of English grammar titled The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

A Writer’s Reference with Resources for Multilingual Writers and ESL by Diana Hacker  is one the best books for learning to make the final leap into college level English.  Most of the book is applicable to any college student looking to excel in their college reading and composition course. However, there is a section that is very helpful for ESL students. There is over 100 pages of explanations and exercises (with solutions) that are targeted specifically to topics that often causes trouble for non-native speakers of English. If you can master the topics in this book, you will do just fine on the reading and English section of the TEAS V.