What's Tested on the TEAS: English and Language

As a nursing or health science student and then later as a healthcare professional, you will be expected to express yourself clearly and correctly in writing. This skill will be important to your ability to communicate with clients and colleagues. You might be adding notes to a client’s chart, writing out instructions for a client or colleague, or preparing educational material to distribute to clients or the public. The TEAS English and language usage content area tests your ability to use correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar; construct sentences and paragraphs to convey meaning clearly; and use appropriate vocabulary and style to communicate to a given audience.

The TEAS English and Language Usage Content Area

Of the 170 items on the TEAS, 28 will be in the English and language usage content area, and you will have 28 minutes to answer them. This means you will have an average of 1 minute per question.
In the English and language usage section, 24 of the 28 questions will be scored, and 4 will be unscored. You won’t know which questions are unscored, so do your best on every question.
The 24 scored English and language usage questions come from three sub-content areas:
Sub-content AreasNumber of Questions
Conventions of standard English9
Knowledge of language9
Vocabulary acquisition6


The Kaplan Method for English and Language Usage

Thinking through questions step-by-step will help you approach every question with the right rules in mind.
  • Step 1: Analyze the information provided.

    Many questions about English and language usage will present you with a sentence or short passage and ask you to identify an element of the sentence, complete the sentence correctly, or fix an error. The question will specify what task you are to perform. Read the question and the sentence carefully, paying particular attention to the rule of grammar, spelling, punctuation, or style that you need to apply, as well as context clues in the sentence that point to the meaning of a word or its part of speech, a needed punctuation mark, or whatever you are being asked about.
    Not every question is accompanied by a sentence. Some simply ask you to recall facts. In this case, the question still contains key terms that identify which fact you need to apply. The TEAS tests many language arts topics; you might see a question about writing style followed by one about punctuation followed by one about sentence structure. Each time you read a question, give yourself the time it takes for one deep breath to call to mind the particular rules or facts being tested.

  • Step 2: Predict the answer.

    Before looking at the answer choices, predict the answer. You have a much better chance of finding the correct answer if you already have it in mind. Sometimes you may not be able to make a specific prediction. For example, a question might ask you to complete a sentence and there are several ways to complete the sentence correctly. Think of several ways you could complete the sentence and then use this mental checklist as you evaluate the answer choices.
    Alternatively, you may have trouble thinking of the exact answer. Say the question asks for the part of a book that lists key terms alphabetically. You may not be able to think of the word index right off the bat, but you may know that you find such a list at the back of a book. Even an approximate prediction will allow you to eliminate answer choices you know are not found at the end of a book.

  • Step 3: Evaluate the answer choices.

    Compare each answer choice to your prediction, eliminating those that are not a match and choosing the one that is a match.