TEAS Tuesday: Alternate item type questions and how to tackle them

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Did you know: the ATI TEAS, Version 7 launching on June 3, 2022, contains new question types?

Related read: What to expect with the updated version of the ATI TEAS exam

These new question types – called “alternate items” – may seem intimidating, but don’t worry: we’ve rounded up all of the important information you need to know to tackle these questions and earn your best score possible on the TEAS!

What is an alternate item?

Alternate items are any questions that are not the conventional, single-answer multiple choice questions that you are used to seeing on your exams. Currently, students who take the ATI TEAS, Version 7 can expect to see up to 15% of the exam as alternate item type questions. These new questions will take four different forms: multiple select, fill in the blank, ordered response, and hot spot. We go deeper into the differences between these question types below.

Why does the ATI TEAS, Version 7 have alternate item type questions?

Alternate item type questions can help assess your level of understanding of some topics better than traditional multiple-choice questions alone. Tests that you will take throughout your nursing school journey, including the NCLEX, will also contain alternate item type questions, so preparing to tackle these questions on the TEAS will help set you up for success in the future.

Multiple Select

Multiple select questions are also sometimes referred to as “select all that apply” questions, and students say they tend to be one of the trickiest question formats. These questions present the tester with a question and a list of four or more possible answers where multiple answers may be correct, and you must select all of the correct answers to get the question right. Multiple select questions could only have one correct answer, or every single one of the answers could be correct, so it’s easy to see why this type of question can overwhelm some test-takers! This question type will always state “select all that apply” at the end of the question.

How to tackle “select all that apply” questions: All the possible answers to a multiple select question could be correct. Because of this, it’s best to isolate each answer and consider it on its own. Try approaching multiple select questions with a true-false mindset: read the question, then read only the first response option and decide if that response correctly answers the question. If it does, mark it! Then, read the question again and move on to the next response option all by itself, as if it were an entirely separate item. By breaking the process up and using a true-false mindset, multiple response items seem much less intimidating. 

NOTE: The biggest mistake students make on select all that apply questions is not reading the question to the end to get the prompt “select all that apply”… so make sure you read carefully!

Fill in the Blank

Fill in the blank items require testers to type in the answer to the question without selecting from a set of options. Answers may be text or numerical values, such as solving a math problem. The nice thing about fill in the blank questions is that they are very straightforward – just type in the answer!

How to tackle fill in the blank questions: Most of the fill in the blank questions on the ATI TEAS, Version 7 will be math-based. It is very important that you follow the directions on fill in the blank questions; For example, you will be told to round to a specific decimal placement. You will have a drop-down calculator to use during the exam and be sure to use your scratch paper to work through the problem.

Ordered Response

Ordered response questions present several answer options and require you to drag and drop them into place to rank them in a certain order. This question type tends to be another tricky one for testers because, like multiple select items, you have to get all parts of the order correct to get the question right. The nice thing about ordered response questions, though, is that all of the answers are correct, you simply need to put them in the right order. Ordered response questions on the ATI TEAS, Version 7 exam will have between four and six answers to drag and drop in the correct order.

How to tackle ordered response questions: Make sure to read all of the steps given in an ordered response question before attempting to put them in order. You should also pay special attention to the type of ordering that the question is asking you to put the responses in: Are they chronological? Are they by priority? Etc.

Hot Spot

Hot spot questions ask a tester to identify a location on a graphic or table. (Pro tip: These types of questions are often designed to test your knowledge of anatomy and physiology and how you might apply that knowledge to nursing practice.) To answer a hot spot item, you’ll need to click on the area of the image that you identify as the correct response. Hot spot questions on the ATI TEAS, Version 7 exam will have two to five clickable areas.

How to tackle hot spot questions: Hot spot questions are not designed to test how accurate you are with a mouse, so you don’t have to stress too much about marking an exact pixel on the graphic. However, it is very important to pay attention to details. Take note of any key words in the question that may help you to identify what part of the graphic or table to look at, and review all of that section thoroughly before selecting your answer.

How should you prepare for alternate item type questions?

Alternate item type questions may present a new challenge for TEAS test-takers, but they aren’t anything that you can’t handle. The most important thing that you can do to prepare yourself to tackle the alternate items on the ATI TEAS, Version 7 is to practice, practice, practice! The more you are exposed to the different types of alternate item formats, the more confident you will feel answering them during the real deal. The biggest mistake students make on these question types is not reading and following the directions, so make sure you read the entire question and follow all the steps requested.

Kick off your TEAS alternate item question practice with 50% off our Online Practice Assessment B! Our online practice assessments are aligned to the Version 7 exam and contain multiple examples of each alternate item type. Use coupon code OLPT25TEAS at checkout for 50% off Online Practice Assessment B.

Want more practice with alternate item type questions? Follow us on Facebook and take part in answering the TEAS Question of the Week now through June 5, 2022!

You can learn more about alternate item types and everything else ATI TEAS, Version 7 by visiting our ATI TEAS FAQ Center Help Center.

Submit your questions about the ATI TEAS, Version 7 below!

We will be in touch to make sure you feel prepared to earn your best score on the ATI TEAS, Version 7 exam.

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