As you finish up your nursing coursework and prepare to enter the workforce, passing the NCLEX is your next crucial step. Developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), this certification exam ensures nurses have the minimum ability to practice safely and effectively at the entry-level.
However, the NCLEX is not an easy examination to pass despite your preparation in nursing school! – and over half of them had taken an NCLEX test prep course!
A prep course is a good way to practice and familiarize yourself with the exam, but with such a variety of NCLEX study courses to choose from, it’s essential to take the right course to avoid wasting your money and time. Whether you’re taking the NCLEX-RN or the NCLEX-PN, we have reviewed these NCLEX courses so you can make an informed decision. In this article, we’re highlighting some of the key features of five popular NCLEX prep courses. Keep reading to see which suits you best!
NCLEX Review Courses At A Glance
Information correct at time of research. Do note that offers are subject to change – we recommend verifying current products and pricing with the organization before your purchase.
|Kaplan||Hurst Review||NCSBN / Princeton Review||UWorld||ArcherReview|
|Cost||$425 (self-paced), $525 (live online)||$109 – $399,
7-day free trial
|5-day free access.
$99 – $199.
Practice exams @ $150 each.
|$139 – $429.
QBank Next Generation (NGN) offered @ $159 – $449
|$79 to $199, intensives @ $369 – $599|
|Guarantees||100% tuition refund or a 3-month free repeat||One-time, 45-day remediation course or a full refund||Full refund for 90-day or 365-day access options||None||Free strategy guidance and free extensions of products for first-time users using their process|
|Ratings||4.6 / 5||4.9 / 5||4.6 / 5||4.3 / 5||4.5 / 5|
|Pros||Decision-tree approach, highly knowledgeable course instructors||Engaging content, closest to actual NCLEX questions||Accurate and easy to understand. Great test-taking strategies
|Challenging questions, detailed explanations.||Graphics similar to the real NCLEX, availability of individual and group tutoring classes|
|Cons||Website glitches, customer service challenges||Practice exams not computer adaptive, refund only applicable in select cases||Technical issues, lack of personalized content||Overly tedious and frustrating||Questions not in NCLEX-style format|
1. Kaplan Nursing
Highly rated on Trustpilot, with 4.6 out of 5 stars based on more than 4,500 reviews, Kaplan is a top choice for many nursing students. Their NCLEX prep courses are priced at $425 (self-paced) or $525 (live online). Both options offer lectures led by nurse educators, over 2,100 Qbank questions, three full-length computer adaptive tests (CATs) that mimic the NCLEX, and the NCLEX-RN Content Review Guide. The live online course includes live instruction in an online classroom.
Kaplan stands behind its prep course, offering a 100% tuition refund or a 3-month free repeat for students who do not pass the exam after taking their NCLEX prep course. User feedback indicates that there are a few complaints about occasional glitches on the website and challenges with customer service. However, the majority of users were extremely satisfied with Kaplan’s decision-tree approach to teaching as well as the highly knowledgeable course instructors.
2. Hurst Review
Boasting a 98% first-attempt pass rate, Hurst Review offers NCLEX prep courses ranging from $109 to $399, as well as a 7-day free trial. The most basic Hurst QBank package includes over 1,500 NCLEX questions online. For more guidance, the Hurst Live Classroom Review includes four readiness exams, the Hurst QBank, Hurst Workbook, and Must-Know Content in an engaging in-person environment.
The Hurst Guarantee gives students enrolled in any of their NCLEX prep courses (except the Qbank-only package) a one-time, 45-day remediation course or a full refund if they do not pass the exam.
Hurst Review has many glowing testimonials on their Facebook page, with users saying the content was engaging and closest to actual NCLEX questions in comparison to other resources. Only a few negative reviews appear – some students said practice exams are not computer adaptive, and the money-back guarantee only applies to a very specific group of students.
3. National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)
The NCLEX is developed by NCSBN, but they no longer offer prep courses. Students can still purchase practice exams on their website. These cost $150 each, with a minimum order of five. Vouchers for the practice exams are non-refundable and expire 12 months from the issue date.
Instead, students can now find over 1,900 NCLEX practice questions from NCSBN at Princeton Review. Students can choose from online packages ranging from a free 5-day access course with over 200 questions to the more popular option of 365-day access to over 3,500 questions for $199. Princeton Review offers students who fail the NCLEX after using the 90-day or 365-day access options a full refund.
All courses offer full answer explanations, and each paid course offers 1 to 2 directive self-assessments as well. Users say the practice questions and answers are very accurate and easy to understand. Additionally, the Princeton Review NCLEX test prep offers great strategies for taking the NCLEX exam. However, some students found technical issues and lack of personalized content to be shortcomings of this course. Ultimately, Princeton Review has a score of 4.6 on Trustpilot, making it a reliable choice.
Winner of the Best Nursing Test Prep Program in the Nurse.org ICON Awards 2021, UWorld boldly claims that students can “Pass the NCLEX-RN the First Time”. However, it offers no guarantees on this promise. NCLEX prep courses range from $139 for the basic QBank 30-day online access with over 2,000 questions to $429 for the QBank 730-day online access pass which also includes two self-assessments and a one-time reset option.
UWorld also offers QBank Next Generation (NGN) courses, the new licensure exam for candidates starting April 2023. These courses range from $159 to $449. Students who are taking the NCLEX after April 2023 should buy an NCLEX prep package that includes Next Generation case studies and stand-alone questions.
367 customers on Amazon have given UWorld’s NCLEX prep course an average of 4.3 stars out of 5. Many positive reviews have mentioned that their prep course is overly rigorous (more so than the actual NCLEX!) and that the explanations given for answers are very detailed. However, these exact features have prompted negative reviews as some customers found the course tedious and frustrating to work through.
ArcherReview offers a wide range of NCLEX prep course combinations catered to different budgets from $89 to $199. These combinations include over 2,800 QBank questions, multiple mock CAT tests, and a printable NCLEX study guide. They also offer an NCLEX intense prep course which includes exclusive bi-weekly lectures for 3 or 6 months and weekly small group tutoring sessions for 6 weeks.
They have a 99% pass rate with their combo courses, although no refunds are offered in the event of failure. In certain, limited cases, ArcherReview offers free strategy guidance and free extensions of products until the student passes.
Reviews online have highlighted that the ArcherReview NCLEX prep course has graphics similar to the real NCLEX, and love the availability of individual and group tutoring classes. On the other hand, a major complaint was that questions are not in the NCLEX-style format, which makes these questions confusing for students and unsuitable for NCLEX practice.
If you are getting set to take the NCLEX, be sure to check out Eagle Gate College’s comprehensive NCLEX study guide. It is an excellent starting point to give you a feel for how best to prepare and tips to guide your strategy to pass the NCLEX.
With so many options available on the market catering to different learning styles, budgets, and preferences, making a decision can be hard. We hope that this review of NCLEX test prep courses has helped you make your decision!
As you are preparing to take (and ace!) the NCLEX exam, don’t forget to look up Continuing Education requirements for nurses in your state! Interested in learning more about how you can get access to continuing education requirements for nurses? Check out our Unlimited Nursing CEU Subscription – find out more here!