Right now, I am in the process of studying for the NCLEX-RN and luckily for me, I have taken both Hurst and Kaplan (long story but I only paid for one). I know a lot of people on this board are deciding what to take so I wanted to write this to try and help you make your decision based on my experiences with both online programs.
Hurst vs Kaplan: PRESENTATION
The biggest difference between Hurst and Kaplan is in presentation. For me, this is a big selling point because if I was going to spend X amount of hours in front of a computer screen, I needed it to keep me engaged and I did not want to dread looking at the timer. Hurst was definitely the better of the two. It's engaging and even through an online lecture, it felt more interactive. The lecturers will ask you questions if you are like me, you will answer them out loud at a Starbucks. More so, presenters are very charismatic and animated and at times, I just found myself laughing at the way they presented the material.
Kaplan is decent and well spoken but their presenters are bland. A lot of times, it felt as though they were just talking and not talking to us, the students. There are a lot of topics on the nclex to cover but Kaplan felt like a race to the finish while hitting as many topics as possible.
Other thoughts on Presentation:
-Hurst's videos look like old VHS tapes and their video player would occasionally stall. Hurst looks HD.
-The best way to describe the difference in presentation is that Hurst felt more small classroom with less then 30 students whereas Kaplan felt more like a lecture hall with 500 students.
-It's obvious that both Hurst and Kaplan have their presenters looking at their notes, no biggie.
-Do people from the south really, really, love Walmart? I could have sworn Hurst mentioned Walmart at least 5 times.
Hurst vs Kaplan:
Hurst organizes their program by system (e.g. cardio, respiratory, neuro) and Kaplan organized their program by NCLEX categories (e.g reduction of risk potential, physiological adaptation). The big difference between the two is that you will leave Hurst feeling like you know certain things but after, you will tell yourself, "wait, they didn't go over so-and-so" whereas Kaplan, you will feel like "oh my god, they went through everything, how am I suppose to know all this."
Overall, I liked Hurst better. The best way I could explain it is by comparing the topics: hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Kaplan did a good job going through what you need to know for these two topics but for application, Hurst simplified the idea and applied it on a higher level. For hurst, they had us think of Hyperthyroidism as "Too much energy." By that simple thought process, it activated that critical thinking portion of my mind
Other thoughts on Content:
-Don't get me wrong, Kaplan is good. The benefit with Kaplan is that if you are weak in one specific area of the test then you could just concentrate on that one area.
-And yes, it did feel like Hurst missed a couple of topics/disorders I thought were important.
-Kaplan also has the Decision Tree
which is worth the price alone.
-Ok, Kaplan has a lecture of Meds
and Hurst does not have a lecture on Meds. Is it a big deal? Well, yes because meds are important but Hurst has a really good print-outs of medications and what you need to know. But of course, Kaplan has a video on meds!!
-If the allnurses' board consensus is that Hurst is about core content whereas Kaplan is about testing strategies, then I agree with that statement.
Kaplan's Course book is available on amazon
for free if you're interested in taking a look. For Hurst online, get ready to print a lot of pages!! Personally, I didn't like both of them. Kaplan was an ebook so I didn't get to write on the pages and Hurst was an outline of a lecture where students fill in the blanks as the lecture goes on. Plus, I had to print out so many pages of paper.
Kaplan's QBank with diagnostic testing vs Hurst's 6 exams (125 questions each). Winner, Kaplan.
Other thoughts on questions:
-Hurst's answer rationals show some spunk. The explanations to some of the rationals will taunt you and will call you a "KILLER." Imagine GLaDOS from the Portal games.
-Never do an online test at Starbucks with slow internet.
-I don't think there was a difference in question difficulty.
Overall, it depends on what kind of student you are. If you feel as though you retained most of the information from your years of nursing schools (or year depending if your program was accelerated), then Kaplan may be your choice. However, if you feel like you still remember some topics but forgot about them and need that refresher course on everything, then Hurst is definitely for you.
FEEL FREE TO ASK ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT BOTH PROGRAMS