Is Kaplan Prep Course Worth It??

  1. Hi everyone!

    I posted this on the graduate nurses forum but figured I could get some good input from you guys too!

    Im graduating in May and Im starting to prepare for life without studying! I was interested in taking the Kaplan prep course for the NCLEX. I called them today and they want $400!!!! Im not sure if they know that nursing students cant afford to pay bills every month but thats besides the point ..hahaha!

    Is this course really worth it? I religiously study from NCLEX books (I have 5) every day and for every test. I average a high B on tests, with a C thrown in every now and then for the "tests from hell." All in all, Im a good student though.

    Does the Kaplan really give you info that you cant live without to take state boards or do you think some students may not have passed their state boards without taking the Kaplan??

    Please just give me some input before I shell out $400 worth of money I dont have! Thank you so much you guys!

    Nicole
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   JNJ
    Hello Nicole: I'm an RN originally from UK where I was faculty and now in USA for 15 years. I've practised and been faculty here too; also I taught for Kaplan, part time, for eight years.

    Here are my thoughts: you seem to be an aware sort of student nurse with reasonable grades unwilling to spend about $400 on something you are not sure you need. A few years ago, Kaplan used to offer a complete content review type lecture format followed by a session of practice questions. Now the sessions are all based on practice questions, with the instructor using the questions as a basis to discuss strategies for approaching the questions and possibly going into some content with the more difficult questions. (Kaplan also offers a diagnostic test, lab situation and hundreds of questions to practice in your own time, plus content review texts.)

    I believed the course, in any format, was invaluable to foreign nurses of any educational level because it helped with the approach to the multiple choice questions and the American way of nursing. I believed it was enormously helpful to students who had been unsuccessful in NCLEX. However, I'm not sure that a reasonably well prepared USA student needs it. I would suggest taking NCLEX-RN (CAT) after your own systemic preparation. In the event that you are unsuccessful, NCLEX will send you some feedback as to why this happened. Then you will have some basis for taking the Kaplan course.

    During my faculty career (I'm back to bedside practice now) I saw class valedictorians fail NCLEX while many struggling students passed first time. There are many variables to taking NCLEX. All the old rules about enough preparation, sleep, eating sensibly, taking the breaks etc apply. Be systematic in your prep. Have a plan, review content. Do plenty of practice questions. Don't think too hard about the questions - this is entry level safe nursing practice. The test is not out to be sneaky or trip you up; it's a sound, validated format for letting you show that you are safe to be out there with patients. Don't be afraid of it.

    I'm certainly not against Kaplan and believe they do offer reasonable value for money. You can easily spend as much on buying other prep systems which are not so comprehensive. Some of my former students who failed thought it was a great course (of course, the actual Kaplan teacher may make part of that difference!).

    If you are looking for something simpler/less expensive, I do recommend a question book put out by the National Student Nurses Association. It always seemed to me to be a quality publication - some of the publishers' own books seemed to be too geared to the content of what they published.

    I've very willing to help a student nurse facing NCLEX. PM me if you need more or a phone conversation. I wish you success. JNJ
  4. by   SKM-NURSIEPOOH
    i think that jnj has offered some good advice. it all depends on how comfortable you are with your knowledge, assessment, & critical thinking skills. the nclex-rn is based on the nursing process...& choosing the best answer to a situation that have many correct choices. yeah, you'll have to know a lot about various diseases & their processes...but the test is designed to see what a perspective nurse would do in a situation where they're not quite sure of the disease but would know what to assess for & or anticipate to treat first. there are so many mock nclex-rn review cds that you could use that you should be able to gauge your testing level without having to spend that kind of money for a review.

    from what i understand, kaplan now just prepares new grads on how to take the test...they're focus in not based on the disease processes, but how to read what is being asked of you. kaplan, however, do offer some sort of guarantee. i believe that if you don't pass the nclex-rn the first time, they'll give you the opportunity to go through their course again without extra cost.

    my thinking is that well prepared nursing students shouldn't really need to go through the kaplan review. if their rn program was any good, they would've had the students take a mock nclex-rn type test like the hesi exam for example.

    nursing students should concentrate on the nursing process along with knowledge of various disease processes. if they can keep things as simple as possible & connect what is needed for the patients (assessment, planning, implementing, & evaluating)...along with keeping the basic a,b,cs of what to do first (a=airway, b=breathing, & c=circulation)...then they can tak it from there. for example, a patient with several things going on at once, the thing would be is to know what the nurse should do for that patient first. what are the immediate needs of the patient...what would be needed for them...what might have to be conveyed to the patient/families...etc. look over the choices of answers & follow the rationale & consequences behind each choice...how each anwer might be something that's done for the patients' situation, but, is the one you've choosen the best one (first choice that is) for that situation. i wish i have a better example or way of explaining what i'm trying to say. i hope can understand my ramblings. any road...good luck in your studying for the nclex-rn. hope this help.

    cheers - moe.
  5. by   mark_LD_RN
    in my opinion it is not worth it at all,especially if you did ok on tests in school. the most i usually reccomend is nclex review on cd and do it on the computer. i personally choose to get the closest test date from graduation did not study just got well rest and took the test.
  6. by   JNJ
    Try a search using "kaplan" on this site. There was a long thread about this a couple of months ago.

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