A Review of Kaplan vs Hurst vs UWorld - I Used All 3

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by jellyroll jellyroll, BSN, RN (New)

Has 3 years experience.

When I passed the NCLEX-RN I promised I would come back, like others, to give a thorough breakdown of how each method worked for me. Took it a few weeks ago for the first time and passed it in 75 questions.

What's the difference between Kaplan, Hurst, and UWorld?

A Review of Kaplan vs Hurst vs UWorld - I Used All 3

I was quite paranoid about not passing... so I used all 4 of these methods. For anyone curious about comparisons between study options, here is a breakdown and my own personal opinions of each:

Hurst (I used the online self-paced version, about $350):

These content videos looked like they were from the 1990s but boy did they help me learn and consolidate material from nursing school that I either had forgotten or never learned well enough. The videos are very colloquial and their humor is hilarious - I can hear their voices when I think of certain topics they covered.

I highly recommend this course for the videos, but not for the Q-Reviews (it comes with six 125 question practice tests). Their question rationales were weak at best and a few of them didn't make any sense at all. I gave up on remediating these tests on the third test because I felt like I wasn't learning anything from their explanations.

But I watched each video at least twice, sometimes repeating videos while doing dishes or folding laundry, just to remember things better. Hurst content is amazing for sticking in your mind.

Hurst test scores:

Q review 1: 60%

Q review 2: 62%

Q review 3: 60%

Didn't do the other 3.

Kaplan (online self-paced version, $350):

So overwhelming at first because there's so much stuff available to you on the account. Literally 300+ mini content videos on various topics, about 25 hours of lecture-type videos (the meat of the course), almost 2000 questions in their Q-Bank, and about 11 practice tests of varying lengths. They tell you what order to do things in, so it's not too bad. Kaplan is definitely what I had heard - a lot of emphasis on question strategy using their "decision tree". I thought the decision tree only helped some.

A personal opinion: Despite what Kaplan says, I believe the NCLEX is not more of a strategy test than a content test - it is a content test more than strategy. You can have all the strategies you want for eliminating options, but if you don't know that disease's symptoms then you're not going to know which options to eliminate. Especially for the select all that apply questions - you can strategize all you want, but certain questions (even the high-level analysis questions) require that you know enough about the content first.

The Q-Trainers were fair. The rationales were a bit more organized than Hurst's but still were very lacking. I often found myself having to email Kaplan to figure out what they meant by "Answer 2" being "not as important as the patient in Answer 4". The Kaplan team that respond to your emails about questions were super duper helpful and wrote long emails of explanations to me each time I asked a question, but it would have been more helpful to have good rationales on each question in the answer key to begin with.

I only did like 50 questions in the Q-Bank because I ran out of time before the NCLEX. I did make an intense effort so that I could finish every one of their official practice exams, though (and almost did). The scores were really useful to me because I needed to see how I was doing according to a trusted NCLEX prep company.

My Q-Trainer scores were:

Diagnostic: 60%

Q trainer 1: 57%

Q trainer 2: 59%

Q trainer 3: fell asleep during it

Q trainer 4: 63%

Q trainer 5: 62%

Q trainer 6: 65%

Q trainer 7: didn't have time to do it before the test date

RN Practice test: 68% (surprised by how high my score was)

Sample Test 1: 54%

Sample Test 2: 64%

Sample Test 3: fell asleep during it

Sample Test 4: 20% (absolutely crushed me, but turns out upon researching, other people didn't do so well on this either)

Readiness Test: 72% (literally cried at this score, it really surprised me)

Watch this helpful video, 'From Failure to Success'

U-World (1-month subscription was about $99):

Didn't start this until 2 weeks before my exam date. I bought it out of desperation because I was getting fed up with how horrible the rationales for Hurst and Kaplan exams were. So glad I did. I believe U-World made the difference between me passing in 75 questions and me getting into the 200s. Their rationales for each question are top of the line - they're usually about 5 paragraphs long and include really nice charts and diagrams.

You can also see what % of users are getting each particular question right or wrong - so you won't feel like a total failure if you get a question wrong if you see that only 15% of users got that question right. I felt like I was less in the dark this way.

U-World's interface is really nice and you can see how you rank compared to other users. I was in approximately the 85th percentile by the end of the 2 weeks, after I had done about 1100 questions (there was about 1900-ish total). Overall, I was getting 60% of questions right. Their pie charts and graphs really motivate you to keep going. I also liked that there was a mobile app for it so I could do mini tests of 5-10 questions in bed before sleeping.

Learn more about UWorld NCLEX-RN Qbank Impressions...

P.S. Saunders (book and online question bank access, $60ish):

I only did about 500 questions total and it was the first review method I used. The book is gigantic but good for reference. l only used this in nursing school and it wasn't part of my hardcore studying sprint because I realized Saunders wasn't asking high enough level questions. Their rationales are good though, and I recommend using the book/questions during nursing school before you dive into the big $ review courses like Kaplan and Hurst. I averaged between 50-70% for each topic category.

Hope this helps anyone preparing for the NCLEX! Don't give up on studying. Every bit of studying becomes a tool in your arsenal for your success on the test date.

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15 Comment(s)

Flnolegirl

Flnolegirl

733 Posts

Thank you for sharing. I was going to purchase Hurst because I thought the videos were outdated but since my sister let me use hers no need. I love Uworld it's been very helpful I hope & pray can come back in a cpl of weeks saying I passed

rockstarninja

rockstarninja

78 Posts

congrats jellyroll!! bbq-chip ?

Sassyrose

Sassyrose

33 Posts

Kaplan had so many errors in their explanations, sometimes they put a completely different explanation with the question (you could tell, it referenced information and scenerios that weren't even in the question!). I was surprised at that. Some of their explanations are very lacking, actually many. However, my take on Kaplan is this: they scare you with hard questions and low grades to get you to study more and therefore pass. Their decision tree confused me and I only referred to some of their little tricks with that if I had no idea at all. I agree that the test is mainly on content, NOT strategy, and OP you are the first person I've found that I know agrees with me on this. Don't get me wrong, I certainly think there's that critical thinking twist and strategy can come into play.. I'd rather learn less and know and understand it well (Hurst) than try to learn it all and come out knowing nothing and confused (Kaplan). Of course this is all my opinion.

jellyroll, BSN, RN

Has 3 years experience. 1 Article; 14 Posts

@Flnolegirl No problem! Glad I was able to help even a little. Hope you passed. ?

jellyroll, BSN, RN

Has 3 years experience. 1 Article; 14 Posts

rockstarninja said:
congrats jellyroll!! bbq-chip ?

Thank you rockstarninja. You found me haha!

Alexus08

Alexus08

8 Posts

Currently using uworld but the PN version and it is great

Flnolegirl

Flnolegirl

733 Posts

jellyroll said:
@Flnolegirl No problem! Glad I was able to help even a little. Hope you passed. ?

I have not tested yet but will let you know the outcome.

Purple_roses

Purple_roses

1,763 Posts

Thank you for this!

My school makes us buy Kaplan. I've found that the Q-bank questions are good for figuring out what I know and don't know, but I agree that the rationales suck. I usually look things up in the Kaplan NCLEX book. Their focused review tests, however, provide very detailed rationales (for anyone wondering). I'm in the process of doing all of the focuses review tests for Peds and OB, just to brush up a bit more. I'll also be finishing out the rest of the Kaplan program pretty soon here.

I really think I might buckle down and get U-World. I didn't want to shell out the extra cash because money is pretty tight right now (graduation scrubs, pin, and NCLEX fees are killing me). But if a one month subscription is $80, I might just do it. From your experience, when would you suggest starting it? I was planning on starting U-World after finishing most of Kaplan. Maybe I should be doing them concurrently though?

Anyway, congrats on passing NCLEX! And good luck to everyone else!

jellyroll, BSN, RN

Has 3 years experience. 1 Article; 14 Posts

Sassyrose said:
Kaplan had so many errors in their explanations, sometimes they put a completely different explanation with the question (you could tell, it referenced information and scenerios that weren't even in the question!). I was surprised at that. Some of their explanations are very lacking, actually many. However, my take on Kaplan is this: they scare you with hard questions and low grades to get you to study more and therefore pass. Their decision tree confused me and I only referred to some of their little tricks with that if I had no idea at all. I agree that the test is mainly on content, NOT strategy, and OP you are the first person I've found that I know agrees with me on this. Don't get me wrong, I certainly think there's that critical thinking twist and strategy can come into play.. I'd rather learn less and know and understand it well (Hurst) than try to learn it all and come out knowing nothing and confused (Kaplan). Of course this is all my opinion.

I agree definitely that some of the Kaplan explanations were a little lacking! And yes so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who thinks content is the key for the NCLEX, not strategy, if we had to pick one.

jellyroll, BSN, RN

Has 3 years experience. 1 Article; 14 Posts

Alexus08 said:
Currently using uworld but the PN version and it is great

Yay! Good luck on your exam ?

jellyroll, BSN, RN

Has 3 years experience. 1 Article; 14 Posts

Flnolegirl said:
I have not tested yet but will let you know the outcome.

Hope it all goes awesomely! ?