Kaplan or Saunders?

Students NCLEX


For those who have taken NCLEX and did Kaplan/Saunders study questions, could someone please tell me if the NCLEX questions are more similar to the ones from Kaplan or Saunders?

I'm focusing on Kaplan, but kinda peek in Saunders.

Are the Kaplan Qs a good predictor for NCLEX? The Kaplan staff said when u get 65% or above, you're ready. I'm not doing very well.... quite far away from 65%....I will repeat the tests and quizzes, but just feeling depressed. My scores doesn't improve at all, and I'm almost done with all the Q bank and Q trainers :crying2:

Any strategies for studying/test-taking/getting ready for the test would be very helpful as well.



275 Posts

Saunders too much information,,,hard to remember all but its good

Kaplan good for strategies,,,,like which pt nurse will see first,,,u can answer easily after reading kaplan and much more....kaplan has only 160 pages to read u can finish in 3 to 4 days easily

Exam cram also one of the best

I will recommeded these 3 books......

I'm doing Saunders myself haha. I've heard mixed reviews. A good number of people say that the NCLEX is like Kaplan, some say Saunders prepared them just fine, and others say that the NCLEX was on a whole new level of a dark place. I really think it's up to the person. I'm doing the Saunders Comprehensive review, and the Kaplan strategy book(highly recommended by people here...plus it comes with practice questions and 2 practice tests and only cost $25 at Borders). I think some people said that Lippincott was similar to the NCLEX too, but I'd like to hear some more from others as well


1,853 Posts

The nclex is nothing like Saunders questions. Saunders in my opinion, is good for contents. You can do the questions to reinforce what you know and review each rationale. I guess it cannot hurt. But if you want to prepare for the real nclex questions, I would get another book too as a way to be familiar with the nclex style questions. Kaplan is good for strategies and also for the type of questions you may see on the nclex. Kaplan questions are more application and analysis, which you need to know in order to pass the nclex. Knowledge based and comprehension will not help you pass the board.


5 Posts

I noticed that the format ( priority questions, drug reactions, etc.) of the NCLEX questions were closer to Kaplan. I used both Saunders and Kaplan. I obtained more detailed information from Saunders. For me, Saunders' rationales were clearer. Saunders allowed me to grasp the concept of various topics (especially in my weak areas). Kaplan is all about stratagy! Hope this helps.


38,333 Posts

Many are successful using the Saunders book. However, you can be successful using any resource as long as you put forth a good effort and learn the material. If you understand the concepts, then you should be able to answer questions no matter how they are worded. Continue to answer questions and study the rationales. You also might want to consider looking at the Prioritization book by Linda LaCharity. Good luck.


122 Posts

Specializes in Mother/Baby and LDR.

Kaplen per everyone at my school.

nurseme3, LPN

60 Posts

Specializes in Surgical, Community Health.

Both are good. I passed on Kaplan and my friend passed on Saunders. I think the key is to study...make a plan. Know your weaknesses so that you can focus on them.


111 Posts

I think the NCLEX exam is more on decision making and critical thinking and for sure you wont have one unless you have the knowldege...I used kaplan,saunders,ncsbn, and exam cram on prepairing for the exam...among the four, id say id prefere exam cram coz as the title implies its good for cramming and with this comes a simplified review of the content...saunders - a bit easy but it will promote confidence which you will need on the test...kaplan - challenging,id suggest that youd take not of the rationales and write them down specially those which you think may appear on the exam...ncsbn - more like kaplan ...how you see things and which ones are working for you...to sum up id suggest that you begin with saunders since its easy and exam cram just to have the general feel on the questions...and when you are comfortable with the questions...try advancing to kaplan and ncsbn...you see i think the problem with others who are prepairing is that they go to kaplan first without brushing up on their knowledge which i think can be overwhelming and somehow daunting to those who dont have a lot, i think thats suicide...with this exam you need to plan things and the best way to deal with it is by starting with the basics,the more simple and easier task...this is what i think may help you go through with NCLEX...

shoegalRN, RN

1,338 Posts

I studied with both Kaplan and Saunders. However, I focused more on Kaplan. For my weak areas (like Endocrine), I used Saunders to review. I would answer questions in Saunders on one area only, then go back to Kaplan. Once I finished every question in Kaplan, I moved on to Medspub and Lippincott and I applied the Kaplan methods.

I passed NCLEX with 75 questions, first try. And I will say I thought Kaplan was actually harder than NCLEX. And Kaplan was the closest to NCLEX as far as format goes.


84 Posts

i'm doing the saunders book and kaplan here is my day by day plan if your interested. i'm starting it today and i retake boards on august 14th. i'm doing saunders during the day and reading kaplan in the evenings.. let me know if this helps anyone.

katie’s saunders study plan

july 22 wednesday (today)

  • unit 8 pg 65, leadership, delegating and prioritizing client care
  • unit 11 pg 112, laboratory values
  • unit 12 pg 127, nutrition
  • unit 13 pg 139, tpn

july 23 thursday

  • unit 14 pg 149, iv therapy
  • unit 15 pg 163, administration of blood products
  • unit 16, pg 177, provision of a safe environment
  • unit 17, pg 186, administration of medication and iv solutions

july 24 friday

  • unit 19 pg 208, perioperative nursing care
  • unit 20 pg 225, positioning clients
  • unit 21 pg 233, care of the client with a tube
  • unit 22 pg 251, female reproductive system

july 27 monday

  • unit 23 pg 258, obstetrical assessment
  • unit 24 pg 264 prenatal period
  • unit 25 pg 278, risk conditions related to pregnancy
  • unit 26 pg 296, labor and delivery

july 28 tuesday

  • unit 27 pg 310, problems with labor and delivery
  • unit 28 pg 320, the postpartum period
  • unit 29 pg 327, postpartum complications
  • unit 30 pg 336, care of the newborn
  • unit 31 pg 354, maternity and newborn medications

july 29 wednesday

  • unit 32 pg 365, theories of growth and development
  • unit 33 pg 374, development stages
  • unit 34 pg 389, care of the older client

july 30 thursday (pediatric nursing)

  • unit 35 pg 401, neurological, cognitive, and psychosocial disorders
  • unit 36 pg 415, eye ear and throat disorders
  • unit 37 pg 422, respiratory disorders
  • unit 38 pg 434, cardiovascular disorders

july 31 friday (pediatric nursing.)

  • unit 39 pg 446, gastrointestinal disorders
  • unit 40 pg 464, metabolic and endocrine disorders
  • unit 41 pg 472, renal and urinary disorders
  • unit 42 pg 480, integumentary disorders

august 3 monday (pediatric nursing)

  • unit 43 pg 487, musculoskeletal disorders
  • unit 44 pg 494, hematological disorders
  • unit 45 pg 500, oncological disorders
  • unit 46 pg 510, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

august 4 tuesday (pediatric nursing)

  • unit 47 pg 515, infectious and communicable diseases
  • unit 48 pg 528, pediatric medication administration and calculations

(adult disorders)

  • unit 49 and 50 pg 537, 565 integumentary systems and medications
  • unit 51 and 52 pg 579, 615 oncological disorders, antineoplastic medications

august 5 wednesday (adult disorders)

  • unit 53 and 54 pg 629, 659 endocrine system and medications
  • unit 55 and 56 pg 677, 711 gastrointestinal system and medications
  • unit 57 and 58 pg 725, 758 respiratory system and medications
  • unit 59 and 60 pg 779, 829 cardiovascular system and medications

august 6 thursday (adult disorders)

  • unit 61 and 62 pg 851, 888 renal system and medications
  • unit 63 and 64 pg 901, 924 the eye and the ear and ophthalmic and otic meds
  • unit 65 and 66 pg 937, 979 neurological system and medications
  • unit 67 and 68 pg 997, 1028 musculoskeletal system and medications

august 7 friday (adult disorders)

  • unit 69 and 70 pg 1039, 1051 immune disorders and medications
  • unit 72 pg 1071 models of care (milieu therapy, cognitive therapy..)
  • unit 73 pg 1077 mental health disorders
  • unit 74 pg 1099 addictions
  • unit 76 pg 1128 psychiatric medications


118 Posts

thank you for this...i have been nursing in canada for ~ 7 years and want to write my nclex...just get the feeling there will be changes coming down the line = stiffer rules for entry..so figure better now then never--literally.

i think the fact that i work actively as a nurse will help, but still so much info to review...and i'm extremely weak in areas such as mental health, peds, obstetrics. well worse than weak. so i need to find a good place to start...

your study guide is helpful and i'm including it in my nclex study folder.

thanks again!:balloons:

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