NCLEX Resource Review - Kaplan, Hurst, UWorld
This article gives you my personal insight into NCLEX study resources. What has helped me and hopefully you too!
I just finished Nursing School in July so I understand the confusion on how and what to study. Along with my anxiety-ridden journey here's what I found. I hope it helps someone!
Let me start by explaining what works for me:
I never learn by reading; med surg textbook with over complicated words and no way to establish priority? NOPE. Never helped me in school, not going to help me on the NCLEX.
Old notes that I'm never going to look at again? Nope threw those out the day I finished Nursing school. Why? Because NCLEX isn't testing on patho. It wants application. It wants you to take simple concepts and be flexible with them.
I learn best by hearing, seeing, doing, and WRITING. Concepts to me need to be broken down and simplified so that they stick. Example: magnesium and calcium are sedatives so their signs and symptoms will sedate you if you have too much of them.
So far I've used UWorld, Kaplan, and Hurst. I did not pay for UWorld, my friend let me use hers. Kaplan was paid for with my tuition to school. And Hurst was my choice.
Here's what I found on these websites:
UWorld - Great concept based questions with amazing rationales. But that's it, questions. Unorganized content review. The questions are harder than the NCLEX from what I have been told. My friend also used UWorld and failed NCLEX.
Kaplan - They offer a course that teaches you how to critically think through questions. Which I liked and found helpful in getting questions right on their website. It also allowed me to better understand the "Who do you see first questions". (The person with something going on RIGHT now. Not the potential for injury person). But the decision tree is not the end all be all. You have to have content to back it up. At times the decision tree will get you out of a bind and guess and other times it just doesn't. They have tons of questions in the Qbank (1800). And trainer tests that simulate NCLEX. The questions are more like the NCLEX than UWorld but they questions are still harder than NCLEX. The rationales are basic at best. Overall Kaplan is my choice for questions and practice because of its NCLEX like questions. They also offer videos for content review (300 of them) but they are at your own will to watch and are out of order so you can't build upon topics easily. A book also comes with their program which has tons of content including drugs. But the drugs don't differentiate between Side effects and Adverse effects. Remember side effects are bothersome. Adverse effects are never good.
Hurst - My savior at this point. I'm using the Hurst option that lets me move at my own pace. Hurst is content review and at the end, you get 4 practice tests. Hurst has videos that you watch in order and a (you print) study guide that you fill in as you watch the videos. At the end of the course, these study guides are your notes. There are options for closed captions that are accurate to what is being said. The content review videos are AMAZING. They break down confusing topics and giving the real explanation to WHY someone has these symptoms and why are we treating them without overcomplicating things. Hurst is allowing me to connect the dots between conditions and making feel like I will be a better Nurse. It's filling holes that I didn't fill in nursing school in a simplified way. Honestly, Hurst should have their own Nursing school. I have yet to do their practice tests but I'm over halfway done with the video content. They don't go over medications in detail in the videos but they bring them up and mention basic stuff about them enough for you to say hey I probably need to look more up about this medication but I'm glad it told me to check BP and HR before giving it and explained what it does. They have an Ebook that gives you the detailed information about the drugs they mention in the videos too. Also, the ebook includes content like infection control and giving blood which they don't go over in the videos. Hurst takes 5 days to watch the videos, but this doesn't include going over the ebook material and going back over your notes. They recommend you study the notes for 1-2 weeks and then coming back to do their tests. I also find myself crying laughing over some of the videos. The instructors are so funny!
So which do you choose?:
If you feel like you don't know where to start and want the content review - choose Hurst. The Kaplan book that comes with the course is great with content but I can't sit around and read concepts and expect for them to stick. Especially when the book doesn't give rationales or priority or break down concepts to make the memorable.
After content you need practice questions, it's a must. I pick Kaplan. Simply because of its a tried and true resource. And is similar to NCLEX questions.
UWorld- Although I enjoyed the resource, I didn't feel it was necessary or as close to NCLEX as Kaplan.
I'm using the Kaplan book for medications, you can also buy their companion drug book. Focus on medication stems and major drugs. Ex. lithium and digoxin, antithyroid medications, Synthroid, anti-infectives. I never got a great review of pharm either in school so it isn't my strong suit. Davis's Q&A also has 10k questions, it's sitting on my shelf and I haven't touched it yet. I plan to after I finish content videos.
Kaplan and Hurst are in the 300's. Hurst offer's payment plans. Each site has a money back guarantee if you fail NCLEX, stipulations do apply. Read into these beforehand. Look for coupon codes online before purchasing. Sometimes you can find them on AllNurses. UWorld is 80 per month.
When to study?
I recommend 1 week after graduation/last day of class. Why?
Are you really going to be focused on NCLEX when you are studying for your final exam? No, not really. Is the undue stress worth it? No. It's stressful enough. And you deserve a break after you finish Nursing School. It's an amazing accomplishment you deserve to celebrate it. Take time to reorganize life and do something you love. Then hop back into the "grind". You will feel refreshed and ready to take on the world. This is the confidence and energy I needed to face the NCLEX.
How long to study?
It's recommended you take 4-8 weeks to study for the NCLEX. Remember you want to pass the first time. So make it count and give yourself time. You never know when a family emergency will interrupt your studying, or when your internet will be out for an entire week because of your terrible internet service provider. Truly plan for these emergencies and give yourself time.
Do practice question sets 75 at a time and then go back and review all of them and read the rationale. This can be painstaking and boring, so if you aren't fond of doing this, you'll be glad you didn't schedule your test as soon as you graduated. Take notes of everything you didn't know or want to remember as you read the rationale. This will help it stick. Also about half of NCLEX is select all that apply questions. Also, check AllNurses for study guides others have made via the search bar!
I hope this helps! Good luck on your NCLEX study journey!Last edit by Joe V on Jun 14, '18
About hmvassar, ASN
I'm Heather a Nursing Graduate of Summer 2017. Preparing for the NCLEX this coming September 2017.
Joined: Jan '15; Posts: 23; Likes: 26Aug 31, '17100% percent agreed with this! I passed With Kaplan! 75 questions in 1 hour, came out of the testing center believing it was the easiest exam in the world. Like you, I did mock exams of 75 -- even 265, just to get me used to test taking! I also want to note I hate Uworld with a passion, and never believed it was remotely close to the exam! Excellent article!Aug 31, '17Quote from chris21snThis your belief that it was the easiest exam is melting my heart lol! Congrats for calming me down a bit. Many people here are saying UWORLD UWORLD, I don't want to put my hope there and feel i can only pass with it, so thanks for your input.100% percent agreed with this! I passed With Kaplan! 75 questions in 1 hour, came out of the testing center believing it was the easiest exam in the world. Like you, I did mock exams of 75 -- even 265, just to get me used to test taking! I also want to note I hate Uworld with a passion, and never believed it was remotely close to the exam! Excellent article!Aug 31, '17I did Saunders, Hurst, Kaplan, and Uworld in that order. I have learning disabilities. Saunders did nothing for me because it was part of a capstone done during the last semester. Hurst was a very good program but as a live review. I did it twice! Kaplan was way too confusing for me. I had Uworld for a year. It didn't help me during school but it is what I used last after almost breaking my computer from Kaplan. I went through all of the questions once and did it again. Read the explanations. It dumbed things down for me and explained things out. I did feel like Uworld mimicked the test plus I felt better after the Nclex.
Just remember everyone is different and have different learning styles. I also passed with 75 questions.Sep 1, '17The HURST live review was the best thing I ever did. Passed NCLEX in 75 questions in Feb. 2009 and couldn't have done it without Hurst!Sep 1, '17Hi everyone, I finished Nursing School a few months ago and have been studying to take the NCLEX. I was able to obtain the Hurst videos but I am missing video 1 & 2. If anyone has it and anything that could help me I appreciate it. I would love to be able to purchase them but I truly don't have it, after paying my school off and being a single mom of 3. Thank youSep 2, '17I took NCLEX this morning, it shut off at 75 and I got the good pop up this afternoon. Will wait for quick results, but I feel pretty confident. I did UWORLD for 3 weeks after graduation, I did about 1200 questions and both practice tests. I reviewed all the rationales and made some notes from them on areas I was weak in.
The UWORLD post-test analysis for the practice exams gave me a "very high" chance of passing with scores in the 70s. My overall rank was in the 97th percentile, my overall average correct for all questions was 73%. The majority of my NCLEX questions were SATA (just like UWORLD), and the color of the screen and the way the questions were presented for NCLEX was nearly identical to UWORLD; many of the questions were similar content. It worked very well for me, and only cost $79 for 30 days and 2 practice tests.
I used the UWORLD app when I was on my exercise bike, or on breaks at work; I was able to do a few questions whenever I had down time, which I also think motivated me to do some questions every single day. I would highly recommend this for learners who did well in school (for example on ATI) by taking practice tests.Sep 11, '17hi congrats....What Kaplan book or study materials of Kaplan did you use?Can you share it with me that will be a big helps..thanksFeb 5Quote from EmBeeCSorry it has taken me so long to respond, I used the Kaplan book that is provided with the online course. And I took notes from the Kaplan practice questions too.hi congrats....What Kaplan book or study materials of Kaplan did you use?Can you share it with me that will be a big helps..thanksFeb 5Quote from Bubbles1121One week after graduation.How soon after graduating or how long before the exam did you take the Kaplan course?
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