Saunders vs the real world (aka-NCLEX)


  • Specializes in Finally an RN!. Has 9 years experience.

I've been studying the Saunder's review and I am finding the questions to be (for the most part) way easier than I expect them to be. How realistic are these questions in difficulty level compared to the NCLEX? I don't want to be underprepared walking into NCLEX, although I have been using ATI and Saunder's. I find the ATI questions to be even easier than Saunder's. I'm not trying to sound like a know-it-all, but I am concerned about the difficulty level. Any input?


11 Posts

Specializes in Adult ICU one year.

I honestly found that the NCLEX wording and questioning was WAY different than Saunders. It was common sense, matter of fact, not too technical and down to earth. It isn't as easy to see what they want as Saunders was.. I thought. Just my thought though. NCLEX was different than ANY test I have ever seen before.

gwafuh_rn, BSN, RN

1,241 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg, Telemetry, Long Term Care. Has 7 years experience.

kaplan is similar to the questions in nclex


74 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

I took my NCLEX last Friday and passed with 75 questions. I studied exclusively with my Saunder's CD (which probably wasn't a good idea, but oh well!) and I thought the NCLEX was way different than the Saunder's questions. The NCLEX was more matter of fact, like mompf5kids said, but was harder, in a way. A lot of my questions were SATA, which can be very hard if you don't know the signs/symptoms of disease processes.

For example, at least 10 of my questions were something like "Your patient is having an acute asthma attack, which of the following would you expect? A. O2 saturation of 90% B. Wheezing on expiration C. Decreased level of consiousness D. Bright pink skin E. Crackles on auscultation" Questions like that.

I would study from your nursing books the S/S of all of the major diseases: DM I and II, MI, COPD, CVA, hypertension, hyper/hypothyroidism, hyper/hypoparathyroidism, Cushing's, Addison's, asthma, common OB problems, common mental health problems, Lupus, arthritis, anemia (EVERYTHING :))

Know how common diseases are spread (droplet, contact, airborne) and if the disease requires a negative pressure room and what protective gear is used (gown, mask, goggles, gloves).

Be able to prioritize patient care. This one was especially hard for me because on the NCLEX the questions were much harder than nursing school. It is always going to be ABC but on the NCLEX they try to make it very sneaky!

Go over some hard med math questions again. I had one of those killer ones that make you convert mcg's to mg's and then figure out how many ml's per hour.

I know everyone says to do a million questions everyday but I think you have to have the knowledge behind the questions to do well on the NCLEX. That goes beyond reading the rationals too. I would have felt more prepared for the test if I had looked over my notes from nursing school a few more times and read some more in my books, especially the little boxes that outline each disease. That's my advice ;)


56 Posts

Specializes in Finally an RN!. Has 9 years experience.

Thanks to all of you for your tips! I know I'll get through this (positive attitude is EVERYTHING), but it's reassuring to know I'm on the right track! This time next month I'll be an RN :yeah: and hopefully be able to help someone else with tips from my experience with the test!


15 Posts

Specializes in geriatric.

I have been studying for my NCLEX for my LPN through the ATI's which we have had to do through school and I have Saunders book 3rd edition. I was going to by the 4th edition but the questions looked the same so I didn't get it. I am going to check out Kaplan's next to see what theirs is like.

Specializes in Palliative care Clinician. Has 10 years experience.

what do you think about lipincot am trying to prepare with it. it has about 5000 + practice question but I have not had people talk about it pls let me know if it is a good material for nclex


15 Posts

Specializes in geriatric.

I have not tried Lippincott so I couldn't tell you for sure. I know that through the threads I have read its good to get all sorts of questions to get used to answering them. Maybe someone else will reply with their opinion. Is it a newer book to review from?

I made a mistake on my last post with Saunders I have the 2nd edition and wasn't going to get the third but changed my mind and got it yesterday.


49 Posts

yeah i second JESSICASN on this. NCLEX was so much different. i think it's because they know what the review books are and they make the questions harder. the questions were very detailed and specific. there were a lot of put in order questions where you can probably do all of the options first. a also, know diseases and drugs that you didn't go over in nursing school and also may not be in the review books. there were some that i haven't even heard of and i had to totally guess on those. hope this helps. just let me know if u need any other info.

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