Best NCLEX Reviews for 2018

Best NCLEX Reviews for 2018

best NCLEX reviews

You’re finishing nursing school and gearing up to take the your NCLEX to become a registered nurse. You’re scared to fail and just want to do whatever you need to do. You’ve heard of some NCLEX reviews, with varying success, and don’t have a ton of money to spend to try them all. Every year there seems to be another option and it’s quite confusing. So, what are the best NCLEX reviews for 2018?

I’m a registered nurse. I’ve personally taken the NCLEX and passed in 75 questions in one attempt. I’ve written NCLEX review questions. I’ve thoroughly researched the latest and best NCLEX review programs, personally trying four of them through my research.

I know what I’m talking about.


Best NCLEX Reviews

I will tell you what I’ve heard through the grapevine from past users, my personal experience, value for your dollar, and more.

Please note that I discuss prices in these explanations, however they are the prices as of March 2018 and may not reflect the most current price structure.

We’ve outlined some of the best NCLEX reviews in this comparison table to make it easier to find the one that is right for you. You can click NCLEX review name on any of the items in the table to jump to the section in this article outlining more information about it. Or, you can click the “Buy Now” button to pick it up immediately.

Review ProgramRun by NursesCost# of NCLEX
Content ReviewIn person/OnlineMoney Back GuaranteeUse beyond

+ 200%

May Remediate

First things first

There used to just be one or two NCLEX review options out there. But there have been a ton of advancements in NCLEX reviews since I sat for boards in 2010.

The good news: it’s not longer a one-size fits all approach. You can find a program that fits your unique learning needs without spending $500.

The bad news: there are a lot of options and it’s a bit confusing

To wade through the various options of NCLEX reviews, you must first decide what would be best for you. Not your BFF nursing buds, not your spouse, not your parents – you.

Do you want a content review and strategy to answer NCLEX questions? Do you need to know how the NCLEX works? Do simply want some practice questions? Do you want a concise content review to refer to as you answer questions? Are you someone who needs an in-person review or are you someone who wants everything online?  Will you use flashcards on your phone? Do you want an app so you can answer NCLEX questions on your phone or tablet?

Don’t just do what everyone else says you have to do. Think about what you would find most valuable and helpful for your unique learning needs.

There should be no shame in your self-awareness game.


For the traditionalist

Kaplan, Hurst, and ATI are the major companies providing NCLEX reviews who provide very similar products and cost structures. I actually took the Kaplan in-person review course in 2010 after graduating.

Each course provides are large bank of NCLEX-style questions with rationales (a minimum expectation in a review program), practice exams, and customer support. The each have their own money-back guarantee if you don’t pass, with varying restrictions.

Pros of Kaplan, ATI, and Hurst: they are tried and true, each have a fine-tuned processes, options for in-person and online reviews, and some mobile capabilities

Cons of Kaplan, ATI, and Hurst: they are the most expensive, they are NCLEX-passing machines (translation: we stick to core content and test-taking strategies to pass this test in one attempt and that’s that)

Kaplan was NCLEX review program I selected after graduating. Back in 2010, there were not as many options and this is what everyone I knew who was also graduating chose.  I completed the week-long in-person review, used their study plan, strategies, and Q-bank, took and passed the NCLEX one month after my nursing school graduation in 75 questions in about 80 minutes. My experience was good, but since 2010 there have been quite a few more cost-effective options developed with much more to offer, in my opinion.

I’ve heard similar things about each program through the social media grapevine when I asked licensed nurses about their opinions. Check out this post on my Instagram, and this post on my Facebook Page to read them yourself.  Many loved these programs, while others said they were awful and went and bought something else.

To compare this to prom dress shopping… Kaplan, ATI, and Hurst are those $400 gowns that get the job done, are a safe option, and offer a classic look. You bought it online so you couldn’t try it on before committing and spent a ton, but were relatively confident it would fit. You’ll drop another $100 on shoes and jewelry, and it’s a bit of a production. You’ll never wear the dress again after that one night.

For the minimalist

Let’s say you don’t want or need all the bells and whistles. Maybe you’re just looking for a solid NCLEX question bank with good rationales. Maybe you would rather pay a subscription for access to questions for a chunk of time, rather than one (extremely) large payment.

UWorld is a great option here. It’s a question bank that is designed to look similar to the NCLEX. They provide rationales, flashcards, can track your performance, and the price point is much lower (around $100 – $250).

I’ve also personally tried it and was really impressed. You’re not going to get any content review outside or the rationales in the questions, or a standardized process to answer them (like Kaplan’s decision tree), but you will get an outstanding large databank of questions.

I was personally impressed with the functionality of the site, price options, quality of questions, mobile-capabilities, and tracking. This is a test-prep company, so they’ve got the interface down.

Another option for the minimalist is the NRSNG Nursing Practice Questions Pro. It’s a question bank broken down into the different NCLEX categories so you can focus on areas you need the most practice in, provides quality rationales, and performance tracking. You actually can see your Global Rank (meaning, how you stack up against others answering the same questions).  You can get a 5-day trial for just $1, then it’s only $14.99/month after that. I’ve personally tried it and think it’s right up there with UWorld.

Bonus: this company is run by a nurse!

Both of these offer free test questions to give them a try as well.

Pros of UWorld and NRSNG Nursing Practice Questions Pro: They’re comprehensive databases of the most important aspect of an NCLEX review program (practice questions), they’ve got the interface/technology down and are mobile responsive, have performance-tracking capabilities and are incredibility cost-effective, with the ability to try them out first

Cons of UWorld and NRSNG Nursing Practice Questions Pro: you don’t get any content review outside of the rationales with the questions

UWorld and NRSNG Nursing Practice Questions Pro is like the prom dress that’s a fraction of the cost but looks awesome. There’s no buyer’s remorse because you didn’t spend your last paycheck on it, were able try it on a lot before committing, you’ve already go jewelry and shoes that will look awesome with it. But, you’ll never wear this dress again.

The new kid on the block

One of the newer NCLEX review programs on the market is from the NCSBN. Have you heard of these people? They’re the people who actually wrote the NCLEX.

Let me say that again.

This is a test-prep program from the people who write the test.

I tend to pay special attention the NCSBN in regards to the NCLEX because they are the ultimate authority.

The NCSBN NCLEX Review is the program I know the least about. However, multiple people mentioned it positively in those previously mentioned social media posts asking for input. I also love that on the website, they list out all of nurses who contribute to it with their credentials (MSN, DNP, PhD prepared nurses, people!).

I tend to take note when a nursing website is upfront about who they get their content from and if they’re owned by nurses. Many are owned by large companies who contract nurses for the nurse-related content… something I’m not a huge fan of because I know their bottom line is money, not what’s best for our profession and (by extension) our patients.

It’s subscription-based with a tiered cost-structure, so you’re looking at spending $50 for the 3-week plan, all the way up to $150 for the 15-week plan.

I’ve heard the content is pretty stellar, as are the questions (rationales included). I cannot speak to its online functionality, but do note that it is mobile-friendly. They highlight their Ask the Instructor feature to gain additional insight when you don’t understand the question and need further clarification.

One huge negative I’ve noticed is if you want to extend your subscription, you’ll lose all of your progress. For example, let’s say you bought a 3-week subscription but towards the end decide you want to extend it because you’re not quite ready. While you can purchase another subscription, you’ll lose all of the progress you’ve made within those 3 weeks are start at square 1 with your new one. You also will lose all access to the content once your subscription is over.

Pros of the NCSBN NCLEX Review: it comes from the ultimate NCLEX authority, is cost-effective, has the Ask the Instructor feature, contains a comprehensive content review, mobile-friendly, and is run by nurses.

Cons of the NCSBN NCLEX Review: the website is archaic, (it looks like it hasn’t had an update since 2002) therefore I cannot speak to the interworkings of its functionality, it does not look like there is a money-back guarantee, you’ll lose access to the content once your subscription is done, from looking at the website it doesn’t seem like customer service is too awesome, and you must make sure to pick the right subscription length the first time because you’ll lose all of your progress if you need to extend.

The NCSBN NCLEX Review is like that prom dress you found online that was made by PROM ITSELF, was on clearance, but still makes you look great. You weren’t sure if you’d like it and couldn’t try it on, but decided to take a little risk anyway. You’ll never be able to wear the dress again, but it served its purpose.


The NCLEX and well beyond

Now that I’ve been a nurse for eight years, I look back to the NCLEX prep-period and realize how short-sighted it was. I was so focused on one exam, but my learning had really just begun.

Years later, looking back at nursing school resources and NCLEX-prep, I am now prioritize something that offers more. Which programs continue to benefit you after the NCLEX when you need to brush up on clinical skills or knowledge? Will the Kaplan Q-bank help you out there? Or the UWorld rationales?  Likely not. The NCSBN one has potential, but you’ll lose access to it once your subscription is complete.

The only NCLEX review program that I’ve seen that will adequately prepare you for the NCLEX and continue to be valuable well beyond that as you prepare for your first job as a registered nurse is the NRSNG Academy.

It contains 10 condescend courses (Test Taking, Fundamentals, Med-Surg, EKG Interpretation, Cardiac, Mental Health, Pediatrics, OB, Pharmacology, Lab Values) as well an NCLEX prep program. You can even get a 7 day trial of academy for only $1!

NRSNG AcademyNRSNG Academy

I’ve personally used the pharmacology course, EKG, and cardiac courses to help deepen my understanding of cardiac-specific issues because I work on a cardiac med-surg floor and it has been invaluable. I’ve used the drip charts when I was in neurocritical care, and the pharmacology course again. There were so many ah-ha moments going through each module that deepened my understanding of nursing knowledge.

Essentially the NRSNG Academy is access to their entire content library plus their NRSNG Nursing Practice Questions Pro (previously outlined), simulation NCLEX exams (SIMCLEX), and a flashcard app.

So, if a question doesn’t make sense you can go to the corresponding content and learn more about it. Their content library contains modules of images, audio files, quizzes, cheat sheets, video lectures, flashcard app, case studies, text outlines, and transcripts.

Try out Acadmey for 7 days for only $1.  Then NRSNG Academy is a monthly subscription of $49. After 9 months, you’ll have permanent access to the content and subsequent updates. It is definitely one of the most cost-effective options.

Once you join, you get access to their private Facebook group for additional support and encouragement, which is run by the founder and nurse, Jon Haws BSN RN CCRN.

If you use the NRSNG Academy and don’t pass the NCLEX, they provide a $200 money-back guarantee.

Pros of NRSNG Academy: it’s a comprehensive NCLEX prep program with a flashcard app, SIMCLEX, a large question bank including rationales/question difficulty/global ranking/ability to provide feedback, it is cost-effective, personally run by nurses, a massive collection of content review that will continue to be valuable during your development as a nurse

Cons of NRSNG Academy: it’s a newer program so not as many people have tried it, it’s all online and self-led so there’s no option for an in-person review, they’re still working out the kinks in some minor interface issues (I’ve heard there is a massive update coming in 2018)

NRSNG Academy is like that prom dress that was a fraction of the cost of the other ones that you took home and tried on for a few days before committing. It ended up looking outstanding and was really comfortable. You were able to wear it over and over again well after prom and continued to look fabulous.


For individualized instruction

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two people I’ve heard amazing things about for one-on-one NCLEX prep.

Some people have high test-anxiety or very specific needs that won’t be adequately addressed in a group in-person setting like Kaplan or Hurst. Some may need some individualized support after failed attempts at the NCLEX.  There are a few options available for these unique situations!

Damion Jenkins, MSN RN over at The Nurse Speak offers in-person or online individualized mentoring, coaching and instruction for the NCLEX. He offers a free phone consultation for people to see if it would be a good fit for them as well. I’ve personally met Damion and interacted with nurses who rave about the support he provided them.

Chelly Bevel, PhD(c) RN over at Chelly’s Nursing Review is another in-person option that I recently learned about. I could not believe the overwhelmingly positive response from those previously mentioned social media posts asking for NCLEX review recommendations.

Clearly, both run by NURSES!

My thoughts summarized

Long are the days when Kaplan, ATI, and Hurst were your one-size fits all NCLEX review options. If you’re okay spending about quite a bit on something you’ll never use again but can rest assured it works for most people, go with Kaplan, ATI, or Hurst.

If you want a cheap online bank of questions and content review from the people who write the NCLEX and nothing more, go with NCSBN – but make sure you pick the right subscription!

If you just need some NCLEX review questions to brush up on and get your mind into NCLEX-mode, go with UWorld or NRSNG Nursing Practice Questions Pro.

If you want a cost-effective concise content review, question bank, flashcards, and more information that will get you through the NCLEX and your first year as a nurse (well, and honestly beyond), go with the NRSNG Academy. Try out Acadmey for 7 days for only $1

And if you’re in one of those unique situations requiring some individualized attention, check out Damion or Chelly!

More NCLEX prep posts

NCLEX-RN Prep Plus 2018: 2 Practice Tests + Proven Strategies + Online + Video (Kaplan Test Prep)NCLEX-RN Prep Plus 2018: 2 Practice Tests + Proven Strategies + Online + Video (Kaplan Test Prep)Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN® Examination, 7e (Saunders Comprehensive Review for Nclex-Rn)Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN® Examination, 7e (Saunders Comprehensive Review for Nclex-Rn)NRSNG AcademyNRSNG AcademyNCLEX-RN Practice Test Questions 2018 - 2019: NCLEX Review Book with 1000+ Practice Exam Questions for the NCLEX Nursing ExaminationNCLEX-RN Practice Test Questions 2018 – 2019: NCLEX Review Book with 1000+ Practice Exam Questions for the NCLEX Nursing ExaminationLippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN (Lippioncott's Review For NCLEX-RN)Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN (Lippioncott’s Review For NCLEX-RN)

When to Take the NCLEX After Graduation

When to Take the NCLEX After Graduation

When to take the NCLEX after graduation

When to take the NCLEX after graduation

Alright, so you’ve graduated nursing school and are trying to figure out when to take the NCLEX after graduation. Unfortunately, there isn’t an answer to this question that is right for everyone. However, there are certain things to consider as you make this important decision for yourself.

You don’t want to take it too early if you’re not ready, but you don’t want to wait too long. The longer you wait, the more you forget.

You also want to take this seriously. Don’t just test to see if you’ll pass, then only study and take it again if you have to.

It’s not that simple. Or affordable.

Taking your nursing boards is expensive. There are fees from both your state board of nursing and Pearson Vue (the people who administer the NCLEX) to consider, in addition to any lost wages from not being able to start work as a nurse right away. Plus, you must wait a minimum of 45 days to retake the exam.  That’s 45 days of lost wages. If you’re one of the lowest paid nurses in the country, you’ll be missing out on at least $5,600 in lost wages and fees… not to mention what you’d pay for a review course on top of it. So let’s dive deeper into figuring out when to take the NCLEX after graduation.

So, when do most people take the NCLEX after graduation?

As far as my timeline is concerned, I graduated May 8th, 2010 and I tested June 15, 2010 (5.5 weeks later). I took an NCLEX review course, an assessment afterwards to see where I needed more content review, and took 25-50 practice questions 6 out of 7 days a week until June 13th.  then, I did nothing nursing related on June 14th. Finally, I tested on June 15th and passed in 75 questions in about 1.5 hours.

Reminder: I’m not a great test-taker. I attribute this success to diligent and purposeful studying and planning.

I thought it’d be helpful to hear from other nurses about their post-graduation timeline. I asked nurses on Twitter, with almost 800 nurses responding. Results showed that 79% tested between 2-8 weeks after graduation, and 98% of voters would have either tested earlier or at the same time if they had to do it all over again.

Bottom line: test as soon as you’re ready, don’t wait. 

First, assess yourself

What is critical to do when studying for this exam is to identify the areas in which you need focus. I recommend taking an NCLEX simulation exam. By doing this, you get the feel for the exam and computerized adaptive testing (more on that later), as well as identifying those specific topics to hone in on.

Bonus if you can find one that has:

  • An adaptive question algorithm – so it’s set up is like the NCLEX and not just a bunch of multiple choice questions
  • Multiple practice attempts – you’ll want to re-test again after you think you’re ready
  • Rationales for the questions to review later
  • Alternate format questions

Come up with a study plan, and write it out on your calendar. I wrote out the number of practice questions and specific amount of time I was going to review content each day, and then gave myself a day off each week.

For example, plan to study for two 20-minute focused blocks of time with breaks in between, followed by 25 practice questions, another break, then another 20 focused minutes. If you break things up into manageable chunks, it makes the tasks more conquerable.

Next, know how the NCLEX works (if you don’t already)

The NCLEX is not like your normal nursing school test. It is a computerized adaptive test. Here’s a great video explaining the NCLEX as a computer adaptive test.

Essentially, you’re first given a question of medium-difficulty. The next question you get depends on how you answered the previous question. If you answered it correctly, you’ll get a harder question. You’ll then get harder questions until you get one wrong. If you answered it incorrectly, you’ll get easier questions until you get one right… then you’ll get harder ones. This continues until you either pass or fail. Check out this 1:21 minute video that describes the confidence interval well.

Check out more on this in another FreshRN blog post, Preparing for the NCLEX – 4 Tips From a Nurse.

Remember: timing matters

Once you’re ready, you can’t just go to your nearest testing center and test. There are quite a few steps you must take before being able to actually take boards.

First, you’ve got to apply with your state board of nursing (BON) to take the exam. For example, here’s the website to the Indiana State Board of Nursing and where I would go to apply for licensure by examination if I wanted to practice in the state of Indiana. They’ve got to do the typical background check to ensure it’s appropriate to give you a nursing license (should you pass boards), and check your transcripts to make sure you did indeed graduate from an accredited nursing program. There are also fees that come along with applying for licensure, which vary from state to state. This process can be quick or slow, but it depends on your state and if your school takes their sweet time getting your transcripts sent in.

Keep in mind, if you’ve got things on your record like a DUI/DWI, it’ll take longer for this to occur. This doesn’t mean you won’t get cleared necessarily, but it just takes longer if there are things that show up on the background check.

In addition to this, you’ve got to register with Pearson Vue (the people who administer the NCLEX). There is (you guessed it) another fee to register with them. As I write this at the end of 2017, it’s a $200 fee.

Once these two steps have been completed, you must wait.

When you’re cleared, you receive your Authorization To Test (or more commonly referred to as an “ATT”). Only after you have an ATT can you schedule yourself to sit for boards. Pearson Vue will provide a list of locations near you with dates and times. Some will be as soon the next day, to a few months away.  The catch is, ATT’s expire after 90 days (12 weeks).  You MUST have an active ATT on the day you go take your exam. They will not make any exceptions and extend the date on someone’s ATT.

So, if you were hoping to test later than 12 weeks post-graduation, you’re not going to want to submit paperwork to get your ATT right after graduation.

There is a really good explanation of this here, on the National Counsel of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) website… you know, the people who write the NCLEX.

To review:

  • The National Counsel of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) writes the NCLEX
  • Pearson Vue administers the NCLEX
  • Your respective State Board of Nursing is who grants your nursing license. They will only do this when they see that you’re appropriate to give a license to after a background check, transcripts show you’ve graduated from an accredited nursing school, and you’ve passed the NCLEX
  • It takes time to get your ATT, so plan accordingly both practically and mentally

Remember, you will start this process and while it’s happening you should continuing to study and prepare.  It’s not a process where you apply for your ATT and once you get that, then you study. You should be studying throughout this entire time.

Ok, so what’s the answer?

Sooooo…. I wish I could just tell you a definitive answer, but I can’t. There are so many variables… from each state BON’s timeline, to each school to get transcripts out, to your own individual and unique study needs.

If you’re the typical nursing school graduate, you will test between 2-8 weeks (0.5 – 2 months) after graduation. This is well within the 90 day / 12 week window of an ATT.  This would mean you could wait a few weeks post-graduation to begin your paperwork to obtain your ATT and once you receive this, you could schedule yourself pretty soon there after.

I waited about 2 weeks after graduation before submitting my paperwork just in case they flew through it and I wasn’t ready to test within the dates on my ATT. I didn’t want to risk needing to re-initiate that process and pay more fees. Once I received it, I scheduled myself to test about 2 weeks later. Honestly, the scariest part was scheduling it because I knew once I did, there was no turning back!

One thing that both the NCSBN and Pearson Vue recommend doing is not waiting until the end of your ATT to look for an available testing date because they fill up quickly.

To get your mind around where you’ll test, you can view available locations ahead of time. Shoot, you could even do that right now!

My recommendations are:

  1. Before you graduate, familiarize yourself with your State Board of Nursing (where you want to practice, not where you went to school) website and the process. Take note of how long it’ll take you to get everything together and what they’re asking for. Remember, this is your responsibility, not your school’s. I thought my school would take care of this for me (for some reason), but they did not.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the Pearson Vue process as well
  3. Pick your NCLEX review plan
  4. Once you graduate, take an NCLEX simulation exam and see where you stand, and if you’ll need more or less time to study
  5. Create an NCLEX study plan customized to your needs
  6. Apply to your state BON and Pearson Vue when appropriate (considering how long you want to study and if you’ve got anything that may delay your ATT… like things that may come up on your background check – again, if you’re like most, you’ll wait 1-2 weeks post graduation to begin this process while simultaneously studying)
  7.  Stick to your study plan
  8. Test when you’re ready – don’t delay!

Read more

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NCLEX Questionnaires – Free and  Paid

NCLEX Questionnaires – Free and Paid

NCLEX Questionnaires - Free and Paid

So, you’re getting ready to graduate nursing school and are looking around for some free and paid NCLEX® questionnaires.  Let’s be real, everyone would like to try to get as many practice test questions as possible, which typically consists of checking out not one, but multiple free and paid NCLEX® question banks to maximize your dollar and time. 

What to look for in NCLEX® Questionnaires

Getting access to NCLEX® questions is helpful, but there’s more to it than that. You don’t just want to know the right answer, you want to know the rationale so you can learn why that’s the right answer. Even better, if they can tell you the level of difficulty and how it stacks up against the rest of their question bank, that’s amazing.

Remember, the NCLEX® isn’t a normal test… it’s a computerized adaptive test (CAT).  What does that mean? Here’s a great explanation from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (the people who write the test!) about what a CAT really means. So, just getting a bank of multiple choice questions isn’t going to cut it. You need to know not only the right answer, but the rationale and how difficult the question is, as well as questions with alternate formats. You also don’t want to get the same questions over and over, so you need a large bank of question (1,500+).

What’s best is if you can find a question bank that also has a content review, so if you got a question wrong and need more information than the rationale supplies, you’ve got resources to dive deeper into.  More things to look for are programs actually written by nurses, ones that provide the ability for you to give feedback on a question, as well as the ability to to purchase more. The absolute best if if you can find one that has a money-back guarantee if you end up not passing the NCLEX®.

If you want a comprehensive, quality NCLEX® questions and review, you are looking at dropping at least a few hundred dollars.  It’s expensive, but not passing the first time around can cost on average $10K – $20K in lost wages, fees, and study costs.

Look for the following aspects of quality NCLEX® questionnaires:

  • A large bank of questions
    • At least over 1,500 but you may want to look for one with substantially more because if you’re diligent in taking practice questions, you’ll go through 1,500 faster than you realize
  • Rationales
  • Questions with alternate formats
    • All of the possible alternate format question that may appear on the exam include select all that apply, hot spots, fill in the blanks, ordered response, audio options, graphic options
  • Difficulty level of the question
  • Content review
  • Nurses actually writing the content/questions
  • Able to use features on mobile
    • This would be a bonus, not a requirement – in my opinion
  • The ability to provide feedback
    • This would be a bonus, not a requirement
  • The ability to take a simulation exam
    • This wouldn’t provide the answers immediately, but attempt to simulate the NCLEX® to assess your level of readiness

Free NCLEX® Questionnaires is simply 23 free NCLEX® prep questions with a buy-up option to their course. You don’t have to register to get the correct answers, but it’s just a few. The buy up is to their review with 800 questions, which is written by nurses, contains a money-back guarantee, mobile-enabled, a create-your-own flashcards, as well as simulation exam capabilities. It’s probably one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest programs out there.

My thoughts – 800 questions simply isn’t enough

Khan Academy

I am a big fan of the way Khan Academy teaches. They utilize short videos that are packed with high-value information. Also, they’re free! The NCLEX® prep section has over 600 YouTube videos that are around 10 minutes each. They are mostly taught by physicians, however, because they’re going into the pathophysiology behind things and not actual nursing care.  Essentially, you’re missing a massive part of the test content.  While they do have some NCLEX® prep questions, it’s only 86 total. You do not have to register to get access to them.

My thoughts – this would be a good resource for reviewing pathophysiological content that is hard to grasp and just to have access to 86 free questions… but it should by no means be your only review. Since their focus is on patho, there are no nursing topics which comprise major aspects of the exam. I’d do the 86 questions, then use a handful of videos if needed.

Nurse Labs 

Nurse Labs is arguably the largest database of free NCLEX® prep questions at over 3,500. You don’t have to give them your email, they’re broken up into different categories, and they have different modes you can take them in (exam, practice, text).  They have some free study guides which accompany content. You are told which answers are correct and it seems like (sorry I didn’t take all 3,500+ questions to know for sure!) there’s a rationale most of the time, but not always. The way it is organized isn’t the best, but what can you expect when you’re getting a ton of free questions?

My thoughts – this is a ton of free NCLEX® prep questions.  I feel like the way the site is organized, it’s hard to keep yourself organized. As far as I could tell, there were no alternative format questions or an option to purchase a full review. While there is some content review, you do have to look for it. Also, one of my nurse red-flags went up when looking into the site… their “about” page is pretty non-descript. I cannot tell who writes these questions or who owns this company, which is a little concerning to me. The way I would approach this is I would purchase an NCLEX® review and use that as my primary question bank, then I would only use the Nurse Labs one if I went through all of those questions.

If you do all three of these, you’ll have 3,609 free NCLEX® practice questions.

Please note, UWorld, Hurst, Kaplan and NRSNG all offer a free set of sample questions – but they are all discussed in the paid section!

Paid NCLEX® Questionnaires


Kaplan is quite well know. They have different options for reviews like just an adaptive practice test (cheapest), a self-paced online course, a live online course, and an in-person course.

They have a 3,400 question bank which includes alternate format items, content review, workbook, simulation NCLEX®, as well as a money-back guarantee. They teach a “decision tree” which helps you think through each question in a systematic format. Their price points range from $129 – $500. Some schools will include this review within your tuition. You can also simply purchase their question bank.

Click here to learn more about Kaplan

Another option would be to simply purchase the book from Amazon for around $30 with Amazon Prime.

NCLEX Questionnaires

NRSNG Academy

NRSNG Academy has an adaptive NCLEX® simulator (“SIMCLEX”), a question bank of 3,500 questions with the ability to provide feedback and see the difficulty rank, 500+ flashcards, image and audio database, a test-taking course, and 10 concise content courses, is entirely available on mobile, a private Facebook group for support, and lifetime access to content after the subscription is complete (9 months). Their pricing structure is a bit different, in that you pay a monthly fee for 9 months. They also have a 200% money-back guarantee, so if you don’t pass the NCLEX® while using their resources, they’ll refund your money and pay you that same amount as well. 

NRSNG Academy - NCLEX Questionnaires

What is cool about this is you can get it when you start nursing school, and it will be valuable throughout school, during the NCLEX®, and after. Also, if you only need it for a few months, it’s significantly cheaper than the other NCLEX® review options. They also have the option of simply purchasing their question bank.  Right now you can get a 7 day trial for only $1.

Get NRSNG Academy for $1


Hurst has 3 different options of an in-person review, a live online review, or an online course. They have a question bank of 1,000 questions, a workbook, test simulator, 4 125-question prep tests, an online coach, and a money-back guarantee. If you buy the in-person review, you are able to attend as many in-person events as you’d like.

Click here to learn more about Hurst

Board Vitals

Board Vitals has a question bank of 4,100 questions with rationales and alternative formats, an exam blueprint, computer adaptive exams,

Interestingly enough, with each purchase they donate a vaccination to a child in need. Two of their 4 plans have a money-back guarantee. I personally know people who have tried all of the other products mentioned, but don’t know anyone who has used this product.

Click here to learn more about Board Vitals

NCSBN (National Counsel of State Boards of Nursing)

This is an NCLEX® prep program from the same company who actually write the test. Their question bank has 3,100 questions, a content review, quizzes, capable of being used on mobile, and an Ask the Instructor feature. I somewhat stumbled upon this during researching these options, so I’m not very familiar with it or know anyone who has used it. But, given that it comes from the same company that writes the test, I’d say it’s safe to assume it’s quite reputable. They also have study plans, which are nice to have structured for you.

Click here to learn more about the NCSBN NCLEX® Prep


UWorld is another popular choice. While it’s test bank is 1,950 questions, they also have two 75-question self-assessments, are mobile-ready, and I’ve heard that their rationales are superior to some others NCLEX® reviews. I actually did a more comprehensive review of this system on the blog already! Click here to check it out. I think this is a good option or someone who just needs test question practice and not content review, because you will not get that with UWorld. Their pricing structure is different than some of the others as well, since they go by month rather than one large purchase.

Click here to learn more about UWorld

Final thoughts and more NCLEX® resources

Whatever program you pick, it’s important to do what’s best for you, your learning style and needs, and budget. Some people just want a content review, some just want practice questions, some want both. There’s no shame in your NCLEX® prep game, do what you need to do to pass!



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