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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 access to as many practice test questions as possible. This means you may want to check out not one, but multiple, free and paid NCLEX® question banks to maximize your dollar and time.
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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 questions (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 purchase more. The absolute best if you can find one that has a money-back guarantee if you end up not passing the NCLEX®.
Note: As of April 1, 2023 the NCLEX will undergo a major updated called NCLEX Next Generation. I wrote a full post all about it here.
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.
Features to look for in 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
- You need to know why the correct answer is correct, and why the wrong options are wrong
- Questions with alternative formats
- Varying difficulty levels
- Content review
- Mobile capability / app
- The ability to take a simulation exam
- This wouldn’t provide the answers immediately but is a simulation of the NCLEX®
- This is not a cheap to include, but it’s extremely helpful
Free NCLEX® Questionnaires
Below is a list of websites that offer free NCLEX prep questions. The number of free questions changes, so please click on the below links for the most up to date count.
- Khan Academy – https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/nclex-rn
- Nurse.plus – https://nurse.plus/nclex-rn-practice-exam-1/
- RegisteredNursing.org – https://www.registerednursing.org/nclex/practice-questions/
- Test-Guide.com – https://www.test-guide.com/free-nclex-practice-tests.html
- NurseAchieve – https://nurseachieve.com/pages/free-nclex-practice-questions
- Nurseslabs – https://nurseslabs.com/nclex-practice-questions/
- Mometrix – https://www.mometrix.com/academy/nclex-practice-test/
- PracticalNursing.org – https://www.practicalnursing.org/nclex-practice-questions
- BoardVitals – https://www.boardvitals.com/nclex-rn
- NCLEX Mastery – https://www.nclexmastery.com/free-nclex-rn-practice-questions/
Please note, UWorld, Hurst, Kaplan, and Nursing.com all offer a free set of sample questions – but they are all discussed in the paid section!
Paid NCLEX® Questionnaires
There are multiple options for paid NCLEX questionnaires, but my two faves are Nursing.com and Picmonic. More details below.
Nursing.com Subscription and SIMCLEX
I’ve been a fan of this company for years. One reason is because it is helpful throughout nursing school, not just during the NCLEX prep period. Here are the stats:
- 200% refund policy. Yes, you read that correctly. If you use their SIMCLEX and it tells you that you’re ready and you don’t pass, not only do you get a refund, but twice the amount (stipulations apply).
- They have the SIMCLEX, which is computer adaptive simulation of the NCLEX. They attempt to make these practice exams as realistic to what it’s actually like sitting for the NCLEX as possible. You can just buy this, or also get a content review too. Just SIMCLEX access ranges from $99 for 1 SIMCLEX attempt, to $199 for three.
- 6,500+ practice questions with rationales
- Comprehensive NCLEX Prep eBook
- You can also purchase a 2-year subscription to Nursing.com that comes with 5 SIMCLEX attempts for $492. You are billed $82 monthly for 6 months. This option comes with access to their entire database of lessons, questions, study tools, and the NCLEX prep course.
- Free 3-day trial available
- Boasts a 99.86% pass rate
To learn more about Nursing.com, click here.
TrueLearn NCLEX Prep
This is one of the newer kids on the block, and works well with Picmonic, a popular nursing school support program. Despite it being newer, they’ve had over 43,000 learners in 2021 alone. TrueLearn itself is a question bank, but you have the option to add-on a Picmonic subscription, which would be the content review.
- First time pass guarantee: If you do not pass the NCLEX, you’ll be given complimentary access to the question bank that is equal in length to the time you purchased before testing. Stipulations apply.
- 5-day free trial
- 900+ practice questions with rationales
- Performance analytics and national benchmarking provided
- Access the SmartBank whenever you’re ready; you can purchase now but not access for while if you want
- You can create custom quizzes
- SmartSearch, SmartTexts, and SmartTips available
- SmartSearch allows you to create custom quizzes based on keywords.
- My fave: SmartTexts. You can set it up to send you text message of key learning concepts throughout the day. This is like passive learning with spaced repetition and I am definitely a fan.
- SmartTips gives you test-taking tips and strategies based on your habits and performance
- Subscriptions are available in 30, 60, 90, 180, and 365-day intervals for the SmartBank. The more you purchase, the less it will cost per-day. It starts at $40/month and goes up to $74.99 for one year.
- If you want to add Picmonic to the subscription, the same intervals are available and it starts at $50/month and goes up to $119 for one year.
To learn more about TrueLearn, click here. Make sure you use promo code FRESHRN for 20%, which enables you to get a full year of TrueLearn for only $60, or a full year of Picmonic and TrueLearn for only $95.20!
NCLEX Mastery from Higher Learning Technologies
This NCLEX review is done entirely from an app called NCLEX Mastery.
- Generous refund policy. If you don’t pass, get back 3x what you paid.
- 3,000 practice questions with rationales; you can even rate your confidence level with each question
- Progress tracking
- 99.7% pass rate
- Informs you of your possibility of passing
- NCLEX simulation available
- $35/month, cancel any time. You can purchase month-to-month, 3-month, and 12-month subscriptions. The 12-month is by far the best deal.
- 3-day free trial after you create an account (this comes with 10 free practice questions)
- Mini-quizzes, mnemonics, and test-taking strategies
- Additional content available in the app to support your transition to practice
This is definitely one of the most affordable options out there. Click here to snag a special FreshRN 10% discount!
UWorld NCLEX Prep
This is a popular option that is 100% online. In 2021, it won the Nurse.org “Best Nursing Test Program” award. This program also allows you to purchase with or without NCLEX Next Gen, which is a plus for those last few taking the regular NCLEX before April 1, 2023.
- No pass guarantee or refunds provided
- This is a question bank, not content review
- 2,350 questions with rationales, including alternative format
- Flashcards, online notebook available
- Performance tracking to identify areas to focus on
- Two 100-question timed test available
- Pricing ranges from $139 (for regular NCLEX) and $159 (Next Gen) which includes the most basic of the practice questions for 30 days, all the way up to $449 which includes 2 self-assessments and a reset option for 730 days (2 years)
- No payment plans
- They offer demos, but no free trials
- No test taking strategies or instruction on the NCLEX itself
To learn more about UWorld, click here.
BoardVitals NCLEX Prep
This is another one that is completely online and a test question bank.
- The 6-month and 3-month plans come with a 100% pass guarantee. This means they will give you the same amount of free time as you purchased previously, or 50% off a longer package.
- Question bank of 3,500 questions with rationales and alternative formats
- Can buy now and start later
- Free trial available; plans range from $119 for one month to $179 for 6 months
- Progress tracking with national benchmarking
- Customized practice tests, including timed options to simulate real testing conditions
- Option to create an unlimited number of computer adaptive practice tests
To learn more about BoardVitals, click here.
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 your 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!
- Preparing for the NCLEX® – 4 Tips from a Nurse
- NCLEX Questions Don’t Have to Ruin Your Life
- 12 Tips to Answering Any Pharmacology Question
- How to Dissect NCLEX Questions
Getting ready for nursing school clinicals, but feeling unprepared?
Nursing Skills Refresh from FreshRN is a self-paced video course for both new and experienced nurses. Whether you’re preparing for your first clinical experience, or need to brush up on your nursing skills, this course is for you. Each lesson walks you through the basic tasks and concepts you will experience in the clinical setting. Once completed, you’ll feel comfortable in a hospital setting, understand the basics of what the bedside experience will feel like, and know insider tips and tricks that will make you feel confident and in control.