You will be spending many hours studying, so it’s crucial to find the NCLEX course that best fits your learning style and background.
So here’s the good news – we have researched and reviewed all the NCLEX prep courses on the market so you don’t have to!
The comparison chart below will help you determine which course best fits your needs.
Here are the best NCLEX prep courses to help you pass the NCLEX exam on your first try!
GraduateX NCLEX review course provides a no frills approach to learning. They pack the most NCLEX practice questions among the competition and offering a great value overall. While their dashboard leaves a lot to be desired you appreciate the access to active student forums to get all your questions answered.
How We Found the Best NCLEX Review Courses
We expected adaptive resources, engaging instructors, and widespread availability.
We started by compiling a list of the eight NCLEX review course providers and separated their courses into three categories: self-paced, live online, and in-person. Few companies offer all three methods, while others specialize in a single format. We evaluated each method separately, rather than, say, looking for a single provider that offers all three. After all, the provider of the best self-paced course, for example, may not have very great instructor-led programs. Each method has it’s own advantages, and we created specific criteria for each method to find the best prep course for each category.
In that sense, the best self-paced courses should have customizable or automatic study tools to help you pinpoint and target your weaknesses. Tools that adapt to you allow you to make the most of your study time, rather than waste it reviewing content you’ve already learned.
Kaplan’s adaptive NCLEX QBank allows you to filter by question type so you can target your weaknesses after receiving progress reports. This is kind of a manual version of Brilliant Nurse’s Adaptive Learning technology.
Live Online NCLEX Review Courses
Live online courses are ideal for those who want the extra guidance and feedback of real instructor but don’t have time for or aren’t near an actual physical class. The pre-scheduled sessions mean you won’t have complete control over your study schedule, but many providers do offer extra flexibility or a wide range of class times. Best of all you can do so from the comfort of your home or other study space, and this added structure may benefit students who need a little extra help or motivation while preparing for the NCLEX.
A great live online course will have extra engaging instructors to keep you focused and motivated during lessons. The best will have instructors who offer comprehensive feedback both in and out of class, so you can feel confident that you’ve had the chance to address any questions. Courses with the most instructor interaction ensure you can get the help you need rather than getting stuck and having to wait for the next class.
We gave courses like Kaplan NCLEX extra points for allowing you to contact your instructor outside of class. Most of the competition does not.
At the same time, your instructor should be experienced with Nursing and the NCLEX exam. To be fair, evaluating an instructor can be be a little subjective, but our research and testing show certain methods are more effective than others. For example, we liked in Kaplan’s NCLEX course knowing our instructors were highly trained in the topics they taught.
In any case, we gave preference to the courses that managed to strike the best balance between engaging informative instructors and adaptive study tools. Instructor quality is arguably the most important part of a live online course, but the best should still offer great resources for the times where you do have to study on your own.
In-Person NCLEX Review Courses
As the name suggests, these courses meet in physical classrooms and offer the most normal learning experience. If you enjoy discussing subject material and test-taking strategies with an instructor in person and with fellow students, an in-person course is the way to go. It’s important to note though, that this format is also the most time consuming and may not be available in your area.
These courses are also most often the hardest to find. Check out your local options at your school or local or state-based prep courses can also offer quality resources and personalized attention from instructors. We can’t recommend local options for everyone just because of the shear time it would take so we didn’t consider them, but it’s worth seeing what courses are available in your area with a simple Google search and your zip code.
Courses had to offer at least 2,000 NCLEX practice questions.
No matter what delivery method you choose, when it comes to exam review there is one study tool that reigns supreme: practice questions. There is abundant evidence that taking practice questions is one of the best learning strategies for improving a student’s testing performance. Known as the testing effect, practice questions help the brain recognize a particular question type or format. This allows students to more quickly process the subject material and identify the best strategy for answering it.
Not all practice questions are made equal, though.
Since the most commonly recommended preparation period is two to three months, the best NCLEX review course will have at least have 2,000 or more practice questions. This ensures students will have a variety of questions to test their skills with rather than retaking one they may have inadvertently memorized.
Practice makes perfect which is why we recommend so many questions, but so do breaks! Studying for too long without breaks can lead to high stress and lead to burnout. Research shows that taking breaks actually aids in your learning abilities, so make sure your study schedule includes short breaks at regular intervals to keep you fresh.
The truth is, many review courses don’t really have many concrete advantages over others, and each of them will have different flaws for different students. Whether it’s an instructor or a price tag. That said, we were still able to identify some differences that affected our study experience. We tried out NCLEX free trials and evaluated sample materials to compare the features likely to make the most difference to most learners: easy-to-follow explanations, engaging resources, and the reassuring guidance to build confidence while studying.
The best resources for studying, whether an on-demand video lesson, a set of quizzes, or a printed book, should be engaging. Adaptive resources are important, but NCLEX review courses also provide additional resources that don’t necessarily have to be customizable. For example, books are widely considered one of the best study materials available. We gave preference to courses like Crush the NCLEX that offer video lessons with integrated and interactive quizzes because they’re more likely to engage students.
No matter what delivery method you choose, there should be some degree of guidance to help you study effectively. Whether in the form of student forums or personalized study plans, the best NCLEX review course won’t make you prepare completely on your own, even if you choose a self-paced option. Providers like GraduateX offer access to a student forum and Crush the NCLEX have email support from instructors for additional guidance and confidence during a course.
After hours of comparison, we were left with our top 7 best NCLEX review courses online (one managed to take top spot for both in-person and live online) that offered helpful features and explanations that improved the studying experience for each method.
So what are you waiting for? Get started and pass the NCLEX on your first try!