For some people, there isn’t a question in their mind about what career path they want to be on. People who choose to go in the field of nursing do so for many reasons. Maybe they want to help people when they are injured or ill. Maybe they want job security. Maybe they want excitement.
Whatever the reason may be, deciding to become a nurse isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of studying, and it’s going to take a passing grade on a very important exam—the NCLEX.
Many people will take an NCLEX prep course to supplement and reinforce the information they’ve learned while in their nursing program. These courses are designed to help you understand the material, but more importantly, how to figure out the correct answer.
There are many different NCLEX prep courses available, so it may not be that easy to figure out which one will work for you. Fortunately, you’re here reading this guide! We are going to tell you what features the prep course should have, but we are also going to give you five mini reviews of great courses that we think are definitely worth your consideration.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at what you should be looking for in the best NCLEX prep course.
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NCLEX Prep Course
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There are a lot of different factors that you need to look for before giving away your money to a prep course. Some things that you need to find out first before signing up are:
Anyone can read material from a book. If it were that simple, no one would need these prep course. You want to choose a course that uses registered nurses or nurse practitioners as the instructors. These instructors should have at least a Master’s degreein nursing because they’ll probably have working knowledge of the material they are going over.
This is crucial because if you don’t understand something, you want to be able to ask the instructor for help!
Along with a Master’s degree, you want to make sure the instructors have had recent clinical experience. Times have changed and what may have worked in the past isn’t always practiced today. The instructors should have experience in working in the modern real world.
What this means is how do you take the course. Is it an in-person only type of course? Is it live-online? Is it self-study? The way the course is designed and accessed is important because maybe you won’t have time to attend a lecture at a set time.
Maybe you need something a little more flexible because you have a busy schedule. Maybe you feel comfortable studying on your own, in your own time. The course you choose should work with your specific needs.
Not only is it important that you are learning from a qualified, practicing nurse, but it is important that you know what kind of materials you’ll be able to use. Some of these programs can be quite expensive, and you don’t want to be paying for subpar materials. The perfect course will blend video instruction with reading material.
We like courses that offer mobile apps so that you can study even when you’re away from the desk. Also, courses that have tangible reading materials are great too, that way you can highlight and take notes along the way.
In a short answer, the more the better. In a long answer, the more test questions you have access to, the better prepared you’ll be to answer the real deal. Most prep courses will also provide step by step methodologies of choosing the correct answer and why one answer is better than others.
Most prep courses will offer somewhere around 2,000 questions (which is pretty impressive), but like we said, the more the better!
When going over what is included with the tuition to these courses, you want to make sure that there is a way for you to reach out and talk to an instructor if you have any questions. What’s the point in preparing for an exam and having materials if you cannot have your questions addressed?
We like courses that have 24/7 support so you can ask a qualified instructor your question at any time of the day or night, and be certain that you’ll get an in depth, thorough answer.
Some courses will have diagnostic tests that you’ll have to take before actually accessing the material. This is to better determine where you actually need help. This is a good thing because while you may be able to access all of the available material, you don’t want to waste time studying material that you are already comfortable with.
As a student who is about to enroll in a prep course, you probably want to know what the pass rate is for the exam. Search for courses that have at least a 90% pass rate. Not only that, but you also want to know what other students had to say about the course.
Read the reviews from actual students who have taken the course because these reviews will tell you if the course helped them, how thorough the materials are, and how much support were the students able to receive from the instructors (if at all).
We understand that no one wants to think they are going to fail the exam—it can be a crushing blow! However, failing is (unfortunately) always a possibility and you want to make sure that your investment isn’t going to be wasted.
Some companies will give you a complete refund within a certain time frame should you fail. Some will give you additional time to access the materials. Some will give you both options to choose from. Whatever NCLEX prep course you do choose, you definitely want to make sure they have some kind of guarantee in place.
With all of that out of the way, let’s take a look at our top five favorite choices for the best NCLEX prep course.
When it comes to a trusted name in the industry, there isn’t any other program as respected as Kaplan. The Kaplan NCLEX review has been developed to provide students with all of the learning and study materials they’ll need in order to pass the 5-hour long NCLEX exam with confidence.
The Kaplan nursing review materials are available on several different platforms, making it easy for students to study on the go.
This NCLEX review course utilizes a unique Decision Tree technique that will guide you through the process of analyzing and breaking down each NCLEX question into manageable bits so that you can understand how to get the correct answer.
The company believes that this method of learning is much more beneficial for students because they will be able to develop critical thinking skills, allowing them to be more likely to choose the correct answer on the actual exam.
You have more than enough opportunity to test those methods out on the extensive question library offered by Kaplan. The NCLEX-RN course offers more than 3,000 questions for you to practice with, whereas the NCLEX-PN course offers 1,000 questions.
The program strongly recommends that students practice as many questions as they can between the time they sign up for the course and the real exam. By doing this, you’ll be able to feel more prepared and much more confident when your exam date finally arrives.
To make the most out of your subscription to the learning materials, you have access to a free mobile app that is stocked with 180 example questions, all of which provide detailed explanations for the correct answers. Not only does the app allow you to create practice exams so you can quiz yourself while on the go, but you can gauge your progress along the way.
Brilliant Nurse is an entire website dedicated to helping students like yourself master all the topics that will be appearing on the NCLEX-RN or the NCLEX-PN exam.
The site features a variety of video lectures, reading material, and student support that will give you the opportunity to communicate with instructors, who will then walk you through any problems you may be experiencing. The instructors on Brilliant Nurse are dedicated individuals who understand the material because they have taken and passed the exam themselves.
Brilliant Nurse understands that studying for the NCLEX is important and sometimes it is nearly impossible to make time to sit down and study. That is why they have developed mobile tools that allows you to access the materials wherever (and whenever) you get the chance.
It doesn’t matter if you’re waiting for a meeting to start at work, if you’re on the subway, or if you’re getting some study time in while watching the boring part of the game. If you have an internet connection, you can study!
When you do have a problem, you can reach out to the knowledgeable instructors for help any time, day or night and get the support you need. They will walk you through the material until you understand with certainty that you are comfortable with the solution and move on to another question or subject matter.
It’s worth mentioning that students will get 75 minutes each week to talk with the instructors where they can ask for their guidance and advice going forward.
Should you decide to go with Brilliant Nurse, you’ll have over 300 hours of guided instruction on over 20 courses at your disposal. These video courses are broken down into smaller segments where you’ll be able to retain the information much easier. In these videos, the instructor will tell you how to prepare for the lesson, before actually going into the learning material.
Technology is in every aspect of our lives, right? Of course it is! When we need to study for an exam, we don’t want to be burdened with heavy text books, messy flash cards, and pages and pages of unorganized notes.
That’s where GraduateX NCLEX Test Prep Practice Questions can come into play. Like other test prep resources, GraduateX’s prep questions are entirely accessible online.
However, what makes these questions special is that they’re accessible on different platforms so you aren’t restricted to your computer or laptop. You can access more than 4,500 practice questions from any mobile device, be it your smartphone, tablet, iPad, or laptop. This versatility allows you to review questions anywhere!
The course was written by Sara Colston, PhD, and the award winning platform is perfect for those who are busy and cannot sit in lectures. Because you can access the material at all times, you can study at your own pace until you understand and have mastered the material.
When you go through the questions, you’ll be able to track your progress and pinpoint the areas where you need more help. The exam strategy lessons and white board video lessons are key to your NCLEX prep because they go over every concept that you’ll come across on the exam.
If you have any questions along the way, you can access the Nurse Learning Community. Here, you can ask your questions which will be answered in real time by expert instructors.
With this course, you’ll have a full year of access to all the materials. In this year, you only have to study the topics that you struggle with, instead of sitting through lectures and videos of material you’re already comfortable with. There is a preview section that will let you watch videos that breaks down question topics.
it isn’t uncommon for NCLEX review courses to offer NCLEX practice questions with their program. Board Vitals is no different in that regard. However, the questions that are chosen to be used on their study materials are designed to be difficult.
These challenging questions are designed to make you think and they come from the leading authors who are featured in medical and healthcare publications like Wiley and Wolters Kluwer.
The authors who wrote the questions that appear in this question bank are licensed physicians and experienced medical professionals. This means that the information you’re going to be using is real world situations that are always up to date, which is crucial for medical professionals.
Students who use Board Vitals NCLEX RN Board Review Questions and Practice Tests have gone on to the top medical schools in the country, participate in prestigious residency programs. They have contributed to health science libraries and go on to work in teaching hospitals not just in the United States, but around the world.
There are over 3,800 challenging questions in the NCLEX RN Board Review Questions and Practice Tests library. When you answer the question, you’ll see how you scored against your peers. You’ll be able to see how many chose the same answer as you, but you’ll also see how many chose the correct answer.
These correct answers are accompanied with a detailed explanation that walks you through the problem so you can best understand the material, enabling you to ace the NCLEX when your time comes to take the exam.
There are several subscription options you can choose from. Should you fail your exam, you can send a letter with your results to Board Vitals and once your scores have been verified, they will add more time onto your original subscription so you can keep studying and finally get that passing grade. This added time will be equal to the subscription time you originally purchased.
For twelve weeks, students will be going over material with their coach (who is an experienced nurse educator) and when the coach feels that the student has mastered the material, they are given the ATI Green Light to take the exam.
With this course, you’ll have access to an online classroom 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This online classroom opens up 30 days before you are scheduled to graduate, and you’ll have access to use over 400 on-demand resources which can be used through your mobile device.
Students are required to participate in a review that is personalized during that 12 week period. This review will give students the extra attention on problem areas and they’ll receive focused instruction to help them master the content. This is key because there’s absolutely no point in spending more time on subject material you are already comfortable with.
Students will be given practice tests that are similar to the exam questions. These practice tests will help you drill the material so that you’ll become more proficient with the subject and will be able to excel when it comes to take the actual exam.
There is a post-review study plan given to students once they’ve received the Green Light (or after the 12-week period, whichever happens first). This material will be key to help students continue to study for their exam. You do have the option of purchasing an additional 12 weeks of classroom access for an additional fee.
ATI guarantees that if you don’t pass the NCLEX after being given the Green Light, you will gain an additional 12-week access to the virtual classroom at no extra cost to you. You simply have to send them written notice of your unsuccessful attempt within the three week period of receiving your failing NCLEX results.
As if deciding to actually take the steps to become a nurse wasn’t challenging enough, now you have to decide how you’re going to prepare for this very important exam! We hope that our reviews and our buying guide was able to provide you with a little insight of which courses are the best to consider.
We have to say that of these five, our clear favorites are Kaplan and Brilliant Nurse. With Kaplan, you can trust that the materials provided are going to be extensive and will give you the confidence you need to ace the exam. With over 3,000 questions and a in depth Decision Tree system, you should have absolutely no problems figuring out the correct answer.
In the unfortunate even that you aren’t able to pass the exam, you have the choice of receiving an additional three months of access added to your original purchase, or you can receive a full refund, no questions asked.
With Brilliant Nurse, you aren’t just getting a course… You’re receiving access to an entire website full of information, practice tests, video lectures, and even 24/7 student support from their expert instructors.
You can choose your subscription length, either pay a fee each week (great for those who need a brief refresher) or you can pay by the month (great for those who really need to prepare).
It doesn’t matter which of these courses you decide, we wish nothing but the best on your exam!