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#1. Kaplan Test Prep NCLEX-RN Content Review Guide
Kaplan is one of the foremost brands in standardized testing today, and the Kaplan Test Prep NCLEX-RN Content Review Guide lives up to its reputation. It is designed to provide a thorough summary of all the vital concepts that you’ll face both on the test and in nursing in general. It serves as much as a complete and thorough refresher course as it does a test prep, and that makes it a very effective means of learning what you need to know.
It is a comprehensive review guide in which concepts are presented in a straightforward, concise manner so that students can better prepare for the NCLEX exam. Some have said this book is so good that you can actually learn what you need for the NCLEX without going through a full course, though that, of course, is certainly not recommended.
It is laid out in an intuitive and easily understood manner, and it makes use of Kaplan’s Decision Tree method, which helps to enhance your reasoning and analytical skills. Finally, it provides a wealth of practice content both in the book and online, as well as nursing professional reviews that will help you to better process the key concepts.
Perhaps the biggest drawback to the Kaplan book is that there are no complete practice exams included. There are a great many practice questions, but I feel the answers are a bit simple and could include more explanation. Nevertheless, it’s a highly recommended book that provides practical examples that will surely be a valued addition to your exam study materials.
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#2. Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination
Currently in its seventh edition the Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination is consistently ranked among the best and most popular aids on the market, and is continually updated and added to. It’s a thick book and can seem daunting, but it also contains a wealth of information, graphs, imagery, charts and tables to aid with your prep work.
It’s considered one of the most comprehensive options and is designed to help you build from the ground up, with over 1,000 pages of content to reinforce your knowledge while giving you additional information you need to ace the exam. It gives the precise amount of information you need and is presented in a way that makes it excellent for visual learners.
Despite being large, I found it to be quite easy to use and navigate, and the constant updates make it one of the most current and, by extension, useful books on the market. It also offers access to more than 5,000 practice exam questions so that when the day comes you’ll be truly ready for it.
The practice exam is specifically designed to bolster your information retention, and the questions are crafted to master the type you’ll find on the exam itself. It will improve critical thinking and give you practical hints on mastering the style of the exam. Even better, the answers are presented in such a way that if you get one wrong, you will be able to understand why you got it wrong. If you are like me, it’s not enough for me to know that I answered incorrectly, I want to know why, so this was especially useful for me. This will help you focus and improve on your weak points. It really is the complete package for a prep course.
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#3. Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN
Divided by content area, the Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN allows you to concentrate your studies on medical-surgical nursing, mental health, pediatrics or obstetrics. I like the fact that it is written by a well-regarded associate professor and nursing instructor who has the ability to show you exactly what awaits you on the exam.
Within each section, there are subdivisions for common issues you may need to address. The text also contains six full practice examinations so that you can prepare for the process of taking the test. These practice exams comprise 6,000 questions that will encourage your active learning and thought process. The questions are randomly arranged with equally random difficulty, so you’ll get the real test experience. Each option type is explained in detail so you’ll be sure to stay on the proper track.
If this book has a downside, it’s that some of the rationales provided for topics, questions and answers may be a bit simplistic. Personally, I would prefer a bit more detailed reasoning. The additional online materials are very similar to what’s in the book, so their utility could be limited. Still, overall the text is carefully organized, offers a self-analysis grid that allows you to track your progress and has comprehensive practice exams that make it a very useful tome.
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#4. NCLEX-RN Questions & Answers Made Incredibly Easy
Built for ease of use and organization, the NCLEX-RN Questions & Answers Made Incredibly Easy is currently in its seventh edition. The two-column presentation provides instant results, feedback and information for the answers provided. It offers over 6,500 questions with comprehensive practice exam formats. There are 75-question exams and 265-question exams so you can address different approaches you may encounter when you sit down for the actual test.
The provided questions are extremely challenging, and the text is one of the best organized on the market, which makes it worthy of our list simply for its basic utility. No book is perfect, however, and the downside to this one is that there’s no real review of the systems, so it could be better when it comes to helping you with critical thinking and analysis.
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#5. HESI Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination
Another favorite among those who have successfully completed the NCLEX exam is the HESI Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination. It is among the most concise and clear texts on the market in terms of explanation and presentation. The tables and charts are attractive, thoughtful and well-crafted.
The book is designed for multiple approaches. I find that it functions perfectly well as a general overview and refresher, while at the same time it can be used as a targeted review source that focuses on any given topic. For each concept there are hints and tips, and I was especially impressed with the thorough summaries that focus entirely on the important aspects to remember, which are those that are vital to the test itself.
Each chapter is formatted based on the specific clinical area of review or system that it covers. This allows you to quickly and easily find not only the chapter and topic you need, but also the specific information within the chapter. As a result, I found this very helpful, allowing me to focus on specific details and concepts. Even better, the chapters are easy to comprehend and aren’t overly wordy, so I didn’t feel drained after a session of study.
An additional feature that I liked is that there is a chapter that discusses strategies and tips for taking the exam itself, which sets it apart from some other books. For me, it reinforced what I knew about the test, and brought awareness to a few tips I hadn’t thought of. If there’s a downside to this book, it’s that it doesn’t have nearly as many practice questions and exams as other sources do, with only 700 practice questions to use when tracking progress. It’s also a bit more expensive than some other books, but overall it’s one of the best options available.
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The NCLEX is an essential part of your education, and is what enables you to begin working as an entry-level nursing professional. The point of the test is to evaluate your ethics and knowledge as a future health care professional. With the proper resources and approach, you can ace the exam and start your career with confidence. Of course, there are many different prep books, tests and resources out there, and what’s vital is that you do your research and choose the best resources for you. Good luck, and check out our website for more NCLEX info!