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Kaplan vs Hurst NCLEX Review
A detailed comparison of the NCLEX prep courses from Hurst NCLEX Review and Kaplan
The NCLEX is a high stakes exam which takes significant time to study for. As such, one of the hardest decisions right after graduating from nursing school is choosing which company to prep with, and many aspiring nurses get stuck trying to decide between Kaplan and Hurst. In this detailed comparison, we evaluate both course’s practice questions, video lessons, simulated exams, and more, to ultimately decide which course is better.
To most effectively compare these two NCLEX prep packages and see which is best, we think it makes the most sense to breakdown the areas in which each of these prep companies excel, first starting with Kaplan.
NCLEX Practice Materials
When evaluating the quality of NCLEX practice questions, the most important aspect to consider is realism. The NCLEX can be a brutally hard exam that adapts to your performance, so it’s critical you practice under the most exam-like conditions.
We just found Kaplan’s practice problems to more closely match the content, difficulty and length of real NCLEX questions.
In fact, they’re probably best in class (apart from maybe NURSING.com’s questions). And this includes looking at alternate format problems, which are a big part of the exam.
This isn’t to imply that Hurst’s practice material is bad – we actually found it to be good – but just not nearly as good as Kaplan’s.
Video Lessons & Content Review
This category is a close race to call. On the one hand, I really like the delivery format of Hurst’s videos. They’re modern, sharp and use a very clean approach of having an onscreen instructor surrounded by vivid graphics.
However, I actually prefer the content of Kaplan’s videos. Whereas the Hurst instructors basically walk you through how to fill in your workbook, Kaplan actually delivers some stellar lectures.
Of course, these also follow a workbook, but it’s more about the substance of the material and I found them to go deeper.
So if visually stunning graphics and delivery are important to you, Hurst may be the winner. But for us, studying for the NCLEX is all about the content review, and as such, Kaplan gets the edge.
NCLEX Live Classes
In terms of pure quantity of class hours, Hurst has an advantage over Kaplan. Their live classes, whether in person or live online, offer about 21 hours of live classwork.
This is in contrast to Kaplan’s bundle of live class sessions, which offer roughly 18 hours of live class time. It’s somewhat of a negligible difference, but important to note all the same. I also preferred Hurst’s bootcamp style class sessions.
Instead of dragging class out, they cram all their classwork into three back-to-back-to-back 7-hour days. It’s a ton of material to take in, but you also get it done faster.
Conversely, Kaplan does their classwork in 6 separate 3-hour sessions over a couple weeks. This definitely provides a more digestible approach so your brain doesn’t feel like mush after each class.
However, the big difference maker here is how these classes are conducted. Again, the Hurst classes more or less lead you through filling in your workbook, which works for some students, but isn’t the most engaging or stimulating approach to teaching live classes in my opinion.
Kaplan’s content review, however, is freer flowing and goes a little deeper. To be clear, you do follow a workbook as well with the Kaplan course, but it’s less about fill-in-the-blank, and thus, more effective. So in the end, Kaplan’s curriculum wins out over Hurst’s hours and delivery.
In terms of supplemental study materials, there is no doubt that Kaplan takes the cake. Between their flashcards, eBook and NCLEX Channel, they simply offer too much value, especially as compared to Hurst, who offers little in the way of extras.
The Kaplan NCLEX Channel is especially noteworthy, as it gives you access to near daily live online webcasts with a Kaplan NCLEX instructor.
These bonus sessions take a deep dive into a particular topic tested on the NCLEX or a certain test taking strategy. They go into the weeds and are especially valuable for topics you’re weak on.
You can also access pre-recorded sessions if you don’t have time to catch them live, which I found to be super useful with my busy schedule.
I have to deem this a win for Kaplan. While I do prefer Hurst’s video lesson delivery, with its sharp graphics and modern approach, the rest of their online program is a little jumbled. It’s just a little hard to follow along with their study plan in the digital platform.
Once you get a rhythm it becomes easy, but upon login it’s definitely not clear immediately how their study plan works. This is in contrast to Kaplan where everything is straightforward and intuitive. Their user interface is modern, clean and very easy to use.
Content Access Period
With Hurst, your access to their materials lasts somewhere between 30 days and 120 days depending on which package you go with.
On the other hand, Kaplan offers a straight 6 months of access, regardless of which package you sign up for. Simple math here ladies and gentlemen – Kaplan gives you a longer study runway no matter how you look at it.
Now that you have a better understanding of what Kaplan brings to the table, let’s discuss the advantages of using Hurst to help you prepare for the NCLEX.
Practice Problem Explanations
While we found Kaplan’s practice problems to be more realistic of actual NCLEX questions and give them a significant advantage in that category, we actually think Hurst’s answer explanations get a slight edge here.
Kaplan’s text explanations are perfectly fine and do a nice job explaining why answer choices are correct or incorrect, but Hurst’s just go deeper. They provide a ton of detail and cover all the underlying concepts being tested (very much like UWorld’s Qbank explanations).
Again, Kaplan’s are good, but we like Hurst’s explanations for really digging in when reviewing your answers.
Pricing & Course Options
Both companies provide a bunch of options for their NCLEX prep – self-paced courses, live online classes and in-person classes. In the end, Hurst is a bit cheaper than Kaplan, with their live class options coming in at around $400.
This is compared to Kaplan’s $525 price tag; HOWEVER, you can often find Kaplan’s NCLEX products on sale for less, so make sure to check for discounts.
This one is a pretty open and shut tie, as both companies offer a pass or your money back guarantee. It’s nice to see both prep companies offer a promise backing up their materials, as not every NCLEX prep company does.
This is a pretty close battle of NCLEX prep providers. On the one hand you have Hurst, who wins on pricing (not considering discounts), and offers detailed answer explanations, along with some pretty solid live classes.
On the other hand, you’ve got Kaplan, who offers about the most realistic practice material in the space, effective video lessons covering content review, and a boatload of cool extras like their NCLEX Channel.
However, at the end of the day, we do think Kaplan wins this battle of NCLEX prep providers. They are definitely the safe pick and we found them to be superior in the two most important categories – practice questions and content review (Nursing.com excels in these areas as well).
While we weren’t crazy about their video lesson format and found their problem explanations to be fairly average, they are definitely the better overall prep option in our team’s eyes.
Which NCLEX prep is better, Kaplan or Hurst?
After a thorough analysis of both NCLEX prep courses, our team finds Kaplan to offer a better prep package than Hurst NCLEX Review. Read our full breakdown for details.
Kaplan Qbank vs Hurst, who’s is better?
Kaplan’s NCLEX Qbank is better than Hurst’s in terms of both quantity and quality. Kaplan offers roughly 600 more problems than Hurst, and we found their questions to be more realistic of actual NCLEX problems.
Which NCLEX prep package is cheaper, Hurst or Kaplan?
Hurst seems to generally offer the more affordable prep option as compared to Kaplan. However, Kaplan’s course can often be found on sale for less under their frequent discounts.