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Nurse Plus Academy vs UWorld vs Archer Review NCLEX
RN's Perspective: An in-depth guide comparing Archer vs UWorld vs Nurse Plus
We take a look at three of the biggest and most popular names in NCLEX prep: UWorld, Nurse Plus Academy, and Archer Review NCLEX. I’ve used and reviewed all three of these prep courses, and in this guide I compare them head-to-head, so you can figure out which one is best for you. We’ll explore the realism of each company’s practice problems, their rationales, the bonus features that each NCLEX review course offers, and more.
Given that this is a comprehensive article, we’ve added jump-to links above for your convenience.
Review Video: Which NCLEX Prep Is Best?
In the above video, team member John cuts through the fluff and breaks down which of these practice-centric NCLEX courses and Qbanks is best. Please continue reading for more detail.
Some Context For This Review
Before diving straight in, I would like to begin with a more general statement about these three NCLEX review courses. Most people use these three prep courses for their practice work.
Archer, UWorld, and Nurse Plus all make their name with their Qbanks. If you want more full-scale content review, other prep companies like Kaplan, Nursing.com and Hurst will likely be a better fit. Those packages are more comprehensive.
In contrast, these three courses are geared more towards nursing students who, more than anything, want to keep things affordable—preferably under a couple hundred bucks. Secondly, these courses are aimed at those who just want to hammer a couple thousand practice problems and learn by doing, rather than sitting through lectures or reading NCLEX books.
That’s exactly why these three NCLEX courses are frequently compared to one another and fall into the same bucket. Archer, UWorld and Nurse Plus are each effectively a massive Qbank, with practice problems and detailed rationales. Each only has a handful of bonus content review tools around their practice material.
Thus, with that in mind, rather than talking about each course individually (since they mostly deliver the same tools and functionality), I would prefer to analyze the important categories we look at when covering a practice-focused prep course, and dub a winner for each.
Those four categories are (1) cost, (2) how realistic the practice problems are, (3) the answer explanations, and (4) bonus tools. Let’s start with cost.
Archer has about a dozen different packages to choose from, which makes it somewhat difficult to compare cost. They package their study materials up in all kinds of different ways, with different content access periods and different included features. Thus, you end up with a crazy pricing grid. However, if you’re looking at their standard Qbank with 60 days of access, that will cost about $90.
Then you’ve got Nurse Plus Academy. They have just three different options, which are all the same except for content access period. Prices range from $50 to $140 depending on if you want 30 days of access, 60 days of access, or a full year.
Lastly, UWorld is generally the most expensive of the three courses. Their Qbank packages range from $160 up to $450 depending on features and access length.
Therefore, in terms of price, Archer and Nurse Plus are neck and neck in terms of affordability. Both of their mainstay packages cost right around $100, while UWorld is way more expensive. Even UWorld’s cheapest option is still nearly twice the cost of the other two review packages.
Thus, if you’re looking to keep costs down, Nurse Plus Academy or Archer will be your best bet. They definitely offer more value on the cost front than UWorld.
Plus, even though we’re talking about value prep options here, these companies are still pretty good about running sales and special promos where you can knock a few bucks off. As a note, Nurse Plus is especially aggressive with their discounting, so do make sure to look for coupon codes before buying.
Realism of NCLEX Problems: Who Wins?
The next major category to look at is the realism of practice questions—or in other words, how well each company matches the content, difficulty, and format of real NCLEX problems.
Generally speaking, this is a tough call, because it is a subjective measure; however, for our team, Nurse Plus Academy gets the win for most realistic problems.
The Nurse Plus problems are just a dead ringer for real NCLEX questions, and it’s really hard to tell the difference. Don’t get me wrong, Archer and UWorld largely do a good job as well, but Nurse Plus just grades out higher.
Everything from the length, content, and difficulty of problems, to the proportionate mix of next gen problem types is just spot on. We were very impressed with Nurse Plus’ problems on the whole.
Not to mention, Nurse Plus also gives you more practice work than the other two companies, including a bunch of alternate format questions, such as select-all-that-apply, hotspot items, and ordered response items.
This is a particularly important point as you need to drill on these problem types pretty hard, and Nurse Plus Academy has close to 400 of these next gen problems. Along with their unlimited simulated exams, this was a fairly easy category to pick a winner.
Problem Rationales: Which Are The Best?
After realism of practice work, you have to look at rationales. And if you don’t know what I mean by “rationales,” it just means problem explanations.
Once more, this is somewhat of a qualitative measure to look at it, but for this category, I do think UWorld has the best rationales by a smidge. Archer and Nurse Plus are tied for a close second, and I really like the rationales from all three companies, but I give UWorld the slight edge for all of the awesome graphics they provide.
Many of the answer solutions from UWorld contains some sort of picture, diagram or nice visual. For visual learners, this can be a nice value add over just getting text explanations.
Nurse Plus and Archer also include visuals with most of their rationales, but it’s just not every problem like it seems to be with UWorld.
Moreover, I would note for Archer in particular that some of their explanations were a little on thin side. Most are alright and provide decent depth, but some are only a few sentences long and left me wanting more.
For this category, it’s a nice little win for UWorld because of their visuals, though Nurse Plus has rock solid explanations of their own and Archer’s aren’t bad at all either.
NCLEX Content Review
Lastly, we need to discuss bonus content review tools. To this point, I’ve primarily covered the aspects of these courses associated with their Qbanks, as that is the heart and soul of each of these programs, but it’s worth discussing the extras that each kicks in.
For Archer, that’s video lessons. With their standard 60-day Qbank, Archer gives you access to pre-recorded webinars from their live content review sessions. That way, if you feel like you do need some content review, you can go back and watch pre-recorded video lectures to get a refresher.
Full disclaimer, the production quality of their video lessons is not great, but the content is pretty good.
Next, Nurse Plus kicks in flashcards and cheat sheets as their bonus content review tools. There are only 300 of these flashcards, but I think they’re surprisingly helpful. And the cheat sheets are an awesome last minute refresher as well. They take a couple hours to get through, but they can add a lot of value.
Lastly, UWorld doesn’t really offer much in this respect. They have a neat tool where you can generate your own flashcards for quick review within the Qbank, and their illustrations in the rationales are awesome (as already touched on above), but there are not a ton of cool extras.
UWorld has some performance metrics and diagnostic exams, but all three companies offer those features at this point, so it’s nothing special.
Bottom line, I think Archer and Nurse Plus have a clear advantage in terms of extras, and which one is better really just depends on the medium of content you want—video or cheat sheets/flashcards.
Verdict: Should You Choose UWorld or Archer or Nurse Plus?
If you’re trying to pick just one NCLEX prep course among these three, I would point you towards Nurse Plus Academy. I believe they give you the best combination of value, realistic practice work, and quantity of study material, as well as solid rationales. For us, they just kind of have it all, while Archer and UWorld fall short in one category or another.
That being said, if getting detailed rationales with a ton of visuals is mission critical to you, UWorld might the better choice. Similarly, if you want extra video lectures with your package, Archer might be the better fit.
At the end of the day though, if you’re trying to just pick one of these Qbank-based review courses, I’d go with Nurse Plus.
Is Archer better than UWorld or Nurse Plus?
While I really like Archer’s affordable price point and the fact that they kick in video lectures for free with their Qbank, it’s not as good as UWorld or Nurse Plus Academy in my opinion. Honestly, of the three, my favorite for NCLEX review is Nurse Plus.
Archer or UWorld or Nurse Plus, which has the best Qbank?
The two key factors to look for with NCLEX Qbanks are realism of practice problems and the problem explanations. In my opinion, Nurse Plus has the best overall practice material. Their rationales are well-explained and easily understandable, and their questions most closely mirror the real NCLEX.
Should I use UWorld or Archer or Nurse Plus?
After using all three NCLEX programs and reviewing them, it’s clear to me that Nurse Plus is the best of the bunch. While UWorld perhaps has the best problem rationales, and Archer is offered at a great price, Nurse Plus has the most realistic practice problems, best interface, and a great CAT simulator.