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Princeton Review NCLEX Prep Review
An in-depth evaluation of the NCLEX prep course from Princeton Review by a registered nurse
Despite being around for close to a half century, Princeton Review never provided NCLEX prep resources, just MCAT and USMLE study materials for aspiring doctors. That was, until now. Just recently Princeton Review launched its first NCLEX review course, composed of a Qbank and live online classes, and we were crazy excited to try it out. Here is what a registered nurse thought of it, including all of its pros and cons.
As this is a detailed post, we’ve added helpful jump-to links above, so you can quickly jump to the section you want to read.
Cost & Course Options
Let’s start this review off by briefly covering what course options you have when it comes to Princeton Review’s new NCLEX prep. This will help set the stage for my thoughts. And it’s fairly simple, really. You have just two options: an on-demand Qbank and a Live Online course.
The Qbank includes roughly 3,500 practice problems, rationales for each, and a handful of supplemental tools like flashcards and score reports. It costs approximately $150 to $300 depending on how long you want access for.
Then there’s the Live Online course. It includes everything that comes with the Qbank, but kicks in 18 hours of live class time, email access to your instructor with some 1-on-1 questions, and a few other tools, like drills and self-assessments. This package costs approximately $900.
However, one thing worth noting with Princeton Review is that those are just the full retail MSRP prices for their course offerings, and because this is a new course that they are trying to promote, they offer discounts very regularly. In fact, you can almost always find the live online course for a couple hundred dollars off.
What We Thought: The Pros & Cons
Rather than opting for just the Qbank, I took the more comprehensive live online class from Princeton Review. I’m sure a question bank alone with rationales is good enough for a lot of people, but I wanted a more structured and deeper study package (and to see what Princeton’s full course was like). So that was the course option I took.
And honestly, it didn’t disappoint. I did have a couple minor gripes, but overall it far exceeded my expectations given this is a relatively new product offering for Princeton Review.
Let’s start with the first major highlight in my opinion, the practice material. I know I just said that Qbanks alone aren’t often enough for people. Well, regardless of whether you need full scale content review, practice material remains one of the most important factors in a NCLEX review course.
And one of the coolest things about Princeton Review’s new package, which I haven’t seen with a single other prep company (including Hurst, Kaplan, and UWorld), is that they offer official practice practice problems. Princeton Review purchases practice questions directly from the makers of the exam, the NCSBN.
So in terms of quality, there’s clearly no better material on the market. The problems, both multiple-choice and multiple-response (select all that apply), are literally dead ringers for the real thing.
Of the 3,500 practice problems Princeton Review offers, almost 2,000 of them are these official questions. And for even the other 1,500 problems they crafted in-house, I couldn’t tell which were which. I don’t know if they hired ex-NCSBN employees to write them for them or what, but they were very good.
Bottom line, I was super impressed with the quality of their practice material, which again is the basis of most NCLEX prep packages.
Not only was I pretty impressed with the question quality, but the rationales that Princeton provides with each problem were pretty good as well. A bunch of them contained graphics and diagrams, which for me as a visual learner, I found super helpful.
The explanations were also well-explained, with a good amount of detail. I’ve noticed that some NCLEX prep companies’ rationales go way too far into the weeds and give too much detail. Like over the top amounts of info that you don’t need. But Princeton Review’s rationales seem to strike a nice balance of detail without being overwhelming.
In short, I love the well-written and articulated rationales with graphics.
If you want live classes for your NCLEX prep, you’re fairly limited on options. It’s really just Hurst, Kaplan and Princeton Review. And they all use slightly different styles.
In terms of Princeton Review’s classes, I didn’t really know what to expect coming into it. But in the end, they tended to follow a pretty standard approach. Their instructors follow some detailed lesson plans and walk you through the most heavily weighted test topics.
This includes things like peds, medical surgery nursing, and management of care. It’s all stuff you’ve seen in nursing school, but they revisit these subjects in a very streamlined and efficient way.
The instructors deliver a straight review of the content through instruction, then break to answer questions and demonstrate how the material is tested with exam problems.
It was a very functional and practical approach that I liked. I think the incorporation of a more detailed workbook like Hurst might have been nice, but overall, I was impressed with the instructor’s knowledge and communication skills, as well as the class plans.
My last pro worth noting with this NCLEX prep package were all the extra resources they threw in. This included drills, self-assessments, flashcards, and instructor access.
Of these, I’d say the most useful were the instructor access and the flashcards. On the instructor access, essentially, you can email your teacher outside of class and ask them questions. The questions I asked were usually answered within 24 hours and were fairly detailed. I got the sense that you can’t abuse this email line by treating it like private tutoring, but it does seem to provide some nice support.
Then the flashcards were also a big help. Basically you can take information from the rationales and create flashcards out of them, which you can review later. It’s a pretty efficient way to grab all the material you’re struggling with or think is critical and put it into a usable format. I created a few dozen flashcards myself and used them quite a bit.
So my biggest gripe with the Princeton Review NCLEX course is that you don’t get video lessons or prep books.
On the video lesson front, as I mentioned above, I am a pretty big visual learner. I love video, images, graphics, whatever. It helps me put things in perspective and provides a memory aid.
I guess that’s just how my brain works. So the fact that there aren’t any video lessons was kind of a bummer for me. If that’s what you’re looking for, I suggest checking out Nursing.com. Their video lectures are pretty legit.
I think the addition of a comprehensive, all-in-one prep book could be useful, though not critical. Between the video lessons or prep books, I’d rather have videos and see those added.
Final Verdict: Is Princeton Review NCLEX Prep Worth It?
I’ve tested and reviewed quite a few NCLEX courses at this point, and I can say that Princeton Review is one of the better ones, despite being so new(ish). It’s clear they’ve got some deep pockets and hired very qualified NCLEX tutors and teachers to craft their materials.
I would like to see them add some video lessons and a comprehensive prep book, but overall, this review course was rock solid. I love, love, love the fact that they went out and purchased close to 2,000 official NCLEX problems directly from the NCSBN, and bundled that together with an additional 1,500 or so problems and a detailed rationale for each.
And the live classes were very helpful. I really liked my instructor and thought these classes added some nice structure to my studies and depth in the content review department. Overall, I have no problem Princeton Review the stamp of approval.
Of all the NCLEX review courses we’ve evaluated, Princeton Review might actually have the most realistic NCLEX problems we’ve seen. And that’s largely because over half of them have been purchased directly from the makers of the exam, the NCSBN.
Is Princeton Review NCLEX prep good?
We were a little nervous about how good this prep package would be given that it’s Princeton Review’s first foray into NCLEX prep, but we were very impressed. The live classes offer very structured and in-depth lesson plans, and the practice material was top-notch.
How much does Princeton Review NCLEX prep cost?
Princeton Review offers two NCLEX prep plans: an on-demand Qbank that costs around $200, and a Live Online course that costs roughly $900 (though both can regularly be found for 30%-50% off).