Test-makers are working year-in and year-out to make exams more difficult for students. Luckily, there are some great resources out there to help us tackle even the most difficult questions they throw our way. Check out the best NCLEX-RN review books on the market.
Download the NCLEX-RN Examination Test Plan
If you're considering nursing school in the near future, it would be wise to become familiar with the NCLEX-RN exam as early as you possibly can. With 75 multiple-choice and alternative questions covering 4 client needs topics, including Safe and Effective Care Environment, Health Promotion and Maintenance, Psychosocial Integrity, and Physiological Integrity, the test can feel like an unclimbable mountain.
But don't despair! Many experts on the test have published great study materials that, with enough time and motivation, anyone can use to pass the test.
We believe the Saunders Comprehensive Review is the best resource for NCLEX-RN review due to the depth of the content, including over 5,100 questions that resemble those on the exam. Each question is accompanied by a full explanation and analysis designed to get you thinking and on your way to crushing the test. Also featured are the Priority Nursing Action boxes that detail "clinical emergenct situations requiring immediate action, detailed rationale, and textbook reference."
The exam preparation chapters also include strategies for navigating the exam, the CAT format, and information for foreign-educated nurses. If you're serious about the NCLEX-RN and want to do your best, you can't go wrong by picking up a copy of this tome and diving in, head-first.
The NCLX-RN Premier 2016 from Kaplan offers test-takers the tools they need to pass the exam at a lower cost than the Saunders book. This resource contains 10 different critical thinking paths designed to break down the questions and make them more straight-forward, as well as 8 practice sets to put these strategies into practice. As the front cover says, there are 2 full-length practice tests included, but only one is included in the book itself and the other online.
However, to make up for having less content in their book, Kaplan offers users 60 minutes of online video tutorials that also come on an included DVD. To become better prepared for the NCLEX-RN, if you pick up this book we suggest also picking up at least one other to supplement your learning and get a more thorough understanding of all aspects of the exam.
If you want to study for the NCLEX-RN but are always on-the-go, look no further. The NCLEX-RN Drug Guide by Kaplan is a pocket-sized resource designed for nursing students, or current nurses, to use as a quick reference whenever needed. This is a useful tool for the NCLEX-RN as it includes more than 300 exam terms, including "generic names and brand names, drug family, nursing considerations, and side effects, as well as an appendix of medical abbreviations."
Put this to good use by combining it with other study resources to get a more well-rounded understanding of what is expected of you, come exam day.
This NCLEX-RN review seeks to "establish your foundational knowledge in management of care," and offers exercises that increase in difficulty as you progress to give you the experience you need to tackle the most difficult problems you'll face on the exam. The book claims to place a significant emphasis on roughly 17-23% of the exam, in order to offer a more strategic and narrowed approach to this section.
As the book progresses, you'll look at scenarios meant to offer practice in applying the principles you learned earlier in the book, starting with common health scenarios and ending with more complex, advanced scenarios that you may face. Its also accompanied by an online companion to supplement your learning and make sure you get the most out of the resource.
Other featured chapters include "Safety and Infection Control," "Diabetes Mellitus, and Other Endocrine Problems," "Pediatric Problems and Psychiatric Mental-Health Problems."
Another all-in-one resource, the HESI Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN is one of the best reviews on the market for test-preparation. Chapters are presented in outline format, for simplicity, and chapters and broken down by clinical areas and concepts central to the NCLEX-RN. Explanations and reasoning is provided for answers you happen to answer incorrectly, helping your correct your mistakes and avoid them in the future.
Alternate item formats are also included with fill-in-the-blank and how to prioritize questions as features. In total, this book covers the complete exam and offers even more resources online, including about 700 more exam questions to test your knowledge against.
Lippincott's Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN offers test-takers a vast sea of questions, over 6,000, to choose from to test their knowledge and test-taking skills. The books is broken down by major content areas, including obstetrics, pediatrics, medical-surgical, and mental health nursing. After working your way through these sections, you'll be able to take 6 different, full-length practice NCLEX-RN exams.
Also included with the massive amount of questions are the strategies for conquering them, rationales for choosing correct answers, and a custom study plan meant to drive you to success. Additionally, the resource includes a CD with even more questions!
This is Kaplan's basic NCLEX-RN Content Review Guide that is released quite often. This guide offers test-takers a broad understanding of the questions and offers more of an overview of the exam than an in-depth explanation of strategies. Those than can put this book to the best use will be those who have taken the exam before and are well-versed in the content and strategies involved, and others that simply need to brush up before test day.
If you're new to the NCLEX-RN or are in need of a good deal of studying, this resource may not cover all that you need. However, it is a great addition to any study plan and can offer some value when used in combination with other study materials.
Are you more of a visual, than traditional, learner? Many people are and sometimes it's much easier to commit facts to memory when we have something to associate it with. Mosby's Pharmacology Memory NoteCards offer just that, covering over 90 drugs and related topics. Using mnemonic devices and funny cartoons, these cards make remembering those difficult drug names and nursing priorities easy.
"But these are cards and they'll end up everywhere!" Luckily, they've already solved that problem by binding the cards together, making this a durable, compact, and reliable study tool that, frankly, any healthcare professional could find useful. For easy learning, they've also highlighted the things you need to know, including serious and life threatening implications in pink, most frequent side effects in blue, important nursing implications in yellow, and patient teaching information in green.
If you're looking to get the best bang-for-your-buck, the NCLEX-RN Exam Cram could be just what you're looking for. With 6 included practice exams and more than 1,300 practice examples included on an included CD, students can save some cash and get the tools they need for success. However, while this book does include some tips and tricks for strategically tackling each type of question, is not nearly as in-depth as some others on our list.
To get a more well-rounded study plan in place, we recommend including this as only one of many resources you can utilize to get a fuller understanding of the exam and the concepts in tests.
Another great resource for questions and reasoned explanations, NCLEX-RN Questions and Answers Made Incredibly Easy offers test-takers over 6,500 practice examples and explanations to work with and improve their skills. The book is cut up into 6 parts covering the NCLEX exam overall, test-taking strategies, test format, and alternative-format questions.
Each of section of the latter part of the book covers one of five major specialty areas, including adult care, psychiatric care, maternal-neonatal care, care of the child, and professional studies. Additionally, you get 6 full practice exams, each with 75 questions, with answers, rationales, and client-needs information.
Have you used any of these in the past? Did they help you? Let us know in the comments below!