Prep Materials for the NCLEX

If you’re nearing the end of your degree program, you’re likely in the process of preparing to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX). Completion of this assessment is required in order to practice in the field upon graduation, so it’s important to ensure you are preparing yourself to meet (or exceed) the minimum standards. 

Exam Structure

Part of what makes the NCLEX challenging is that it goes beyond assessment of basic knowledge and requires the future nurse to apply what they have learned to a realistic scenario. Questions may be presented in a variety of forms (such as multiple-choice or drag-and-drop), with some fill-in-the-blank targets as well.

Additionally, the NCLEX is computer based and adapts itself as you take the exam. Increased response accuracy results in more challenging questions, while producing incorrect responses will generate easier questions. In order to pass the exam, the future nurse will need to answer enough questions correctly to meet minimal competency standards.


Preparing yourself for the NCLEX exam is really going to depend on your learning style and schedule. There are opportunities to take courses in person or online (but in a live format). Additionally, there are plenty of materials available for self-study, and you can also find simulated exams and practice questions online.

Here are a few programs that may be useful as you prepare yourself to take the NCLEX:

1. Kaplan

Kaplan is a well-known name in test preparation, and the website offers a few different options of study programs for the NCLEX. Users can choose a self-paced study route to include live or recorded classes and practice, or they can take courses that are live online. The programs offer financing and monthly payments, so you won’t have to fork up hundreds of dollars at once. 

2. NCLEX Mastery

NCLEX Mastery is a good one to put on your list if you run a tight schedule and need to be able to study on your own timeline. While this program does not offer sample tests, it does offer quizzes that are specific to particular portions of the NCLEX exam. It also provides around 1,800 additional practice questions and answers. This program is a bit more affordable than some of the others, with options as low as $24.99.

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3. UWorld

UWorld tends to be a good fit for tech-savvy students who want the flexibility of squeezing in their study time as they are able to do so. UWorld can be utilized across several platforms (phone, computer, tablet) and provides over 2,100 practice questions to prepare you for the exam. Users can also focus on particular categories to help prepare for their weaker areas. 

4. NurseAchieve

If you tend to have exam-related anxiety, NurseAchieve may be a good fit for you. This program offers unlimited attempts at completing mock exams, and you’ll receive feedback after each practice test. Additionally, NurseAchieve offers flexible programs, with options as short as 30-days and as long as 2 years. NurseAchieve does not feature any live courses but does provide a free demo, so you can try before you buy. 

5. Hurst Review 

Hurst provides a variety of study options for different types of learners. Subscribers can participate in traditional classroom instruction or choose to complete the program online (with options for both live and self-paced courses). Hurst has a great reputation with a 98% first-attempt pass rate. The website also provides some free webinars as well as a 7-day trial, so you can see what you’re getting before you commit to your purchase. Like some of the other programs, Hurst can be paid for all upfront or through a payment plan. 

6. Nursing Plus Academy 

A major benefit to subscribing to Nursing Plus Academy is the plethora of practice exams available (with feedback included). There are also some free sample tests available as well. Nursing Plus Academy is cost-effective (as low as $49) and provides immediate feedback and explanations for each test question.


Like the Hurst Review, has an extremely high passing rate for users who have used the website to prepare of the exam. appeals to different types of learners with options for video lessons, audio-based lectures, and organized notes. Additionally, users can take 5 different simulated NCLEX exams and receive guidance for developing study plans based on practice test performance.

8. Mometrix Test Prep

Mometrix is pretty convenient, as some of the resources can be accessed without even having to create a formal login. The website offers plenty of freely available materials in addition to paid subscription materials. Subscribers receive access to lecture videos, 8 different practice tests, and hundreds of e-flashcards. The website allows you to unsubscribe and receive a full refund if you do so within 7 days of registration, meaning you can spend some time really exploring the resources before making a solid commitment. 

9. Peterson’s

Peterson’s offers a monthly subscription service to help prepare you for the NCLEX exam. Subscribing for more months at a time (3 months or 6 months versus a monthly subscription) can help save you money in the long run, and the website also provides a free trial. Peterson’s offers 8 practice exams with explanations attached to each question. 

10. ATI 

ATI offers a 12-week preparation program to get you on the right track before your exam. Courses are personalized to your strengths and weaknesses and include both virtual and live options. Additionally, you’ll be provided with explanations for each practice question. The price of this recourse varies greatly and can be as low as $25 and as high as $450.

Taking a comprehensive exam that requires you to apply your knowledge critically can be a very daunting task; however, with the right preparation, you’ll be able to walk into your NCLEX exam feeling confident. Finding a study program that is right for you (whether the program is free or costs money) is the first step to getting yourself ready. Good luck to all of the future nurses studying to take, or retake, the NCLEX Exam!

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