NCLEX Review Books: Find the best one for yourself!

The first thing that comes to the mind of an NCLEX taker is a good BOOK! It doesn’t matter whether the aspirant is still a student or has passed out from the nursing program. Books are indispensable and all of us agree to this fact. There might be many books that you might have read or came across during your study at the Nursing school, but the need for that one guide which helps you revise and retain all that you need, as well helps you practice questions can not be eliminated even in the presence of hefty course books!

Of course review guides are many and choosing the right one can be tough! If you’re one of those who need a full fledged review course, to re build confidence in yourself, revive your knowledge and enhance your skills you may check this one.

Be it any review course or book, first of all you need to understand this before buying anyone of them. They are centred around three main areas and you need to decide what is it that you need?

NCLEX Books/Reviews upon a closer look reveal that they fall into three main categories:

  1. NCLEX review that focuses on good CONTENT: Such books provide you with concrete NCLEX oriented content, not cutting it short in any way, instead they aim to make it  easier for you to understand it as well as memorise it. They help to build your foundation for taking the NCLEX exam.
  2. Strategy oriented Reviews: The NCLEX questions are indirect, twisted and tricky. So many books like Prioritisation, Delegation and assignment by LaCharity do not focus on providing you extensive content but they take care to provide you strategies and tips to develop analytical and clinical judgement skills to help you handle the questions. 
  3. Reviews providing extensive practice of Q/A: Many assume that practice is the key to success, they aim at providing you zillions of NCLEX style questions such that you practice them and hence revise your concepts and build a good understanding. such question banks are also available.

Students needs differ and so do their choices. Some NCLEX takers are working people short of time, some are still students, some have good knowledge of content, and some need to brush everything up since it has been long since they passed out from the nursing school, while others a stuck with poor understanding and unfolding of the NCLEX questions. So, it is only you who can make the right choice and we can only guide you.

Any amount of guidance cannot be fruitful if you fail to identify your needs, so take care of this aspect too. Before making a decision consider the following:

  • Do you need a quick recap to the nursing concepts or an in depth and detailed study is needed
  • Are you still a student or have passed long back from the nursing school?
  • Do you retain enough of what you had learnt?
  • Decide on how much time you can spend on studying.

‘We will review for you the best available NCLEX books in the market that are really worth considering and have helped many students. Any one of them can help you too…’

1. Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN® Examination

The 7th edition of this book, which has been known as the BEST NCLEX Review book ever, is out. Your trust in it may be fostered by it being called as the best, and that too by one and all. This book has been made keeping in mind that it should be covering the entire content and also providing the students with lots of NCLEX style questions with answers and rationales behind them.

Knowing your content well, is of course the first step and is very important. The whole foundation of your success depends on your knowledge and understanding of your content. Then arises the need for practising questions to build analysis and reasoning power. CONTENT is heavy and a nursing student knows it well. This book claims to lessen your cramming and making it a little easier for you to remember things via some tricks that they provide.

Features:

  • Concrete NCLEX targeted content.
  • Important nursing concepts are included, by providing tips and short cuts to remember them.
  • The text includes separately highlighted lists of actions for clinical emergent situations which require immediate decision making and action, including a detailed rationale and textbook reference.
  • They offer over 5000 questions for practice. 
  • Questions are categorised and so segregated from each other, to help you solve each and every one of them with a different approach. 
  • Include multiple response, prioritizing [ordered response], fill-in-the-blank, figure/illustration [hot spot], chart/exhibit, video, and audio questions to amke students acquainted with the variety that they will face during the real exam.
  • They also provide test taking strategies and tips for handling the CAT format.
  • The companion site (evolve) provides useful resources for students who are using the Saunder’s guide, helps you to give around 85 comprehensive exams which cover all the content provided in the book. The number of questions reach upto 5,100.  You will have to register on the evolve site and make a payment to gain access so to more resources that will complement your study with Saunders. They provide access to questions given in the book, many more than that, client scenarios, and simulated tests. 

What’s NEW in the Latest edition?

  • It has been revised and updated keeping in view the latest requirements of the NCLEX-RN exam.
  • New Mnemonics have been included.
  • Illustrations provide good presentation of information.
  • Revised and updated Glossary.

Bottomline: Highly recommended for students for starting their preparation for the NCLEX and are in search for a robust guide that provides that will make them well grounded with content as well as practice questions!

2. Lippincott Q and A Review

It is a well acclaimed book for NCLEX RN preparation which has been authored by renowned nursing educators. This has been consistently the best selling NCLEX book. A balanced blend of good content and and NCLEX style questions is what they have to offer. Those who have used the book report that Lippincott’s review book is more closer to the NCLEX with respect to the questions and content that it offers.

Features:

  • Content focuses on four major areas in pre-licensure programs: obstetrics, pediatrics, medical-surgical, and mental health nursing.  
  • Contains 6000 NCLEX style questions
  • Detailed rationales for correct a well as incorrect answers
  • Gives a good practice of application level questions and other types of questions that pertain to the NCLEX test format
  • Updated according the latest NCLEX requirements
  • CD ROM available with the book fro additional study, review and an even more practice of questions
  • Lippincott’s NCLEX-RN 10,000 in association with PrepU, which is a computerised adaptive learning system is also an option for students who need to practice for the real exam, in the best manner.
  • Provides lots of study tips and a ‘self analysis grid’ to track your progress.

Bottomline: A good review guide which can be your real aid to push you through in your NCLEX exam.

3. Prioritisation delegation and Assignment

This one is also an NCLEX review guide, but isn’t content heavy. Well, it is unique in its own way and does the job quite well. La Charity’s book ‘Prioritisation, Delegation and Assignment’ provides the concise yet complete content but focuses more on the most important skills of Prioritisation, Delegation and Assignment that you need to answer critical questions in the NCLEX exam.

The book has been authored with the aim of making you revise the essential facts and make your base stronger in your nursing content, as well as train you to apply the learnt knowledge. A nurse’s task revolves around prioritising, delegating and assigning tasks that are crucial to a patient’s health and well being and thus the NCLEX tests this skill too. This book is loved by most students its unique method of training the mind for the practical application of what you learn in a nursing school.

Features:

  • Provides concise and consolidated knowledge of nursing content.
  • Neither too extensive or lengthy with the syllabus, that it might not bore you off.
  • The practice exercises are placed in ascending order of difficulty.
  • The new edition contains addtional 60 pages of questions.
  • LGBTQ related scenarios included.
  • Answer keys with detailed rationales are given.
  • Most of the questions in this book are more difficult than those asked in the NCLEX, they are useful enough to train a mind for the real exam and align your thinking like it should be to get the answer right.

Bottomline: It is an indispensible resource for those who need to build the clinical thinking and decision making skills along with revising their content well.

4. HESI Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX RN examination

The HESI book is a content book that coves all the nursing topics in a manner that is easy to read and memorise. Health Education Systems Incorporated (HESI) is a United States company that provides exams and other study material to help prepare student nurses for their professional licensure exam. Schools often use HESI to help predict the students likelihood of success in tests such as the NCLEX-RN. So, this one can provide you exactly what you must be studying. 

The book’s special feature is that, it’s content is to the point. They do not elongate any topic of study and focus on gain of relevant and apt knowledge. It is targeted for HESI and NCLEX both. Not many tips, tactics or test taking strategy is focussed on, in this book. This book’s companion website Evolve, offers practice questions too.This book is content oriented but it is neither too comprehensive nor concise, it provides very manageable text that is easy to understand and revise, while covering the entire syllabus.

Features:

  • Easy to understand content.
  • Covers the entire nursing syllabus keeping in view the latest changes.
  • Synchronised chapter organisation makes it easy for students to revise the syllabus.
  • It is content oriented so does not focus much on strategy.
  • Also provides some fill in the blanks and prioritising questions fro practice. 
  • The companion website evolve offers around 600 questions for practice.

Bottomline: This book is well known for its concrete and to the point content. It is recommended for students who are weak in content and need to revise well to build a strong foundation.

5. Mosby’s Comprehensive Review 

Mosby’s Comprehensive Review is known for concise content and simple language, which leads to easy understanding. The book comes in two versions; one for the NCLEX RN and the other for NCLEX PN. The nursing content is well updated, put forward systematically with highlighted facts that are crucial to learn and remember. Each chapter is followed by a practice test, that focuses on building the ability to apply the learnt knowledge and decision making.

The NCLEX RN review book focuses on medical-surgical, pediatric, maternity/women’s health, and mental health nursing areas. While the NCLEX PN review book takes care of cognitive level, phase of the nursing process, client need, with increasing level of difficulty. The questions serve as a medium to identify strong and weak areas to further help the students to re strategise their studies.

Features:

  • Updated, concise and relevant content.
  • The content is arranged and put forward in a lucid as well as an impressive manner.
  • Each chapter has a practice exercise of NCLEX style questions.
  • In depth explanations are provided for correct as well as in correct answers.
  • The book comes along with a companion CD allows students to create customized quizzes and exams.
  • The questions provided in the book as well as the CD together are over 4200 for the NCLEX RN and around 3500 for the NCLEX PN.
  • Nursing management section has especially been included in the new edition. Delegation and leadership areas have also been dealt with separately.

This review guide has long been serving the students with updated knowledge to cross the NCLEX exam. This book is really simple in its approach and does not provide many tactics or strategy. You will have to build your own strategy while this can be an aid in helping you to brush up your knowledge.

Bottomline: It is a well trusted book and has been there since long. It can be used to supplement your study in the nursing school or revise essential elements before you appear for the NCLEX exam. But for any special strategy or tactics related to handling crucial NCLEX questions it may not be the best one. 

“What we would suggest to any NCLEX test taker is, to approach the exam in a very balanced way. None of the three aspects of the exam, be it content , strategy or practice of questions can or should  be overlooked. Exhausting your efforts too much on one aspect and losing out on the other would eventually cause you to regert later.”

Editor’s Note:-  To have an all round and fortified preparation we recommend BrilliantNurse’s 6 months All access test prep tracks with daily assignments courses for preparation of NCLEX-PN® and NCLEX-RN®. Check out the given links. Ultra-extended (6 month access) NCLEX-RN® Test Prep Track + Learning Path – with Daily Assignments and Ultra-extended (6 month access) NCLEX-PN® Test Prep Track + Learning Path – with Daily Assignments

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