Monday, June 3, 2013

Kaplan NCLEX review vs Hurst NCLEX review

Alright guys I hope everyone has been busy these past few weeks, everyone enjoyed their memorial day weekend (safely of course) and that everyone is now out of school for the summer! I have been out of school and officially graduated from college with my BSN (bachelor's of science in nursing) for about three weeks or so and I would love to say I have been deeply enjoying my summer so far but I have yet to actually have a summer break. Starting the monday after graduation I was back on campus for the first of 4 days for the Kaplan NCLEX review course I signed up for back in February. I was there 9-4 M-Th for the review and boy it was a whole lot of info crammed in. It seemed to be a universal week for nursing students as many of the people I follow on twitter were sitting in NCLEX review at the same time. Since then I have pretty much barricaded myself in my apartment and studied like crazy. I will be sitting for my license exam on Thursday June 13th at 2pm and all I have done is study study study, however my motivation is slowly decreasing and my desire to lay by the pool, tan, and shop for a new apartment are itching to come through. I am very ready to actually start having a summer and enjoying the first chance I have had off in over 3 years, I have always worked fulled time, been in school or a combination of both. So I picked the earliest possible test date I was comfortable with, I would also really like to start getting some job offers or at least a chance to interview, I have been turned down for several residency programs and it has really begun to discourage me. I also gave up my birthday to spend time studying (I celebrated my 23rd birthday on May 31) I really wanted to be in Louisville KY seeing Dustin Lynch in concert but license exam comes first =/

As far as studying for the NCLEX I know two major companies that provide a review course and countless books you can buy. I choose between Kaplan and Hurst review and I ended up going with Kaplan for several reasons. I also have the Saunder's NCLEX comprehensive review book but I honestly haven't used it, I bought it more for my HESI Exit exam and used it more for that. Both Kaplan and Hurst offer some great programs for NCLEX and this is just my personal reasons for choosing Kaplan, please if you are preparing for NCLEX look at both programs. I'm just gonna list a brief over view of the programs and the reasons I choose Kaplan.

Hurst NCLEX Review:
They offer a ton of content and when I saw a ton I mean a TON! They almost retake you through nursing school in 4 days with quick to the point overviews of important topics. We had the Hurst videos circulating through my program for several years and if you know someone from the semester ahead of you or a faculty member who had them then you more than likely got a copy of the videos. However I think the videos are some of the older review videos from several years ago, Hurst does keep updated with the latest NCLEX test plan to provide the most current information. I got a copy last fall and tried to use them to study for HESI. Needless to say I couldn't cram all that info into an already fried brain. The women on the videos is hilarious and she keeps you entertained. If you feel you need a content review hurst is the way to go. Watching the videos I had so many "ahah" moments where things just made sense and I felt like "Duh why wasn't it this easy sitting in adult health one and two?!" however they don't offer much strategy I felt and I need strategy. A teacher helping me to pass my HESI told me "your really smart you just forget really simple things like turn your patient, or you can't remember how to look at a question and answer it". I needed a strategy to take the test not a review of everything I learned in nursing school. The videos were helpful and I did have some "ahah" moments where all the pieces fell together but they didn't provide me with enough strategy. I also went off the program people in the semester above me used because all of them passed their NCLEX the first time around (my school has an incredibly high pass rate for the NCLEX I think its like 98 or 99%). No one really used HURST before so I was a little unsure, this semester though quite a few people did sign up to take the review (I wasn't one of them).

Kaplan Review:
I choose Kaplan because everyone from the semester above me took Kaplan and passed the first time, they offered me a strategy or a way to think during the exam, I was going to get a zillion practice questions (Hurst offers practice questions as well), I got NCLEX testing area specific review videos, for example one area is health promotion and maintenance, if your getting lower test scores on that area you can watch the review videos that only deal with health promotion and maintenance. This I really liked because you weren't reviewing cancer, or renal disease, or pregnancy, you were reviewing areas the nclex tests on like activities of daily living, mobility/immobility, nutrition, ect. You can also download a free book from kindle/amazon that goes along with the videos (hurst gives you a physical copy of their book during the review). I liked Kaplan's decision tree process and I really felt their thought process and the way they teach us to approach the exam was really helpful and suited my needs. You also got a book with Medication to know for NCLEX which I was in love with because I am weakest in pharmacology.

Overall the price for either review is around the same and they both offer a money back guarantee that if you fail the test they will refund your money. I really liked Kaplan and I recommend it to others but I also recommend hurst,when I get asked which I prefer I'm honest and tell them Kaplan suited my need for a strategy and a way to approach the exam. I ask others to think about what they need, do they feel comfortable taking exams and can knock any test out of the park (I have huge test anxiety and this is NOT me) but they struggle retaining the content from nursing school. Or are they one of those people who retains the info no problem, can repeat things verbally at the drop of a hat and does great with hands on stuff like clinical (this is me I am great at clinical and verbally explaining something) but when it comes to taking an exam you freeze up and you can't remember if a patient should even be breathing or why they are turning blue. Then I recommend one based on their response. I am really satisfied with Kaplan and I have friends and people on twitter who love Hurst. Please if you have any questions about either review or studying for the NCLEX in general leave a comment below or find me on twitter @Ellie_Mae0103 & ask me!
This is the little book I take every where! I love it and I really hope it helps me improve in pharmacology



*I was not paid my Hurst or Kaplan for my opinion or review of their product, this was my thought/opinion of the different 
 reviews offered for NCLEX.*


***UPDATE: I will NOT send anyone the videos that were shared with me and fellow classmates from an instructor. They are not the recent videos and the information does change especially with recent changes to the NCLEX. If you feel one of the these courses will benefit you in your NCLEX journey I highly recommend signing up for one of them. They do offer a money back guarantee should you fail the test. Please DO NOT ask me to send you the videos, I will not do it. Thank you 

48 comments:

  1. hi so did you pass your nclex exam?

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  2. Yes I sure did =) If you'd like to hear the whole agonizing story here is the post on it! Thanks for asking!!
    http://mynursinglife.blogspot.com/2013/06/did-i-pass-my-nclex.html

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  4. Would you be willing to email me the type of studying schedule you used. For example, 5 hours 5 days a week for a month or a week ect. And did you ONLY use Kaplan as your study source or did you use many books. I am about 90% sure I will go with kaplan I am just wondering if it by itself is enough. Thank you so much in advance for all your help ------> montsm01@gmail.com

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  5. I love this post.. It helped me decide. thanks!! :) And congrats for passing your NCLEX! :)

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    1. Awww thanks Jonelie!! I am so glad this was able to help you out! Best of luck on your NCLEX journey I know you will pass and do fabulous!

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  6. I have a question for you about the Hurst dvds. Would you email me: glaubiany@hotmail.com . I took NCLEX on july 15 and did not pass. I am trying again at the end of this month. I did the Kaplan review and I like it, but I fell I need more content review. Thanks

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  7. http://pass2013nclex.blogspot.com/

    I just recent passed the 2013 NCLEX and these notes helped me a lot... it was almost too easy

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    1. So glad to hear you passed ysimonis! I felt the same way when it was all over and I had my license in my hand. Best of luck as you continue your journey as you new grad RN

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    2. hey culd you please share the note ysimonis.. nclex is ruining me big time.. please..

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    3. Ysimonis, can you please share your notes irmab151@hotmail.com Thank you.

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    5. I graduated several years ago and had several bad life events that I never have sat for boards. I am ready to go full force now and really need direction. I work full time days as an educator and can't give up trying for my license RN. Please advise. Everyone

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    6. hi ysimonis can you please share your notes with me as well? my email is mbarrameda442@yahoo.com. Thank you!

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  8. Hi Ellie,

    Thanks for your great post on both the reviews. I finish nursing school in December and I'm starting to research different strategies for studying for the NCLEX.

    My university includes the Kaplan review at the end of the program into our tuition. I wanted to know if Kaplan also includes the other review book with the questions or do they just give you the one for the medications?

    Also, are there any resources that you would recommend for studying like any websites or books?

    Thanks,
    Rebeca

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    1. Hi Rebecca,
      Congrats on graduation! As far as the book goes there is a hard copy book you can order from their website (I believe) but you can download the free kindle edition from Amazon, that is the book that goes along with review course but I honestly never used it. I'm not sure if the book has questions or not but the review course offers online access with thousands of questions and that is all I used. There is also a free kaplan NCLEX app for iphone (not sure about android) that is very similar to their online Q bank that I used as well. I honestly didn't even really use the book of meds they gave me too much. I spent a little over 3 weeks doing only Q bank questions and watching a few of the videos they offer. There are a ton of NCLEX books out there but I felt that because of the number of resources out there I was over whelmed and really just relied on Kaplan, with the money back guarantee I felt like if I failed my test I would get my money back and try some other way, thankfully that didn't happen. I put the link for amazon below, let me know if you have any more questions!

      http://www.amazon.com/NCLEX-RN-Content-Review-Guide-ebook/dp/B00CLV3V16/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376884287&sr=8-1&keywords=kaplan

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    2. I'm happy for you. Can you please email me the CD's irmab151@hotmail.com Thank you so much

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    3. As I have said multiple times I will not be sharing the videos, they are not mine to share, I had to pay to take Kaplan and if you feel you need the information provided from a class then sign up for one or both but I am not distributing videos that are not my property.

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  9. can you email the dvds you have twetty5255@yahoo.com please

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    1. Hi, Tye Kelley,
      Do you have the dvd's? if so, can you email them to me mellownp@yahoo.com

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    2. I will not be sharing the DVDs period. No one has gotten them from me unless you were in my class and got them from the instructor that provided them to the school. I am not authorized to just give them away.

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  10. Hi, thanks for the informative post. In terms of books, we recently reviewed the leading study guides and Saunders ended up taking the no. 1 spot.

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  11. Hi can you email the dvds@mellownp@yahoo.com please

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  12. First off, good luck to everyone taking this test. I can barely imagine how tough it is to go through medical study, much less memorizing all those terms, and in a pattern, repeatedly. Always try to find a mentor or an assistant, in providing you the references and text books, and helping you get through pages of them, whatever review materials you use.

    HomeTutorsSacramento.com

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  13. Hi Ellie,

    I came across your post and was wondering if you could help me. I wanted to know if you could send me the Hurst dvd's at marcnavs@hotmail.com ?? I have been out of school for two years and I am a stay at home dad with an 22 month old. So getting out to class is tough and money is tight. I took the Kaplan course and then ended not taking the test because my wife was pregnant. So, I had to finish building the house then ended up being the "Mr. Mom" for right now. They won't even let me sit through another review which is ridiculous because they said it's been too long. But I am want to get back into the study mode so I can pass this test. Can you help me? Thanks Marc

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    1. Dear Marc,
      I just wondered did you sit for boards? I am several years out of school and work full time in clinic as nurse case manager and can't let go of not trying to get my RN. I was a good student, but like you some serious things got in the way and as time went on, I procrastinated and now I just can't let go of all the work I put in. Please advise.

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    2. My best advice for you is to enroll in as many review courses as possible, several years means a lot has changed since you graduated, the NCLEX has been changed and some information if different. I would suggest taking a few months to update yourself on some things that may have changed since you graduated, see if any of the textbooks you used have newer versions you can look through, and use as many review resources as you can. Best of luck!

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  14. Hi Ellie,
    Thanks for sharing this with us. I am hoping to take the NCLEX in Feb/March 2014. Can you please share your study schedule with me? I am trying to plan on how to study for the NCLEX. My email is itri2278@gmail.com. Thanks!! I am still trying to decide between Kaplan and Hurst. Congratulations to you!! :)

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  15. So, can I get those videos plz? They wud be sikkkk!! - J-Dogg
    P.S. I'm rockin' my prewreq's for Nrs School, I'm like 4.0 on the 4.0, feel me GF?? Hit me back, jdogg4life@jhsph.edu

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  16. Wow. I am amazed at how rude so many of these posts are. I do not understand why people have the audacity to continually ask for your DVD's. Integrity? Professionalism? Rules? Nurses? How many times do these people have to be told that you will not send the DVDs? and the previous post seems to actually be angry? Wow.

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    1. Thank you for your support, I appreciate that at least some people are able to know what integrity is. I appreciate your support!
      -Ellie

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  17. Hi Ellie! As I am trying to figure out whether to take Hurst and/or Kaplan, I ran across your blog (which is awesome btw..wish I found it sooner!). Luckily my school includes Kaplan, but I am thinking about doing both Kaplan & Hurst together. Do you know anyone who did that? Do you think it would be too much info to take on at once? Also, how often did you study-how many hours a day & how many hours each week?

    Thanks for your help!

    -Em

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    1. Hey Em, I think its a personal preference and what you feel you need. I think the information could be over whelming and possibly conflicting. I really liked Kaplan because I knew exactly what I needed to help myself pass and Kaplan was what offered me that. Our school didn't offer any reviews to us so everything was out of pocket for us, to my knowledge I don't know anyone who took both. Think about what your study habits are and what you need to be successful on the tests you took in nursing school and go from there. Best of luck!
      -Ellie

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  18. hey hun, do you have any tips on passing the exit hesi? i'm in the pn program and i have to repeat the capstone course for my school and take my exit again in march. i have the hesi book and kaplan. just wondering if you have any other suggestions
    thanks a million.
    candi

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    1. Hey Candi, I took my HESI twice, failed the first time with a 793 and passed with a 920 the second time. My school didn't offer any review courses you were on your own for the most part. I didn't find the HESI book helpful and I think Kaplan is geared more towards NCLEX rather HESI. I promise you HESI is so so so much harder than NCLEX. I really liked hesistudy.com, its $99 for a life time subscription and I say I passed because of that website. I highly suggest trying it out, the practice exam is really similar to the HESI test and the questions are tough so you get used to that level of questioning. Best of luck!

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  19. Hi! Congratulations on passing NCLEX! I am from the Philippines and I graduated nursing in 2007 in my home country and in the same year passed the Philippines nursing board exam. I am planning to take the NCLEX this year. Unfortunately, the NCLEX program from Kaplan is too expensive for me. Do you know any site that offers free up-to-date NCLEX review? If you do, can you send me the links. I would very much appreciate it. Thank you very much!

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  20. Hey Anonymous Feb 9 did you Pass your nclex ??

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  21. Hi, I take my nclex in a few days. I have been doing Kaplan q bank questions and focused reviews. I did all the trainers except for trainer 7. so far Ive been averaging between 58 and 65 on the trainers. On the focused reviews I average between 59 and 82. I will be doing a quick content review with hurst before I take trainer 7, do you think my scores are enough? I feel a bit confident but I'm not sure if it's enough to pass nclex.
    -Emma

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    1. Emmanauelle,
      Those sound very similiar to my scores however my only concern would be if doing Hurst that late in the Kaplan review course and so close to your test date could be more harmful rather than helpful. By the time I was within a week or so from my exam I had my study and testing habits down, anything extra at that point would have greatly thrown me off.

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  22. Well we'll see what happens. My exam is tomorrow morning. Thanks for replying.
    -Emma D. Gonzalez

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  23. I am about to graduate in a few days; my school paid for our Kaplan, but I had already signed up for Hurst, so I will be doing both I guess...doesn't hurt to have both! I'm curious to know what your study schedule was-would you mind sharing?

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    1. Hi Jasmine,
      Congrats on graduating, that is a major accomplishment in its own. I only had a few short weeks after kaplan ended before my test date so I studied as much as I could doing practice questions and tests the majority of the day and using kaplan's review videos for areas I felt the weakest at, I did try to focus more on areas I didn't feel very strong in but I didn't ignore my stronger areas either. Kaplan's test simulate the nclex test so much I really felt like I was taking another Kaplan practice test during my nclex. I took one day a week to just relax and do nothing involving nclex to give my brain a break. Hope this helps you out, my only other suggestion is to schedule your test date as soon as you can after graduation and your review courses so everything is still fresh in your mind, don't wait till the end of summer or longer to take the test. Best of luck!
      -Ellie

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  24. i studied no more than 3 hours a day, i focused on what i was weak in, kaplan simulates the test so well it's remarkable. i passed my exam in 5 mins, 75 questions. I almost begged the screen to come back, i thought i went too quickly. but it was so much like kaplan i didn't stress it. i was scoring above 65 in my trainers, it helped me build confidence. Hurst can help you refresh all your nursing knowledge in two weeks. I recommend it, but test out your retention and comprehension with kaplan to see how you'll do. let me know how it goes.

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  26. Hi Ellie - congrats

    I am getting ready to take my exam as well and will be taking the kaplan course. How many hours a day did you study versus how many questions did you do a day? I have been doing well over a hundred but am so anxious that I feel l freeze over the stupidest questions. Does it pay to review all the content? I noticed that kaplan breaks it down in terms of topic but what about the specifics - such as if peds is my weak est topic how would I review that through kaplan? Any other suggestions? did you also use your med pharm book to study for the meds on the nclex as well? How did you learn all the meds - it is tooo much.

    Sadly as you can see I am extremely anxious and scared to say the least.

    Helppppp pls :)

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    1. I'm not a big fan of kaplan. I failed my first NCLEX using Kaplan. I didn't feel that I knew any of the material and had just done about a thousand questions without really retaining any information! Hurst helped me gain confidence and learn my content.

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  27. HESI exam is tough and most students do not realize if that pre exam preparation is very crucial. You should take practice tests as you can to improve your chances of gaining a better score at the HESI test.

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    1. What would you recommend to use to study for HESI? Did you use Hurst?

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