Investing in the best NCLEX review book to suit your needs and study style is a very important factor in passing your NCLEX exam the first time.
Even if you consider yourself to be a top student and have a good grasp of all the main topics that will not always translate to peak performance in the exam.
A proper NCLEX review book will be able to prepare you for the types of questions that are asked and in some cases provide real examples of previous exam NCLEX formats.
Best NCLEX Prep Books
- Editor’s Pick: Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN® Examination
- Best Supplementary Study Aid: Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment: Practice Exercise for the NCLEX Exam
- Best Budget Option: Lippincott Q&A Review for the NCLEX Exam
- Most Test Questions: Davis’s Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN
The NCLEX is designed to test prospective nurses’ level of skill and knowledge. As a result, the scope of the exam is wide-ranging, meaning you have to be extremely prepared in order to be successful.
A quality NCLEX prep book will help you achieve this. In order to be a positive study aid, the book should be designed in a way to help the revision process.
Well organized with up-to-date information presented in a clear and intuitive way is a must. Some will also offer more study materials by providing access to online resources.
All should have practice exam questions with explanatory notes so that you learn why an answer is the correct one. In other words, it is important that you purchase the best NCLEX review book that works for you.
In this top 7 review round up we have chosen what we believe to be the best NCLEX review books currently available.
Our Top 6 Picks
Best NCLEX Prep Books: The Reviews
1. EDITOR’S PICK: Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN® Examination
My top-rated NCLEX review prep book for 2022 has to be the excellent Saunders Comprehensive Review.
This has consistently been rated as one of the most popular NCLEX study aids on the market, and now in its 7th edition, the author keeps adding to the resource to make it the go-to guide for anyone taking the NCLEX-RN examination.
Yes this is quite a tome, and students can find the amount of information rather daunting, however, in this latest edition, Linda Anne Silvestri added a lot of helpful visual content such as graphs, tables, and images to help in the study process.
This has improved what was already a definitive resource making things more manageable and easier to digest.
Furthermore, the updated information and practice questions are extremely beneficial and are presented in an easy to understand manner that aids revision.
The number of practice questions that buyers of the book will have access to is also extremely impressive. Upon purchase, you will be able to consult over 5,000 practice questions (with some being accessible online).
Within the book, questions are found at the end of each chapter.
This enables students to study the relevant information and then quiz themselves before moving on to the next topic.
Furthermore, and this is something I really like about Saunders Comprehensive Review, explanations are given for both right and wrong answers.
This helps clarify any confusion as you are given a clear reason as to why a certain response is inappropriate.
And if you do prefer online study via your laptop, owners of the textbook will have access to an exclusive website with lots of extra study resources.
- A comprehensive library of online and offline questions and study aids
- Explanations of both correct and incorrect answers
- Well presented visual information with graphs, tables, and images
- The intuitive flow of subject topics of the entire nursing curriculum
- The amount of information can be a bit intimidating
- The Kindle version isn’t as user-friendly as it could be
- The answers and questions are on the same page
This is constantly rated as one of the best NCLEX review books available.
Tons of satisfied students, a huge amount of questions, and answers all in a well-presented textbook.
Add that to the online access you have and this really does prove to be a bargain study aid. You will find everything you need here in order to qualify as a registered nurse.
My number one choice for 2022 for good reason.
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2. Illustrated Study Guide for the NCLEX-RN
The Illustrated Study Guide for the NCLEX-RN is a clearly illustrated review textbook that uses well-designed charts and mnemonics to assist in the revision process.
Concepts are displayed in colorful boxes to make them easier to remember, the onus on visual representation really does raise the usefulness of the guide above much of the competition.
If you work better using textbooks (rather than online resources); yet want more of a multimedia aesthetic, this book will definitely appeal to you.
All that being said, there is still a comprehensive online resource that supports the guide and this will provide users with practice questions, and carefully explained rationales to further assist your studies.
Access to the Evolve web resource associated with the book provides over 2,500 questions making it a very worthwhile study aid, key concepts are also given further coverage via the online portal.
This latest edition of the guide book contains the most recent additions to the NCLEX-RN study plans. The authors have also included the most important nursing concepts that are tested as part of the exam.
- Visually prioritized guidebook with lots of clear illustrations
- The latest edition is very up to date with current key concepts
- Comprehensive online study aids related to the guidebook
- The onus of graphics and images means that the guide is heavily summarized
- There will be gaps in your learning if you rely only on this textbook
This illustrated study guide is an excellent resource for visual learners. Highlighted concepts, charts, and clear summaries actually make the learning process fun, you will find it easier to remember key concepts using the guide.
However, you will need to consult the online information and even another textbook to have a complete understanding of the full NCLEX curriculum.
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3. BEST ADDITIONAL STUDY AID: Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment: Practice Exercise for the NCLEX Exam
I would argue that Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment is a textbook that should definitely form part of your study aids alongside my top pick from Saunders.
I’ll explain why…
The beauty of this textbook is that it is designed to make you a better nurse, plain and simple.
Whereas the majority of NCLEX study aids are created solely to make sure you pass the exam, the priority here is to cover some of the more practical issues today’s nurses face.
The guide is divided into three parts: prioritization, delegation, and supervision. The book tackles these areas in a way that emphasizes critical reasoning, problem analysis, and resolution.
This sets it apart from other NCLEX guides that concentrate more on the basic practice questions and theories related to the exam.
Essentially, the book highlights the strategies and approaches qualified nurses need to be prepared for in real-life situations.
As any practitioners will testify, successful patient care requires a lot of task management, delegation, and prioritization – the exact topics of this guide.
Multiple choice questions form a large part of the textbook mind you. These will help you with certain types of NCLEX exam questions.
In fact, the NCLEX Examination has focused more on prioritization, delegation, and patient assignment in recent years.
However, as I have already mentioned, to get the most out of this guide it should be used in conjunction with another more typical NCLEX study aid.
- Prioritizes real-life scenarios
- Focuses on niche components of the NCLEX examination
- The questions are complex and require critical thinking
- It explains thoroughly why the correct answer is the right one
- The guide should be used with other study textbooks
- Some of the answers are a bit subjective
This is a review guide that will make an almost essential additional textbook for your NCLEX exam preparations. The analytical and prioritization skills will also help you throughout your career. However, with the clear priority of the book being what it is, you will need another resource to cover the areas that the guide omits.
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4. Kaplan’s NCLEX-RN Drug Guide
Kaplan are well known in the NCLEX study space, are they do bring a certain level of expertise to anything that they publish.
Because drugs and medications form a large part of the NCLEX-RN test, Kaplan has decided to focus purely on that within this textbook.
Essentially, this guide provides a great deal of information on the medications that are featured on the nursing exam. If that’s where you feel you have a gap in your knowledge, the Kaplan drug guide will help rectify that.
There are over 300 drugs explained using an easy to revise with flashcard format. This also means that the book is smaller in size than normal textbooks, making it very portable. It’s the kind of thing you can pull out while on the bus or train and catch up on your revision.
Each drug listed provides you with information on the relevant application, contraindications, uses, and other details.
There’s also a very thorough index with data on drugs and brand names that even provides helpful information on the correct pronunciation. In an attempt to prepare you for the work-place these names also include their medical abbreviations.
- Portable size with flashcard revision format
- Medications are arranged in a very intuitive way that makes learning easier
- The best NCLEX companion guide for drugs
- You won’t pass the NCLEX with only this textbook
This is an excellent resource for nursing medications. Using this will help you be more than prepared for this aspect of the NCLEX exam.
However, you will need other textbooks that cover the areas not touched on in this guide.
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5. BEST BUDGET OPTION: Lippincott Q&A Review for the NCLEX Exam
For those looking for a budget-friendly study aid for the NCLEX exam, the Lippincott Q&A Review is up there as one of the best.
As a fast, effective, and easy-to-use guide it really is difficult to fault.
Okay, it may not be as comprehensive as my top pick choice Saunders, however, such detailed information isn’t always for everyone.
The Lippincott Q&A actually uses the same question types and difficulty as the examination; it even mirrors the formatting in a way that familiarizes the student with what to expect on exam day.
Due to the direct approach that the guide takes, (i.e a focus on questions and answers), this is an option recommended for those already familiar with the NCLEX syllabus.
However, as a resource of typical NCLEX exam questions the guide is more than comprehensive, it includes more than 6,000 high-level questions.
As you will find with the exam, these questions are designed to promote higher-order thinking and active learning.
The book focuses on four crucial content areas – mental health, medical-surgical, obstetric, and pediatric nursing.
The content is separated and intuitively color-coded in order to help make the study process easier.
In fact, I would go as far as to say that if you are able to answer the questions in the book with few errors, you can be confident that you are ready for the NCLEX examination.
- Over 6,000 NCLEX study questions included
- separated by sections and color-coded
- offers tips for dealing with NCLEX style questions
- online study materials alongside the textbook study plan.
- The online materials provided are very similar to the book’s content
- The book doesn’t explain why the wrong answers are wrong
- The book does contain typos and errors that haven’t been corrected
Overall the Lippincott Q&A Review is an excellent budget-friendly NCLEX exam guide. Yes, it is good to have a thorough understanding of the NCLEX curriculum before using this aid, however for those ready to test themselves on the run-up to exam day, this is one of the best resources around.
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6. Mosby’s Comprehensive Review of Nursing
Mosby’s Comprehensive review of nursing is another very good textbook that comes highly recommended.
A complete nursing student handbook, there are over 800 pages of information to help you successfully pass the NCLEX exam.
The resource covers all the main topics and although it is possible to feel intimidated by the sheer volume of this guide, the info is organized in a way that really does help the revision process.
There’s a ton of practice questions of course, and the colorful charts and illustrations throughout help to highlight the most important learning materials.
There are also two full-length practice exams included in the book, which are a great way of preparing yourself for NCLEX exam day.
There’s also an entire section focused on nursing management practices. These include some of the latest areas to be covered by the NCLEX exam, namely prioritization, task management, and governance.
The textbook also comes with a companion CD. This is included to help you formulate a more bespoke study plan that better suits your needs.
- Over 800 pages of learning materials
- Two full-length comprehensive practice exams
- An entire section focused on nursing management practices
- It is large and that will put some students off
- Found to be slightly repetitive in the delivery of information
- Rationales for answers could be clearer
Mosby’s Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX is a highly recommended textbook. With over 800 pages this one large resource.
However, it does have a couple of flaws due to the sheer volume of information that may put some students off.
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7. MOST TEST QUESTIONS: Davis’s Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN
Davis’s Q&A Review makes the top 10 list for its sheer volume of text questions.
With 2,750 questions in the book and another 10,000 practice questions available online, this guide has proven extremely popular with nursing students wanting access to such a large database of questions.
The questions in the book are gauged at the right difficulty level so that students remain challenged throughout.
The explanations of answers provided in the guide are also commendable; there’s enough detail to assist all levels of students.
Furthermore, the guidelines are designed to help students understand the different question types and how to best tackle them.
Question types are set out in a manner that is intuitive. The result of this is that users of the guide can easily identify where gaps in their knowledge lie, and how to rectify them.
Another great benefit is that there are two full-length example examinations at the end of the guide that will help you become accustomed to the structure of the NCLEX exam when you finally come to face it.
- The largest resource of NCLEX questions available
- Questions provide comprehensive rationales and explanations
- The useful, easy-to-understand chapter arrangement
- Two full-length examinations provided as part of study materials
- The Kindle version of the guide needs work.
As the largest resource of NCLEX questions available this guide will automatically appeal to many students.
There’s a ton of materials to go through making it great value for money too. A highly recommended NCLEX study aid.
NCLEX Review Books FAQ
Q. Which is the best NCLEX review book?
We have chosen Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN® Examination as the best overall NCLEX review book, as some of the highest-rated reviews among nursing students and is formatted in a way to aid study and revision.
Q. Do I need more than one book when studying for the NCLEX?
Depending on your resources more than one book can be beneficial if you have gaps in your knowledge and/or prefer different styles of study aid. For instance, a book that provides broad coverage of all topics of the NCLEX (such as Saunders), along with a text-book packed with practice tests and questions (Davis’s Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN), will assist with your learning.
Q. How many hours should I study for the NCLEX?
This will vary among students, however, we recommend a minimum of 1-2 months of NCLEX review study before you take the exam. Just one of the reviewed books could take that long to properly go through all of the content and test questions.
Q. Are the Lippincott NCLEX Review textbooks any good?
Absolutely, Lippincott NCLEX prep books are very good indeed, especially considering their price (Lippincott was our top budget pick for 2022). They have tons of information and the content is formatted in a way to aid efficient learning.
Q. Can I Pass the NCLEX without using a study aid?
It is possible, but we wouldn’t recommend it. All students should use a study aid before the NCLEX, regardless of their ability or confidence. Your aim should be to obtain the highest result you can. Revising before the exam using a NCLEX review book is the only way to do this.
Q. Where’s the best place to buy NCLEX review books?
In a time of COVID-19, closed stores, and lockdowns, Amazon is by far the best and safest place to buy NCLEX review books. So much so, the links above in this review will take you directly to the Amazon website so that you can purchase your book with ease.