Best NCLEX Review Books for 2020

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These days, it’s not hard to find NCLEX prep books. There are literally dozens of them out there. The hard part is finding the good ones that will help you strengthen your weak areas and boost your score. Below we’ve created a shortlist of the 7 best NCLEX review books for 2020 and where to get them.

While it’s easy to study for an exam, the NCLEX is an adaptive computerized exam that makes preparing for it trickier than usual. It’s also what makes finding the best NCLEX prep books that can actually help you, pretty tough.

That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the top texts out there so you can find the best book that meets your particular test-taking needs.

 

Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN

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Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination
4,007 Reviews
Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination
  • Silvestri PhD RN FAAN, Linda Anne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1152 Pages - 10/07/2019 (Publication Date) - Saunders (Publisher)

PROS

As comprehensive reviewers go, the Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN covers all the basics. It’s a good starter kit for those just beginning to study for the NCLEX.

It offers guidance from the get-go from study material organized into units and chapters that cover all of the topics for the NCLEX-RN. As an all-in-one prep book, it also includes tips, strategies, and practice tests along with answers and detailed explanations for each of the answers.

The Saunders Review wouldn’t be as valuable if it didn’t come with 5,200 NCLEX examination-style questions in the book AND online offering realistic test simulations. The online test that comes with the book mimics how the actual test reacts to your answers, giving you a more realistic experience of what it would be like during the actual exam.

CONS

There is a redeemable set of online practice tests that you can get access to if you register with the code that comes with the prep book. Readers found the registration process tedious but if it gives you more practice tests, then it can’t hurt. Some readers found it annoying to flip back and forth between the adult and peds section of the book because they refer to each other frequently.

 

Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-PN

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Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-PN (Saunders Comprehensive Review for Nclex-Pn)
1,502 Reviews
Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-PN (Saunders Comprehensive Review for Nclex-Pn)
  • Silvestri PhD RN FAAN, Linda Anne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1040 Pages - 03/15/2018 (Publication Date) - Saunders (Publisher)

PROS

Just like the Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN, the NCLEX PN edition for becoming a practical nurse is designed to be an all-in-one prep book. This edition includes study material for all the subjects included in the test, tips, and techniques for test-taking, strategies, and practice tests for reviewing.

Like the RN version, it also comes with practice tests for each subject to make sure that you’re fully covered, plus answers and explanations for all the questions. I find that the explanations for the answers are usually the best way of retaining information and for gaining context for the questions.

More than just helping you review though, the Saunders Review for NCLEX-PN goes out of its way to reinforce important points that are sure to come up in the exam and helps introduce you to the adaptive test design via alternate item formats. For just the tons of practice questions with online tests to boot, this NCLEX prep book is a great buy.

CONS

There isn’t much that readers find wrong with the Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-PN. It’s definitely one of the best NCLEX review books for 2020 and does a good job of laying down the foundation for those who are planning to take the exam. However, keep in mind that it is still a comprehensive prep book which means that you may want to supplement it with other prep books if you want to cover some weak areas or if you want a more specialized take on studying.

 

NCLEX-RN Content Review Guide

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NCLEX-RN Content Review Guide: Preparation for the NCLEX-RN Examination (Kaplan Test Prep)
190 Reviews
NCLEX-RN Content Review Guide: Preparation for the NCLEX-RN Examination (Kaplan Test Prep)
  • Kaplan Nursing (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 648 Pages - 03/03/2020 (Publication Date) - Kaplan Publishing (Publisher)

PROS

Even though it doesn’t have the Kaplan name in the title, it is still a legitimate product of the test review powerhouse. The NCLEX-RN Content Review Guide is updated every year by Kaplan’s expert nursing faculty. As an NCLEX-RN prep book, it focuses more on reviewing readers of information that they have already encountered in school and it manages this very effectively with tables, charts, and other visual aids.

CONS

The downside to this NCLEX review book is in its digital version or kindle version. Because it relies heavily on the visual aids to reinforce information and review important concepts, using a digital version of the book can get in the way of easy learning.

The tables and charts tend to be separated from each other or from the text that pertains to the visual aid which forces the readers to have to scroll or swipe back and forth. Spare yourself the trouble and just buy the textbook instead of the ebook.

 

NCLEX-RN Prep Plus 2020 by Kaplan

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NCLEX-RN Prep Plus: 2 Practice Tests + Proven Strategies + Online + Video (Kaplan Test Prep)
486 Reviews
NCLEX-RN Prep Plus: 2 Practice Tests + Proven Strategies + Online + Video (Kaplan Test Prep)
  • Kaplan Nursing (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 540 Pages - 03/03/2020 (Publication Date) - Kaplan Publishing (Publisher)

PROS

This NCLEX-RN Prep Plus by Kaplan is all about helping readers understand what the exam is asking of them, helping them to develop critical thinking skills and higher-order thinking skills. As opposed to rote memorization which would not work well in an adaptive test like the NCLEX, this textbook is all about understanding the answers behind the questions and the rationales behind the answers.

It is a more in-depth take on studying for the NCLEX-RN and with 60-minute video tutorials and reviews of all the question types found in the exam, this prep book is for the more determined test-takers; or at least those who want to add a lot more points to their score.

CONS

If you have older versions of this NCLEX review book, then you may want to think twice about getting the newer version. While this is one of the best NCLEX prep books in the market today, some practice questions may appear in the old versions as well. Still, it is a good buy for updated strategies, critical thinking guides, and highlights.

 

NCLEX-RN Drug Guide: 300 Medications You Need to Know for the Exam

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Davis's Drug Guide for Nurses
634 Reviews
Davis's Drug Guide for Nurses
  • Vallerand PhD RN FAAN, April Hazard (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1488 Pages - 05/21/2020 (Publication Date) - F.A. Davis Company (Publisher)

PROS

The NCLEX Drug Guide by Kaplan is a must-have for all aspiring nurses who will be taking the NCLEX-RN as a reference to the drugs that are relevant to the exam and to become a nurse. Because of its pocket-sized design, it is handy and can easily be carried around for when you’re studying in different locations.

The latest edition of the book does have additional perks. More than just being a reference book for drugs, drug families, and brand names, it will also be offering guides for how to study the drugs effectively and how to retain the information. It also has phonetic pronunciation keys as a bonus.

CONS

This is purely a reference book for drugs, brands, and drug families. It fills a very specific niche for studying for the NCLEX-RN. For studying the subjects of the exam and for test-taking tips, you will need to refer to a comprehensive study guide which this book is not.

 

Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment: Practice Exercises for the NCLEX Examination

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Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment: Practice Exercises for the NCLEX Examination
1,490 Reviews
Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment: Practice Exercises for the NCLEX Examination
  • LaCharity PhD RN, Linda A. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 360 Pages - 12/26/2019 (Publication Date) - Mosby (Publisher)

PROS

Just like the title says, this Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment: Practice Exercises for the NCLEX Examination prep book is designed similarly to how the NCLEX is designed, by emphasizing prioritization, delegation, and patient assignment. Consider that the NCLEX is an exam for skills and knowledge with very practical applications.

This prep book helps facilitate learning and studying in a way that the reader can relate the information to practical applications. This helps with retention. More than just feeding readers information without context, the book goes so far as to build on knowledge and skills that can be used in actual scenarios.

If you are going to purchase this prep book, make sure that you purchase the latest edition which includes a lot of new updates that can be very useful for taking the exam. These new updates and content include helpful chart-format questions and additional questions for the subjects covered by the NCLEX.

CONS

Mastering the NCLEX is all about understanding your learning process and what works for you. In the case of this book, creating situations and context for the reader is one method of learning that is effective for some but not for others. Choose wisely.

Also, because this book does not emphasize practice tests as much as other NCLEX prep books do, I would advise you to supplement it with more practice tests, both written and online.

 

Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN Examination

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Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN (Lippincott's Review For NCLEX-RN)
365 Reviews
Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN (Lippincott's Review For NCLEX-RN)
  • Billings EdD RN FAAN, Diane (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1152 Pages - 04/09/2019 (Publication Date) - LWW (Publisher)

PROS

The Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN is the prep book you can buy if you want access to exam questions that are the closest to the real thing as possible. With realistic test questions, you can gauge your performance better. You can also get a better idea of how you’re going to do on the actual test and spot your weaknesses early on.

The Lippincott Q&A has both written questions and online exams that mimic the actual NCLEX. This means you’ll get an idea of how the real test will feel and won’t be surprised on exam day.

Even if you are buying other prep books as study guides, I would still recommend that you supplement them with the test questions offered by the Lippincott Q&A, even if it’s just for the practice tests.

CONS

The strength of this prep book is practice tests. However, it’s not a comprehensive study guide and won’t be as in-depth at covering subjects of the test. I would strongly suggest that you use another prep book as your main study guide while using the Lippincott Q&A for more access to realistic practice tests.

For a list of frequently asked questions straight from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), check out this page. Or, check out my guide on how to prepare for the NCLEX.