If you are preparing for the NCLEX, you would know that Kaplan and UWorld are two of the best NCLEX courses out there. Since you may need to choose only one option, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of UWorld vs. Kaplan.
Perhaps, you might have heard of Kaplan as an amazing provider because of its unique test-taking strategies. There are a lot of things to consider when deciding which of these top-notch NCLEX course providers will make your time and money worth investing. Let us dig deeper and find which hails better, Kaplan or UWorld for NCLEX.
In comparing both course providers, I have used several benchmarks that would lead us to make a better choice.
Kaplan VS. UWorld: Course Content
Kaplan NCLEX is among the most in-demand NCLEX course providers because of its unique approach to test-taking. The company itself is also one of the giants in the ed-tech industry with its 80-year legacy and diverse courses on offer. As a leader in instructional modernization, Kaplan is always compared to other NCLEX course providers.
Below is the list of their features.
- Decision tree strategy
- Over 2,100 test-like questions
- 3 full-length computer-adaptive tests (CAT)
- Content videos with more than 300 essential nursing topics
- NCLEX-RN content review guide
- Over 500-paged-ebook on selected courses
- Study-on-the-go with mobile app access
- Various question-types are covered
- 8 hours of lectures led by nurse educators
You would also get constant access and support from Kaplan’s 600 licensed nurses. I also like how wide the course options are. It offers a self-paced course that is good for six months, which is the perfect option for those who wish to study on their own without too much pressure. Live online sessions and in-person classes are also provided.
If you wish to prep in a different way, Kaplan also offers a wide variety of options at different prices. Here’s a short overview of the packages:
- Qbank + CAT + Nursing Channel for 180 days
- Qbank + CAT for 180 days
- CAT only for 180 days
- Qbank only for 180 days
The best part about this course is the pass guarantee. Kaplan NCLEX takes pride in its money-back guarantee for both the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN and free repeat policy for the NCLEX-PN. Of course, there are certain conditions for you to be eligible, but the main consideration is whether or not you failed the test.
This is a bold offer from Kaplan given that its goal is to help you pass the first time because, otherwise, you will be eligible for those guarantee options.
Now, let’s look at what UWorld has on its plate.
UWorld is also an ed-tech company. It is founded by Dr. Chandra Pemmasani back in 2003 when he created his first set of medical practice questions. It is a humble company of content experts who are accomplished educators, business professionals, doctors, and nurses. The company is known for making test prep experiences easy.
Below is the list of what they offer.
- Over 2,100 practice questions
- Two 100-question self-assessment sets with NCLEX readiness predictor
- Thorough explanations for every answer – correct or incorrect
- Performance and improvement tracking system
- Customizable examinations based on your study needs
- Flashcards with your own study sets
- Accessible in both computer and mobile devices
The first aspect of the UWorld NCLEX that you would notice is the plenty of illustrations that will help you understand nursing concepts better. The overall goal of its course design is to make you understand the “why” for you to be prepared for every question.
UWorld NCLEX has a total of six package options that all have the same amount of practice questions. The main differences between these packages are the access length and pricing. Below is the list of their packages:
- Qbank for 30 days
- Qbank for 60 days
- Qbank for 90 days
- Qbank for 180 days
- Qbank for 360 days
- Qbank for 730 days
The question bank good for 30 days doesn’t have a self-assessment test, while the question bank good for 60 days has one self-assessment test. The rest of the question bank packages provide you access to two self-assessment tests. Plus, the 180-day-access, 360-day-access, and 730-day-access all provide you the option to reset the course once in case you fail after your first use of it.
Lastly, I love that they have a special offer for nursing academic programs under institutional pricing. They can work with you in providing a customized package that is tailored according to your students’ needs and your institution’s goal. If you happen to be under a nursing program who wishes to prep at the same time, grab this special offer from UWorld NCLEX.
I would say that Kaplan NCLEX wins the game in this aspect. You will see how varied their course options are. It has a self-paced option for those who need more time to prep. On the other hand, it also offers options for those who like either an online class or an in-person class with the same advantage of real-time tutor access.
For those who also enjoy their question bank, video lectures, and computer-adaptive tests, Kaplan also offers options that offer these features – speak about flexibility and they’re good at it.
The pass guarantee is also a big deal, at least for me, because it adds value to what I am paying. As simple as “If I don’t pass the NCLEX after taking this course with them, I can get either a refund or a remedial class for free” – although failing should be the last idea we should be entertaining.
Kaplan VS. UWorld: Practice Questions
The amount and quality of practice questions are a good benchmark to use when reviewing course providers as practice questions have a huge impact on a student’s likelihood of success in taking the NCLEX.
First off, let’s see the kind of practice questions Kaplan NCLEX has.
Kaplan has a question bank of more than 2,100 practice questions that are all test-like. They also offer three full-length practice exams that are all patterned after NCLEX, which means that these exams incorporate computer-adaptive technology. The goal is, to make you confident on your test day as you practice these NCLEX-style practice sets.
Moreover, Kaplan is a great choice if you are planning to prep for NCLEX three months before the test day. With their massive question bank and their computer-adaptive tests that mimic the real NCLEX test, you can answer about 75 practice questions per day leading to the week of the NCLEX examination.
Onto the next, let’s see if UWorld NCLEX beats Kaplan in this aspect.
Like Kaplan, Uworld has over 2,100 practice questions. With practice exams, they offer two sets of 100-item self-assessment tests that are equipped with an NCLEX readiness predictor. While they don’t claim to have a computer-adaptive technology to mimic the NCLEX examination, yet the quality of their practice questions is top-notch.
Source: Nursing UWorld
Why? UWorld NCLEX not only has an abundant collection of practice questions but a collection of challenging practice questions. I am giving this an emphasis because there are several NCLEX courses that give you thousands of practice questions, but the quality of the questions is very low. In other words, those questions don’t really test your critical-thinking ability.
Take UWorld NCLEX differently because their practice questions have the same level of difficulty as that of the actual NCLEX. When you prep using their questions, you will feel confident because answering the questions is like answering the questions from the real one.
UWorld NCLEX takes the lead when it comes to practice questions and practice exams although it plays close to what Kaplan has – the same number of practice questions. UWorld may have only two self-assessment tests compared to Kaplan’s three full-length tests, but the quality of the questions are comparable to the actual NCLEX exam. This is the main reason it beats Kaplan in this context.
Furthermore, UWorld NCLEX also has a unique approach that involves innovative and content-rich rationales that detailed the clinical reasoning of every correct and wrong answer. Even better, each rationale also has a matching illustration or image that makes you understand complicated concepts easily.
Kaplan vs. UWorld: Test-taking Tips and Strategies
If you are looking to improve your test-taking strategies, you would surely find Kaplan NCLEX an amazing choice. It doesn’t disappoint when it comes to making you test-ready through its popular decision tree method. It specializes in giving you an edge on how to interpret and handle different questions that you will find in the NCLEX examination.
Keep in mind that NCLEX is all about testing your ability to handle various nursing situations. Your NCLEX performance translates into your competency when you’re already working as an entry-level nurse. This is why NCLEX is a licensure examination that determines your eligibility to become a licensed/registered nurse.
On the other hand, UWorld NCLEX does not really have a strategy structure to guide you in answering questions. The in-depth explanations and detailed rationales with images are great features, but so far, I haven’t encountered any UWorld posts that mention the strategies they teach to ace your NCLEX examination.
It has an amazing collection of practice questions with the right level of difficulty, but it doesn’t provide emphasis on test-taking tips and strategies.
It is clear that Kaplan NCLEX is superior to UWorld NCLEX when it comes to this factor. Kaplan certainly takes NCLEX as a matter of direction in answering the questions. There are a lot of things you need to consider before arriving at a solution for a specific nursing situation.
Do I attend to the patient first before the medical equipment? Is the physical need of the patient the first priority over his/her psychological need? How do I deal with real or potential risks?
I vouch for Kaplan’s effectiveness when it comes to strategies, so I recommend it if you need to hone yourself in this aspect.
Kaplan Vs. UWorld: Pricing Options
Kaplan’s pricing points are straightforward. The main NCLEX courses range from around $400 to $500 while the practice packages are more affordable, which range from less than $100 to almost $300. Indeed, Kaplan is known to be on the expensive tiers when compared to other test prep courses.
A huge factor of the pricing is the pool of nurse educators along with the pass guarantee.
The Live Online and In-Person courses also sit at the expensive price points because of the content experts who will constantly teach and guide you to pass the exam. After all, it pays a large sum of money to have an actual person helping you.
As with UWorld NCLEX, the pricing is considered to be its edge. While Kaplan is known to be expensive, UWorld is known to be affordable. Its pricing options are even more affordable than other NCLEX course providers like Hurst and ATI. The packages range from around $100 to $400 with slight differences in access length and feature inclusions.
Source: Nursing UWorld
Their price options are really affordable, but I find the Qbank for 360 days and 730 days as expensive. For around $400, you will have access only to the question bank and two self-assessment tests for a year or so.
If you compare this level of pricing to other test prep providers, you will already have an instructor to teach and guide you. Of course, most test-takers for NCLEX also don’t study one year ahead, which is why these Qbank options in UWorld are not in-demand.
Undeniably, UWorld NCLEX takes the lead in terms of pricing. Its features are high-quality but won’t surely break the bank. Plus, as I’ve mentioned, it also offers bulk pricing for academic programs that can potentially help groups of students to get discounts when they enroll.
For those who prefer to study on their own with a comprehensive question bank at a very affordable price, you can go for UWorld’s Qbank packages.
Kaplan Vs. UWorld: Platform’s Ease of Use
Kaplan’s platform is very easy to use because of the simple formatting. Even the computer-adaptive tests are laid out in a sophisticated manner.
The Live Online session is also text-heavy with the right mix of images for better retention of information. In the upper left corner of the page is the nursing instructor window where you can easily ask questions.
When it comes to UWorld’s platform, you will also find it simple and concise. Like Kaplan, there is a great combination of texts and illustrations in the presentation of concepts. I also like that UWorld features a feedback system and a time-tracker as you go, which helps you monitor your pacing when answering the questions.
Source: Nursing UWorld
Honestly, this is the first and only benchmark which I can say that Kaplan NCLEX and UWorld NCLEX have the same take on things. Both course providers put students at ease when using their respective platforms, especially because both of them also have the option to access the materials across all devices.
I wouldn’t say that UWorld’s feedback system and time-tracker are way ahead than that of Kaplan’s because UWorld is supposed to have those features given that they don’t have nursing instructors to help students monitor their progress like Kaplan.
Kaplan Vs. UWorld: Student Support
For students, this is one of the most significant benchmarks. None of the best features matter if customer service is lacking.
Kaplan has three options for you to contact support. It can be through email, hotline, or chat – whichever you prefer. Answers to the frequently asked questions (FAQs) are also provided on the Contact Us page. You will also find their social media platforms beneficial as much as I do.
You can reach out to them via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
On the other hand, UWorld’s support team is accessible only through one channel–email. However, you may also find answers in their FAQ section which is also neatly organized according to categories.
UWorld also has social media platforms, but it doesn’t outrightly provide them as your mode of communication.
With the variety of platforms provided, it is safe to say that Kaplan NCLEX is so much better than UWorld when it comes to student support.
Don’t take student support as a benchmark to be taken for granted. When you’re already at a certain point that you’ll need instant help in case you’re stuck on a certain concept, you will surely find a more accessible test prep provider as helpful than ever.
Kaplan Vs. UWorld: Additional Features
The additional features provided by NCLEX course providers surely add value to what you’re paying, which is why I’ve included it as a benchmark in this comparison review.
Kaplan, for example, provides you access to video lectures that cover more than 300 essential nursing topics. Plus, you get an NCLEX content review guide and a 500-page e-book as supplement materials.
UWorld, on the other hand, has customizable examinations and flashcards to help you with a quick review.
On this last benchmark, I would say Kaplan NCLEX takes the lead again. The Nursing Channel has all those video lessons that will surely make you say your money is worth spending on this NCLEX course.
The content review guide as well as the e-book are also helpful. UWorld’s customizable exams and flashcards are also great, but these are not as comprehensive and as beneficial as what Kaplan offers.
Summary – Which is Better?
Clearly, Kaplan NCLEX is the winner of this UWorld vs. Kaplan 2020 review. Overall, it gives you the edge you need to pass the NCLEX examination – comprehensive information and test-taking strategies. The high price is also offset by its other features, such as the option to ask for assistance from nurse educators whenever you feel confused about a certain topic.
Kaplan’s lack of in-depth explanations and progress tracker is understandable because you have access to nurse educators who can do both – explain difficult concepts and to provide you with information about your progress.
However, I should also say that these two NCLEX course providers are close competition when it comes to quality. Each of them also has its own forte.
Use Kaplan NCLEX if:
- You need to hone your test-taking skills and learn more strategies in handling different question types.
- You have three or more months to prep for the NCLEX.
Use UWorld NCLEX if:
- You need to master complicated practice questions.
- You have less than three months to prepare for the NCLEX.