The 10 Best NCLEX Review Books [updated for 2019]

by: Kristine Kristine Thorndyke | Last Updated December 8, 2019

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One of the best investments you can make after completing your nursing program is investing in the best NCLEX review books so that you can pass your NCLEX-RN exam!  While you might have fabulous study groups and a pretty good grasp on the information being tested, there is still much to be gained from a proper NCLEX review book before testing. 

In an examination like the NCLEX that is prepared as a test of prospective nurses’ level of skill and knowledge, it is important that you get the best NCLEX review book that works for you. While there are so many of these review books that you can use to prepare for you exam, having an overview of your top options is a great way to start your NCLEX study plan. Here are the 10 best NCLEX review books that you can use to prepare for the NCLEX-RN.

 

Looking for more? Check out the best NCLEX review courses + discounts

 

In a hurry? Check out our top 3 picks:

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Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN (Lippincott's...
Best Overall
Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN...
Best Practice
Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment:...
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Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN (Lippincott's...
Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN...
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Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN...
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Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN...
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Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment:...
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The 10 Best NCLEX Review Books for 2018-2019

Saunders Comprehensive Review

This is one of the most highly-rated test prep books for the NCLEX-RN examination. Even though it’s quite a big book, it is filled with plenty of information and practice questions that are arranged in an easy-to-understand format. One thing that most student notice from the Saunders Comprehensive Review is the arrangement of the text in sections. Each of the sections is written in language that is easy to understand in simplified grammar.

With each new edition, you can notice that there is an emphasis to increase visual content such as charts, graphs, colored pictures that are properly annotated to ensure that students have something to break up the monotony of the text.

The Saunders Review also contains over 5,000 practice questions that are also available online. The questions are also found at the end of each chapter so that studying and revising go hand-in-hand while the information is still fresh. All answers are properly explained for both correct and incorrect options, which helps students to be more conversant of the options given and how to approach each question. For those who prefer to study online, there is also an exclusive website that contains even more study resources that help to further clarify the book contents.

Top Highlights:

  • Extensive library of online and offline content
  • Test strategies and explanations are easy to follow as well as the logical reasoning behind both correct and incorrect answer options
  • Beautiful visual information presentation that keeps students engaged

Drawback(s):

The Kindle version still requires more ease of use development, as it is currently quite difficult to use. Another common complaint about this NCLEX review book is the low degree of difficulty of the practice questions, which means the test day questions could seem more difficult than you’ve prepared for.

Final Verdict:

This is one of the best NCLEX review books that you can use to study in order to qualify as a registered nurse. It is easy to read and full of useful strategies and material to prepare you for your exam with confidence.

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Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN...
  • Often called the ‘the best NCLEX exam review...
  • Don't make the mistake of assuming the quality of...
  • Written by the most trusted name in NCLEX review,...

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Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment


Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment makes our list of the best NCLEX review books for its focus on helping studying nurses to get their skills right for their future. The study guide is divided into three parts that address the principles of prioritization, delegation and supervision. Where other study guides focus on practice questions and theories, this review book lays more of an emphasis on critical reasoning, problem analysis, and resolution. Patient care requires a lot of task management, delegation and prioritization and this book delves deep into instilling the right strategies and approach for real-life situations.

Multiple choice questions are also provided that become more difficult as you progress that will help you become familiar with most NCLEX exam question types. This book helps to hone skills in areas that other review guides somewhat ignore. While it is a competent study guide, we recommend combining it with other study guides to have a more well-rounded study for the NCLEX-RN exam.

Top Highlights:

  • Real-life scenarios that are explained comprehensively for easy understanding
  • Focus on niche components of the NCLEX that other review guides somewhat gloss over
  • Excellent choice for faculties for teaching nursing concepts and planning

Drawbacks:

This is a niche book that is most effective when used with other study review guides. The book focuses on an important part of the NCLEX exam, but you are better off combining it with other review books in order to get a well-rounded prep and gain further competence.

Final Verdict:

This is a review guide that must be part of your NCLEX study arsenal. It will help to develop analytical and prioritization skills that will come handy well into the nursing career, especially for those who require help in that area, as it is not generally covered by most review books.

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Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment:...
  • Lacharity, Linda A., Ph.D., RN (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 360 Pages - 01/25/2018 (Publication Date) - Mosby...

Lippincott Q&A Review


This is one of the best NCLEX review books you can use to prepare for the nursing exam. This is because it mirrors the actual exam in all terms of the question types, difficulty levels and formatting. If you already have a strong grasp of the NCLEX syllabus and are looking to test yourself with a close replica of an actual NCLEX exam, then this review book is for you. The author is an accomplished nursing instructor and associate profession and contains questions that will show you exactly what to expect from the NCLEX exam.

All aspects of the nursing practice can greatly benefit from this review book in areas including pediatrics, medical health, and surgical practices. Completing this review book thoroughly is sure to fill any nursing student with the confidence to face the NCLEX exam without any doubt. The arrangement of the questions in the practice test are also random in difficulty with explanations for all option types provided with details to assure you that you’re on the right path.

Top Highlights:

  • Over 6,000 NCLEX study questions included in the study pack to practice with confidence, plus rationales provided for all options
  • Extensive online study materials to augment textbook study plan.
  • All test formats of the NCLEX included including degree of difficulty and audio options

Drawback(s):

The online materials provided are too similar to what is available in the book, so it is repetitive trying to further study online using this book. Unfortunately, there are also typographical errors in the book’s copy which we would rather not see in a publication of this stature. There are also several questions in the online section that do not contain the video or chart that should have been included.

Final Verdict:

For anybody in nursing school, this book is highly recommended. You will get to see questions and explanations that will go a long way in helping you. The self-analysis page provided is also a nice touch. This book is a quality addition to any NCLEX exam study arsenal.

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Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN (Lippincott's...
  • Billings EdD RN FAAN, Diane (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1132 Pages - 04/13/2016 (Publication Date) - LWW...

Mosby’s Comprehensive Review of Nursing


The Mosby’s review book is one of the best NCLEX review books that you can add to your nursing school library because of all the benefits that it offers. Even practicing nurses will find loads of useful materials in this book. With over 800 pages to go over, the Mosby review guide comprehensively lays out the main topics required for the NCLEX. Despite being so voluminous, this book is arranged quite well, making it easy to read and organize study plans. There are also plenty of practice questions to study with, as well as audio and graphic questions to prepare with.

Combined with the assortment of quiz questions and audio format, there is also an additional segment for nursing management. If you would prefer to have quizzes customized to your personal needs, then a companion CD is included to help you focus your study plans.

Top Highlights:

  • Two full-length comprehensive practice exams to get well-acquainted to the NCLEX exam format and requirements
  • Brand-new section focused on nursing management practices like prioritization, task management, governance etc.
  • Audio and graphical format questions available for study
  • Contains the latest NCLEX-RN test plan for exam preparation
  • Lots of colorful charts and content

Drawback(s):

One of the most common issues that our readers have found with this book is the repetitiveness. Rationales for most of the answers provided are also not clear enough to help understanding.

Final Verdict:

The Mosby’s Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX is a competent collection of study materials for nursing students that you can trust for your exam preparations. It makes our list of the best NCLEX review books because it is the most updated review books in the market and contains a capable question bank that will help with exam preparations.

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Mosby's Comprehensive Review of Nursing for the...
  • COMPANION CD ENCLOSED!!
  • Nugent RN Ma MS Edd, Patricia M (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

HESI Comprehensive Review



The HESI Comprehensive Review makes our list of the best NCLEX review books as it is an excellent study guide for nursing students who have a long study plan and have started well ahead of time to prepare. The book is arranged into chapters that take advantage of different teaching techniques to explain complex concepts from pediatric, psychiatric and neonatal nursing amongst others. Another cool thing about the HESI Comprehensive Review is that it is quite easy to understand and written in simple language and clear terms.

The layout of the book is well thought out and arranged in such a way that there are hint boxes, clues, short lessons, pictures, and charts that all contribute to a more enjoyable learning experience all around. This is especially important because of its preference by students with months to prepare for the NCLEX exam. The online resource center is also quite extensive and provides plenty of practice questions for students to sharpen their skills with.

Top Highlights:

  • Book layout is very interesting and encourages long study times without being tiresome or boring
  • The book is produced from high-quality paper that is durable enough to withstand most of the rigors and constant shuffles of months-long study schedules
  • The language is clear and easy to understand with a nice blend of text, graphs, charts and hint boxes that pass across information without being tedious
  • Explanations for answer options are also very detailed which helps to improve understanding and retention

Drawback(s):

As is common with a lot of NCLEX review books, there were a number of typos scattered around the text. The online resources are scanty compared to our other listed best NCLEX review books. Having less than 300 questions online isn’t ideal, and you would probably need more resources to better prepare for the NCLEX exam.

Final Verdict:

The HESI Comprehensive Review is a good choice if you are preparing for the HESI alongside the NCLEX exam. There’s plenty of engaging content provided to optimize learning and understanding as well as high-quality glossy paper used for the book for maximum durability. Even though the online resources leave a lot to be desired, it still does an excellent job of providing nursing students a great way to prepare for their license exams, making it in our list of the top 10 best NCLEX review books.

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HESI Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN...
  • Elsevier
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 398 Pages - 09/16/2016 (Publication Date) -...

NCLEX-RN Content Review Guide


This Review Guide is published by Kaplan, one of the foremost brands among the NCLEX and other tests. It provides a summary of all relevant Nursing concepts that are needed. Think of it as a refresher course on everything that you need to know. Because it uses the Kaplan learning method that has been so effective over the years, you can actually learn the NCLEX without having to go through the full course, making it among the best NCLEX review books on the market today! This is because the materials are laid out in such a way that it is easy to understand, easy to access and follows a study path that allows you to cover the complete contents of the NCLEX question categories.

Kaplan also uses a Decision Tree strategy that assists students to sharpen their critical reasoning skills. Kaplan prides itself in being at the forefront of test preparation and this review guide is another testament to the fact. This is one of the most popular NCLEX review books and also provides so many practice content, both online and offline that help student understand answer choices. Kaplan also provides reviews from nursing professionals that help students to better understand key concepts covered.

Top Highlights:

  • Comprehensive but concise review guide that is well-crafted to help students get ready for the NCLEX
  • Quality online practice resources

Drawback(s):

There are no full-length practice exams to try out. While there are many practice questions to revise with, the rationales and explanations for the practice questions and answers could also be more comprehensive and explanatory.

Final Verdict:

This review guide contains more than 600 pages of materials that will help nursing students get ready for their exam. The abundance of online sample questions and study strategies are excellent additions to any study preparation plan, making it among our list of the best NCLEX review books.

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NCLEX-RN Content Review Guide (Kaplan Test Prep)
  • Kaplan Nursing (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 648 Pages - 03/05/2019 (Publication Date) - Kaplan...

Davis’s Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN


Using the Davis’s Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN is a popular option for many nursing students because it is said to have the highest number of practice questions of all NCLEX review books currently in the market, making it among the top 10 best NCLEX review books, with 2,750 questions in the book and another 10,000 practice questions. Simply put, there are more than enough materials to get ready for the NCLEX when using Davis’s Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN. The beauty of this review book is that the difficulty levels are also high enough to provide enough of a challenge. In fact, most of the questions are tougher than the NCLEX and need advanced understanding of nursing concepts to answer correctly. This means that nursing students who use the Davis review guide prepare at a higher degree of difficulty which helps them retain more and pass the NCLEX with greater ease.

The arrangement of the question types also helps students to easily identify their areas of deficiency for improvement. That way, you can then focus on working on these in order to ensure a better chance of success at the NCLEX. The rationales provided by Davis’s review guide are also comprehensive and extremely detailed. There are also guidelines that help students understand different question types and recommend the best ways to handle them.

Top Highlights:

  • Huge database of practice questions to work with, largest among NCLEX review books
  • Higher degree of difficulty of the practice questions improve retention and preparation
  • Questions provide comprehensive rationales and explanations
  • Useful, easy-to-understand chapter arrangement
  • Two full-length examinations provided as part of study materials

Drawback(s):

There are typographical mistakes found in some pages. The Kindle version of book is very disappointing and difficult to read.

Final Verdict:

This is one of the most complete and best NCLEX review books on the market with more than enough materials to practice with. The book also comes with a year’s access to even more online materials.

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Davis's Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN
  • Ohman EdD MS RN, Kathleen A. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1216 Pages - 01/23/2017 (Publication Date) - F.A....

Exam Cram NCLEX-RN Practice Questions


This is one of the best budget picks among our best NCLEX review books for review and preparation. As the name implies, this book is designed to provide quick study in a timely manner to nursing students. The book covers all the key nursing concepts tested on the NCLEX and provides practice questions to test on knowledge. The book also provides separate rationale pages which also contain the answers to practice questions for easy review.

The book contains 1,250 questions for students to prepare with. The degree of the difficulty of the practice questions is designed to be challenging and to test concepts for easy recollection. The content is concise and designed to be assimilated for late-stage study and refresher.

This review provides a cram sheet for use in exam preparation. An exam test engine is also provided in a CD to help student familiarize themselves with exam question formats and conditions.

Top Highlights:

  • Time-intensive study guide for the NCLEX that has proven highly effective
  • User-friendly format and materials, easy to understand and intended for personalized study plans
  • Offers a Cram Sheet that contains important concepts for last-minute studying.

Drawback(s):

You may find some errors in the content that could cause confusion. Because this book is also meant for practicing, it is not as comprehensive as needed when dealing with nursing concepts. Most concepts are given a brief overview treatment. If you are not well-grounded on nursing concepts, you should get a more comprehensive NCLEX review book

Final Verdict:

If you’re trying to refresh your memory and sharpen your knowledge towards the NCLEX, then this review guide works perfectly and is the best NCLEX review book for you. It provides easy access to concepts and reference to answers and rationales.

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NCLEX-RN Practice Questions Exam Cram (5th...
  • Pearson It Certification
  • Rinehart, Wilda (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Illustrated Study Guide for the NCLEX-RN


This is a cool, brightly illustrated review guide for the NCLEX, making it the most unique among our top 10 best NCLEX review books. What separates this study guide from others is its colorful pictures, charts and mnemonics that help to improve retention. The content in the book is organized using text, charts and chapter appendix to make it easy for students to consult with this book for references.

Key concepts are also presented in highlighted boxes and charts that are easy to memorize. This is especially useful when learning about drugs and nursing procedures. Online resources can be found on their provided website that contains practice questions, rationales and other common features of the NCLEX exam to help students get familiar and confident before the exam.

With 2,500 practice questions included in the website, students can count on enough materials for study. There are also more content for students that learn better visually like notecard pages where key concepts are summarized, and charts provided to illustrate the information.

Top Highlights:

  • Latest edition contains all new additions to the NCLEX-RN study plans and key nursing concepts that are most commonly tested
  • Test Alert! Boxes help to bring popular information to the student’s attention in an easy-to-remember format.
  • Robust online study materials and practice questions

Drawback(s):

While this book is advertised as an illustrated study guide, there’s not so much of an emphasis on providing charts. There could be more charts and illustrations provided. The book is also heavily summarized which means that you get the best results by using it with more explanatory study textbooks.

Final Verdict:

This illustrated study guide makes our list of the best NCLEX review books because it is an excellent resource for visual learners. Highlighted concepts and charts makes it easy to understand. Online resources are also solid enough to help you create tests to address weak areas.

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Illustrated Study Guide for the NCLEX-RN Exam
  • Zerwekh, JoAnn, R.N. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 689 Pages - 11/26/2018 (Publication Date) - Mosby...

Kaplan’s NCLEX-RN Drug Guide

Drugs and medications are a critical part of the NCLEX-RN test and this portable guide provides all the information you need about the most frequent medications featured on the nursing exam. This book by Kaplan makes our list of the 10 best NCLEX review books as it contains over 300 drugs explained using a flashcard format (click here for more pharmacology flashcard options). Each drug page contains drug terms, explanations, contraindications, uses and other properties.

The book is updated to the most recent information so most of the information you need to know are readily available, including a new section of drug uses. A comprehensive index also features drug brand names and common names, their correct pronunciation and medical abbreviations.

This is a handy review of nursing Pharmacology that you can use to review drug information for the NCLEX. A nice touch that most students like is arrangement of the drugs according to category and not alphabetically. You can also look online for additional Pharmacology study guides. 

Top Highlights:

  • Portable size makes it easy to carry around and study on the go
  • The arrangement of medications in categories makes it very easy to use
  • Excellent guide for both nurses and nursing students

Drawback(s):

This book focuses on Nursing Pharmacology so that’s pretty much everything in it. Don’t expect to pass the NCLEX if you focus only on this guide. It is best used alongside other more comprehensive study guides. It is also not very detailed in its explanations.

Final Verdict:

This is one of the best NCLEX review books to have for a quick review of relevant nursing medications. It is useful to both nurses and students alike because of the wealth of information provided. This book is perfect for students struggling with medication terms and details.

NCLEX-RN Drug Guide: 300 Medications You Need to...
  • Kaplan Nursing (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 08/01/2017 (Publication Date) - Kaplan...

CompanyBook Name / Set PricePublished DateWho Needs This
Saunders
Saunders Comprehensive Review$$2017Students needing a more comprehensive prep for the NCLEX
Linda A. LaCharity PhD RN
Prioritization, Delegation and Assignment$$February 8, 2018Students who need more help analyzing and thinking critically
Lippincott
Lippincott Q&A Review$$April 13, 2016Students seeking practice questions close to the actual NCLEX-RN
Mosby's
Mosby’s Comprehensive Review of Nursing, 20th Edition$$November 17, 2011Students seeking more than just a basic summary of NCLEX knowledge
HESI
HESI Comprehensive Review$$$September 30, 2016Students also preparing to take the HESI
Kaplan
NCLEX-RN Content Review Guide$March 5, 2019Students needing to sharpen their critical reasoning skills
Davis
Davis’s Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN$$January 23, 2017Students looking for a challenging NCLEX prep
Exam Cram
Exam Cram NCLEX-RN Practice Questions$$January 21, 2017Students looking for a budget NCLEX review
JoAnn Zerwekh MSN EdD RN
Illustrated Study Guide for the NCLEX-RN$December 10, 2018Visual learners
Kaplan
Kaplan’s NCLEX-RN Drug Guide$August 1, 2017Those looking for medication resources for both before and after NCLEX

We hope you enjoyed our best NCLEX review books List! Have you used these prep books? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

Preparing for the NCLEX? Know what to expect on test day and what to bring to the NCLEX!

Kristine

Kristine Thorndyke

Kristine Thorndyke is the founder of Test Prep Nerds and a seasoned educator.  She has spent years writing test prep advice and tips for students and has been featured on Business Insider, CEO Blog Nation, and Insider.