We get a lot of questions from soon-to-be nurses on Hurst vs Kaplan NCLEX prep courses. We wanted to address these questions head-on with this Hurst vs Kaplan review where we take on some important features, face-to-face, and determine a “winner.”
If you are a nursing student preparing for your new career “in the field,” here is a quick peek at the highlights of these NCLEX prep courses offered by Kaplan and Hurst Review:
$339 – $499
$109 – $399
- NCLEX Channel (300+ topics)
- 10 Content Review sessions
- Computer Adaptive Practice Tests
- 30% alternate format Qbank
- Expert nurse support available
- Lots of course options
A high-quality NCLEX test prep course can pay off handsomely in the form of passing the NCLEX-RN the first time, so read on if you are thinking of prepping with Hurst or Kaplan NCLEX this year!
Overview: Hurst vs Kaplan NCLEX RN Prep Courses
Let’s begin this head-to-head matchup with a brief overview of each company and the NCLEX RN prep courses that they offer:
Kaplan NCLEX RN Prep Course
Read our Fully Detailed Kaplan NCLEX-RN Review
In the realm of standardized test prep, Kaplan is the undisputed leader. The company has offered high-quality test prep services for decades, ranging in scope from law school entrance exams to the SAT.
Two million students around the world complete Kaplan courses each year. The vast majority go on to perform, on average, substantially better than their peers who take sub-par prep courses or none at all.
Kaplan’s most basic NCLEX package, the Self-Paced prep course, costs $399 – a hefty investment for those of us just finishing up nursing school, but not unexpected in the often-expensive world of NCLEX prep. Kaplan’s Live Online NCLEX prep course is slightly costlier at $499. Access to Kaplan course content lasts 6 months.
The self-paced course includes 2,100+ questions from Kaplan’s “Qbank,” 10 NCLEX content review sessions, a 500-page ebook, and access to the Kaplan “NCLEX Channel” covering 300+ topics.
You also get 3 full-length computer adaptive tests (CAT), which means that the questions are curated by an algorithm as you move through the course to target your areas of opportunity (i.e., your weaknesses).
In the souped-up Live Online course, Kaplan offers all the features of the self-paced course plus intensive line online instruction.
As we’ll explore more in-depth later on in this Hurst vs Kaplan review, Kaplan guarantees that nursing students who take its prep courses pass the first time or the company will fully refund the cost of the course.
Students who have reviewed Kaplan’s test prep services on TrustPilot have awarded the company with an average 4.6/5-star rating.
- Excellent test prep strategy
- Highly experienced instructors
- Personalized practice question
- More established and better reviewed/vetted prep provider
- One less practice test than Hurst
- More expensive than Hurst
Hurst NCLEX RN Prep Course
Read our Fully Detailed Hurst NCLEX Review
Marlene Hurst, an accomplished nurse herself, founded Hurst Review in 1988. Since then, the company has helped in excess of 400,000 nursing students across the US prepare for the NCLEX RN exam.
Hurst offers its students more options than Kaplan – a 30-day Hurst Qbank course ($109), a 90-day Hurst Now course ($199), a 120-day Hurst Now Plus course ($339), and, finally, the Hurst N-Stream course ($399).
The basic 30-day course includes 1500+ NCLEX RN Questions, contextual explanations for answers, and testing strategies.
The 90-day Hurst Now course has all the features of the 30-day course plus a resource library, 4 readiness exams, and expert nurse support. The 120-day Hurst Now Plus course includes bonus access to its Elevate prep services. Finally, the most expensive option, the Hurst N-Stream course, offers live streaming sessions across 3 days from 9-4:30 pm CST.
Hurst claims a 98% first-attempt pass rate for the nursing students who complete its courses.
- More practice tests
- Significantly more affordable than Kaplan
- Complimentary access to Elevate prep services at higher price tier
- More course options
- Fewer practice questions
- Less time to access course content
Hurst vs Kaplan NCLEX Prep Course Review: Head-to-Head Matchup
Here, Kaplan and Hurst Review face off in a side-by-side comparison broken up by categories: Price, Practice Questions & Tests, Class Material & Instruction, Learning Experience & Platform, Instructors, and Score Guarantees & Refunds:
Cost is absolutely one of the biggest factors in the NCLEX RN prep course selection process for many of us.
Here is a quick reference chart to compare each company’s most affordable and expensive prep courses, respectively. As we alluded to, you can see that Kaplan’s courses come at a markedly higher cost than the Hurst Review NCLEX courses.
Most Affordable Course
Most Expensive Course
In addition to being more affordable overall, Hurst also offers more variety in terms of its pricing tiers. Hurst Review takes the cake when it comes to its lower cost options for NCLEX prep.
Practice Questions & Tests
Kaplan’s NCLEX prep courses contain 2,100+ questions, compared to 1,500+ practice questions provided by Hurst Review. Kaplan’s NCLEX practice questions have generally superior reviews from students who have taken the course. This may prove more helpful when it comes to taking the NCLEX on test day, as you already have more familiarity with the type of questions being asked.
In terms of tests, Hurst Review’s courses feature 4 unique 125-question exams. Kaplan offers 3 computer adaptive tests (CAT) – a feature that can be beneficial for optimizing your study time for maximum effectiveness. Practicing with CAT-style questions also has the added benefit of preparing you for a similar interface used on test day.
In terms of sheer quantity and quality, we rank Kaplan’s NCLEX prep as superior in this Kaplan vs Hurst Practice Questions & Tests category.
Class Materials & Instruction
All of the class materials for each of these NCLEX courses are entirely digital.
Kaplan students get a free copy of an e-book for all courses. One of the major perks of Kaplan’s NCLEX courses is the focus in all of its course on the “Decision Tree” a 5-step method of test-taking – a real potential benefit for those who struggle with testing in high-stakes environments.
Each of the company’s self-paced formats are, as their names suggest, left up to the student to navigate. No live instruction is included.
At the higher price points, Kaplan’s Live Online course 3-day of 7-day schedules of wall-to-wall study sessions while Hurst Review offers similar schedules in its live instruction courses.
We hate to be obtuse when it comes to our Kaplan vs Hurst showdown, but in this category, there really is no ‘winner.’ The good news is that, if class material and quality of instruction is your #1 priority, then you can’t make a bad choice when choosing among Hurst or Kaplan NCLEX courses.
Winner: It’s a Tie!
Learning Experience & Platform
Once you get into the site and start perusing, you will notice that Kaplan has obviously put a lot of resources into creating an easy-to-navigate, intuitive layout that makes executing your prep strategy seem like second nature.
Perhaps owing to a smaller operating budget, Hurst Review’s platform is a little more “old-school” than those of competing test prep services. As one reviewer on Reddit put it, the features on the platform “looked like they were from the 1990s.”
Both of these companies have functional platforms, but having a streamlined platform to study with can make the process feel much simpler. Perhaps as a justification for the cost, Kaplan may seem like a more worthy investment simply for its intuitive study platform that allows you to focus on what matters.. Passing the NCLEX.
Kaplan recruits its teachers from the professional ranks of experienced nurses and nursing instructors. Requirements include an MSN or BSN plus master’s degree, a current nursing license, 5+ years of clinical nursing skills, and a high level of communication and leadership ability.
This is a huge perk for students looking for NCLEX prep, as few NCLEX review companies guarantee such experienced faculty.
They also offer perks to their instructors including paid training, workshops, and faculty meetings to create a sense of involvement and pride in the workplace.
Suffice it to say, hiring top NCLEX instructors is a high priority for Kaplan. Kaplan’s majority positive reviews of instructors reflects the time and effort they put into their staff. You can see all of the instructors here on Kaplan’s site.
On the other hand, Hurst review doesn’t detail much about their hiring or continued learning for their faculty. According to the site, Hurst Review looks out for “dynamic, enthusiastic, and talented instructors” for its NCLEX courses, although the details of their qualifications are sparse.
If you’re considering a live online NCLEX course, then we recommend Kaplan for its instructor quality.
Score Guarantees and Refunds
Kaplan offers its highly regarded NCLEX prep course guarantee. If you take one of its prep courses but fail the NCLEX, you are eligible for the following remedies:
- 3-month repeat of the course. Or:
- A full refund – with caveats. Always make sure you read the fine print to avoid any nasty surprises.
Hurst also offers a guarantee to pass the NCLEX on the first attempt and boasts a 98% pass rate. For its customers that fail, Hurst offers the following options to meet their commitment:
- A one-time 45-day remediation course. Or:
- A full refund. To qualify, you must notify Hurst within 2 weeks of failing the exam, among other stipulations listed on their site.
Both of these score guarantees / refund policies come with some fine print that should be paid attention to. When choosing between Kaplan or Hurst, both of these companies are going to offer pretty much the same guarantee.
Our biggest piece of advice is to take notes on the score guarantee before buying this course and make sure you will be able to meet all of the requirements if you don’t pass the NCLEX.
Winner: It’s a Tie!
Related: Budget NCLEX? Read our Nurse Plus Academy Reviews
Standout Features of Kaplan and Princeton Review SAT Prep Courses
For even more information to aid in your selection process of Hurst vs Kaplan, below is a smattering of standout features of the courses.
We highly recommend a “try before you buy” approach to buying your NCLEX prep course. This will allow you to actually try out both of these courses before making a final decision of Hurst vs Kaplan.
Kaplan hosts 2,100+ practice questions, against 1500+ from Hurst. Both sets of NCLEX practice materials are based on the questions on the real NCLEX exam.
Hurst Review’s practice questions are available in 2 modes: Flashcard or Quiz mode. They are 30% alternate format and provide rationales for why a question is right or wrong.
Hurst Review has several ways to get in touch with any technical challenges or other concerns, including by phone or email.
Kaplan’s contact page, likewise, displays several methods to get in touch with the company – including by social media, which can be more convenient than email when you’re out and about.
Kaplan’s financing service partner Affirm can set you up to better afford your test prep by spacing out your payments across several months with minimal interest.
Hurst Review also offers in-house payment plans for some of its courses that require payment for its courses in thirds. So, for example, payment for the Hurst Now Plus course ($339) can be broken up like this:
- $133.00 due at the time of registration.
- $113.00 payment automatically made 30 days after purchase.
- $113.00 payment automatically made 60 days after purchase.
As we mentioned, these courses are an investment in passing the NCLEX the first time. By offering such payment plan programs, you can make the best decision for yourself regardless of the upfront cost.
The Bottom Line on Hurst vs Kaplan NCLEX Prep Courses
Although both Hurst and Kaplan are respected NCLEX RN prep providers that have helped millions of nurses between them pass their exams, Kaplan earns the nod for its superior features and more user-friendly interface.
Use Kaplan’s NCLEX RN prep courses if you:
- Want an established, industry-leading test prep provider
- Place a premium on platform usability
- Need more flexibility in terms of access time (6 months)
- Struggle with test-taking strategies
Use Hurst’s NCLEX RN prep courses if you:
- Want more practice tests
- Need more flexibility in terms of course options
- Want accurate, in-depth explanations for each practice question