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Full Review of Kaplan NCLEX course

Kaplan’s NCLEX Review.


What is Kaplan’s review?


Kaplan, Inc. is a for-profit organization that offers NCLEX review courses among many other services. Their review course is known for its decision tree and question bank (Q bank). Kaplan also offers a large library of videos, questions and study material. Despite their large accessible inventory of study resources, many students find the content videos dull and long. There are also many mixed reviews about Kaplan’s decision tree efficiency and practicality.

Review & Class time


The Kaplan review consists of answering questions only. The entire class time (about 21 hours of videos) revolves around solving questions using the decision tree, practicing repeatedly to get the hang of it. It can take 5 to 15 minutes to answer one question. And no nursing content is reviewed as part of the coursework



It is important to mention that nursing content is NOT included in class time, but is available as an additional resource in a separate content library.

This may require additional time spent reviewing content videos.



Additional resources:


In addition to Kaplan’s review videos, there is a large library of content videos that contains 322 videos, ranging from 1 to 5 minutes.

Videos cover some anatomy & physiology, diseases & conditions, procedures, lab values, strategies and more.


The videos are sorted alphabetically, which can be great for reference for a specific disease or condition, But not ideal when need to cover an entire topic or body system.


Unlike Hurst’s content, which is organized by body systems and makes it easier to study entire system thus, retain information better.

Kaplan NCLEX review video library

Kaplan video library


Video Format:


All videos are formatted as a PowerPoint presentation and are composed of an instructor reading information off of the slide;



Kaplan's lecture sample

PowerPoint-like presentations


Many students find the review videos to be long, dry and repetitive.


The Decision Tree


What is the Decision Tree?


Kaplan claims it came up with a practical method to answer style questions called The Decision Tree.

The decision tree is a 5-step framework that can be applied to NCLEX-style questions.


The decision tree uses the following questions:


  1. What is the topic?
  2. Assessment vs. Implementation
  3. What is the lowest MASLOW level?
  4. ABC’s Priority – Is it (A)airway, (B)Breathing, or C(circulation)?
  5. What is the outcome?
Kaplan's decision tree

Decision Tree framework




The Problem with the Decision Tree…


  • Requires nursing background:

It turns out that in order to answer questions using the decision tree, student must know their nursing content. If the nursing content is not yet mastered, it’ll be harder to apply the decision tree.


  • Requires Practice:

Applying the decision tree correctly takes practice. There are 5 steps to it, and it is easy to get it wrong. And if you don’t apply the decision tree correctly, it may lead you to the wrong answer.


  • Confusion & overthinking.

There will be times where you may know the answer, but the decision tree will guide you otherwise. Now you are having to choose between the decision tree, or your intuition… From here it is easy to overthink and get lost…



  • Precious time wasted:

Answering NCLEX questions using Kaplan’s process may take 2-7 minutes or more! You CANNOT afford to spend 2-7 minutes on one question, when you have 60 seconds per question!



  • Doesn’t fit all questions:

The decision tree may not fit all questions – It may help solve some questions better than others.

The decision tree may answer well priority question, e.g which patient to see first during ( (a) hyperglacemic Pt., (b) Pt. pending surgery, (c) Pt. with chronic headache. (d)Pt. who is vomiting) but may work poorly when nursing knowledge is required



Ultimately, many students who take the Kaplan NCLEX Review course feel disappointed, as the decision tree did not help as expected.




Question Bank (Q bank)



Kaplan is known for its famous Q bank. The Q bank is composed of 1600 NCLEX-style questions and includes a variety of different difficulty levels and nursing topics.


Many nurses report that a key success for the NCLEX is practicing questions! And Kaplan’s Q bank seems to be useful for students who need to utilize practice questions.


If practicing NCLEX-style questions is the type review that is needed, Kaplan may be the review that is needed.


Qbank monthly.

However, it may make more sense to buy Kaplan’s QBank for a one-time subscription, instead of purchasing the entire NCLEX review course. The difference is $60 vs. 500$!




Cost of the QBank


1 Month-$59

2 Months-$89

3 Months-$109

6 Months-$149

12 Months-$199


Additional eBook content review is available for an additional $20/month




Who May Benefit from Kaplan’s Review?


  • People with test anxiety and blackouts
  • People, who may know the content, but need guidance with questions breakdown & analysis.
  • People who often overthink – the step-by-step breakdown helps sort out the thinking process.
  • People who took long break (3 month or more) and need a content refresher class, may benefit from Kaplan’s extensive content library of 322+ videos & question breakdown videos.







Options, Prices & Availability.


Kaplan’s review course consists of repetition and rehearsing the decision tree process.


There are 3 ways Kaplan presents its course:


  1. Live class
  2. Online classroom (webinar)
  3. Self paced (online recording)



All come with access to Kaplan’s resources which include:


  • 3000 NCLEX style questions QBANK
  • Diagnostic & Readiness tests, including 7 practice tests
  • Kaplan content video library,
  • 500-page content eBook



Live Class


Kaplan’s live class is in an actual classroom with an instructor

with 3-month online access to Kaplan’s library.


Duration & availability: the classes are available throughout the USA. Class lengths are about 21 hours. Dates and time vary by location.


Price: $499 or 3 installments of $166.33 + $25 non-refundable registration fee (total of $524)


Click here to choose location & time.



Online classroom (webinar)


The live online class is broadcasted live online, like a webinar, and led by an instructor.

The benefit of the live online course is that the learner gets the classroom experience with the flexibility of attending from their home. There are also more dates available as oppose to the actual live class.


Duration & availability: Dates & time are available on Kaplan’s website.

Click here for the updated schedule.


Price $499, or 3 installments of $166.33 + $25 non-refundable registration fee (total of $524)

Sample video





Study at your own pace in a location that’s convenient for you.

Unlike the Live Classroom..


Duration & availability: Unlimited online access for 3-month.


Price:$399 or 3 installments of $166.33 + $25 non-refundable registration fee (total of $424)




Return policy


Full return or free 3-month enrollment, provided the learner meets certain eligibility requirements as outlined below.




  1. If graduated nursing school (NLN or CCNE-accredited) within last 6 month, AND
  2. Took NCLEX the first time and failed.



The following criteria must also be met:


  1. Take the Kaplan Diagnostic and Readiness Tests
  2. Attend all class sessions in the review class
  3. Answer all questions on the seven “Question Trainer” tests.
  4. Must not access the Online Study Center resources after the NCLEX exam.
  5. The money-back guarantee applies ONLY to the original 3-month enrollment



Pros & Cons




  • 3000 NCLEX style questions with rationales & reports (also available at a monthly subscription)
  • Using the decision tree may help if done correctly. It can help answers certain type of questions such as priority-type questions.
  • Large content video & study material available





  • The decision tree may not fit all type of questions
  • The decision tree requires practice. If the test-taker is not adept at the decision tree, they are at risk of answering questions incorrectly.
  • Videos are reported to be long and boring and consist of answering questions only.
  • The program is expensive compared to other classes, such as HURST,
  • You are tide to Kaplan- Kaplan partners with nursing schools, where the school pays for the review and bundles it into tuition. This forces the nursing student to use their specific program instead of shopping around for a program that works best for them.



The Bottom Line…


Kaplan’s NCLEX Review comes out to be fairly pricey for what it offers. Even though it is known for its extensive quality question test bank, it is failing to provide an adequate content review. Kaplan’s entire content review is composed of breaking down and analyzing questions with the “decision tree”. The decision tree, which may be useful for some people, may be confusing for others, especially when many questions cannot be answered with the decision tree if lacking knowledge in nursing science. The 20 hours of video/class hours where questions being read aloud repeatedly, may feel long & boring.



You may want to

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Kaplan NCLEX Review


  1. […] Click here for a full review & grade on Kaplan’s NCLEX prep course. […]

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