We spent 22 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Getting your nursing license isn’t brain surgery, but it can help prepare you for it. Passing the certification exams can be insanely difficult, especially when you think back on everything you learned in school. That’s why the NCLEX books on this list are so valuable, as they’ll give you a refresher on the things you already know, while equipping you with strategies to beat the test. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work.

10. Lippincott’s NCLEX-RN Alternate-Format Questions

If you’re worried a question will pop up on the exam that you weren’t prepared for, Lippincott’s NCLEX-RN Alternate-Format Questions can set those fears to rest. It covers just about every scenario, from multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank to chart and audio problems.


  • Great select-all-that-apply training
  • Goes over everything on the test
  • Questions aren’t very well-organized












Publisher Lippincott Willi
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Saunders Strategies for Test Success

Saunders Strategies for Test Success isn’t a typical review guide in that it doesn’t cover the material on the test, but rather lays out techniques for handling the exam itself. It goes over everything from time management to dealing with anxiety.


  • Excellent for beginning students
  • Gives rationales for each solution
  • Answers printed next to questions












Publisher Saunders Strategies for
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. HESI Comprehensive Review

The HESI Comprehensive Review adds a little extra value by preparing you for the HESI exam as well as the NCLEX. The info is mostly bullet-pointed, so it’s useful for cramming, but unfortunately it doesn’t have many practice questions with which to test yourself.


  • Good for exit-level students
  • Language is simple and jargon-free
  • Contains quite a few typos












Publisher HESI Comprehensive Revi
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Zerwekh’s Illustrated Study Guide

If you can’t stomach the thought of another dry, boring text, Zerwekh’s Illustrated Study Guide contains colorful drawings that double as mnemonic devices, letting you learn in an entertaining way. There aren’t that many illustrations, though, so don’t expect a comic book.


  • Extremely well-categorized
  • Font size doesn’t strain eyes
  • Doesn’t go very in-depth












Publisher Zerwekh’s Illustrated S
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Kaplan Premier

Kaplan Premier doesn’t just teach you the material, it also lays out strategies for successfully tackling the exam. It comes with a digital copy of the book as well, so you can take your studies with you on the go. The information inside is fairly basic, though.


  • Warns of tricks the test uses
  • Ships with 2 practice exams
  • Quizzes don’t reflect concepts












Publisher Kaplan Premier
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Mosby’s Comprehensive Review

If you want your boards to feel like a cakewalk in comparison to the studying you did for them, pick up Mosby’s Comprehensive Review. It’s one of the hardest guides on the market, so if you can handle this, getting licensed should be a day at the beach.


  • Questions are worded like the exam
  • Good for visual learners
  • Repeats some questions












Publisher Mosby
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Lippincott Q Review

If you like thorough explanations of why an answer is wrong, rather than just being told it is, Lippincott Q;A Review goes through each problem to explain why a certain choice was better than the other options. It also has a grid designed to help you track your progress.


  • Sections broken down by body systems
  • Color coded for reference
  • Practice exams available on website












Publisher Lippincott Q;A Review
Weight 6.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Kaplan NCLEX-RN Drug Guide

The Kaplan NCLEX-RN Drug Guide is a must-have addition to other test prep manuals, as it goes in-depth on some of the drug questions you’ll be likely to encounter on the exam. Everything’s organized by category, making it a cinch to study methodically.


  • Can be cut into flashcards
  • Small and easy to carry
  • Doesn’t have much unnecessary info












Publisher Kaplan NCLEX-RN Drug Gu
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment

Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment isn’t the thickest book on the market, as each section is only a few pages long, but it’s the best option out there for getting the hang of prioritization. If you’ve struggled with management skills, you need this one.


  • Helps to integrate knowledge
  • Answers are very detailed
  • Authors helped write the nclex












Publisher Elsevier
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Saunders Comprehensive Review

Saunders Comprehensive Review has more than 5,200 questions between the textbook and its online supplement, giving you plenty of opportunity to test how prepared you are. The material is laid out well, so you don’t have to worry about suffering from information overload.


  • Answer sheets after every chapter
  • 75-question pre-test
  • Lots of helpful charts












Publisher Saunders Comprehensive
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0