NCLEX-RN® Question Banks: Kaplan vs. UWorld vs. BoardVitals

nclex question banks comparison for nursing students

If you’re preparing to take the NCLEX-RN® exam, you might be overwhelmed by all of your options for preparing for it. We’re here to help. We’ve stacked Kaplan, UWorld and BoardVitals’ NCLEX-RN® question banks alongside each other to help you make the right choice for your review.  

The Exam

The NCLEX-RN® exam lasts for five-hours, and consists of multiple choice questions including: select all that apply, graphic, hot spot, drag and drop ordered response, fill in the blank, audio, and exhibit questions. The exam uses an interactive system called Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) which adjusts the exam’s level of difficulty to the examinee’s ability, resulting in a more valid and reliable measurement of a candidate’s nursing competence. Each candidate will answer between 75 and 265 questions depending on the responses to items.

According to the NCSBN NCLEX-RN® Test Plan, here is the breakdown of the Client Needs categories you should prepare for:

  • Safe and Effective Care Environment
    • Management of Care 17-23%
    • Safety and Infection Control 9-15%
  • Health Promotion and Maintenance 6-12%
  • Psychosocial Integrity 6-12%
  • Physiological Integrity
    • Basic Care and Comfort 6-12%
    • Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies 12-18%
    • Reduction of Risk Potential 9-15%
    • Physiological Adaptation 11-17%

Reviewing Your Study Tool Options

UWorld NCLEX-RN® Practice Bank

UWorld prides themselves on providing quality question banks for nurses. Their questions reflect the challenging, critical-thinking questions seen on aspects of the NCLEX®, so it’s easier to prepare for the actual exam.

The NCLEX-RN® Question Bank is written by practicing nurses who are experts with the material. This bank features more than 2,000 practice questions and costs $129 for 30 days, $159 for 60 days and up to $279 for 180 days. The UWorld NCLEX-RN® question bank is formatted in the same way you’ll see it on the exam. Depending on your subscription option, the question bank includes a certain number of self-assessment exams and practice exams.

Free Trial

UWorld does not offer a free trial subscription for any of their products. However, they do offer a demo on each of their product pages which contains a sample of the product interface and a few sample questions.


UWorld has a user-friendly interface that is paired with vivid illustrations and images, to help those easily master the content. They also offer customizable exams and flashcards for quick review.

Feedback & Customer Service

UWorld has a link to FAQs, forums for each exam, and 24/7 customer service via email.

Additional Features

  • Renew function: The renew function is available to extend the duration of your question bank when it’s about to expire (you pay for the extension based on the duration).
  • Reset Function: The reset function is to wipe out your performance so you can start the questions from scratch. To use the reset function, you need to subscribe for at least 6 months.
  • Track performance and compare progress with others.
  • Mobile app available.

Kaplan NCLEX-RN® Prep

The Kaplan NCLEX-RN® Prep package offers a variety of options for you to choose how to study. Outside of practice questions, Kaplan has plans with access to 24/7 Live Kaplan which includes live, online, and on-demand content videos courses that come with textbooks and high-yield videos.

Their NCLEX-RN® question bank offers more than 2,100 practice questions at $99 for six months of access. These practice questions offer interactive answers and explanations including images, animations, content refreshers, and term definitions. In the question bank, Kaplan emphasizes alternate-item question types and provides realistic practice in an NCLEX-style interface. Their bundle deal features test prep, on-demand videos, and three NCLEX®-style tests for $399.

Compared to other offers, Kaplan offers this affordable option for those who plan to study for many months. The drawback? If you planned to study with the bank for more than a month, you’d still have to pay the rate for the full year.

Free Trial

Kaplan offers 50 questions as a free trial for NCLEX-RN®.

Progress Tracker

This bank offers a performance chart that shows your strongest areas, and where you should focus more time.


The question bank contains content and questions created by their on-staff nurses. This bank features similar questions to the system used by the NBME. The banks have audio questions, and explanations are provided for correct and incorrect answers in order to cover all topics relevant to the NCLEX-RN® exam. You can use the practice questions in timed or tutor modes.

Feedback & Customer Service

Kaplan has a help link in each question for those who need additional clarification. They have a doctor available via email to flush out medical content found in the questions. Customer service is available via email or phone.

Additional Features

  • Kaplan Mobile App: study plans, video assets, practice questions, CAT and more.

BoardVitals NCLEX-RN® Board Review

BoardVitals offers an NCLEX-RN® practice question bank with more than 3,500 questions at $109 for 1 month of access, $159 for 3 months, and $229 for 6 months. Each question is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals who have recently taken the exam. Accompanied by detailed explanations and rationales, each question serves as a mini-lecture for a comprehensive understanding of the topic it covers. The bank is outlined in the same way as the NCSBN NCLEX-RN® Test Plan so you identify weaknesses and target your study time.

Free Trial

BoardVitals offers a free trial for NCLEX-RN® questions. This is a great way to test the features of the bank and see how questions and explanations are presented.

Progress Tracker

Each BoardVitals question bank provides individual exam scores, the median score of all users, and the user’s percentile rank for the questions in a test.


BoardVitals presents its exam questions in either a “timed” or “review” mode. You can set up your block of questions either by subject or a mix of subjects. In addition, users can create adaptive practice exams using Computer Adaptive Technology (CAT), just like the actual NCLEX®.  Questions include audio questions and other formats as found in the actual exam. Explanations are provided for correct and incorrect answers in order to cover all topics relevant to the NCLEX-RN® exam. BoardVitals revamped their NCLEX® bank with more question types, features, and support to help combat test anxiety.

Feedback & Customer Service

BoardVitals has a feedback link on each question, which enables users to ask questions and get additional feedback from other clinicians. This is a great feature for students who may need clarification beyond what was provided in the explanation. Customer service is available 24/7 via email [[email protected]] and via phone [877.221.1529] during normal business hours.

Additional Features

  • Unlimited test sets: Create practice tests with however many questions you desire.
  • Share a question: Users can send a particular question to fellow students or their professors to facilitate a discussion.
  • Send Exam: Faculty at institutions can send exams to the students for class reviews or assessments.
  • A user can go over all the questions again by deleting the completed exams, that way, they’ll be able to reuse all the questions in the bank easily.
  • For each new customer, BoardVitals donates one vaccine to children in need as part of their philanthropic initiative: #GiveVax.
  • Mobile app available.

NCLEX comparison

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