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Which Nursing Books Should I use when studying for the NCLEX

Updated on December 6, 2012

Which nursing review book did you use to study for the NCLEX?

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Which book or books to use? Its a trick question...

As a nursing instructor, this is a question that I get a lot from nursing students and those getting ready to take the all-important NCLEX.

There are a lot of materials out there to include review books, flashcards, audio CDs, and even your textbook of basic nursing which was issued to you by your nursing school. Which one is the best? Is it necessary to use more than one resource? I will tell you in the following paragraphs.

I have had hundreds of my nursing students pass the NCLEX. What makes them better than other students? Well me, of course (just kidding). Was it that they used a particular nursing textbook or review book or flashcard set or audio CD lecture? Absolutely not. The trick, I am afraid, is to actually stick with one book.

If the trick is to stick with one resource, which should I use?

That’s a great question. It really depends on your learning preferences. For me, though I read my basic textbook of nursing in nursing school, I was more interested in getting a review of the high points. For that reason, I personally used one book and did all of the questions contained on the CD. I also utilized an audio CD course and I listened to the CDs whenever I was in the car or working out. Between the book and CDs, I was constantly studying. Did I use other books? Yes. Did it help? No. It frustrated me because the format was different. I had used Mosby, Saunders, Lippincott, Davis, Kaplan, ATI, etc. You know what I found? They all went over and tested 95% of the same material and it was just being presented differently. I was, in essence, increasing the amount of work that I had to do in order to learn the material. That was not effective. Eventually, I just listened to what my friends and peers had said and just dove into one book and the CDs while I drove and worked out. That was all it took.

Which book is the best?

Will I tell you which book I used? No. That would defeat the purpose of this article. The most important thing is to pick a book and stick with it. Sleep with it under your pillow. Read it on the toilet, on a plane, on a train, in an automobile (but only in the passenger seat, don’t read while driving---listen to the CDs). Meditate: be one with your book.

The bottom line...

The bottom line is to study from one book or two books at the very most. Doing so will allow you to focus on and master the material at hand. Do review questions to check for your understanding.

Good luck!


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