One of the biggest challenges nursing students face is the new style of testing. This is often the first time they face tests that consist of more than just recall, comprehension and fact retrieval. Exams now consist of higher level thinking to assess the assimilation of knowledge.  In other words – you learned a bunch of stuff, now how would you apply it? Ultimately, this is what you will do as a nurse – applying all that knowledge in the hopes of helping patients. And lets cut to the chase, you need to pass the NCLEX exam to even get to that point. The purpose of the NCLEX exam is to ensure you have the basic knowledge to be a competent nurse who is safe to take care of the public.

Each group of students I have the honor to work with, I ALWAYS advise them to get some test taking book to assist them in developing strategies to tackle their exams and especially the NCLEX exam. When I was studying for my boards years ago, I collected test books as I was advised that practice makes perfect. Sure, I read a lot of questions, but I did not have a good strategy in how to approach the questions. A few weeks before taking my board exam, a colleague lent me a test strategy book. It was revolutionary!! It gave clear instructions on how to analyze the questions and answers. I just kept thinking, ‘I wish I had these through nursing school!’ So, as I mentioned, I try to help my students out with that advice.

This past week I had the opportunity to do the renal lectures for our Med/Surg 1 students. They had just reviewed their first med/surg exam and lets say….happiness and joy was not abounding! So, I gave them my advise on finding a good test taking strategy book. And being the smart group of students they are, they wanted some titles. So, as promised, I told them I would put together a list of my suggestions – here you go!!

Test Taking for Nursing Students

Best Three Test Taking Books for Nursing Students

NCLEX-RN 2014-2015 Strategies, Practice, and Review with Practice Test

This is a go-to book! I used a similar book way back in 1998. It has not changed much in its purpose – help you dissect the questions and be a successful test taker. This book provides very detailed advice on how to take your exams and prioritize answers. It helps you develop strategies to on how to decipher what the question is actually asking. This could not be more important with all the crazy-fun alternate form questions now contained in the NCLEX exam. The review area has  information compiled in an easy to use, outline form. The practice tests include clear rationales of each answer. It also helps you reword the question to help you apply the strategies learned. I really like this feature!!

Saunders 2014-2015 Strategies for Test Success: Passing Nursing School and the NCLEX Exam

This is also a great book. I like how this book is easy to read and very concise. Not only does it give you assistance with test taking, but it gives you some great general study advice along with tips peppered throughout. The strategies are very clear and easily applied with examples contained in each section with detailed descriptions. There is an entire section devoted to alternate format questions, which are certainly very challenging. The chapter gives detailed strategies on how to manage each type of question. There are over 100 pages of questions to practice with rationales.  Overall, a great choice.

NCLEX-RN Questions and Answers Made Incredibly Easy

Although this book is not necessarily a “test taking strategy book” it is loaded with great questions with easy to understand rationales. The first section does give some great test taking advise, but the bulk of the book is the questions – all 6500 of them! This is a great book to practice your newly developed strategies and to practice, practice, practice. Although, most graduates don’t have to take every question of the NCLEX exam, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have developed some stamina – just in case! This book is also a great resource for study for exams for school – make sure you know the content.

Well, these are just a few of my humble suggestions. If you found something that works for you, awesome, stick with it! Feel free to click on the hyperlinks or the pictures – they will take you to the Amazon site and you can actually look at samples of the books – LOVE that! If you have found a great book that has worked for you, feel free to leave it in the comments sections – remember, sharing is caring!

Struggling with content or remembering – here are the Best Study Books for Nursing Students!

Thanks for visiting!

Take care, be safe and wash your hands!

This post does contain affiliate links, but all opinions are my own.


Comments (4)

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  3. Nancy Umstead



    I am a DON at a LTC/SAR facility and just recently found out some of my CNAs have taking the LPN course but have not been able to pass the NCLEX. MY ADON and I want to help them out and provide them with a review course to assist them. We will be teaching it ourselves…I think part of the problem is language barriers as many are from other countries so we are hoping to break down that barrier. My question is….I would like to purchase some books that the teachers would use to teach the program…also any kind of LPN review book from the teacher perspective. Any assistance you could provide me would very much be appreciated.

    Thank you

    • Joan RN


      First, this is so awesome that you are investing in your employees like this – kudos to you and your staff!! Although I am not as versed in the LPN exams, I would imagine it is pretty similar to the RN exam. I really like the Saunders books ( ). But what I find frequently, its not a content issue, but a test taking issue – so I would recommend a test prep/strategy book like the Kaplan one ( ). I know it helped me immensely when I took my exam and my students really find it helpful. I also might recommend taking a review course, like from Hurst ( maybe take the class yourself and then go from there? My last thought would be the learning resources through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing – they write the exam and have a great review course and is VERY reasonable in cost ( Hope this helps and feel free to reach out to me again!! Good luck & thanks again for being so awesome!!

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