Is Archer Harder Than NCLEX? A Comprehensive Comparison

Is Archer harder than NCLEX? No, the NCLEX exam is more challenging due to its comprehensive and critical-thinking nature. 

Are you currently preparing for Archer Review exams and curious: “Is Archer harder than NCLEX?” How do they compare? If so, you’ve landed on the right site!

As someone who has experienced both, I will share my experience about the difficulty of these two critical tests in nursing. Scroll down to see more details!

Overview of Archer Review and NCLEX

Before comparing and contrasting the two exams, you should understand the basics of Archer and NCLEX. What are they? 

First, Archer (or Archer Review) is a comprehensive review course that assists medical and nursing students in exam preparation. It offers numerous resources, including lecture series, Q-bank, and performance tracking, to help students pass their exams. 

On the other hand, NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) is a standardized exam that every state regulatory board uses to determine if a nurse student is ready to become licensed as an entry-level nurse. It tests critical thinking and decision-making skills required for healthcare practice. 

Is Archer Harder or Easier Than NCLEX? 

Archer Review vs NCLEX Exam

Contrary to popular belief, Archer Review is not more challenging than NCLEX. The difficulty of these exams depends significantly on the student’s study habits, test-taking skills, and understanding of the subject matter. Yet, most nurses agree that NCLEX is more complex due to its comprehensive and critical-thinking nature. 

Now, I will compare Archer and NCLEX, evaluating their difficulty based on the primary factors, including exam format, topic covered, and exam duration. 

AspectArcher ReviewNCLEX
Exam formatQbank-style + Computer Adaptive TestComputer Adaptive Test
Number of questionsFlexible– 75-145 (NCLEX-RN)
– 85-205 (NCLEX-PN)
Topic coveredMedical-surgical, Maternity, Pediatrics, Psychiatric, PharmacologySafe and Effective Care Environment, Physiological Integrity, Psychosocial Integrity, Health Promotion and Maintenance
Duration of examFlexibleMaximum of 6 hours, including breaks
The comparison table and determine the final verdict

When comparing the difficulty of Archer and NCLEX, consider the following factors:

Exam Format 

As mentioned above, the Archer is a comprehensive online test prep resource that provides study materials and practice questions for the NCLEX. It uses a combination of video lectures, question banks, and stimulated exams to help students understand and apply nursing concepts. 

On the other hand, the NCLEX is a standardized exam that uses computerized adaptive testing. This means that the complexity of the questions depends on the examinee’s performance.

Therefore, regarding exam format, the NCLEX test seems more challenging due to its adaptive nature.

Archer Review practice question

Topics Covered

Both exams cover a broad range of nursing topics. After taking tests on Archer, I see that it focuses on providing a comprehensive review of all essential areas needed for the NCLEX. Archer covers medical-surgical nursing, maternity and pediatric nursing, pharmacology, etc. 

Laura Wright

Meanwhile, the NCLEX assesses the candidate’s knowledge and skills to safely and effectively practice as an entry-level nurse. It covers four primary categories:

  • Safe and effective care environment
  • Physiological integrity
  • Psychosocial integrity
  • Health promotion and maintenance

Thus, the difficulty regarding topics covered is comparable, as Archer is designed to mirror the NCLEX’s content.

Duration of Exam

The Archer Review and the NCLEX duration varies based on the candidate’s performance. The NCLEX can range from 1 hour to up to 6 hours, with a maximum of 265 questions.

The Archer exams do not have a standardized duration. They are designed to be completed in a timeframe (typically within 4 hours) to simulate the real NCLEX experience.

The time pressure can make both tests challenging, but the length and unpredictability of the NCLEX make it seem more complicated to some nurse students.

Rachel Taylor

What Are The Factors Influencing Difficulty?

Besides the elements mentioned above, there are many internal factors contributing to the difficulty of the Archer and NCLEX exams, including:

1. Preparation Methods

The level of preparation directly correlates with the perceived difficulty. If you prepare the tests better, you will find them more manageable.

Adequate preparation should include understanding the task, acquiring the necessary resources, and developing a strategy to tackle the question.

For instance, understand the syllabus, gather study materials, and devise a schedule. You may find the exams much more difficult if you miss any of these elements.

2. Personal Abilities And Strengths

Each person has their own set of skills and strengths. Some may be good at mathematical calculations, while others excel in creative tasks. Therefore, a task that can be difficult for one person might not be the same for another.

You must understand and work on your abilities and strengths to overcome the difficulty of both the Archer and NCLEX tests.

3. Examination Pressure And Anxiety

Examination pressure and anxiety can significantly increase the difficulty of a task. Fear of failure or underperformance can lead to stress and anxiety, which in turn can impair concentration, memory, and other cognitive functions. This can make a simple task more challenging than it is.

Thus, try to manage exam pressure and anxiety to accurately assess and deal with the difficulty of tasks while taking Archer or NCLEX tests.

What Is The Pass Rate For Archer Vs NCLEX? 

Archer Review boasts a higher-than-average pass rate, with more than 90% of its users passing the NCLEX on their first attempt. 

On the other hand, the NCLEX pass rate refers to the percentage of test-takers who pass the NCLEX standardized examination each year. 

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the pass rate of US-educated, first-time test-takers of the NCLEX-RN in 2023 was 88.56%, while the pass rate for the NCLEX-PN was 86.67%. These rates fluctuate slightly each year but generally stay within this range. 

What Are The Benefits Of Using Archer For NCLEX Preparation?

Archer is an excellent tool for NCLEX preparation for the following reasons:

Comprehensive review

Archer Review offers a comprehensive approach to NCLEX preparation. It covers all the topics required for the exam, ensuring you don’t miss out on any critical areas. The study materials are regularly updated to align with any NCLEX exam pattern or content changes. 

Interactive learning

Instead of passive reading, Archer uses engaging methods, such as quizzes, video lessons, and practice tests, to facilitate active learning. This interactive methodology helps you better retain knowledge, allowing you to recall information quickly during the exam. 

Affordable and accessible

Archer Review is priced reasonably, making it a viable option for nurse students on a budget. The materials are available online, so you can access them anytime and anywhere. 

How To Succeed In Both Exams?

Archer and NCLEX exams are challenging but essential to assess your proficiency and readiness for nursing. So, you must have good preparation and strategies to pass them. I will share with you some tips that help me succeed in both tests below:

Understand Archer

Archer Review offers several study resources, including question banks, visual aids, audio lectures, and predictive exams.

To succeed, you must use all these resources effectively. Plan a study schedule and stick to it. Also, consistently review and reinforce your knowledge. Use the predictive exams to measure your readiness for the NCLEX.

Prepare for the NCLEX

The key to passing the NCLEX is understanding its format and structure. The exam uses Computerized Adaptive Testing, which changes the questions based on the student’s previous answers.

Regular practice with this testing method can help you become more comfortable and familiar with it during the exam. Also, focus on your weak areas and review the content until you are confident.

success on nclex exam

In Short

Is Archer harder than NCLEX? No, the NCLEX exam is more challenging due to its comprehensive and critical-thinking nature. 

However, the difficulty level of these exams depends on internal factors like students’ habits and test-taking skills and external elements, including exam format, topics covered, and exam duration. 

You must study early and follow the right strategies to pass these tests. Start your preparation today and conquer your exams!