Is Kaplan Harder or Easiser Than NCLEX? All You Need to Know

Yes, most nursing students agree that Kaplan questions are harder than NCLEX.  Kaplan covers a broader array of topics and includes more challenging questions than those found in the NCLEX test.

Is Kaplan harder than NCLEX is a common question among aspiring nurses. In case you don’t know, Kaplan’s preparation materials and practice exams are designed to simulate the conditions of the NCLEX test. Keep scrolling down to uncover the truth behind this query!

Is Kaplan Harder Than NCLEX?

Yes, most nursing students agree that Kaplan questions are harder than NCLEX. Kaplan covers a broader array of topics and includes more challenging questions than those found in the NCLEX test.

Of course, there are some other reasons behind the perception that Kaplan questions are harder, including:

1. Question Difficulty

The biggest reason why Kaplan questions are seen as tougher lies in the complexity of their questions themselves. Most nursing students said that Kaplan questions tend to be more complex.

In fact, Kaplan’s questions often require a deeper level of critical thinking and application of knowledge. They might integrate multiple concepts or require students to apply their knowledge in more complex scenarios.

Kaplan’s NCLEX practice questions
Kaplan’s NCLEX practice questions

2. Question Quantity

Kaplan’s reputation for being a harder exam also comes with a wider array of practice questions. A greater quantity of practice questions doesn’t make much sense. But it can indeed overwhelm students, which often leads them to perceive Kaplan is harder.

3. Content

Kaplan questions delve deeper into various subjects. Meanwhile, NCLEX questions just focus on fundamental nursing concepts. Kaplan’s extensive content coverage requires more effort in preparation. So nursing students need a deeper understanding and mastery of nursing principles to deal with Kaplan questions.

Kaplan’s NCLEX content review slides
Kaplan’s NCLEX content review slides

4. Stress

High-stakes exams like the NCLEX always come with pressure and stress. That’s understandable since most nursing students realize their future careers may hinge on them. So, folks who deal with heightened stress may perceive Kaplan as being more challenging.

5. Preparing Time

Considering Kaplan’s wider array of topics and more complex questions, the time required for the NCLEX test seems to be more than what is needed. This extended preparation time can contribute to the perception that Kaplan is a more difficult exam.

Pros & Cons Of Both Practice Questions

To get a better understanding of which program may be better for you, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each:

Kaplan Practice Questions


Comprehensive Content Coverage: Kaplan offers extensive coverage on a broad array of topics. This can be beneficial for students looking for thorough preparation.

Challenging Questions: The difficulty level of Kaplan questions encourages deeper critical thinking and the application of knowledge. That way, students are  prepared for complex real-world scenarios.

Preparation Depth: The rigorous preparation required for Kaplan can enhance a student’s understanding and mastery of nursing principles beyond the basics.

Structured Study Plan: Kaplan provides structured study materials and plans. They can be helpful for students needing guidance in their preparation journey.

Additional Resources: Kaplan’s practice questions are part of a broader package. This includes access to lectures, textbooks, and other resources.


Perceived Difficulty: The questions’ higher difficulty level can be intimidating and potentially discouraging for some students.

Volume of Material: The vast amount of content and practice questions can be overwhelming, leading to burnout or stress.

Time Commitment: Kaplan may require a significant time commitment for preparation.

Cost: Kaplan’s courses and materials can be expensive, which might not be accessible for all students.

NCLEX Mock Questions


Focus on Fundamental Concepts: The NCLEX mock questions focus on fundamental nursing concepts. This makes it more straightforward for students who have a solid grasp of the basics.

Wide Availability: Generic NCLEX practice questions can be found in various formats and sources. They are often offered for free or at a lower cost than Kaplan.

Predictive of the Licensing Exam: Directly preparing for the NCLEX can provide a more accurate sense of the licensing exam’s structure and question types.

Less Overwhelming: Focusing on core concepts might reduce the volume of study material. This makes preparation seem more manageable.


Potentially Less Rigorous: The more focused scope might not challenge some students as much. This potentially leaves gaps in preparation for real-world nursing challenges.

Lack of Depth in Certain Areas: Students may find themselves less prepared in areas not heavily emphasized by the NCLEX.

Variable Difficulty: The adaptive nature of the test is beneficial. But it can also make it hard for some students to gauge their performance in real-time.

What Percentage of Kaplan Is Passing NCLEX?

Many test-takers have indicated that above 65% on Kaplan’s practice tests is a good indicator of being well-prepared for the real NCLEX test. Of course, this is a guideline rather than a strict passing score and may vary depending on the individual’s performance.

By the way, the NCLEX exams employ (CAT) technology to adjust the difficulty of questions based on the candidate’s real performance. That way, CAT technology makes the NCLEX exams highly individualized. 

If you answer correctly, the system might give you a slightly harder question. And if you answer incorrectly, the next question you get might be a bit easier. Test-takers who answer questions correctly will see progressively harder questions. 

Learn on : How To Answer NCLEX Questions?

The test typically ends once you have answered enough questions that the system can determine your pass or fail status. Alternatively, the test may end when you run out of time (around 5-6 hours) or have solved all the questions (145–205 in total).

success story nclex

Final Thoughts

There are a couple of factors that contribute to the perception that Kaplan is harder than NCLEX. They are Kaplan’s question difficulty, its wider coverage, its plentiful supply of questions, and more. Aspiring nurses should incorporate both Kaplan’s resources and NCLEX materials for deeper comprehension and better preparation.