Is UWorld Harder Than NCLEX? Should You Use It For NCLEX?

Yes. UWorld is harder. I found UWorld just as challenging as, or even more than, the NCLEX test. UWorld questions are in-depth in content, whereas NCLEX is to assess minimum competency and critical thinking skills.

Preparing for the NCLEX exam can feel like diving into a sea of study materials, and UWorld is often the top choice. But here’s the kicker: is UWorld harder than NCLEX? And should you really bet on this resource for acing the exam? It’s a hot topic among nursing students. 

Let’s break it down!

uworld vs ncsbn

Is UWorld Harder Than NCLEX?

Yes. UWorld is harder. I found UWorld just as challenging as, or even more than, the NCLEX test. UWorld questions are in-depth in content, whereas NCLEX is to assess minimum competency and critical thinking skills.

Now, let’s compare them in detail to see if it’s the resource for your NCLEX exam!

Format & InterfaceStandardStandard
Content Depth– In-depth and comprehensive
– Pharmacology questions cover extensive medication knowledge
– Focuses on basic nursing practice and decision-making
– Pharmacology questions cover extensive medication knowledge
Question Types’ Difficulty– Almost harder
– SATAs are easier
– Almost easier
– SATAs are tricker
Quick compare between Uworld & NCLEX in NCLEX Prep

The Similarity: Format & Interface

UWorld Nursing Sample Question
UWorld Nursing Sample Question

Talking about the similarity, it extends beyond just the question content; it encompasses the entire exam experience, from the interface layout to the style of questions presented.

  • First, UWorld provides NCLEX-style tests across subjects, preparing candidates for the diverse challenges they may encounter on test day. 
  • Second, their screen formats are similar, with a white and blue background; this provides a sense of comfort and familiarity to candidates. 

I appreciate this familiarity because it’s particularly beneficial for individuals who may experience test anxiety or apprehension about the exam environment.

The Difference: Content Depth & Question Types’ Difficulty

Content Depth

    Similar with Hurst Review, UWorld also has a reputation for being ridiculously hard and focusing on content excessively. It’s true. They really do go for those nitpicky details. 

    Its questions are more in-depth and comprehensive, covering various topics and scenarios. Sometimes, it feels like you’re drowning in a sea of information.

    In contrast, NCLEX questions are to assess minimum competency and safe nursing practice. 

    They often present scenarios that require prioritization and critical decision-making. It’s like they’re testing your ability to think on your feet and make split-second decisions that could mean life or death for your patients.

    So, many people find that their UWorld score is lower than what they’re used to seeing on their NCLEX exams.

    But having a lower score on UWorld isn’t a bad thing. In fact, historically, even with lower UWorld scores, candidates have achieved an impressive pass rate on the NCLEX

    What does this mean? While UWorld questions may be challenging, they effectively cover common topics and have detailed explanations. 

    As a result, they equip candidates with the necessary skills and knowledge to tackle any question they may encounter on the exam. 

    Now, let’s talk about tackling its test bank! 

    It’s like a beast on its own, with over 3000 questions per exam! This extensive question bank covers a wide array of topics and requires candidates to apply their knowledge effectively. 

    So, trying to work through all those questions once is tough, let alone trying to remember everything from the first round of studying. 

    challenge practice question of Uworld

    Question Types’ Difficulty

    Most of the question types on UWorld are more challenging, requiring me to understand more in-depth theory. But the difficulty varies depending on what kind of questions you’re tackling.

    Take those SATA (Select All That Apply) questions, for example. They’re like the bane of every nursing student’s existence, am I right? Well, turns out, those in NCLEX were even trickier in the actual exam compared to what I’d seen in UWorld. 

    select all that apply question type
    Select All That Apply question format

    On pharmacology questions, UWorld covers a lot of ground regarding meds, but the exam took it up a notch. They were digging into every nook and cranny of drug interactions and side effects, making me sweat bullets.

    Pros And Cons Of Uworld in NCLEX Prep


    • Clear questions. Its questions are easy to understand and don’t overwhelm with complicated language.
    • Realistic format: It looks and feels like the actual NCLEX to help calm nerves on exam day.
    • Lots of SATA questions: It has many SATA questions similar to what you’ll see on the NCLEX.
    • Prioritization practice: It offers plenty of questions, where you have to decide which patient needs attention first.
    • Good delegation questions: It has questions about assigning tasks to other staff members, a vital nursing skill.
    • Great pharmacology section: The drug questions cover what you really need to know without getting too complicated.


    • Detailed rationales. Sometimes, the explanations are too long and include stuff that doesn’t really matter for the answer.
    • Medical-sounding answers: Some answers sound more like what a doctor would say, not a nurse.
    • Rare disease questions: It asks about diseases hardly seen in nursing, which can be confusing.
    • Unfamiliar answers: Sometimes, the choices for answers are things you’ve never known; this might be why some people get low scores on UWorld practice tests.

    Can UWorld Be Used As The Sole Preparation Resource For NCLEX? 

    UWorld can be the primary preparation resource for the NCLEX but not a sole resource. 


    I exclusively relied on UWorld for my NCLEX-RN exam and successfully passed on my first attempt. Completing the 3000-question UWorld package over 30 days, alongside other supplementary resources such as review books and online practice questions. 

    Despite finding UWorld questions challenging, especially compared to the real NCLEX questions, the varied difficulty across question patterns within the exam prepared me for the diverse scenarios encountered. 

    The key to my success lies in my approach to solving questions on UWorld. I treated each question session seriously, emulating exam conditions using timer mode and consistently solving 85 questions daily. 

    Pamela Miller, MPH, BSN, RN

    For NCLEX preparation, Kevin’s Review offers a focused set of resources including a detailed challenge exam , helpful study documents, and educational podcasts, catering specifically to various learning preferences.

    For additional study materials, Kaplan and The Princeton Review both offer free practice tests and question sets that help familiarize students with the NCLEX format and improve their test-taking strategies. These combined resources form a valuable toolkit for any nursing student aiming to excel in the NCLEX exam.

    Wrap Up

    Is UWorld harder than NCLEX? Yes. UWorld might throw some curveballs and make you scratch your head more, but that could be just the push you need to ace the real deal. 

    Using UWorld for NCLEX prep will push you to think deeper and get you ready for whatever the NCLEX throws your way.