Remember the NCLEX? Reviewing the Review Industry


Please enjoy this guest post from our new friend, Kevin Pan.

The NCLEX. We’ve all been through it. For some of us, it wasn’t too bad. For many, it was…a tribulation [trib·u·la·tion Noun. A cause of great trouble or suffering].

Whether we’ve moved on to specialty nursing, entrepreneurship, or a whichever career choice nursing afforded you, passing the NCLEX was everyone’s first big victory.

People don’t realize how “big” of a profession nursing is, and how many people take the NCLEX. According to the NCSBN, there are over 4.7 million active licenses as of 2012. That’s more than the total population of Ireland.

Every single one of those nurses had to take a licensure exam. As a result, the NCLEX has spawned a small industry of its own: the NCLEX Review.

In my nursing class, at least 5-6 students took an NCLEX Review course costing around$300-350. I’m sure there were more that I didn’t know about. And these were all U.S. educated, Associate Degree nursing students from a pretty reputable school. They already had a 90% statistical chance of passing on their first try.

Point being, there’s money being made there, as well as a willing market of students to draw from.
Here’s the problem. It’s an old industry. The big players have the upper hand, the money, and the brand. They use old techniques to gain customers.

Kaplan came to my school, gave us pizza with a presentation (the ‘ol “Pizza and Pitch”), and most students signed up with them. I’m not saying that’s bad. Kaplan may be the best NCLEX Review out there. But what if they’re not? How can students tell?

Give back to these students by bringing transparency to this industry. If you took any NCLEX review class–big name or small company–try writing an honest review on It puts NCLEX Review vendors side by side so they all get a chance to show what they offer, not just the ones who can “Pizza and Pitch”.

Think of it as a way to give back to nursing students in tribulation. There are a lot of smaller companies, tutors, and nurses who can help these students with a personal touch. They should be heard. Write a review!


Kevin Pan is owner of Exam Review Expert, where nurses can write reviews for NCLEX Reviewers and students can read them.

He really, really wants you to write a review on his site. Why? As a new nurse, Kevin was surprised to see so many NCLEX Reviewers out there, but no user-generated customer feedback or reviews. He didn’t want to spend money on something that he wasn’t sure of. Kevin passed the NCLEX, but felt a need could be filled. Wanting to teach himself web development, he took on Exam Review Expert as a project.

Kevin is a Chicago native. He loves spending time with his new wife and two toilet-trained cats, working on his website, and writing content for his Nursing Student Blog. He considers himself an entrepreneur and loves the meaning of the word. Contact him on twitter, facebook, or LinkedIn. He would really like to hear from you!



@nursanity   Agreed. Kaplan teaches you strategy, but not everyone needs an NCLEX Review. Every student needs to think about how confident they feel about nursing content. For those who feel they need a review, it seems like the confidence boost that people get from taking an extra class really helps, maybe even more so than the actual nursing content.

Thanks for the comment! And keep on blogging!



I myself spent the $500 and took the Kaplan Review course.  I was petrified of the test.  I didn't have the money at the time either, but I didn't really have the money or resources to fail, take the test again etc.  I had a really good teacher and I thought the class was awesome.  I passed the NCLEX in 75 questions. I've heard of other people tell me that their class was not as good and their teachers were not effective.  I think the morale of the story is that the key to passing is doing the practice test questions until you think like the nurse that pearsan vue wants you to be.  The truth is you know yourself trust your knowledge, but if you didn't put very much effort into your nursing education then there really is no help for you at all/


Thanks for raising awareness about this industry, Kevin!  This sense that old power is running the show, i.e. has the upper hand,  money, brand is present in many change-the-status-quo efforts.  I'd be very happy to post individual tutor's review ops or stories on my blog   For free.  It seems like a better balance is worth seeking.  

I see you point in that the service or product isn't necessarily bad....or may even be the best, but I wonder how this influences creative thinking and opportunity.  There may be an inherent and systemic influence that keeps the old power in power.  This seems unhealthy for the 'greater good'.  Any thoughts?  Thanks, Beth


@BethBoynton Thanks for the comment Beth!

It's hard to change the status quo. What keeps these larger companies in power is money and momentum. People also gravitate toward what they know and heard of. Students, for example, will buy reviews other students have bought. People ask each other for "reviews" all the time (think Amazon and Yelp), which is why I think it's a great tool for giving some power to the less-known NCLEX Reviewers.

It may be unhealthy. The bigger a company gets, and the more widespread its reach, the less personalized it becomes. Compare the charm of a mom-and-pop shop to a national chain like Walmart. Some students need personal attention, and these larger companies, while doing a lot of good for a lot of their students, can't give it to them.

It'd be great if you could showcase some tutors or smaller companies! Maybe I can write a guest-post for you as well? I can make a bio about one of the tutors on Exam Review Expert.

Thanks for the comments, really enjoying meeting all of you fellow nurses with entrepreneurial streaks!

Kevin (Follow me on Twitter!)