Archer Review NCLEX questions have become a very popular resource to use for NCLEX prep. I did all the questions (~2800) in 3 months and ended up spending $138 for it. I had so many students that had used it and I wanted to find out if what I heard was true.
Are they comparable to Uworld, but cheaper?
Are the questions more in line like the real NCLEX?
Is it worth it to go with cheaper?
In this blog post, I go over the pros, cons, and show you my scores with Archer Review NCLEX questions.
Spoiler Alert: I don’t end up recommending them. But read on to find out why.
- The graphics look like the real NCLEX
- It’s affordable, but the prices are starting to creep up. As of this writing it is $89 for 60 days.
- Easy to break up what questions to do topics from and see the test scores
- Offer individual tutoring and group classes -not sure how good it is though
- Overall content being tested on is adequate
As I did every question, I made a note or check mark in my NCLEX Nursing Nugget Pages book that related to the content that was being tested on. I do this to make sure that practice questions are not asking about too many obscure topics and that my book is covering the content that a nursing student may get asked about. The below picture is an example of a page from the musculoskeletal Nugget Pages. You can see the colored curved lines and some notes from when I was doing the Archer questions.
The Cons (Negatives)
- I wouldn’t consider Archer Review a “review” of actual nursing content. Many rationales are very short and there are very few images for learning. There are group teaching sessions and tutoring, so maybe that’s what they are referring to as the “review”. Overall, it’s a set of practice questions.
There are some major problem with these questions
2. There are so many questions that are NOT written in the NCLEX-style format. That’s unfortunate. It occurs so frequently, that I can’t recommend Archer Review for practice questions.
What do I mean about not being in the NCLEX-style format?
- There are too many questions worded as “what would the nurse NOT do” – that is not how NCLEX words their questions. The NCLEX people think this confuses students or to trick them. I agree.
- Archer uses the wrong terms. The real NCLEX uses “client” instead of patient, “healthcare provider” instead of doctor, “UAP” instead of CNA – so even though this is minor and doesn’t really affect the answer, it’s still not in the NCLEX format.
- There are typos, unapproved abbreviations, no nurse mentioned in the question…
- And there are many more problems, but you get the idea.
It appears that the writers have not taken the course on how to write an NCLEX-style question . Literally, there is a course on how to write NCLEX-style questions from the NCSBN’s Learning Extension. I’ve taken it twice, along with the other NCSBN courses: Assessment of Critical Thinking and Understanding the NCLEX: A Guide for Nursing Educators. These are critical courses to take as an NCLEX/Nursing educator.
I find this very odd that Archer would not format their questions correctly because the nursing content being tested on is mostly what you would see on the real NCLEX. It’s highly possible that there could be no registered nurse in charge of their NCLEX content and questions. I can’t find anything on the website that mentions a registered nurse in charge of curriculum development. And there is actually nothing on their website that says who they are. I do know that Archer was first a medical test prep company. And it’s common for a medical test prep company to jump onto the NCLEX/nursing band wagon since there’s a lot of money to be made and the content does overlap. Companies will outsource the writing of NCLEX-style questions and that the questions are not thoroughly tested for quality or validity.
I find it odd (but sadly typical) that Archer says on their website: “Our practice questions are written by board-certified experts from reputable academic hospitals.” But then there is nothing to back that up on who that actually is. Archer does like to mention that they have “affordable prices”. However, if you are paying up to $100,000 (or more) for nursing school, you can afford to splurge on a more high quality test prep resource. It takes TIME to do these questions and TIME can be more valuable than money. Spend your time and money wisely. ‘Nuf said.
After doing 100% of the questions, I got 65% of my overall questions correct, which in my opinion is not good for me. I always try to get at least 70% of my questions correct. I did, however, get above average on every set of questions that I did.
So what went wrong? It was quite clear that the questions were not written using the NCLEX format and there were a lot of mistakes in the question and answers. So basically I didn’t try as hard as I normally would. You can see in the pic below how much time I spent on each question – less than 30 seconds for many questions. I definitely don’t recommend that you go as fast as I did for any set of questions.
One of my biggest downfalls was missing that it was a SATA and only picking one answer! So, yes part of my lower scores are due to CARELESSNESS. My scores typically are about 10% higher than what I did.
My scores for the individual topics were:
- Adult health: 63%
- Child health: 64%
- Critical care: 68%
- Fundamentals: 65%
- Leadership/Management: 72%
- Maternity/Newborn: 66%
- Mental health: 66%
- Pharmacology: 70%
Can I Recommend Archer Review?
I will NOT be recommending Archer Review to any of my students.
Archer has the potential to be very good if they fixed the formatting, took out the wrong content and were a little more generous with their rationales. I recommend that whoever is in charge of the NCLEX-style questions take the course from NCSBN on how to write good NCLEX questions. And then go back and fix them all. The website looks good and the cost is cheaper, but the actual questions are not high quality.
Could you still do Archer and benefit?
It’s possible that you could still benefit from Archer since the actual nursing content is not way off. However, there are much better resources out there. With the most important test of your life ahead of you, it’s important to use a set of questions that are more in line with how NCLEX questions are actually written. And if you want a more thorough review of nursing content and don’t want to waste a ton of time, use something else.