Abstract This review concentrates on the two principle methods used to evolve nuclear abundances within astrophysical simulations, evolution via rate equations and via equilibria. Because in general the rate equations in nucleosynthetic applications form an extraordinarily stiff system, implicit methods have proven mandatory, leading to the need to solve moderately sized matrix equations. Efforts to improve the performance of such rate equation methods are focused on efficient solution of these matrix equations, by making best use of the sparseness of these matrices. Recent work to produce hybrid schemes which use local equilibria to reduce the computational cost of the rate equations is also discussed. Such schemes offer significant improvements in the speed of reaction networks and are accurate under circumstances where calculations with complete equilibrium fail.