Studying for the MCAT (medical college admission test) requires the right techniques and an MCAT prep book to bolster your score and help you ace the exam. We interviewed medical school students with a high score (520+) on the MCAT and creators of MCAT prep materials to come up with this list.
MCAT Prep Books at a Glance
- Last-Minute Study Guide – MCAT Examkrackers Complete Study Package
- Best Illustrations – The Princeton Review MCAT Books
- Our Choice: Kaplan MCAT Complete Prep Books
- Best MCAT Review Book – Test Prep Books MCAT Study Guide
- Best Flashcards – MCAT Flashcards Kaplan
- Focuses on Different Topics – Sterling MCAT Prep Books
The 6 Best MCAT Prep Books Review
1. MCAT Examkrackers Complete Study Package
If you don’t have much time for your MCAT study or you need to learn the basics without having to go through volumes of extra information that won’t probably come out on the MCAT exam, you could consider this MCAT prep book from Examcrackers.
We recommend getting the 10th edition instead of the 9th edition since the latest edition is apparently a way improved version of the latter. Publishers corrected the errors from the 9th edition in the newest edition. They also added more MCAT practice questions and updated the psychology and sociology book.
Because the Examkrackers MCAT prep book mostly provides the information you probably need on the MCAT exam, you might find yourself looking for more. Nevertheless, the 6 books in this package use precise language. Salty the Kracker, the material’s mascot, could make you feel relaxed after hours of intense studying.
2. The Princeton Review MCAT Books
This Princeton Review MCAT Set is great for broadening your current general knowledge database. Nevertheless, if you don’t want to learn extra material, you might want to think twice.
There are three practice tests and practice questions at the end of every chapter of the Princeton Review complete MCAT set. Although the MCAT practice questions are not as many as the ones in Examkrackers or Kaplan, Princeton Review MCAT included enough to make you understand the concepts. You can buy the Princeton Review set a separate question book to simulate the actual MCAT exam.
This Princeton Review MCAT prep book also improves your visual comprehension since the illustrations in the book are in full color. There could’ve been more in the physics book so that the theories are a lot easier to understand. All in all, they wrote the book series well for this package. If you’re willing to buy additional material for your weak MCAT study points, this book from Princeton Review can definitely prepare you for the MACT exam.
3. Kaplan MCAT Book Set
Having the time (ideally, at least 12 weeks) and effort to study all seven books, the Amazon bestseller Kaplan MCAT complete 7-book set is one of the best MCAT prep sets you can purchase. The book provides 3 full-length practice exams. You can also use it as your reference material since the books are reviewed by a doctor and holders of advanced science degrees.
Most of the students we interviewed who got a high MCAT score recommended this. They said that the details are clear, the visuals are great, and the practice questions in every chapter are well-structured. Other MCAT books are not as detailed as Kaplans’ books.
The star feature of the Kaplan MCAT book set is that it is also helpful to identify the parts that would more likely appear on the MCAT exam. Should this Kaplan MCAT set is not enough for you to practice, you can review the sections at the end of each chapter, answer the practice questions all over the book and the online MCAT practice exams, and visit the Khan Academy online review videos.
To better prepare, you can get the MCAT Psychology and Sociology book since this package doesn’t include one. Even though it’s the priciest on this list, you get what you pay for or even more.
4. Test Prep Books MCAT Study Guide
Do you want a faster way to start prepping for MCAT? Then, this MCAT Test Prep Book can be perfect for you. With only 304 pages, it is a concise and brief study guide to the MCAT covering every part of the MCAT exam. It’s also a great book to use when you don’t have any idea how to start studying for this mind-boggling test.
By reading it from cover to cover, you can determine everything you need to work on to assess your performance from answering the practice tests.
This MCAT prep book can also be a convenient review book for those who have already prepared well enough for the test or are pressed for time to study to suffice their MCAT preparation needs.
You can study the chapters of MCAT sections, the concepts, and the subject reviews which could come out on the exam.
Aside from a number of sample questions and two full-length practice tests, you can also get some tips on how to take the MCAT exam. Even on a budget, you can practice for the test well.
5. MCAT Flashcards Kaplan With App
Have you been studying for the MCAT exam for quite some time now? You need to know how important flashcards are. The Kaplan MCAT Flashcards are great when you want to study wherever you are, review difficult topics, and not forget previously studied concepts.
Many MCAT review material companies have created their own versions of flashcards. Nevertheless, these Kaplan test prep flashcards are by far the best. The 1,000 flashcards can help you absorb the information you need quickly to answer the exam with ease.
Remember that since these are flashcards, don’t expect to see detailed answer explanations or information since it’s impossible to fit it on a flashcard. However, it can help jog your memory and comprehensive MCAT prep the information at a high level.
According to the students we interviewed who used these, they suggested adding your own notes after going through this study material. It may be somewhat time-consuming, but it helps remember important details.
Though the cards are flimsy and not that glossy, they can probably last until you finish preparing for the MCAT.
6. Sterling MCAT Prep Books – Chemical and Physical Foundations
Unlike Kaplan and Examkrackers, Sterling MCAT Prep Books don’t come in one package. However, you can make your own at the same price as the set from Kaplan.
Every month, Sterling updates their MCAT prep books to ensure that their study materials reflect the recent MCAT. With over 1,200 MCAT questions on particular subjects, their books yield many practice questions, so it’s a great way to prepare for the MCAT. The most effective test-taking strategy is answering mock questions again and again.
Every back of the MCAT prep book has a thorough explanation of the practice questions. Furthermore, you can contact their support team if you don’t understand an explanation. The support team responds effectively and fast. It’s like having a personal tutor.
One word of advice, though, it will be better to buy a different book or use another learning resource to practice when you’re just starting to concentrate on a specific topic. It’s because Sterling books only provide an overview of the concepts.
Also, med students recommend buying a Sterling book for your weak spot when you get the MCAT prep package from Kaplan.
MCAT Prep Books Buying Guide
You probably wonder now how to find the right MCAT book for you. This MCAT study guide may help you realize the test prep materials you need.
It’s a good thing that there are a lot of MCAT review books to choose from. However, choosing the right book can make you feel overwhelmed due to the lot of options available. All books seem to guarantee to help you study and get good MCAT scores, but that’s not always true. Thus, you need to make sure the book you’re choosing can bring about good results.
To help you make the right purchase, we listed down some useful tips to guide you in picking out the right book. Continue reading to find out how.
Know Your Learning Options
First, you need to understand the options you have to study, make a plan, follow a study guide and stick to it. One option is signing up for an MCAT prep course class so that you can interact with experts. MCAT prep courses are becoming very popular as students can join them now online from home. Whether you want your MCAT prep courses in a classroom setting or in the comforts of your home, you can indeed have an orderly study session.
A good MCAT prep book is a must-have for whatever studying approach you opt to prepare well for the MCAT. Since this kind of book can also be used as your reference, it helps navigate the difficult and complicated test preparation process.
Do Your Research
It’s highly important to research well about MCAT before looking for a specific book title. When you are well informed about MCAT, you can find the prep book that fits your studying requirements and prepares you adequately for the test.
You will need to know the essential test points, so it will be easier for you to look for the details you need in the books you’ll check out. As a result, you can maximize your test prep.
This is the question you need to answer when you do your research. Getting the answer can help you decide on the content you want your prep review book to have.
Depending on the date you choose for the MCAT test day, you can purchase more than one test prep book. Because the exam has broad coverage, some books come in a package to save you time searching for separate books. Make sure the book comes with at least one MCAT practice exam.
Nevertheless, a set could not be a good choice if you only have a short time to prepare.
Seek Recommendations / Read Reviews
When you think you have enough background about the MCAT, you can check out MCAT prep books recommended by former test-takers and subject matter experts. The titles they recommend can help you narrow down your choices.
Know Your Learning Strategies
It’s natural to consider buying the most famous or positively reviewed MCAT prep books. Nevertheless, much consideration has to be given. If they don’t match your learning methods and test-taking strategies, no matter how comprehensive the information is, it probably won’t help you ace the actual exam.
Look at how the book presents the information. Some aspiring med school students could handle studying drab content, but you could benefit from less dragging and concise content, which doesn’t require extensive memorization.
If you remember more from answering simulated tests than going through volumes of information, you can purchase books that have full-length practice exams to get the feel of an actual test.
To sum up, check the prep book you’re eyeing carefully.
Choose Updated Version
You can get a book published 2 to 3 years before the year you intend to take the MCAT exam. If you plan to take it in 2024, you can purchase the 2022 or later version of the book. Depending on how the American Association of Medical Colleges or AAMC creates the test, books get outdated quickly. When you buy the latest version, you are likely to study the information given on the previously given MCAT.
Get More MCAT Prep Books
Don’t feel intimidated by getting a lot of MCAT prep books. The MCAT is a hard test but manageable if you start studying for it early enough. The more prep books you have, the more context you can study. There’s no need to use prep materials from one publisher. You can benefit from having different titles, although it’s not an assurance of getting a high score. However, it can help you prepare more by covering a wide range of theories.
On top of getting a couple of various review books, you can opt to try other study materials or join an MCAT prep course.
Tools such as flashcards and workbooks for MCAT practice tests, among many others, can make you more confident and well-prepared. Find a book that provides a study plan that matches your test-taking strategies.
Since these materials utilize different approaches, they can match the studying methods and habits of medical school aspirants.
Finally, we hope our top 6 best MCAT prep books and our buying guide can help you choose the best MCAT book for your study needs. Having an understanding of the test and your needs, it won’t take long before you get your hands on the best study buddy for you. Whatever material you use, make sure you study it well and answer all the practice tests to prepare fully. Should you still be nervous, follow our 9 MCAT last-minute study tips.
The Kaplan MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review with online practice tests and resources and 3 full-length practice tests are our best pick, followed by the Princeton Review.
The Kaplan MCAT set is comprehensive, includes enough practice questions, and the detailed answer explanations are thorough, so you won’t spend much time trying to figure out a certain concept. This book is the best choice if you only want to use one review source. Besides, it also receives a lot of positive feedback from MCAT test-takers. Kaplan is well known for prep courses and offers many other online courses.
Overall, on top of having the best MCAT prep book, you need to exert your best efforts and focus on enjoying the results you want. With the right materials and sheer persistence, MCAT is always beatable.