Boromir’s right about taking the MCAT. Which is why we recommend taking your time scanning the reviews posted on Amazon.com and the Student Doctor Network to determine the best MCAT prep books for you. I’ve written my own reviews of the MCAT prep materials by Examkrackers and the Berkeley Review.

How do I know what the best MCAT prep books are for me?

Each line of books has unique strengths and weaknesses (i.e. depth of review, cost, emphasis on content vs. practice, similarity to the actual MCAT, etc.). It’s not a one-size-fits-all purchase pre-med students are making here. And that’s why we put this list together: you deserve to go into the MCAT with confidence that your books helped, not hurt, your score.

For some pre-meds, there’s a lot of value in picking and choosing from different MCAT prep companies, depending on where your weak spots are and how much time you have to prepare. That’s what I did. I was especially weak in verbal, so, although I went with the TBR full set, I also sprang for the Examkrackers 101 Verbal Passages and the Kaplan Verbal Review. And I’m glad I did, because in a month’s time, I went from getting consistent 8′s to consistent 12′s on practice verbal CBTs, and ended up with a 12 on the real thing.

FYI, when you click on the links below, it’ll open a separate window on Amazon.com. Nothing shady or spammy.

KAPLAN

Kaplan MCAT Practice Tests, 6th edition, from $13 used
Kaplan MCAT Comprehensive Review with CD-ROM, 1088 pages — from $1 used, $19.99 new
MCAT General Chemistry Review Notes, 464 pages — $20 used
MCAT Organic Chemistry Review Notes, 448 pages — $18 used
MCAT Physics Review Notes, 576 pages — $25 used
MCAT Verbal Reasoning Review Notes, 344 pages — $15 used
Kaplan MCAT 45: Advanced Prep for Advanced Students, 320 pages —$3 used
Kaplan MCAT in a Box, 1,404 cards — $29 used

THE BERKELEY REVIEW

I’ll share a pre-med trade secret here. The Berkeley Review materials are the toughest MCAT prep materials to get your hands on. The only way to get them is by mail order. What?! What century is this? You can also check for them on Amazon, but they’re extremely difficult to find there. Their full set includes: Biology (2 books), General Chemistry (2 books), Organic Chemistry (2 books) Physics (2 books), Verbal Reasoning, and full-length simulated CBTs. The Computer-Based Tests (CBTs) are 1-3 tests for $110, 5 CBTs for $160 or 7 CBTs for $210.

EXAMKRACKERS


Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package (5 books) — $115 new
Examkrackers MCAT 101 Passages in MCAT Verbal Reasoning — $24 used
Examkrackers: 1001 Questions in MCAT in Physics— $18 used
Examkrackers 1001 Questions in MCAT Chemistry— $18 used
Examkrackers: 1001 Questions in MCAT Organic Chemistry— $15 used
Examkrackers 1001 Questions in MCAT Biology Questions — $18 used
Examkrackers MCAT Audio Osmosis with Jordan and Jon, $77 used
Examkrackers MCAT Biology-$29 used
Examkrackers MCAT Chemistry-$6 used
Examkrackers: MCAT Organic Chemistry-$27 used
Verbal Reasoning & Mathematical Techniques (Examkrackers MCAT)-$18 used
Examkrackers 16 Mini-MCATs (Examkrackers MCAT Manuals) $62 used

PRINCETON REVIEW


MCAT Workout— $8 used
MCAT Biology Review— $12 used
MCAT Elite 45— $19 used
Cracking the MCAT, 2013-14 Edition, 1168 pages— $43 used
MCAT Physics and Math Review, 512 pages — $18 used                     MCAT Physics and Math Review for 2015 Test, 592 pages — $31               MCAT Verbal Reasoning Review, 304 pages ‚ $16 used                     MCAT Verbal Reasoning & Writing Review — $5 used

MCAT General Chemistry Review, 320 pages — $9 used                          MCAT General Chemistry Review for 2015 MCAT, 352 pages — $31 new

MCAT Organic Chemistry Review — $10 used                                               MCAT Organic Chemistry Review for 2015 MCAT, 320 pages — $31 new
Hyperlearning MCAT Science Workbook (2012 Edition)$55

NOVA

The MCAT Physics Book — $25 used
The MCAT Chemistry Book — $7 used
The MCAT Biology Book — $35 used

BARRON’S

Barron’s MCAT with CD-ROM, Paperback — $6 used
Barron’s MCAT Flash Cards — $12 used

STUDENT DOCTOR NETWORK

The Official Student Doctor Network MCAT Pearls (paperback) $218 used
The Student Doctor Network What Every Doctor Should Know… But Was Never Taught in Medical School, 214 pages — $95 used

THE GOLD STANDARD

The Gold Standard MCAT with Online Practice MCAT Tests, 1000 pages — $30 used
The Gold Standard new MCAT CBT Deck of Flashcards, 2011 Ed. — $8 used
The Silver Bullet: Real MCATs Explained w/ Verbal Reasoning Prep — $13 used
The Gold Standard MCAT Prep on 16 DVDs — $400 used
Gold Standard MCAT w/ Online Practice AAMC Test, 2012-13 — $31 used

IVYHALL REVIEW

MCAT Verbal: The Complete Comprehension Program, 416 pages — $67 used

MCGRAW-HILL

The New MCAT with CD-Rom, 1st Edition, 1,120 pages — $65

MOBILE APPS

Bench Prep Mobile MCAT Prep App (interactive) — $199

This list should be current for all of your 2014 MCAT prep book needs. At least until 2015, the content on the MCAT is going to be pretty consistent, but I’ll try to keep up with new versions and updated inventories. Some of the above are the newest versions for 2015, and a few aren’t even on the market yet! But you can pre-order….


Bryce Johnson co-founded premedFAQ.com in 2011 and is the author of Must Reads for the Well-Rounded Pre-Med on Amazon. If you'd like to write for the site or contribute in another way, feel free to reach out to him on LinkedIn or via email.