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Berkeley Review Books

Discussion in 'The Berkeley Review' started by BerkReviewTeach, 04.08.12.

  1. BerkReviewTeach

    BerkReviewTeach Company Rep & Bad Singer Exhibitor

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    This thread is an update of this previous thread.

    The purpose of this thread is to give a breakdown of each book and hopefully answer most of the questions I get in PMs. It's also a way to help a buyer of used materials figure out whether the books are the latest. A substantial number of sellers say their books are the latest, when in reality they are not. They may have been at the time they bought them, but changes have happened since that time. In many cases, used books work quite well, but given that used BR books sell for almost as much as they cost brand new, buyers really should be more demanding. Do not pay more than you could buy them for brand new!!! Things to consider:

    • 1) Buying secondhand used books (used books from someone who also bought them used) usually have the greatest amount of writing and wear. Don't overpay for twice-used books.

    • 2) Clean passages and questions are a must. Even the slightest amount of writing ruins the integrity of the practice experience. Hold out for clean copies, especially in the subjects you feel weakest.

    • 3) For physics, the newest versions are best and it's worth paying a little more to get them. Biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry have all undergone improvements since the start of 2011, but older versions (not too old though) will work nearly as well for the most part.

    • 4) SDN is the only place worth buying used MCAT books. Craiglist is well known for dishonest sellers and there are many sellers on ebay who have no idea what they are selling and usually price it way too high.

    • 5) Canadian sellers should try to sell to Canadian buyers. Buying new BR books in Canada comes with extra shipping costs imposed by Fedex and tariffs. Selling in Canada really helps a fellow Canadian.

    • 6) BR books retain their value more than any other books (check the classifieds and you'll be stunned). They are worth the investment because of their resale value.

    • 7) The copyright date is not helpful at all when identifying the latest BR books. Ask if they have a table of contents or if they have a practice exam in the back. Specifics on how to recognize the latest books will be discussed with each book.

    • 8) PDF versions are illegal and buying and/or selling them can seriously harm your chances of going to medical school if caught. Most people get caught when a fellow premed reports them. If a seller goes down, what would keep them from trying to take the buyers down with them?

    • 9) Nearly all of the illegal pdf versions currently on the market are the 2009 version (lacking verbal) and the person who illegally did the scanning omitted some essential pages. If a seller if offering a 2009, be very skeptical, because there were some books that didn't have a 2009 copyright.

    ============================================================================

    PHYSICS
    The physics books underwent a major change in late October of 2010. The changes included:

    1) Answer explanations to all of the B-questions. Within the text there are sample questions that come in an A-B pair. The A-questions had answer explanations, but the B-questions only had a letter key. The new version hs explanations to all questions.

    2) Changing out of several passages (about 35%). The passages now come in two phases, where the first phase emphasizes review and the second phase emphasizes timing and the mixing of concepts. Plans are to add a third phase sometime in 2013.

    3) Selected chapter got a major overhaul (Fluids and Electromagnetism in particular) to be significantly more conceptual with several applications and examples.

    4) Perhaps the most useful change is the inclusion of hundreds of shortcuts and tips taught in the lecture course. These are only in the current version and not any of the older versions. They are sometimes call turbo solutions. They make questions significantly easier.

    5) The addition of a table of contents and index for easier lookup of concepts.

    Note: The easiest way to tell if the book you are buying is the latest is to ask if it has an index (with page numbers) in back. You can also ask if the second page in each chapter (back of the cover page) has a cat with an "M" on it or a Kopi (the Berkeley Review mascot with the bad posture from studying too much). If it has a cat, then it's the latest version.

    Avoid paying too much for any version that has the temporary blue cardboard cover, as that is a much older version.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    GENERAL CHEMISTRY
    The general chemistry books underwent a small change during Spring of 2009 that upgraded the electrochemistry chapter significantly and a few other chapters to a minor extent. It underwent a second, slightly larger change this past March (2012).

    The latest version has the following upgrades:

    1) About 10% of the passages were replaced and another 30% were upgraded with question changes and text modifications.

    2) The text for each chapter was changed to get up-to-speed with the latest changes to the MCAT.

    3) Many drawings were updated to have more clarity and insights.

    4) Certain particularly challenging questions have two or more answer explanations, emphasizing both traditional methods and shortcut (conceptually-based) methods.

    Note: The easiest way to tell if the book you are buying is the latest is to ask how many pages it has. The latest version of book I has 360 pages with a cat telling you your done on the last page and book II has 310 pages. Older versions of book I have 352 pages and book II have 317 pages.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    The organic chemistry book underwent another major change in January 2012. In 2004, when the test writers changed the topics that were covered in organic chemistry, the book underwent a huge content change. In 2007, after the switch to the CBT, it underwent a second huge change to reflect the reduced amount of organic chemistry on the MCAT with the inclusion of several biology topics. This latest change involved several new passages, the removal of topics such as 13C NMR and obscure sugar tests, and a reduction is the amount of reading in many chapters.

    The latest version has the following upgrades:

    1) Changing out of several passages (about 20%). The passages now come in three phases, where the first phase emphasizes review, the second phase emphasizes timing and the mixing of concepts with biology, and the third phase emphasizes experiments and facts. There are sixteen extra passages (which caused the books to be a little bigger than before).

    2) The organization of the text portion was vastly improved. Redundancy within and between chapters was minimized with new in-text questions replacing paragraphs that were omitted. It reads much better than before.

    4) Many of the examples now center around biologically applicable ideas. The text for each chapter was changed to get up-to-speed with the latest changes to the MCAT.

    5) The addition of a table of contents and index for easier lookup of concepts.

    Note: The easiest way to tell if the book you are buying is the latest is to ask how many pages it has. The latest version of book I has 331 pages with the last page ending with an explanation to question 31 and book II has 321 pages with the last page ending with an explanation to question 35. Older versions of book I have 324 pages and book II have 300 pages. You can also tell if the book you are buying is the latest if it has an index (with page numbers) in back. Last, you can also ask if the second page in each chapter (back of the cover page) has a cat with an "M" on it or a Kopi (the Berkeley Review mascot with the bad posture from studying too much). If it has a cat, then it's the latest version.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    BIOLOGY
    The biology books have undergone small changes with each printing. These changes generally included correction of typos, updates of drawings, and a few questions and/or explanation changes. In February 2011, a practice test was added to the back of each book. These exams are invaluable as summaries.

    The latest version has the following upgrades:

    1) 52-question summary exams at the end of each book. These questions are designed to be the best estimation of the MCAT difficulty in the book.

    2) Upgraded explanations to selected questions. An upgrade of about 10% of the passages within the book.

    3) Cleaner versions of selected drawings in the physiology systems section.

    Note: The easiest way to tell if the book you are buying is the latest is to ask if there is a 52-question exam in the back, starting on page 340 of book I and starting on page 492 in book II.

    Avoid paying too much for any version that has the temporary red cardboard cover, as that is a much older version.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    VERBAL REASONING and WRITING SAMPLE
    The verbal reasoning book underwent a major change during 2009 when there was a concerted effort to include multiple ways to solve questions.

    Avoid paying too much for any version that has the temporary tan cardboard cover, as that is a much older version with fewer passages.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________
    Last edited: 04.23.12
  2. couldabeenadoc

    couldabeenadoc

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    Is there an SDN discount code? :rolleyes:
  3. WickedpreMD

    WickedpreMD

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    Hello fellow pre-meds!

    I just wanted to share the great experience I had with the Berkeley Review company. After visiting the company’s website and reviewing their order process I was a little hesitant. I needed my books ASAP and it seemed like no (reasonable) amount of money would get my books shipped fast. But I was wrong! Even with the old-fashioned ordering system they have, I still received my books super-fast. Aside from the price of the books, I did pay $18.00 (express shipping for order form) and $66.00 (expedited 3-day shipping for BR books). But this is a small price to pay for the materials which will prepare me for an exam that will determine my future. Right? Anyways, I want to thank Dori (the Berkeley Review’s customer service rep.) who was very helpful and answered all my questions. Dori if you are reading this, THANKS!!! I am ready to begin my MCAT studying journey on Monday.

    Wish me luck! :banana:

    -EN
  4. StilgarMD

    StilgarMD

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    For Chem:

    "2) The text for each chapter was changed to get up-to-speed with the latest changes to the MCAT."

    what are these changes? i have the Pre-2012 Edition and im afraid to use it x_x
  5. zoomx3

    zoomx3

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    how important really is it to have the latest edition of everything?

    i wasn't aware of all these updates before i purchased and realized that i have the oldest versions possible for all books (i have all the cardboard covers plus no indexes, etc.)

    i have already started studying.... so should i still try to sell the current ones i have and buy all the new editions?
  6. ginaflores

    ginaflores

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    What did you end up doing? Did you re sell them and buy the newest editions?

    I ask because I recently bought 2008 versions without realizing it, and now I'm wondering what to do. =____=
  7. BerkReviewTeach

    BerkReviewTeach Company Rep & Bad Singer Exhibitor

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    In general, you should be fine with older books (nothing before 2008) in everything but physics. The latest versions of physics (anything after October 2010) are good. With every reprint, there are some small changes, but that's usually just the correction of some typos, the changing of a couple passages and some questions, and some improved diagrams.

    If you've already bought older versions and they have clean passages, that is better than having more recent versions with scarred-up passages. Only update physics, because the best strategies are in the latest versions.
  8. premedwannabe12

    premedwannabe12

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    My book that just came in the mail does have explained solutions to all b questions but it does not come with an index and has the kobi symbol. Should I still use it??

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