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Guideline to Buying Used Berkeley Review Materials

Discussion in 'The Berkeley Review' started by BerkReviewTeach, 08.26.11.

  1. BerkReviewTeach

    BerkReviewTeach Company Rep & Bad Singer Exhibitor

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    I hope to do a few things with this post.

    • 1) Give a definitive list of the materials and their evolution over the years.

    • 2) Reduce my PMs by having a post that answers some of the FAQs I get.

    • 3) Help some sellers with current materials get a fair market price and have a list available that prevents buyers from getting taken when buying outdated books.

    First off, SDN classifieds are by far the best place to get used BR materials. Most of the feedback about dishonest activity (scams) and bait-n-switch listings (outdated material or counterfeits with missing pages) come from Craigslist, so you should never buy from Craigslist. Ebay has items from time to time, but in many cases they cost more used than you'd pay for them brand new. It would be a sad experience if you paid more than twice what they cost brand new and then you got a 1995 book in the mail. For the sake of getting current materials, you should look primarily to SDN if you opt to buy the materials used. In your negotiations, it might also help you to know that older versions of the books cost less brand new than the current versions, so if you see someone trying to sell 2007 biology books for $50, they're asking the same amount that they paid brand new.

    Here is a general pricing suggestion for the materials. For details about what makes the updated books different from older books, consult the other book thread. You should always ask about the writing in each book and version.

    PHYSICS
    The physics books underwent a major change during late 2010 and the latest version of the book is "pure gold" and "amazing" as many users at SDN have put it. You shouldn't settle for anything less than the very latest version, used or new.

    Brand new from the company: $65 for the pair

    Used from November 2010 or later should run you about $45-$55 for the pair, depending on the shape. The books likely cost the seller $60 new. To make sure you are getting the correct version, ask if it has a table of contents in the back with page numbers. If it is, then you have the right book.

    Used 2009-November 2010 should run you about $35-$45 for the pair, depending on the shape. This version has the temporary blue cardboard cover. It has some upgrades in terms of editting from the previous version.

    Anything before 2009 just isn't worth getting with so many newer versions on the market.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    GENERAL CHEMISTRY
    The general chemistry books underwent a change in 2009 that upgraded the electrochemistry chapter significantly and a few other chapters got minor facelifts. The books underwent a bigger change in March of 2012.

    Brand new from the company: $65 for the pair

    Used from March 2012 or later should run you about $55-$60 for the pair, depending on the shape. To make sure you are getting the correct version, ask the seller if the books have 360 pages and 317 pages respectively.

    Used from 2009 to 2011 should run you about $45-$55 for the pair, depending on the shape. To make sure you are getting the correct version, ask the seller if the topic of "galvanizing" is on page 282 of Book II. If it is, then you have the right book.

    Anything before 2009 just isn't worth getting with so many newer versions on the market.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    The organic chemistry books have undergone three major changes since 2004 In 2004 the test writers removed topics such as alkene reactions and benzene chemistry, so these sections were omitted from the BR book at that time, changing the chapter sequence in a significant way. The topics that were modified again in 2007 after the switch to the CBT. The most current version was released near the end of January 2012. It has more passages, reduced text, and more sample questions. It can be recognized quickly from the index at the back.

    Brand new from the company: $65 for the pair

    Used from August 2007 to December 2011 should run you about $45-$55 for the pair, depending on the shape. To check if you are getting this version of the book, ask the seller if the topic of "Edman's reagent" is on page 199 of Book II. If it is, then you have the right book.

    DO NOT USE ANY VERSION BEFORE 2004!!! The test changed and those books contain topics that are no longer tested.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    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 early 2011, a practice test was added to the back of each book. These exams are invaluable as summaries. The latest version is best, but older versions (as far back as 2004) will suffice.

    Brand new from the company: $65 for the pair

    Used from March 2011 or later should run you about $50-$55 for the pair, depending on the shape. To make sure you are getting the correct version, ask the seller if there is a practice exam that starts on page 339 of Book I. If it is, then you have the right book.

    Used 2009-March 2011 should run you about $40-$50 for the pair, depending on the shape. This version has the temporary red cardboard cover.

    DO NOT USE ANY VERSION BEFORE 2004!!! The test changed and those books emphasize topics that are not tested as heavily.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    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. The latest version is best, but older versions (as far back as 2006) will suffice.

    Brand new from the company: $65 for the pair

    Used from 2011 or later should run you about $45-$55 for the pair, depending on the shape. To make sure you are getting the correct version, ask the seller if the passages on 332 and 390 are different. If they are, then you have the right book.

    Used 2009-2010 should run you about $40-$50 for the pair, depending on the shape. This version has a regular tan cover but has more pages than the previous version (a little over 700 pages). This version has some copies that accidentally have the same "Boomerang passage" listed twice.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    The suggested prices are based on sales over the past year at SDN. The list below is a few suggestions to follow on any purchase of used books.

    • 1) Always ask for the edition. Older books cost less brand new than they do now and should not have the inflated value some people ask for them.

    • 2) The passages are the most important part, and you shouldn't buy books with writing on them. Even the slightest amount of writing ruins the integrity of the practice experience (and biases your thought process). Hold out for clean copies if you plan to do the passages.

    • 3) For physics, the newest version is best and it's worth paying a little more to get it.

    • 4) Illegal PDF versions exist for the outdated versions. If someone is selling what they call a used 2009 version that lacks verbal reasoning, it is probably an illegal pdf version. It's not worth using them for many reasons, including ethics, risk to your future, and lack of preparedness. Most people get caught when a fellow premed reports them. With any pdf files of any materials, is it worth saving maybe $50 to risk your chances of going to medical school.

    • 5) BR books retain their value more than any other books (check the classifieds and you'll be stunned). Buying them new (or the most current used versions) is worth the investment because of their resale value.

    • 6) If you sell your used books through SDN classifieds, you should list the version and emphasize the key pages that show it's the latest version. You are welcome to link this post if it helps your sale.

    • 7) This post will be updated when the new general chemistry book is released later this year.
    Last edited: 04.08.12
  2. wagmanager

    wagmanager

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    just went to your website to order tbr books. i can't believe that in this day and age one has to mail in the order form . Please consider updating your system as i am sure this alone will discourage people from using your books
  3. wildnut

    wildnut

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    wagmanager - I absolutely agree. Companies should welcome enhancements that technology provides so that the ordering process is easier FOR THE CUSTOMER (and obviously for the vendor, too). The antiquated Berkeley site and the process of ordering (NOT EVEN PHONE ORDERS!!) is a huge barrier for purchasing what apparently are excellent books.
  4. coninuteremedia

    coninuteremedia

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    Hi, I was wondering what the status of the o-chem book updated was. Does it look like it'll be out by this or next month or will it be released early next year? I'm basing my decision to purchase the books on this. Thanks!
  5. BerkReviewTeach

    BerkReviewTeach Company Rep & Bad Singer Exhibitor

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    The beta version has been printed and is in circulation. After feedback over the next month to two it will undergo one last revision and should be out in March sometime. At least that's what I've been told as of last week, but considering the physics book took about six months longer than it was supposed to, I'll wait until I officially see it to believe it.
  6. bob38443

    bob38443

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    So if we purchase the Organic book now, will we get the 2007 or the beta version?
  7. waterbox

    waterbox

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    Also basing my order off of this. An update would be great.
  8. m2k

    m2k

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    If TBR people follow this forum... they should consider giving either next edition free for new orders or give a big discount for the updated version.
  9. Spikedsoymilk

    Spikedsoymilk New Member

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    Hey BerkReviewTeach,

    Thanks for taking the time to type this out for us. It's really useful!

    So, I have a set of Berkeley Review books that I purchased used when I was studying to take the MCAT in Summer 2008. I was wondering if they were usable:

    Physics: 2003
    Chemistry: 2003
    Biology: 2005
    Organic Chemistry 2005

    These are the peach-colored books. I know they aren't optimal, but are they at least acceptable (e.g., are these books excluded from the "DO NOT USE" category)? Or do you still highly recommend getting the new set?
  10. HunnyBeeMD

    HunnyBeeMD

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    BerkReviewTeach:
    I'm concerned because I bought my set and all of my books have covers that are the glossy kind.

    The copyright on the Verbal reasoning is 2011 HOWEVER, the passages you mentioned are indeed THE SAME.

    Does this mean just because it says copyright 2011 doesn't mean it's the latest verbal? Does the verbal book without that mistake say 2012 instead? Is that updated book available for purchase now?

    I bought my set in the fall/winter of 2011, so I find it interesting that my Bio book is a glossy cover and does indeed contain the extra practice test. The same goes for my Orgo book. It also has the glossy cover and says copyright 2012.

    Hope this helps others
  11. pm1

    pm1

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    I am looking into buying CBTs but I am debating on whether I should buy 5 or 7.. so I was wondering if I buy 5 at first and still have time to do the two remaining ones can I get the FL 6 and 7 separately?
    Thank you!
  12. blackeinstein

    blackeinstein

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    Thanks for your thread. Its really helpful. However, I was wondering how long it takes to get a TBR book from the actual website? Cos alot of people on here say it takes forever to get it shipped to you.
  13. PanRoasted

    PanRoasted

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    Just what exactly changed in 2010 that made the physics books better? Besides that people made some vague anecdotal quotes about it.
  14. cdistel

    cdistel

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    It seems as though the gchem, ochem and physics have undergone major changes, how about bio and verbal? Are they due for a change? If so, when?
  15. BerkReviewTeach

    BerkReviewTeach Company Rep & Bad Singer Exhibitor

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    I apologize that I do not check this page as often as I should. The new O chem book has been out since last January and that was what they shipped starting January 30 or so.

    I think for orders over a two week window of time while they awaitied the arrival of the new organic chemistry book, they first sent the older books and then later sent the newer books.

    The copyright is not always the best indicator of things, because they make revisions midyear many times, so that two versions with the same copyright year are actually different. It sounds like you got one of the very first prints of the new bio book if it had that exam. The exam is the best measure of the version. For organic chemistry, you should look to see how the passages are set up. There are two drastically different versions of copyright 2012 floating around.

    It depends on where you're at and how busy the postal people are. On the west coast, it's typical for credit card orders to arrive in about five to eight days from the time you mail your order. On the east coast the typical time falls in the eight to twelve day range. You read about some orders taking a month and some orders arriving in four days, but those are both extremes. The best way to speed the delivery up is to use a credit card.
  16. BerkReviewTeach

    BerkReviewTeach Company Rep & Bad Singer Exhibitor

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    You can find the answer by clicking on the other thread linked in my signature.

    It is basically:

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

    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.

    The verbal is currently being revamped. However, and this speculation on my part and does not represent the company, I think they're putting all of their efforts into a Fall 2014 version to meet the new MCAT. I'm guessing that there will be changes to passages between now and then (with each new printing), but nothing major will happen until Fall 2014.

    As for biology, I'm not sure why he makes small changes every time rather than a major change like the other three. The primary authors for all of the books still teach, so they get feedback on what students like and what they desire. I assume his changes are based on feedback, so perhaps the feedback he hears makes him want to stick to the layout. Sorry I can't answer your question without speculating, because I don't really know him that well.
  17. mehc012

    mehc012 Billy Goat Gruff

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    Will the Fall 2014 versions of Bio, Chem, Ochem, and Physics still be applicable for the 2014 exams (aka pre-changes)?
  18. xxabi

    xxabi

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    For General Chemistry, you mention that the books in 2012 went through a significant change, how much different would it be from the versions prior to it? I just bought hardcopies of the 2011 set, prior to reading this and I was wondering if the change was drastic enough that I should purchase the 2012 or later version? Thank you.
  19. stevem1928

    stevem1928

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    When will new TBR books for the MCAT 2015 be available?
  20. BerkReviewTeach

    BerkReviewTeach Company Rep & Bad Singer Exhibitor

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    I'm speculating in part here, but the PS books (which will combine physics and general chemistry together) have to be ready for the Fall class starting October, so that's likely when they'll show up on the company website. Same is true for the BS books. The organic books will no longer exist on their own, as they are being absorbed in part by the BS books and in part by the PS books. The verbal book is going to get an overhaul and will come out is various stages over the span of probably nine months in 2015. The new Sociology/Psychology/Neuro book is going to be first introduced in the classroom course and exactly when that will be available for home study is not yet determined. They're perfectionists, so it probably won't be when the other books are available.
  21. State27

    State27

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    It seems like you are saying they are re-writting all the books. So anyone who plans to purchase TBR set now for the August 2014 MCAT can expect a massive loss of value for their books, no?

    TBR should be put on clearance! :happy:

    Can you make any comment on current book relevance for the following year? Or do you just recommend buying the books and dealing with whatever price effect 2015 has on the value
  22. MedicineMan94

    MedicineMan94

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    Does anyone have any updates on how the 2013 TBR books differ from previous editions?
  23. integratethis

    integratethis

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    Are these guidelines still good? Or is there a more current edition? Was going to check out a Berkeley review set tomorrow and the seller says they were purchased from the official website in Feb. 2014. Anything in particular that I should be looking for?
  24. sf007

    sf007

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    Hi, i am looking for BERKELEY REVIEW IN CLASS HANDOUTS AND LECTURE NOTES...if anybody took a course at TBR and have those..i will buy those at a good price!!

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