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Best review books for someone who took the classes a few years ago?

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ChemTeachGuy

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So I will be taking the exam early in 2021; so there is no crunch for me... yet. I am wondering what set of MCAT books I should use for content review as I graduated in 2017 and finished prerequisites for med school even earlier than that.

Should I go with one book set like Kaplan? Or should I pick and choose based on the topic? Which set is best for someone who needs more than just light review?
 

strugstofunc

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@ChemTeachGuy I personally am using Princeton Review. From what I've heard and what I know from experience, TPR provides and emphasizes lots of details. Some pre-meds think that TPR is for the person who doesn't have in-depth science knowledge, are career changers, few years removed non-trad, etc. With that, the notion is that Kaplan is for the opposite type of person.

I'm using TPR's self-prep and I think that their bookset overprepares you. Their practice exams are also much harder than AAMC. If you were to ask me 2 weeks ago to recommend TPR, I would've said no. But that was because every practice exam I took with them was consistently low. This week I just took AAMC FL2 (509) and jumped 9 points from AAMC FL1 (500). In between those 2 tests, I took 6 TPR exams. All within 498-505.

I think that you couldn't go wrong with the TPR bookset. It hammers details, but you'll see results in the end.

Lol and to answer your other question: Buy a bookset, not per subject.

I felt very comfortable with psych/soc concepts, but wasn't scoring that well on that section on practice exams. You may think you're strong in something, but it never hurts to read another book for review -- especially in your case where you've been an alumnus for a few years.

Good luck in your prep! I hope my advice helped you in some way or another. Also, if you're interested, I'm trying to get rid of a new 2020 TPR bookset that I received when I joined their online course. I had already paid for one months before I signed up for the course, not knowing the course provided you with one. Let me know!
 

maikelm

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You and I are in a similar boat. I graduated in May 2016 and plan on re-taking my MCAT in early 2021.

I used the Kaplan books in the past and they seem to be vague in different areas sometimes. However, I would recommend you use as many YouTube videos as you can along with actively studying content. A huge portion of the MCAT is about the application of subjects, so you need to apply things in different ways. Knowing the content is part of the equation.

As for the Princeton Review content, I think I looked at it years ago. I got a few books from a friend and some of the content and explanations were very deep and intense. So that can be a good thing when you need to review a lot of content.

One thing I would advise regarding Kaplan's CARS strategies, don't do it. They tell you to summarize content and skim passages to find the easiest article. It's a huge waste of time. I recommend just reading through the passages and highlighting things as necessary. Then going in order of questions.

Best of luck!
Maikel
 

Tyrese

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As others have said, Princeton is pretty thorough and encompassing. What I think is really important is content. If you know the concepts well, then its only a matter of knowing the test (format, strategy, time, etc).

Just putting it out there: you can also find full sets of MCAT prep books at second hand stores. Most will probably be from the old MCAT, but you may come across some that are post-2015. It can help in saving you a few $$$. I got a complete set of Princeton books (Dec 2018 printing) for ~$5.25 USD. A bit old now, but what else can you buy for five bucks?
 

maikelm

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As others have said, Princeton is pretty thorough and encompassing. What I think is really important is content. If you know the concepts well, then its only a matter of knowing the test (format, strategy, time, etc).

Just putting it out there: you can also find full sets of MCAT prep books at second hand stores. Most will probably be from the old MCAT, but you may come across some that are post-2015. It can help in saving you a few $$$. I got a complete set of Princeton books (Dec 2018 printing) for ~$5.25 USD. A bit old now, but what else can you buy for five bucks?

Five bucks for an entire set? Even though it's a bit old, I think the content is fairly similar. Plus, that's a huge bang for you buck. I might have to search the internet for stuff like that. I can use it as practice questions and nail my time more.
 

PlsLetMeIn21

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So I will be taking the exam early in 2021; so there is no crunch for me... yet. I am wondering what set of MCAT books I should use for content review as I graduated in 2017 and finished prerequisites for med school even earlier than that.

Should I go with one book set like Kaplan? Or should I pick and choose based on the topic? Which set is best for someone who needs more than just light review?

Definitely pick your books based on topics. I'd strongly suggest you look at the official 100-day SDN study guide to decide what books are best for each section. That is seriously the most well reasoned compilation you'll find anywhere. I did a totally anal breakdown of materials before I started, looking at the ones top scorers used and the ones underachievers used. After all my time spent doing data analysis I ended up with almost the exact thing they recommend. I looked through multiple books for each topic and some are definitely better than others. For instance, TBR is by far the best for chemistry, physics and biology but they suck for psych/soc and are blah for CARS. TPR is excellent for psych/soc and good for CARS, but they are not too good for the sciences. It's totally worth it to get the best books for each section. This is not the time to be lazy.
 

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I was always a big fan of the Princeton review books for subjects that I had not seen in a long time or just plain wasn't very good at foundationally. They're just so comprehensive but yet only for the most part cover the material that is MCAT relevant oh, and that is such a hard line to walk on.

David D MD - USMLE and MCAT Tutor
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