i think you should dish out $60 and buy the kaplan mcat book at amazon, bn, etc. in addition, ask friends to sell you an old copy of their princeton review material from a prep course. the verbal and science workbooks are huge.
I bought the Kaplan book about 6 months prior to the MCAT and then actually took the PR class. The PR materials were much more detailed but for just some occasional studying, the Kaplan book seemed more user-friendly (ie less intimidating and easier to carry around!)
Although you do have to review the materials, the practice exams were far more helpful than just reading the review materials. So if you're gonna shell out some $$, I suggest buying practice exams. Ditto on getting the materials second-hand.
I used the kaplan book and loved it. i looked at the princeton review book as well and only used the pr book for the questions, not the studying material. i suggest you look at the subject matter in both books and find the one that you like better.
yeah, you should ask friends that you know that has the books, it will always be cheaper that way.
KAPLAN!! I actually instruct the Kaplan MCAT course, and I really believe in their methods. I think that Kaplan is more focused on teaching strategies rather than tricks.
Depending on your learning style, I would also recommend taking the course, rather than just buying a book. Unlike exams such as the SAT or GRE that test your aptitude and acquired knowledge in a general sense, you need to learn and memorize the material on the MCAT, making the investment in a course worthwhile.
I think the most important thing to remember is regardless of which program you choose, you just need to work hard and your effort will pay off! Have confidence in what you decide, stay focused, and you will be happy with the end result.
Thanks for the advice, guys. I'll gonna study on my own and I believe that those courses are just a waste of money. If you really want to go to med school, you'll have the will and the energy to do everything in your power to get in. Meaning, study on your own and keep that thousand bucks in the bank so you actually have money for the application, MCAT, interviews, etc.
I would recommend Princeton Review. I found their material very, very helpful and diagnostic exams were really great as well. Also, my teacher was great and was always available to sit down and tutor on the side.
I have had other friends who decided to do Kaplan and they were not satisfied with it at all... But I guess, as what was mentioned before, it really depends on the way you learn and either way, you have to study hard.
I've taken the Princeton Review course, so i have all their review materials, also have all the Kaplan stuff and there isn't any difference. One is just as good as the other... just buy whichever is cheapest.
All these people say " i teach for Kaplan " or " I teach for PR " and our methods are better, review materials are better.... thats a load of ****, there isn't any difference.
I had the option of three test prep companies, and choose the Berkeley Review (www.berkeley-review.com), because they had the most comprehensive study books. Their home study material may be a little more expensive, but if you do it like I did, the results are great. I started getting around 24 on my practice tests in January and by April was getting 36+. My MCAT score reflected it. They focus more on substance than test taking tricks, so if you actually want to go over the science material, they're great. If all the pre-reqs are totally fresh in your head, they would be less useful. Good luck.
For the practice exams, I think the only realistic thing is the actual MCAT practice exams that you can buy from the MCAT people. But both the PR and Kaplan exams are good to practice your timing (which I found to be the most important thing about taking the test).
Most pre-meds should be able to comprehend and answer the actual questions accurately... the key is doing it in the allotted time. So, for me, the PR class helped alot in learning how to decrease my time per questions and still maintain accuracy (mainly on the verbal section). It was also a HUGE help that we took 5 practice exams for the PR class that were held on Saturdays with 200+ people from 8am-4pm. This made the know what to expect/exact time limit factor about the MCAT less intimidating. If you don't take the class, I suggest getting a group of people together a couple of times to take a mock MCAT. It sounds corny but I promise that it really is an important part of preparation.
The Princeton Review book was much more comprehensive then the Kaplan books. I think that the intro to the PR book states that the book goes over 110% of what is needed on the MCAT. The Kaplan books are easy reads and good for review, but they didn't seem as comprehensive as the PR book.
If you plan to study on your own for the MCAT, I just did that and used the Examkrackers MCAT materials...they have a separate book for Inorganic, Organic, Bio, Physics, and Verbal/Math. They also have additional books that are 1001 questions in selected areas (Bio, etc.) I didn't use it, but they have a special CD for people studying on their own that is called Audio Osmosis and is essentially fun but informative lectures on the material. Check out their website (and bulletin board) on <a href="http://www.examkrackers.com." target="_blank">www.examkrackers.com.</a> I don't work for them, I promise...I really fell in love with these books. They were a great review (I hadn't taken sciences at all since bio last summer because I am taking a year off after college and needed to work on my major) and they cover everything and teach you HOW to take the MCAT, which is more important than you might realize...it's all about how you approach the test (once you know the basic science stuff). The two guys who run this program (Jordan and Jon) actually run classes in the NYC area (and are doing summer weekend workshops in DC and Philadelphia THIS SUMMER!) and are very supportive and answer any questions within 24 hours if you post them on their bulletin board site. It's a really great way to study on your own and have access to resources. I bought the Complete MCAT Study Kit off Barnes and Noble.com and purchased all the AAMC practice tests and felt totally prepared. Study on your own actually rocks because you get to focus on the areas you have problem with, fit it into your schedule, don't have to deal with annoying pre-meds (no offense, guys...you know pre-meds are too high-strung sometimes), and save TONS of money. Good luck!
EXAMKRACKERS all the way. I just took the MCAT for the third (and hopefully last) time. I can honestly say that comparing Examkrackers with anyone else is seriously night and day.
My suggestion is to by their home study package. The CD's of Audioosmosis are awesome and you can ask any question on their webpage and they respond in less than a day. In addition, they are cheaper. Just get a free sampler of their CD and listen....then decide.
You also MUST buy ALL of their 1001 books. I am dead serious when I say that some of the questions in those books were identical to the questions on the real MCAT.
I also really liked Princton Review's Big Book. I did the whole thing two weeks before the MCAT and I think that really helped.