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Princeton books vs. Berkeley Review

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by Ironslave, May 14, 2007.

  1. Ironslave

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    Hello everyone,

    I am currently registered for TPR in class course for the summer. I just got my books, and man oh man, they are horrible. :confused: Granted, I'm only about 20 pages into the Biological Science review book, but it is very detailed (probably way too much detail, way more than my EK set) but extremely dry, and poorly written. Some of their analogies meant to clarify things only further confuse them...

    My question is, for anybody who has taken the class, did you find this? How much do the actual classes help over just the books?

    I am strongly considering picking up Berkeley's review books, as I have read good things about them here. I know they are very detailed (they sure look like it from their table of contents!!) but anybody having these, how did you find the readability?

    Any feedback on either would be much appreciated.
     
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  3. Green Pirate

    Green Pirate Neurotic Neuro Enthusiast

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    I'll let you know tomorrow--my TBR books are scheduled to arrive then.
     
  4. ronehh

    ronehh in the original position

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    hey just recieved my set today. I'm starting to review gen. chem and i'll let you how they presented the material when im done with the first section. BTW, if u plan to order, do it way in advance!. hth
     
  5. RandomBlackManX

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    The TPR physical sciences hyperlearning book is awesome (especially when you combine it with EK Physics and Chem). The TPR biological sciences on the other hand is a different story. I'm trying to get through that beast by the end of the week.
     
  6. max_poWER

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    I really like the Berkeley Review books for Chem/OChem/Physics because they provide you a really good base to build upon, but think that the Biology books might go into too much detail (they're probably twice the size of the other sections). I felt like the passages were really useful because it really made you think about the subject and made sure that you really understood each section. In the end, I think that the books are pretty straightforward with their explanations though, and felt like it didn't seem very dense or dry.
     
  7. midn

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    The TPR biology book is God-awful. It is bereft of necessary diagrams while abundant in unnecessary diagrams. It just doesn't flow well and throws so much detail at you with little explanation.
     
  8. vicinihil

    vicinihil Member
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    so take home message is...TBR and TPR both fail at Bio...so EK 4lyf? =)
     
  9. Ironslave

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    I agree with you 100% midn. I'm about 45 pages into the Biology section, and I find it to be way over the top. I've just gotten onto DNA replication, and it does not flow well at all.

    I did however go back, and read the first few pages several times, and I think I've got the hand of the whole (delta) G concept, finally.. which I have found to be useful. But man oh man, Biology is my favorite section, and this is awful.
     
  10. muja786

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    I am takin the TPR class as well this summer, but ive already had the EK books, there is a huge difference in the sizes of these books, so that leads me to believe that either EK is not thorough enough or TPR books are too excessive. Anyone have experience to which of these is correct.

    As far as I am concerned im primarily using the EK books since i can understand them well, and have heard good things about them. Ill see whats up once i start taking practice tests after I am done with the content.
     
  11. vicinihil

    vicinihil Member
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    TPR is too much. I teach for them. I attest they go into way too much detail on somethings and not enough in others. EK believes they do a good job, I know they do a good job.
     
  12. badasshairday

    badasshairday Vascular and Interventional Radiology

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    I liked the Kaplan bio book. Not too much and not too little. There G-chem portion of their PS book isn't as good in my opinion.
     
  13. Green Pirate

    Green Pirate Neurotic Neuro Enthusiast

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    I just got my berkeley review books yesterday, and I spent a couple hours getting to know the biology review section. I really liked the way it has been handled so far--it is detailed, but the explanations are decent and the pictures are helpful.

    I was mostly impressed by the volume of practice questions at the end of each section (there's about 100 questions distributed between 15 passages for each section!).

    I'm planning on digging into gen chem today (hopefully I don't get called for jury duty), so I'll let you know my first impressions about that section. But so far, I give the bio a :thumbup:
     
  14. pazan

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    These aren't comic books. I think any MCAT study set you buy is going to be dry, detailed, and a little on the boring side. Of the books I used, EK seemed the least boring, but also the least detailed... so there's a huge tradeoff if you want materials that won't put you to sleep.

    I used the Berkeley Review books to study and didn't have a problem. Even though the material was detailed and not presented in an entertaining way, I thought having passages pertaining to the material you're studying rather than the section as a whole made it more interesting. It was nice putting to use what I'd learned about genetics, momentum, etc. on 10 passages. My roommate's TPR books had generic passages that didn't focus on the information presented to you... it was less straightforward and when I tried his books I didn't feel I was getting as much out of them. Also, TPR's passages were waaaaay easier than Berkeley Review's. I rarely missed a question on TPR but would miss 1-3 questions on almost every Berkeley Review passage... so I think BR challenges you more, which is better in the long run.

    So, my vote's with Berkeley Review... but we'll see in a couple of hours (after the score release) how much they really helped me.
     
  15. badasshairday

    badasshairday Vascular and Interventional Radiology

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    Seriously, why even give a damn about how the read is? They have to be cut and dry. They can go into explanations about why certain things are true but that isn't going to help you on the MCAT. Do yourself a favor and save your money. Don't buy so many books.

    You said you already have the EK books and now the TPR books. Why would you buy more books? Books alone don't do jack for your MCAT score. Reading those books take forever, you just need a core background on the sciences, thats all the MCAT requires. It is crap.

    I studied soooo many topics and so much stuff for the exam yet they test me on 10% of it. I studied all of physio, renal function, endocrine sys, respiration, cardiovascular sys, immune sys, reproductive sys, yet the I only had one physio discrete on the MCAT that I can remember. 3 Ochem passages that you can't really study for, I mean just know what polar bonds are and how electrons move. Some passages about genetics and cancer and cell bio. Thats it. I spend months studying for other **** but it didn't even come up. The moral of this story is that just read a set of books, TPR, EK, KApland, TBR whatever and get the background because thats all you need. Spend the rest of your time practicing MCAT style questions instead of wasting your time rereading crap that isn't going to help you.
     
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  17. vicinihil

    vicinihil Member
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    Holler...haha...I agree. Use the EK books alone and just keep doing practice problems. Save money from books and buy practice tests
     
  18. Shrike

    Shrike Lanius examinatianus

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    I've never met any student who likes our (TPR's) biology book, and I agree that some things could be explained better, that some of the illustrations could use work, and that we may go into too much detail in some areas. Clearly it is not a fun read, either. However, I'm not sure what the best answer is here. The MCAT is emphatically not a knowledge test, but in biology in particular it's better to know more than less. TPR's biology book includes material you do not need to know, but is it bad that it's there for you in case you want it? I don't know.

    (Case in point: as far as I've seen, no review company's biology book includes a lot of immunology -- it's usually just a couple to a few pages. Immunology is one of the most frequently tested subjects these days. However, the heavy stuff is always passage based -- you have to know almost nothing about the subject. My solution was to develop a supplemental immunology lecture, focusing on the subjects that appear most in such passages; I give this lecture here a few times a year. It contains not a single word that students absolutely need, but those who have attended and then seen an immunology passage tell me it was valuable to be familiar with the material. Does this mean our book needs to be beefed up in that area? I don't think it's clear.)

    I've recently looked through EK's biology text, and I agree that it's a lot easier to read, and sometimes clearer. It also includes a lot less material. Frankly, I don't know what's best.

    What really matters is practice problems and passages, plus how well your instructor explains the concepts (unless you learn far better from books, as some people do).

    (Another aside: the first time I tried to do well on the BS portion of the MCAT, I re-learned biology [it had been 21 years] by reading our bio text the day before the exam. Scored a 12 BS, without knowing any o-chem. As far as I'm concerned, that doesn't mean our text is good, it means that test-taking and passage-reading skills are more important than content.)
     
  19. midn

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    Aha, I know who you are now Shrike.

    Not that would probably worry you.
     
  20. muja786

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    thats kind of what i learned after taking my first diagnostic. as far as the material was concerned, i knew it. however when things are put into complex passages, timed and what not it becomes less and less about just having the knowledge. its the critical application of fast reading, sifting through whats not needed, and comprehending and applying that knowledge in a fast manner(from my observation.) makes me think that having the test taking skills is just as, if not more important than knowing the material.

    i dont know if this is a correct assumption or not, but after taking my TPR diagnostic thats what it seems like to me.
     
  21. pazan

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    I think that's a great assessment. I have friends who are capable of memorizing tons of information and doing well on their tests... they study all the time and have great GPAs because they take tests that measure how much stuff they can squeeze into their brains. But, they're not analytical test takers (they just regurgitate information) and they didn't do well on the MCAT. Synthesizing and being able to work with new information is a completely different skill than memorizing stuff for a test. That may be one of the reasons why verbal is rated so highly by medical schools... it's the one section that's purely analytical. I feel like if you don't have those test taking skills, you won't do well on the test, no matter how much you know.
     
  22. Shrike

    Shrike Lanius examinatianus

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    I thought you'd worked it out already -- it's not as if I keep it a secret.

    I have been assuming I know who you are, too, though it's less obvious. 6 o'clock?
     
  23. midn

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    Yup.

    But I'm not going to say exactly who because I'd like to still remain somewhat anonymous.

    What are you going to be doing for your 4 hour physics review on Monday?
     
  24. BerkReviewTeach

    BerkReviewTeach Company Rep & Bad Singer
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    Thank you so much for your vote Pazan. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you comments. We put a great deal of time into writing passages and more so answer explanations, so comments like these mean so much. It makes the late nighters worth it.

    Not to pick a battle here, but our book has ten pages of immunology review text, nine immunology training passages, and thirteen pages of explanations for the passages and questions (the most important part of any book if you ask me).
     
  25. vashka

    vashka Junior Member

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    Short Question: How many pages are the TBR Orgo, Chem, and Physics books? I want to estimate how long it would take to get through them.
     

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