The Berkeley Review Books: Is it worth adding/switching what I have already?

Jul 16, 2009
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Hey all,

So I am gathering my supplies for my the year-long voyage I'm about to start for MCAT preparation.

In terms of Content Review so far I have:

-Examkrackers Complete Study Package (7e)

-Kaplan 2009 MCAT Course Review Books (Brand New - Craigslist $50 :) )

-Nova Physics

-MCAT Verbal Reasoning Mastery - Ivy Hall Review (This book is geared towards people with a lot of time since it tells you to read for 2-3 hours everyday for 8 months or so. A good friend of mine who I have great trust in went through it not too long ago and used the strategies for his MCAT. Scored 14 on Verbal, so I figure it's worth a shot)

I will be getting very soon:

-EK 1001 in Bio, Chem, OChem, Physics
-EK 101 Verbal
-TPR Hyperlearning package 2009 from a friend (hopefully)


However, I have been looking at all sorts of threads on the SDN on The Berkeley Review and the consensus seems to be that their Chem, OChem, and Physics are amongst the best MCAT Prep Tools. A lot of people have said their Bio and Verbal/Writing are mediocre. The only solid complaint seems to be that they have a backdated website/ordering method, but I could care less about this; their content is all that matters to me.

My question is this:
Do you guys think it is worth selling the Kaplan Course stuff and getting TBR Stuff instead?

Let me know what you guys think.

Thanks everyone.
 

phEight

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I've heard for content review TPR Hyperlearning books are excellent. Also, people have said the TBR Bio book passages are hard in the way the more recent actual MCAT bio passages have been. You should know that for TBR, there are 2 books for each subject, and each book has 5 sections. Each of these sections has a bare minimum of 10 passages with detailed answer solutions. The bio books have like 15 passages per section. This is ALOT of good practice material. I doubt you really need it for content since you have TPR Hyperlearning, but if you want extra practice and want to see a subject from perhaps a slightly different angle, TBR would be a good option.
 
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Jul 16, 2009
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Haha gotcha. Thanks guys.

So do you guys think I should just get rid of the Kaplan Book altogether and just stick with TPR Hyperlearning and get a full set of the TBR books?

phEight, from what you're saying, it seems like TBR's bio book still has some solid material in it. 15 passages per section sounds terrific.

I'm now leaning towards getting all the TBR Science books. Is their Verbal and Writing set worth it at all? Or am I fine with the MCAT Verbal Reasoning Mastery and EK Verbal/ EK Verbal 101/ TPR Hyperlearning Verbal?

Thanks again guys,

-Bender
 
Aug 3, 2009
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I think you'll be golden with the VR prep material you have already. When you mix the VR prep you already have with AAMC practice full lengths, you'll have more than enough to keep you busy...and more than enough to prepare you for the real thing.
 

bruceleehiiiyaa

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LOL you wont even get 20$ for kaplan's stuff. most premeds use kaplan. relatively few use TBR.

my advice, stick with what you have. TBR won't magically get you a high mcat score.

score -->proportional to effort.
 

Substance P

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I must say that the BR books are amazing (note: I haven't use their Bio or VR books), but just because they are great books doesn't mean that other companies don't have good books as well. Personally, I tried all of the books you have listed above and my PS scores didn't budge until I started really digging into the BR books.

With that in mind, people have used a variety of different books and have scored very well on the MCAT, so the question is what will work better for you. You might want to try out the Kaplan books first, then decide if they are working for you. Ek is a scaled down review, so it's bare bones content. I liked their Gchem, Ochem, Bio, 101 verbal, and 1001 Bio, but I wasn't all that fond of the rest of them. Once again it's a personal choice. I didn't like Nova physics, but a lot of people swear by it.
 

capn jazz

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Get rid of Kaplan, and all the EK books except Bio and Verbal.

If you use the following combination, you're golden:
bio: EK + EK 1001 (TBR's bio passages for molecular/genetics are said to be good as well)
ochem: EK or TBR, depending on if you want a brief review or an in-depth review
chem: TBR
physics: TBR
verbal: EK, TPR hyperlearning verbal workbook

Those plus the TPR hyperlearning science workbook will ahve you pretty much set to go.

I would pass on the other EK 1001 books since except bio they're only discretes. And get rid of Kaplan.
 

Substance P

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Get rid of Kaplan, and all the EK books except Bio and Verbal.

If you use the following combination, you're golden:
bio: EK + EK 1001 (TBR's bio passages for molecular/genetics are said to be good as well)
ochem: EK or TBR, depending on if you want a brief review or an in-depth review
chem: TBR
physics: TBR
verbal: EK, TPR hyperlearning verbal workbook

Those plus the TPR hyperlearning science workbook will ahve you pretty much set to go.

I would pass on the other EK 1001 books since except bio they're only discretes. And get rid of Kaplan.


That's exactly what I used, minus the hyperlearning set. I was very pleased with that selection of materials.
 
Jul 16, 2009
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doc totipotent - thanks for the comment :D

bruceleehiiiyaa - I don't expect TBR to "magically get (me) a high MCAT score," I just figure might as well get the best prep possible and based on various opinions, TBR is highly regarded. I am fully aware that I will actually have to USE all my material in the correct way and devote hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours to actually study and practice!

and i already found a classmate to buy the Kaplan books for well over $100 :laugh:

substance p - you are definitely 100% right in that it is a personal choice. but it's just SOOO frustrating with TBR since I have no one around me that has it and you can't find it in retail, so I can't even browse through the books before I buy them. On top of that, I just keep hearing good things about them on these forums.... so it's obviously somewhat of a blind gamble, but this community is probably the smartest around so I might as well go for it

capn jazz - thanks for the info, quick question though on your EK 1001 chem/ochem/phys comment. sorry if this sounds stupid or if its obvious: but what are discreets?

Thanks for the help guys.

-Bender
 

Substance P

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doc totipotent - thanks for the comment :D

bruceleehiiiyaa - I don't expect TBR to "magically get (me) a high MCAT score," I just figure might as well get the best prep possible and based on various opinions, TBR is highly regarded. I am fully aware that I will actually have to USE all my material in the correct way and devote hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours to actually study and practice!

and i already found a classmate to buy the Kaplan books for well over $100 :laugh:

substance p - you are definitely 100% right in that it is a personal choice. but it's just SOOO frustrating with TBR since I have no one around me that has it and you can't find it in retail, so I can't even browse through the books before I buy them. On top of that, I just keep hearing good things about them on these forums.... so it's obviously somewhat of a blind gamble, but this community is probably the smartest around so I might as well go for it

capn jazz - thanks for the info, quick question though on your EK 1001 chem/ochem/phys comment. sorry if this sounds stupid or if its obvious: but what are discreets?

Thanks for the help guys.

-Bender

Those are just stand-alone questions that are not associated with a passage.
 

capn jazz

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And they are bad because the majority of the MCAT is passage-based Qs. In fact I think the number of discrete is 13 per section.
 

mhabibul

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I figured this would be the best place to ask. How would you guys rate TBR's diagonistic exams? Would you say they are close to the real thing or not even worth the money?
 
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