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What is the best books if you are aiming for understanding material?

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by daelroy, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. daelroy

    daelroy Senior Member
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    I have EK, Kaplan, and Princeton Review I'm not satisfied with any of these books. I want a set of books that walk you through the material step by step so that you can understand every little detail. I haven't found a book that does that. Do you know of anything like this? I really want to understand the material instead of memorizing facts and shortcuts I don't understand. Here is my breakdown of the most popular review books available.

    Examkrackers is shortcut guide. I respect the authors of this book. I just think I'm not at the level in which I can benefit from them yet. It's great for those who have a firm base of knowledge and need tips and other strategies to get them through the test fast. I think these will help me after I get the basics down.

    Kaplan -Very comprehensive as far as the subject matter goes, but just terrible in regards to teaching and explaining the subjects. They skip steps. Very boring to read as well.

    Princeton Review-good teaching/explaining but not detailed enough. Oversimplified in many areas. Doesn't teach step by step how problems are solved.

    Is there a series of books or individual text books for Physics, Gen Chem and O-chem that walk you through the material as if they were teaching the stuff to first graders. I really want the spoon fed version of these subjects. Are there books that include step by step detailed explanations to solved problems? So far, none of these books including Examkrackers do that. I'm trying to teach several students O-chem and I'm seeking a book that will teach them the basics.
     
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  3. zeebs

    zeebs Junior Member
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    although my reply is going to sound snide, it isn't intended to be -- what you are looking for sounds an awful lot like the semester-long courses in general chem, general physics and organic that you took. for the kind of detail and breakdown you are asking for, go back to your original textbooks for more detail and maybe try to find a tutor at your school who will spend some time with you -- i did PR and had a mental block about buoyancy -- i went back to my general physics text, read that chapter and then re-did the princeton review practice problems. those that i still didn't get, i took to a physics tutor who explained them to me. glad that i did, there was a buoyancy passage my august mcat.
     
  4. daelroy

    daelroy Senior Member
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    I have no problem going back to textbooks but which ones would you suggest? I like the NOVA book for Physics. I'm sticking with that. I haven't found a good O-chem and Gen Chem text-book.
     
  5. ad_sharp

    ad_sharp Senior Member
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    I used the NOVA book. It helped a lot. A good textbook for ochem is Carey (I think Francis is the first name). I used it in my class and it has mucho information presented in an easy-to-understand format. The NOVA book is very good at asking conceptual and mathematical problems in a very similar way as the MCAT. I highly recommend it if you need to freshen up your physics.
     
  6. daelroy

    daelroy Senior Member
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    I love the NOVA book. It is by far the best Physics book. Nothing compares to it. You seem to embrace the same learning style as me. I went on-line just now and checked your Carey O-chem book and it got stellar reviews on Amazon. Others have recommended o-chem books on here. I checked out the reviews for their selections and they were not given good reviews, but your book was.

    Do you have any recommendations for general chemistry? I heard the Berkely Review book for Gen Chem is good.
     
  7. ad_sharp

    ad_sharp Senior Member
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    I really don't know of a great gen chem book. I used Umland/Bellama (that's probably not spelled right) for gen chem and I didn't like it too much. If you can find it, there is a computer program called chem skill builder. It was really cheap, and I thought that it did a good job of presenting the problems. It's basically a quick lession followed by a series of questions about the section. What's good though, is that it shows you when you miss a problem (right after you miss it and it's still in your head) and the correct way to work it. It's the only thing I used to study for gen chem other than reading through the Kaplan book. The program is kinda crude itself, but working the problems was a big help. I'm trying to find the thing and I can't locate it to tell you if there is a website or something.
     
  8. ad_sharp

    ad_sharp Senior Member
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    it's been three years since I was in gen chem and got that disk. I just got done doing some searching, and I think that they've put it all online. Go to:
    http://csb.mhhe.com/physsci/chemistry/chemskillbuilder/
    You can purchase the online version for $35. I don't know how much the program might have changed. I found a version on amazon, but it was like $130. Hope this helps, but if you buy and don't like, don't kill me.
     
  9. CoverMe

    CoverMe Registered Republican
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    For bio... hands down... is the Campbell text. I still have my fifth edition with wavey papers from when i spilled a Gingerbread latte on it in 2001 (cute guys walk into starbies... i fail to watch what i'm doing... SPLOOSH... I blessed my bio book). :rolleyes:

    Now that I teach labs, i keep getting free copies of the newer editions... Can't seem to move on from the 5th edition though, since i know where everything is in the book.
     
  10. toxin

    toxin Senior Member
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    link to NOVA website anyone?
     
  11. An Yong

    An Yong Senior Member
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    I also agree the NOVA book on physics by peter biehle is great. Physics was initially my weakest section, but after I finished that book (I read through it twice), physics ended up being my strongest section on the entire MCAT.
     

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