skeptastic

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Hello all! I'm finally gathering the resources I'll use to prep for the MCAT, and have been scouring this sub-forum, in an attempt to devise my plan of action. I have decided to use the following materials:

B/B: TBR + Kaplan Biochem
C/P: TBR
P/S: TPR + KA 300-Page Document
CARS: TPR CARS + TPRH Verbal + EK 101 Verbal

Of course, I will also use all AAMC materials, along with FL tests from non-AAMC companies in order to have an adequate number.

One question I have is, considering my list for B/B, C/P, P/S, and CARS, which of these is recommended or okay to buy used and which should absolutely be purchased new? I certainly will get the TBR series new, unless I stumble upon a fairly-priced used set (this hasn't been easy to find thus far). The KA document is a pdf file, so I already have that. So, I guess the real question is whether any of the other P/S or CARS materials make sense to buy used as long as they lack highlights and writing, or if some or all should be purchased new?

I came across some info that mentioned the TPR P/S book having an addendum associated with it, as the original release lacks some of the updated content for the P/S section of the MCAT. This made me curious as to whether I needed to get a new copy of this book in order to secure the addenda, which then led me to wonder if this were the case for any other books.

An additional, related question would be whether it is wiser to get digital versions of any books instead of paperbacks? I was thinking maybe the digital versions of books that are almost exclusively passage-based might be preferable since the MCAT is taken digitally. I may be way off base here, and there may not even be digital versions of some of these review books, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask.

Lastly, if there are any recommendations as far as preferable editions, I'd welcome that info as well. For example, should one grab the updated 3rd edition of the TPR P/S book (maybe the addenda is no longer required there)? Is there any reason to seek out a 2018 edition TBR set instead of grabbing the 2019 set new? Are certain Kaplan Biochem years post-2015 considered better or worse?

@Zenabi90 @PlsLetMeIn21 I have been all over your various posts in MCAT-related threads, which helped me make my decision on materials and a study plan. I'd love your thoughts on these questions if you have the time.

Thanks for any insight you all are able and willing to share!
 
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GreenDuck12

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One question I have is, considering my list for B/B, C/P, P/S, and CARS, which of these is recommended or okay to buy used and which should absolutely be purchased new? I certainly will get the TBR series new, unless I stumble upon a fairly-priced used set (this hasn't been easy to find thus far). The KA document is a pdf file, so I already have that. So, I guess the real question is whether any of the other P/S or CARS materials make sense to buy used as long as they lack highlights and writing, or if some or all should be purchased new?

- Definitely get CARS materials new. It is important that you look at passages that have not been marked up as you need to develop a marking strategy that works for you. TBR should also be new. Anything else, IMO, can be used and highlighted.

I came across some info that mentioned the TPR P/S book having an addendum associated with it, as the original release lacks some of the updated content for the P/S section of the MCAT. This made me curious as to whether I needed to get a new copy of this book in order to secure the addenda, which then led me to wonder if this were the case for any other books.

- No idea on this one.

An additional, related question would be whether it is wiser to get digital versions of any books instead of paperbacks? I was thinking maybe the digital versions of books that are almost exclusively passage-based might be preferable since the MCAT is taken digitally. I may be way off base here, and there may not even be digital versions of some of these review books, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask.

- Some of the hardcopy books come with digital copies you can download for free. This is entirely up to you.

Lastly, if there are any recommendations as far as preferable editions, I'd welcome that info as well. For example, should one grab the updated 3rd edition of the TPR P/S book (maybe the addenda is no longer required there)? Is there any reason to seek out a 2018 edition TBR set instead of grabbing the 2019 set new? Are certain Kaplan Biochem years post-2015 considered better or worse?

- If the cost difference between recent/older materials is small, I would go for the more recent iterations. Kaplan tends to make relatively small changes to their texts each year so a year to year difference will be small. I would recommend 2017 or later since the 2015 text was before the MCAT was fully released. TBR, when they release new texts, tend to make more significant changes but each of their versions are high quality.
 
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skeptastic

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One question I have is, considering my list for B/B, C/P, P/S, and CARS, which of these is recommended or okay to buy used and which should absolutely be purchased new? I certainly will get the TBR series new, unless I stumble upon a fairly-priced used set (this hasn't been easy to find thus far). The KA document is a pdf file, so I already have that. So, I guess the real question is whether any of the other P/S or CARS materials make sense to buy used as long as they lack highlights and writing, or if some or all should be purchased new?

- Definitely get CARS materials new. It is important that you look at passages that have not been marked up as you need to develop a marking strategy that works for you. TBR should also be new. Anything else, IMO, can be used and highlighted.

I came across some info that mentioned the TPR P/S book having an addendum associated with it, as the original release lacks some of the updated content for the P/S section of the MCAT. This made me curious as to whether I needed to get a new copy of this book in order to secure the addenda, which then led me to wonder if this were the case for any other books.

- No idea on this one.

An additional, related question would be whether it is wiser to get digital versions of any books instead of paperbacks? I was thinking maybe the digital versions of books that are almost exclusively passage-based might be preferable since the MCAT is taken digitally. I may be way off base here, and there may not even be digital versions of some of these review books, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask.

- Some of the hardcopy books come with digital copies you can download for free. This is entirely up to you.

Lastly, if there are any recommendations as far as preferable editions, I'd welcome that info as well. For example, should one grab the updated 3rd edition of the TPR P/S book (maybe the addenda is no longer required there)? Is there any reason to seek out a 2018 edition TBR set instead of grabbing the 2019 set new? Are certain Kaplan Biochem years post-2015 considered better or worse?

- If the cost difference between recent/older materials is small, I would go for the more recent iterations. Kaplan tends to make relatively small changes to their texts each year so a year to year difference will be small. I would recommend 2017 or later since the 2015 text was before the MCAT was fully released. TBR, when they release new texts, tend to make more significant changes but each of their versions are high quality.

Thank you! I appreciate all of your responses. Truly, they are very helpful and seem to resonate with what I've gathered in the time since I created the thread.
 
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Buy used, save a couple bucks. As long as there's not a ton of writing, it should be fine.

As for years, as long as it's within the last 2 or 3 years it should be fine. The reason they make a new set every year is that anxious pre-meds will buy it.

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skeptastic

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Buy used, save a couple bucks. As long as there's not a ton of writing, it should be fine.

As for years, as long as it's within the last 2 or 3 years it should be fine. The reason they make a new set every year is that anxious pre-meds will buy it.

David D MD - USMLE and MCAT Tutor
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I ended up buying new so that I'd have a week to decide if the style of some texts worked for me, and could just send em back to Amazon if not. Overall, the used copies would only save me around $100 and I'd have to hope any potential highlighting or writing wouldn't distract me. I'm all in!
 

PlsLetMeIn21

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I used mostly new. I originally planned on saving money and getting all used, but realized quickly that writing in the book was distracting and even when the answer was erased, I could still see the indents in the page. I was given some books for free by my big sib, but opted not to use them. The biggest thing is that all of your practice questions must be perfectly clean. Don't be frugal if it screws with your studies. After dropping over $4K to apply, I feel silly I worried about saving $50 on books.

I also made the mistake of getting in a bidding war on some used materials and wasted time. I finally surrendered and bought nearly everything new.
 
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skeptastic

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I used mostly new. I originally planned on saving money and getting all used, but realized quickly that writing in the book was distracting and even when the answer was erased, I could still see the indents in the page. I was given some books for free by my big sib, but opted not to use them. The biggest thing is that all of your practice questions must be perfectly clean. Don't be frugal if it screws with your studies. After dropping over $4K to apply, I feel silly I worried about saving $50 on books.

I also made the mistake of getting in a bidding war on some used materials and wasted time. I finally surrendered and bought nearly everything new.

I feel you, haha! when I finally added up the cost of all the materials I'd planned to get, I would have saved like $150 getting the used books I felt comfortable getting used. It just wan't worth it. I tarted thinking about someone saying their books had no writing or highlights, but then getting the book and finding this to be untrue. You make a great point about being able to see the indentations of a previous owner's writing being a potential distraction. I'm glad I went new. Literally JUST received my EK 101 Verbal (2008) book in the mail from Amazon.

Thanks for your help!
 
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