The best review books for mcat

The Best Review Books For MCAT 2024

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Do you want to know the best review books for MCAT? This is not just another exam for future doctors — it can make or break their future dreams of becoming an MD or DO, so a lot of anxiety is involved. That’s normal and okay; I have been there and understand.  

So, I have prepared a list of the best review books in the market to help you with your preparations, future MD!

All You need to know about the MCAT diagnostic test

Bonus: Want to learn how I got a 3.9 GPA in med school using a simple-to-follow study strategy? Get access to my exact study method from med school for free here. 

MCAT History

You probably know this, but the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) is an exam that MDs, DOs, and other fields ancillary to medicine take before they proceed with their chosen field. This examination was established in 1928 to screen medical school applicants in the United States. 

Before what we know as MCAT today, the exam from 1928 included reading and comprehension, scientific comprehension, and logic. In 1946, it consisted mainly of an “understanding of modern society,” quantitative skills, science knowledge, and verbal skills.

Then, in 2007 the exam shifted from a paper and pencil test to a computer-based test. Its four sections included biological science, physical science, verbal reasoning, and writing. 

The most recent change in the MCAT happened in 2015, wherein psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior replaced the writing sample section of the exam. 

The highest score you can achieve is 528, which is in the 100th percentile. While it seems daunting to reach for the stars, it is better to go higher and land amongst the closest highest possible grade you can achieve. I mean, hey, this is for your future, after all!

Top 10 Review Books for MCAT

Here are some of the best MCAT review books you can check out.

Kaplan MCAT: Complete 7-Book Subject Review

Kaplan MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review 2024-2025

Kaplan has been a long-running producer of MCAT prep books, and they have always landed on the top 10 list. These review books include efficient strategies, guided examples, and high-yield badges of the MCAT’s most testable content. It also contains summaries of concepts. 

Moreover, upon purchase, you will have a 1-year online access to three full-length practice tests, practice questions, quizzes, and instructional videos.

Apart from online practice tests, there are also hundreds of practice questions (about 350) along with how the concepts can be understood and how the problem can be solved. The vast number of items, along with diagrams, graphs, and colored 3-D illustrations, makes one focus on pertinent information. 

The cost of this complete 7-book subject review set is around $200. It may seem hefty, but the amount of information it includes makes up for the price point. It has 3448 pages and is filled with detailed illustrations and diagrams, which makes it easier to understand, especially for visual learners. 

In addition, the book is compiled and designed by experts in the field. So, the topics covered by the book mostly appear on the MCAT. 

Although, given its page number, this is for students with plenty of time to prepare. If you are looking for a last-minute prep book, this is not what you should be going for, and you’ll panic with the topics you must cover!

Here’s the list of Kaplan MCAT Set’s pros and cons

Pros

  • Provides QuickSheets which cover the most important topics for the MCAT
  • Users get online 1-year access to three full-length practice tests, practice questions, quizzes, and instructional videos as part of the book set. 
  • The full-color, incredibly detailed, and 3-D illustrations help better understand the concepts.
  • The book contains additional information in the sidebar, which connects one concept to another.
  • Includes tips and additional references
  • Complete and extensive subject reviews

Cons

  • The book is lengthy and is not an excellent last-minute prep tool
  • The book contains several technical errors and typos
  • The practice tests focus on details rather than concepts

MCAT Complete Study Package: Examkrackers 10th Edition

Examkrackers MCAT Study Package

Second to Kaplan is Examkrackers Study Package. This review book is the best bundle for those with little time to study. Its selling point is that it is concise. Its straightforwardness gives time-strapped test takers an excellent overview and foundation of what they need to know before taking the exam. 

This study guide simplifies complicated subjects like biochemistry, organic chemistry, and biological sciences, so I guarantee that you will not hit your head in frustration with the complexity of the questions. 

This study package includes 24 questions within each lecture, 32 thirty-minute topical exams, and advice and explanation about the content and skills tested on the practice questions. It is priced at $90 for the whole package

Here’s a short list of pros and cons of Examkrackers’ Study Package:

Pros

  • Straightforward and efficient
  • The guides simplify complex topics. 
  • Incredibly helpful for time-strapped students
  • Includes all six preparatory materials of the following subjects: reasoning skills, biology 1 and 2, psychology and sociology, chemistry, and physics. 

Cons

  • There were errors in the early copies of the verbal reasoning book
  • Not as detailed as Kaplan

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Complete MCAT Subject Review: Princeton Box Set

Princeton Review MCAT Subject Review Complete Box Set 4th ed

This Princeton Box Set MCAT Reviewer has seven complete books and access to three full-length practice tests. This box set contains information that is not too detailed but short – a good middle-ground between our first two review books. 

It includes a 6-step approach to approaching passage-type questions. Moreover, it has active reading training, test-taking strategies, information regarding question formats and types, and thorough discourses on how attractors and the process of elimination work, along with the ranking and ordering of passages. 

The books focus on the CARS (Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills), which is good but it needs to include some necessary information in the biochemistry and biology sections. It is highly rated among students who find it challenging to score high but not for those who want to increase their scores. 

Since it is the middle-ground, there would be a list of pros and cons to summarize its use to test takers. 

Pros

  • Contains end-of-chapter drills, MCAT-style practice passages, and subject explanations for only $30
  • It has a step-by-step walkthrough on sample questions as well as a focus on Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
  • The exemplary middle ground for those who find Examkrackers too concise and Kaplan too detailed

Cons

  • Lack of focus on some biological and biochemistry topics
  • The strategies are not entirely helpful for those who rely on reasoning when answering questions

The Princeton Review MCAT

The Princeton Review MCAT 3rd Edition

This study guide is another Princeton Review entry and is definitely different from the third-best in this roster. This one is a single-book guide, which is good for students with full-time jobs or crammers. The book has 2864 pages and has a full-color, 16-page tear-out “cheat sheet,” which serves as a reference guide containing important information, concepts, formulae, diagrams, and charts for each MCAT section. 

It also has an extensive index and comprehensive coverage of MCAT essentials with topic-by-topic subject reviews for General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Critical Analysis and Reasoning, Psychology & Sociology, Biology, and Physics & Math. 

This review book is cheaper ($12)compared to the first three on the list but does not skimp on the details included. Along with the above-mentioned features, it also gives users online access to 4 full-length practice exams and thorough explanations of each answer. 

Here are the pros and cons of Princeton review’s single-book guide

Pros

  • End-of-chapter practice questions
  • Four full-length practice exams, which can be accessed online
  • A 16-page “cheat sheet” guide containing all pertinent information for MCAT
  • Good general overview of topics 
  • Excellent amount of information for its price

Cons

  • The layout can be confusing at times
  • Some questions are not assigned in the proper chapters

Barron’s New MCAT

Barron's new MCAT

Another affordable option for test takers is Barron’s New MCAT with its $19 price point. Along with its 1128-page book is an enclosed CD-ROM. The latter provides test-takers with an extensive and easy-to-use science review and critical test-taking strategies. The strategies include scientific problem-solving, critical analysis and reasoning, timing, and how to handle test anxiety. 

Along with the CD-ROM, it also includes four practice tests and 39 practice passages you can access online. Although budget-friendly, this review book has its downsides; look into its pros and cons below.

Pros

  • Concise and suitable for students who are short on preparation time
  • Cheaper compared to other options

Cons

  • The questions are sometimes poorly worded and may result in confusion
  • The CD-ROM inclusion may not be easily accessed with the most recent laptop models

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Mometrix MCAT Prep Books

MCAT Prep Books 2024-2025

The prep books published by Mometrix are highly rated for their effectiveness in undertaking the MCAT and have not received a negative review. It contains various strategies and principles necessary for successfully passing the MCAT. It also provides scores for each section to gauge which unit you need to improve on and which you should pay more attention to. 

This study guide includes extensive concepts and specific knowledge to strengthen your verbal reasoning and vocabulary, laying the foundation for biological and physical sciences. Given its $44 price point, it seems affordable enough for students as a guidebook. Anyway, here are its pros and cons.

Pros

  • It contains practice questions along with answer explanations, tips, strategies, and step-by-step video tutorials
  • It gives test-takers an idea of the different sections of the MCAT

Cons

  • Some questions can be answered easily
  • Lack of visuals (e.g., diagrams, illustrations, etc.)

Kaplan MCAT 528 Advanced Prep

MCAT 528 Advanced Prep 2023-2024

Unlike our first pick, this version of the Kaplan review book is shorter and deemed crash course material. Cramming is fine; I do that sometimes, which is beneficial for those lacking in time but wanting to crack the exam’s essence. It could be more detailed, but it does give one a detailed overview of what is included in the exam. 

It is only 456 pages long but has more than 500 questions. Along with this, it also includes online access to practice questions and a full-length practice test.

Pros

  • The book is easy to navigate and only includes an overview of each subject and their important concepts
  • There are still subject reviews, but they are not detailed
  • The book has plenty of practice questions 

Cons

  • This review book is for last-minute preparation and not for those with no base knowledge before the examination, meaning it cannot stand alone.
  • Online content is sometimes inaccessible to some.
  • The general strategies need to fit the challenges of the MCAT precisely.

Bonus: Want to learn how I got a 3.9 GPA in med school using a simple-to-follow study strategy? Get access to my exact study method from med school for free here. 

NextStep Test Prep’s MCAT Verbal Practice

NextStep MCAT Verbal Practice

This MCAT study guide is another book meant to supplement test takers’ foundational knowledge. This review book is not meant to be used as the sole material for MCAT preparation but will serve those who only need practice tests well. 

According to test takers who used this material, the practice tests are excellent; however, the answers seem lengthy, and there is little deviation compared to the official MCAT. Here are Next Step Test Prep’s pros and cons of this review book for your perusal.

Pros

  • Strong focus on the MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Section
  • Provides enough practice, which increases one’s possibility of acing the test
  • The 100-practice passages are timed practice sessions, which leads to a more honed critical ability 
  • Provides an online MCAT diagnostic test along with the book

Cons

  • There is a slight deviation in the question styles
  • Lengthy answers for questions that may be challenging to comprehend

Test Prep Books’ MCAT Prep Books

Test Prep Books MCAT Study Guide

This was released by Test Prep Books and is the 6th Edition of their long-running review books for the MCAT. This book gives students an index for easy navigation of sections and concepts. It is priced at $53, on the average range of prep books for the MCAT. 

The practice questions are reviewed as relatively easy, but this serves beginners better. However, it needs more information regarding the formal test itself. Here is my analysis of its pros and cons.

Pros

  • Straightforward and immediately discusses content
  • The test-taking strategies are specific to MCAT
  • Includes content reviews of the main sections of the exam along with practice questions
  • Provide detailed explanations to the practice questions

Cons

  • No overview of how the exam is done
  • The questions were rated too easy for some students

Sterling Test Prep MCAT Biology & Biochemistry Practice Questions

Sterling Test Prep MCAT Biology and Biochemistry

Last on the list, but not least, is Sterling’s Test Prep for MCAT. It strongly focuses on Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry, and its questions are considered high-yield, meaning the items you find in the book are likely covered in the examination. 

It has various books; however, they are sold separately (the link attached is for Bio- and Organic Chemistry). The other subjects under Sterling are Physics, General Chemistry, Psychology, and Sociology. These books, although separate, cover their respective topics extensively to help test takers ace the examination. 

This benefits students who want to surpass their already high scores. Since they are sold separately, students can buy the subject they struggle with and prepare with that particular book until they are adept. 

This book is not for beginners because it focuses on subjects and detailed explanations and content. Here is what I think are its pros and cons.

Pros

  • A thorough review of the corresponding subject
  • The practice questions are high-yield and sometimes more challenging than the official exam

Cons

  • The subjects are not sold as a set
  • The book contains several typos and errors

Bonus: Want better grades with more free time (and less stress)? Get access to our free 3-step study system here to see what other top students do that you may not be doing!

The review books listed above cater to the different needs of every test taker. If you are a beginner, you can start with easy-to-navigate books and comprehensive ones that can be bought in a bundle. 

You can proceed to more advanced review books if you are confident in your skills, as evidenced by your practice exam grades or GPA. And lastly, if you are short on time, you can have single-book guides to keep you from overwhelming yourself in your preparation. 

It all comes down to knowing yourself, your abilities, and your needs so you can match with the perfect review book for you. I recommend combining a few review books to maximize the information and to allow you enough practice for the MCAT. 

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I hope I helped in this article with your decision to prepare for the MCAT. Check out our other medical school blog posts content here:

Until the next one, my friend…

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