Medicine is the hardest postgraduate program in American universities. While it may not necessarily be the hardest technically, it is the hardest in terms of tedium and the sheer volume of information that requires rote memory. Med school students have no life besides studying in the two years. Like the first few weeks of army basic training, if a student can make it through the first two years of med school, chances are he or she would make it through all the way.
The good news is most medical schools allow the students to repeat the year if they failed. A large percentage (much higher than other postgraduate programs) of med school students repeat a year or two, sometimes more than once or twice. However, repeating a year of med school does not guarantee success. One would have to have the right foundation to begin with, and the most basic method med school admission officers use to evaluate that foundation is the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score.
The current MCAT test is the MR5 revision. It’s broken into 4 sections: Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (that’s chemistry and physics), Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills, and Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior, and Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems (that’s biology and biochemistry).
Let us tell you about the best prep books for acing the MCAT.
MCAT Complete Study Package
Examkrackers is an online education company most well-known for their MCAT and LSAT prep books, online classes and forums.
If you have to eat crab, you get a crab cracker. But what if you have to take the MCAT? You get some Examkrackers of course! The reason one needs multiple crackers for the MCAT is because there are multiple core subjects in the MCAT. It’s a good idea to crack all of them and that’s why we recommend the whole shebang, the Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package, now in its 10th edition.
The 10th Edition Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package comes in a serious boxset. This is not like the Star Wars boxset with many light-hearted moments but more like the Godfather boxset – very serious but cracking good stuff all the same.
All 6 Examkrackers MCAT books are included here: Reasoning Skills, Biochemistry, Biology, Psychology & Sociology, Chemistry, and Physics. This is a high-powered, to-the-point prep with in-depth discussions of everything within the scope of MCAT and not anymore.
It’s well worth the time to go through the whole boxset (rather manageable at 1500-odd pages). You’ll find charts, graphs, and images that are certain to help your understanding and promote recall. Best of all, this study package is designed to condition you to think like the MCAT. It’s like you’ve got to think like a horse if you want to be a horse trainer, and if you think like the MCAT, the test is at your mercy and not the other way round.
MCAT Practice Tests
Liberal arts education produces more well-rounded graduates who are potentially better at contributing to society, but it can produce graduates who are not as confident in the pure sciences, and this includes many pre-med graduates.
For those who require extra practice in the two MCAT pure science sections, this book of Sterling Test Prep MCAT Practice Tests is just what the doctor ordered. This prep book is not a traditional study guide. It contains 4 full practice tests each in the chemistry & physics and biology & biochemistry sections of MCAT.
There are detailed answers at the end of each section. The goal is to educate students and review the two pure science sections of MCAT via practice questions and answers. The scope of the question is broad and far-reaching so this book could be all that a straight-A student in the sciences need as prep for the two MCAT sections.
All in all, though, this prep book is better as a supplement to those who require extra practice to do well in the MCAT chemistry & physics and biology & biochemistry sections.
MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review
Kaplan is a top name in a variety of standardized test preps. In particular, the company is an old pro at MCAT test prep. For over 40 years pre-med students and graduates have relied on Kaplan to achieve good scores in MCAT. The latest edition of the Kaplan MCAT Complete Subject Review is the 2018-2019 boxset of 7 books.
America is the world’s most forward-thinking country when it comes to product marketing. A 2018 Honda Accord is for 2017 and a June issue of Cosmopolitan is actually for May, and Kaplan has taken it one step further. The 2018-2019 Kaplan MCAT Complete Subject Review boxset is for 2017 and 2018.
This 7-book set is the award-winning Kaplan MCAT team’s response to the 2015 major revision of the MCAT. This is a thorough subject review with practice questions at the end of each chapter. New to this edition are high yield badges and chapter profiles to alert students to the materials most likely to show up in the actual test. There are 3268 pages total so it’s real helpful to know which parts to devote more attention to. The buyers also receive access to 3 full sets of online MCAT practice tests that closely simulate the real test.
You’ll find the content organized in full-color images, charts, graphs, diagrams and 3D illustrations to assist comprehension and recall. Kaplan’s reputation in MCAT alone inspires confidence in the students.
Our pick for the best MCAT test prep is the Kaplan MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review. It’s a no-brainer choice really when you consider the significant discount on Amazon, as of this writing, off the list price of $260.
However, there are 3268 pages in the Kaplan boxset. There’s nothing wrong with exploring short cuts, for any valid reason from lack of time to one’s extreme confidence in one’s own ability. If that’s the case, you should consider the Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package instead at half the number of pages.
Finally, we highly recommend the Sterling Test Prep MCAT Practice Tests: Chemical & Physical + Biological & Biochemical Foundations for those who require extra practice in the two MCAT pure science sections.