Which MCAT prep books are worth buying, and does the edition really matter? also, are there any places to get these books for cheap?
I hope you are doing well! For MCAT prep books, most people I know have used/liked either Kaplan, The Princeton Review, and The Berkeley Review. However, there are so many companies that offer MCAT prep books, so I would look at what type of preparation you are hoping to get out of these books. In terms of conciseness, it appears that Kaplan is the most concise, then The Princeton Review, and The Berkeley Review is pretty comprehensive. So, if you are looking for prep books that will review the content in quite heavy detail, then I would recommend that you use The Berkeley Review. However, if you feel pretty comfortable with the information that was covered in your pre-med classes and just need a decently detailed overview, then I might recommend Kaplan. I would also factor in how much time you have allotted for MCAT studying as that might help you decide if you have space of heavy-depth prep books. Additionally, something my friends really liked about The Berkeley Review was that there was A LOT of passage-based questions, which they felt helped them prepare for the questions that you will get asked on the actual MCAT. However, there are other amazing programs, like UWorld (which I used and enjoyed), that provide a huge chunk of practice passage-based questions, so you don’t necessarily have to compare prep books based on how much practice problems they offer.
Honestly, the edition of the prep books doesn’t seem to matter as they only make little changes each year. However, I wouldn’t recommend using prep books that are pre-2015 as the MCAT underwent major revisions and these older books might not best fit the style of the newer exam.
Many people seem to sell their used prep books for cheap. First, I would ask around in your student organizations’ group chats to see if anyone has the specific company prep books that you are looking for. Most UMich students are willing to help each other out, especially if they are not using these books anymore, so I would reach out here first. Another place is Facebook, where there is a MCAT Books for Sale Group that you can join or even the UMich Class of 20** pages seem to have students offering to sell their MCAT books. Lastly, I would check the MCAT Reddit page as past test takers seem to offer their old prep books there too.
I hope this helps! Feel free to follow up on this Q&A post or make another post if you have any further questions!
Raheem, PMH Co-President