I am looking to start studying for the MCAT this summer and was wondering what MCAT prep books are the most useful. Also is it best to get the most recent edition of MCAT prep books, or is it fine to get an older version?
Hi Natalie! First, here is the link to one of our blog posts where many of our former members have written in detail what their MCAT studying looked like, and you’ll find some suggestions about study books there.
As far as which company to buy your prep books from, it’s important to know that there’s not a huge difference between any two brands. That being said, the books you decide to go with will be somewhat based on your situation. Kaplan books are sometimes associated with being good for visual learners, or people who already have a solid foundation in MCAT subject material. Princeton Review books are sometimes thought to be good for students who are looking for a bit more detailed explanations of concepts, though the info they provide might be superfluous at points. Everyone out there has a different opinion on what each brand brings to the table. Overall, though, if you’re looking to learn the material, any set of books is going to provide an adequate review of the stuff you’ll need to know. It’s probably most important that you also utilize the practice exams and question banks offered by the AAMC who write the MCAT exams!
Regarding the edition of the books you buy, the content for the MCAT doesn’t change from year to year, so it’s unlikely that the content covered by different editions will be drastically different. At the most, a more recent edition might have different footnotes or practice questions somewhere, but I think you would be just fine if you invested in an older version (as long as the version you buy was written after they changed the MCAT, which was in 2015).
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-Owen, PMH Co-President