When you decide you want to apply to medical school, it feels like the start of an exciting journey. Arguably the biggest and most important part of that process is the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). The 7.5-hour test is quite difficult and can be extremely intimidating for some applicants. So, to make sure you’re ready for it — you’ll need the best MCAT prep book you can find.
Unfortunately, with so many different authors, topics, and writing styles, choosing the best guide can be quite overwhelming. Additionally, because it takes a lot of time to prepare for the MCAT — you can’t waste it on trying to find a book. So, let’s see what the best MCAT prep book is and how it may help you ace your test.
1. The Official Guide to the Mcat® Exam, 5th Edition (The Association of American Medical Colleges)
This book is the only official guide to the MCAT, and it’s written by the Association of American Medical Colleges. It can help you familiarize yourself with the actual process of taking the exam by teaching you how the test is graded, how to prepare for it, what to expect, etc.
However, it somewhat lacks in practice questions, as it covers only 120 of them. You’ll get 30 questions and answers for each section of the MCAT, which might not be enough.
Thus, although the book is quite helpful, it shouldn’t be the only one you purchase while preparing for the test. Even though it provides you with a firm understanding of the process, you should also get a book that includes more practice questions.
2. MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review 2020-2021 (Kaplan)
This is arguably the best MCAT prep book set for visual learners — but it’s not for everyone. The books won’t offer you any tricks on how to get a good MCAT score with little effort. However, they will teach you everything you need to know. Kaplan’s books cover every part of the exam in great detail, and the writing style is suitable for most students.
The MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review includes diagrams, study plans, 3D illustrations, and three full-length practice tests. Perhaps the best part is that the book offers 24 quick sheets with a study guide and outlines the most important things to remember about each section.
3. MCAT Prep 2018-2019 (Test Prep Books)
Even though learning all of the technical aspects of every part of the exam is important, there is more to preparing for the MCAT than meets the eye. One of the things you need to know is how to prepare for the test mentally.
Luckily, this book can teach you exam strategies. It even offers a review of the main sections and solutions for a number of practice problems.
By mastering test-taking strategies, you’ll ensure that your studying doesn’t go to waste because of your nerves. However, as you can tell, this isn’t a book that you can purchase to prepare yourself for the entire exam. In addition to the MCAT Prep by Test Prep Books, you should also get a book that offers more practical questions and answers for each topic.
4. MCAT Princeton Review
The Princeton Review offers an excellent, in-depth book series on taking the MCAT. It’s somewhat similar to Kaplan’s books, as it also offers seven books with illustrations, practice questions, and three full-length practice tests.
Still, The MCAT Princeton Review goes even beyond that, offering extensive glossaries and chapter reviews. The glossaries will help you navigate through the book, while the chapter reviews will allow you to review everything quickly in the days leading up to the test.
The MCAT Princeton Review is the best MCAT prep book for in-depth learning. With it, you can be sure you’ve gone over every topic you might get on the test. Moreover, it will provide you with the most comprehensive knowledge and all of the confidence you need to take the MCAT.
5. MCAT AudioLearn
The MCAT AudioLearn is narrated by two medical doctors, and it’s the best book for auditory learners. It contains over seven hours of content and covers a great number of facts, theories, formulas, and equations. Another benefit is that you can learn how to pronounce all of the medical terms correctly.
If you prefer listening to reading, this might be the perfect book to prepare you for the MCAT. Also, unlike other books, you could read it and go over the subjects while you’re running or riding a bike.
6. The Premed Playbook Guide to the MCAT by Ryan Gray
This MCAT guide was written by the host of the MCAT podcast who has already helped thousands of people study for the test. You can expect to learn all about the registration process and what other books you should get based on your learning style. Moreover, the Premed Playbook Guide to the MCAT will teach you how to create a successful study plan.
Unfortunately, this guide isn’t as thorough as most others on this list and only contains 200 pages. However, it tells you everything you need to know in order to prepare a great studying strategy. Even though you’ll need to purchase an additional book or two, this guide will help save valuable time by telling you how to prepare for the MCAT.
7. Examkrackers MCAT Study Package
The Examkrackers Study Package is suitable for the majority of students preparing for the MCAT. The books tell you everything you need to know and don’t leave any details behind — without overwhelming you. They offer three quizzes after each lecture to ensure you get a firm grasp of the subject matter.
Additionally, you will get short 30-minute exams and mini-MCATs that should help you prepare for the actual test. The Examkrackers MCAT Study Package also comes with a lot of extra practice problems that you can’t find anywhere else.
8. Barron’s MCAT, 3rd Edition
Barron’s MCAT guide is quite popular among students all over the US. In addition to helping you with the scientific part of the test, it also helps you prepare for it mentally.
The book offers advice on strategically pacing yourself through the exam, how to approach different problems, and how to manage test-day anxiety. Apart from that, it provides you with a great number of practice problems and solutions throughout each chapter.
Preparing for the MCAT can seem overwhelming and even impossible at times. Luckily, with the best MCAT prep book, you can go into the exam knowing how to handle each question. Hopefully, the right book will provide you with all of the knowledge and confidence you need.