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Which Mcat Books shud I buy


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Currently, I'm in my first year of undergraduate studies. I'd like to start studying for Mcat this summer and hopefully write an attempt by the end of next summer. My brother's in his second year and will be studying this summer as well. I was wondering what are the best books for MCAT prep? I plan on buying books this and next summer by saving money and getting a few on my birthday. I want to know which books are good so I can start saving for them. Thanks

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For verbal, I'd go with examkrackers (it's abbreviated to EK fairly often on this site). With the others, I've had good luck with Kaplan.


Just a disclaimer, these books are great for review, but I would strongly recommend against using them as a primary learning tool. Here are some textbooks I'd recommend (and these are more important than MCAT books right now, given that you're in your first year and are likely still being introduced to the material for the first time):


Organic Chemistry: Hornback

College Physics: Knight, Jones, Field

Chemistry: The Central Science: Brown, Lemay, Bursten, Murphy

Biology: Campbell and Reece

Physics For Scientists and Engineers Volume 4: Knight (this one is only really helpful for the electricity part of the physical sciences component, but it is great for it. With this book under your belt, you'll roll through any of the electricity questions, and it presents the material in a reasonable way).


As you can see, this is a pretty comprehensive list, but I expect you can switch some books out for others you already have. Before you get neck deep in studying though, there is another book I'd recommend: Doing Right by Philip C. Hebert. This book will help you decide if medicine really is for you by giving you insight into some things that doctors have to deal with, as well as what medicine has turned into over the past 40 years. Also, it's just a fun read, and you're going to have to read it anyways if you get to the pre-med phase where you're doing interviews.


Once you've got the base material solid (and with that reading, you definitely will), the most important (but less time consuming) part comes: PRACTICE!!! The AAMC website offers practice tests that are the exact same as the ones on game day for about 30 bucks a pop. Do these in the months prior to your actual writing, and you will build up your stamina, which will seperate you from the rest of the pack on gameday (or at least keep you from being left in the dust).


Something you may have noticed is that none of those books really help out with the Verbal Reasoning component. There isn't really a lot of material to study for this, but don't fall into the trap that many pre-meds do and neglect this section. A great practice book is Exam-Krackers' 101 Verbal Passages in MCAT. That book will provide you with the necessary practice.


I hope this helps. Don't be overwhelmed with that list, it's a lot of stuff you'll be learning anyways in your degree. Be sure to do more than just study in these years prior to med school, or otherwise you'll be at a real disadvantage to your competitors. Do things that you enjoy, keep your discipline with your study regimen, and things should be golden.



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If you don't have a lot of time or money, the ExamKracker books are sufficient (plus practice tests). I only had a month to study (while working) so I used them exclusively (I was told they are the best concise review materials) and I did well enough to make all the cutoffs for Canadian schools. I bought them from Indigo for like $125 and they were worth every penny. I also had a copy of the Kaplan books and I didn't use them at all. They were sooo boring and hard to get through, with wayyy too much material, so I didn't even bother. I had them around as reference materials but they weren't even useful for that.


If I had spent more time studying with just the EK books and practice tests, I probably would have done even better.

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Thanks man.. I plan on spending around 300-400 so I`ll check out Indig. to buy them. This summer I plan on studying VR and PS if I get this full time research position at Sickkids. I`m still in first year and am volunteering in 2 hospitals and a nursing home. But I`m sure I can study for these two sections in the four month span on my free time.

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I also had a copy of the Kaplan books and I didn't use them at all. They were sooo boring and hard to get through, with wayyy too much material, so I didn't even bother. I had them around as reference materials but they weren't even useful for that.


I completely agree with Ontariostudent's Kaplan remark. Lots of extra bio information that wasn't necessary and not enough physics details or strategies. I used Kaplan exclusively, and really got blown on the Physics section because I had all these equations and facts memorized, but hadn't done much practice with strategy and question interpretation.


From what I've heard, examkrackers is much better for that kind of thing.


Good luck!

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I'd definately go with EK, pretty much exclusively. If you passed high school bio, chem and physics you have almost all the background info required to write the test. I found that first and second year college science helps, but its also review from high school.


The main thing to remember is that practice tests are everything. It's good to know what's in the review books, but practice tests are everything!

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I disagree with w8kg6.

Do Not use science textbooks to preapre fo the MCAT.

Stick with the prep companies. Of course, you'll use those textbooks in first year anyways, but those books train you to become a scientist. Prep companies train you to become an MCAT star.


I also recommend Examkrakers for Verbal.

I used Princeton Review (TPR) materials for everthing else and liked/needed it.


The advantage to Examkrakers is that it's brief--thus letting you concentrate on practice. Drawback: not so good if you don't have a strong grasp of the science.


The advantage to TPR is that it's thorough. You'll get a comprehensive science review with many challenging passages. Drawback: All that reading takes time away from doing practice passages, which is really where you learn how to excel at the MCAT.



Oh, and postscript: I wouldn't study the MCAT after only first year sciences. Most of the MCAT is introductory science, but I don't think you'll have enough exposure to Anatomy/Physiology, Biochemistry, and Genetics necessary to do the MCAT well.


The MCAT is something you only want to struggle with once.

Only do it when you're sure you're ready.

(If you do, though, take TPR. They'll introduce science to you more thoroughly).

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