Prepare for the MCAT Early and OftenSuccessful test takers typically study several months in advance. Studying 5 to 7 months is common. The challenge of studying months on end for an exam like the MCAT is that it requires a great deal of self direction and motivation. How do you know what to study? How do you focus? Consult a guide, preferably several. Below are several of the most popular MCAT prep materials. Some are multi-volume sets of review books and others are single volume prep books. All are designed to review subject content as well as teach test taking strategies – and provide practice taking the MCAT.
Developed under the direction of the MCAT staff, this book describes MCAT itself, including what it is designed to measure, how it is scored, how those scores are used, how to register and what to expect on test day, and how MCAT scores factor into the admissions decision. Chapters cover each of the disciplines assessed on the MCAT and provide an outline of the material, the number and types of questions, and practice questions with detailed answers. Consider this book as a starting point in outlining the test itself and consult other prep resources for practice tests.
Examkrackers Complete MCAT study Package contains 5 books that cover all of the test areas: Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, and Verbal Reasoning. Readers of this set tend to give mixed reviews of its usefulness, but the ratings vary with readers goals. Some readers valued the concise summaries of materials while others complained that the content was too bare bones to stand alone (apart from a course). As a reader you need to decide the degree of comprehensiveness you desire in a prep book. Other common complaints include lots of typos and errors. Despite these criticisms Examkrackers is one of the most popular MCAT test prep guides around. An emphasis on test strategies, sample test items, and a comprehensive schedule of what to study when makes this 5 book set very useful.
The Kaplan MCAT Complete Subject Review consists of 5 books that offer a comprehensive review of each subject tested by the MCAT: Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, and Verbal Reasoning and Essay Writing. One of the strengths of this set is that it is written in an informal style. Many readers report that it is easy to read. Yet others dislike the informal style. Likewise readers are mixed on the coverage. Some applaud the many details while others prefer more broad coverage, complaining that the tone and content is similar to a book written for high school students. Choose based on your own needs. Regardless, the over 1,500 test questions, detailed summaries, and strategies make this one of the most popular MCAT prep guides on the market.
A single volume reviews all the topics on the MCAT, including physics, general chemistry, biology, organic chemistry, verbal reasoning, and the essays. Offers a 16 page reference guide (a super study guide) that includes all the most important information, diagrams, concepts, and formulas. Each chapter includes practice questions, detailed explanations and step-by-step solutions. Common complaints by readers include typos, errors, and being too concise, missing important information. However, readers will get plenty of MCAT practice with 4 full online practice tests (with answers and explanations).
Like other guides this one provides a a detailed overview of the test as well as science review and sample questions for all content areas. What distinguishes this guide from other prep books is the emphasis on time management strategies for test taking that cover reading comprehension, essay writing, and scientific problem solving. Strategies cover apportioning and focusing study time, managing stress, and managing time during the test itself. The book includes two full length practice exams and the CD includes two additional practice MCAT exams.