What is the best way to study for the MCAT? Between live and online courses, books and audio prep the choices can feel overwhelming. While I used a combination of Examkracker’s books and practice questions there are many other ways to successfully study for the MCAT. I decided to do a little digging to find out which courses and books are used most by students who aced the MCAT.
Student Doctor Net (SDN) has a forum thread that has been going on since 2007 titled “30+ MCAT Study Habits- The CBT Version”. While you could spend hours reading through each student’s strategy, I decided to condense things down.
On each page I did a word search for the popular ways to study for the MCAT including Kaplan, The Princeton Review, Examkrackers and The Berkley Review. My thought is that word mentions would roughly correlate with the popularity of each method.
The MCAT prep course most often discussed by students who had scored a 30 or higher on the MCAT was Kaplan with 2621 hits.
The second most popular course was The Princeton Review with 1649 hits.
Analyzing data for the most popular books was difficult for several reasons. The term “EK” is used to refer to Examkracker’s, however in the word search any word with the letters EK will be picked up. Therefore the 3715 hits for “EK” is not an accurate number. It was clear just by browsing the thread however that the Examkracker’s books were a popular choice.
It is worth noting that the most popular Examkracker’s books are six years old and there are very few reviews for the latest edition. Another popular Examkracker’s item is their MCAT Audio Osmosis CDs.
Speaking of data, the Kaplan MCAT Review Complete 5-Book Subject Review has a great 4.5 star rating on Amazon and could be another helpful choice for self-study.
The other books that started gaining popularity over recent years are The Berkeley Review. They were mentioned 318 times in the last year. The books are hard to get a hold of on Amazon but you can also find them on their website. They also seem to have prep courses in California.
Prep Course Options
If you decide a full prep course is for you both Kaplan and the Princeton Review have several options. These are expensive but for some people are the right choice.
Through Kaplan you can do:
- MCAT Advantage On-Site Classroom Course
- MCAT Advantage Live and Online Course
- MCAT Advantage On Demand Online
- Private MCAT Tutoring
- A Nice Comparison Chart
Through the Princeton Review you can do:
I hope this post has been helpful. The MCAT can be daunting and some help preparing can go a long way. If you decide to self-study don’t forget to make a study schedule and use practice exams. Good luck in your journey to medical school!
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