Dave Evangelisti Authored By: Dave Evangelisti
Best MCAT Prep Books

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It’s essential that you find the best MCAT prep books to study for this grueling exam. The right books will not only contain all of the information needed to ace the MCAT, it should lay that information out in an organized way.

MCAT study books come in a lot of different shapes and sizes so you’re sure to find one that meets your study goals whether you’re a visual learner or prefer absorbing information through text.

We have broken down various MCAT books by different categories so you can find an option that works best for you.

Summary: Use our reviews of the best MCAT prep books to prepare for your upcoming exam.

MCAT Prep: Courses vs Books

Note: If you need more help or are going for a top score, you should consider a more comprehensive option. Find the best online MCAT course including our top choices:

Best MCAT Prep Courses

  1. Most Comprehensive: Kaplan Complete Subject Review
  2. Best Value: Princeton Review Complete Box Set
  3. Best for Practice Questions: Kaplan's MCAT 528 Advanced Prep
  4. Best for Visual Learners: Mometrix's MCAT Prep Book
  5. Most Concise: Test Prep Books' MCAT Prep Book

The goal with any MCAT prep book is to discover test-taking strategies and get in some actual practice. The best MCAT prep books will provide you with the tools you need to build a study plan. These books will put all of the information right at your fingertips and will provide ways for you to test yourself before you step foot into a classroom.

We’ve compiled a list of the best MCAT prep books and compiled them into specific categories so you can be sure you get the right book. It’s also worth noting that it might be a good idea to invest in a couple of different MCAT study guides so you have access to all of the information needed to ace this important test.

The investment might seem like a lot at first, but it will pay dividends in your future career. If you want to see how you do before investing in a prep book, consider using our MCAT prep test.

Kaplan - Most Comprehensive

Most Comprehensive
  • Best For

  • Individuals looking for an all-in-one option
  • Detailed study plans
  • Well-known test prep provider
  • Not Recommended For

  • Someone looking for a cheap option

Pages: 3,448

Kaplan is one of the best MCAT book publishers and their guides are always top-of-the-line. This MCAT prep book comes with everything you need to create an efficient study plan and a ton of MCAT practice questions to review those studies on a regular basis.

This book even goes as far as to lay out a detailed study plan for you, although you might have to make small tweaks to meet your personal goals. Each subject has its own review system too! It’s an incredibly well put together guide that doesn’t seem to lack in any area.

We’ve found the layout of practice tests in physical format to be extremely powerful in helping prepare for this important test. This set includes all seven subjects that you’ll find on the MCAT:

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Behavior Science
  • Biochemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Physics & Math
  • Critical Analysis
  • Reasoning Skills

What makes this the most comprehensive prep book on the market is that each subject is its own book!

If you need to save money, you can purchase a used version as long as it’s no more than two years old. This will still give you access to current information that you’ll find on the MCAT.

Notable Features

  • In-depth summaries at the end of each chapter to make reviewing a breeze.
  • Online access to 3 practice tests that closely mimic the real MCAT.
  • Over 350 MCAT practice questions in the book.
  • Full-page quick sheets that provide powerful visual references of the most important concepts.

Pros

  • Kaplan prep books can be used as a main source of studying and stand on their own.
  • These books are undated every year.
  • Each chapter is summarized brilliantly and will ensure that you learned what is required to continue.
  • Purchase comes with online access to a powerful range of MCAT study tools.

Cons

  • The Critical Analysis book is pretty light on information when compared to other books in this set. You might need to find additional resources for this specific subject.
  • Content is written in a pretty dry manner.

At a Glance

Our team dug into the prep set from Kaplan. There are 7 books included in this set. Those 7 books include:

  • MCAT Behavioral Sciences Review
  • MCAT Biochemistry Review
  • MCAT Biology Review
  • MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills Review
  • MCAT General Chemistry Review
  • MCAT Organic Chemistry Review
  • MCAT Physics and Math Review

Princeton Review - Best Value

Best Value
  • Best For

  • Individuals looking for an all-in-one option
  • Looking for great value
  • More laid back learning style
  • Not Recommended For

  • Someone looking for a quick summary of topics

Pages: 2,864

Our team has selected the Princeton Review Complete Box Set as the best value choice on the market. This seven-book set is loaded with powerful prep tools and comes with an affordable price tag. It’s a bit more casually written than its competitors, making for a fun learning experience.

The base content is equivalent to the Kaplan in that it comes with in-depth summaries, online tools, and powerful illustrations that enhance the learning experience.

Dollar for dollar, the Princeton Review set provides more content that any other prep book on the market, making it one of the best MCAT prep books. But it doesn’t provide the depth of online resources that Kaplan offers, which makes it fall slightly short.

This set tends to over-complicate some of the topics by discussing them too deeply rather than just getting to the point. This could be good or bad depending on what you are looking for and what kind of learner you are.

Notable Features

  • In–depth information on every topic covered in the MCAT.
  • Over 1,000 practice questions.
  • Graphics provide vital information that visual learners will love!
  • 3 full-length practice tests

Pros

  • Much deeper, more complex coverage than other MCAT prep books – sometimes a bit too complex.
  • Extremely good value for the price tag when you look at everything you get.
  • Full length online practice tests.
  • Writing style is more fun and upbeat than Kaplan.

Cons

  • Practice tests that you are given access to are much more difficult than even the standard test. This might be a plus if you want to push your limits. But it could lead to false assumptions about your studying process.
  • The Biochemistry book is a bit lacking and might not provide enough information if that’s an area where you need improvement.

AT A GLANCE

Our team dug into the prep set from Princeton Review. There are 7 books included in this set. Those 7 books include:

  • MCAT Biology Review
  • MCAT Biochemistry Review
  • MCAT Organic Chemistry Review
  • MCAT General Chemistry Review
  • MCAT Physics and Math Review
  • MCAT Psychology and Sociology Review
  • MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills Review

Kaplan - Best for Practice Questions

Best for Practice Questions
  • Best For

  • Focus on practice questions
  • Need supplemental learning material
  • Focus on most important MCAT topics
  • Not Recommended For

  • Someone who needs to learn everything
  • Someone who need an all-in-one set

Pages: 456

Kaplan has made our list twice for different MCAT prep books. This set is a great alternative for their 7-book set and is available at just a fraction of the price. As you would expect from a Kaplan product, their prep book contains high quality, accurate information.

Kaplan’s MCAT 528 prep book is perfect for students who are already ahead of the curve and need tools for review rather than an in-depth guide. This book also works well to compliment other guides. We’ve also found that this is a great investment for testing your current knowledge as it contains over 500 questions with highly detailed explanations.

Notable Features

  • Over 500 practice questions with highly detailed explanations.
  • Most up-to-date prep book on the market. Each new edition is guaranteed to be relevant to the current AAMC guidelines.
  • Access to online practice test that replicates the real test.
  • Ranks concepts so you know which areas are the most important to the MCAT.

Pros

  • All online practice questions are presented in the same format as the real MCAT, replicating the experience.
  • Highly affordable in comparison to other options.
  • Highly focused studies.
  • Concepts are given a star rating to show you the most important concepts to study.

Cons

  • This prep book uses a one-size-fits-all approach that might not be great for everyone.

At a Glance

Our team went into this book during our review to see how the book flowed. You will find the following chapters in the book if you decide to purchase it.

  • The Path to Medical School
  • Reading the Kaplan Way
  • Kaplan’s Question and Answer Strategies
  • Skills 1 & 2
  • Skill 3
  • Skill 4
  • Science Unit Overview
  • Behavioral Sciences
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Arguments and Formal Logic
  • CARS Question Types
  • Practicing with CARS Passages

Mometrix - Best for Visual Learners

Best for Visual Learners
  • Best For

  • Visual learners
  • Looking for supplemental video content
  • Not Recommended For

  • Someone looking for multiple practice tests
  • Wants a traditional textbook

Pages: 564

Mometrix is a relatively new addition to MCAT prep books but after reviewing their content, we’ve discovered that they know what they’re doing! This prep book is robust and quite thorough.

However, with so many other MCAT study books on the market, Mometrix needed to find a way to stand out. They do that with impressive video tutorials that work brilliantly with their written content. Instructors walk you through difficult concepts as if you were in a classroom, making Mometrix a great choice for visual learners!

Notable Features

  • Access to videos that cover the more complex topics.
  • Includes a full-length practice test. Each question includes a detailed explanation.
  • Book is laid out in a logistical format and moves seamlessly from one topic to the next.

Pros

  • The online videos set this prep book apart from the rest.
  • Provides testing strategies that will boost your success.
  • Great value.

Cons

  • Must buy in new condition to be able to access online videos.
  • Only one practice test.

At a Glance

Our team went into this MCAT prep book during our review. You will find the following chapters in this book:

  • Test-Taking Strategies
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
  • MCAT Practice Test
  • How to Overcome Test Anxiety

Test Prep Books - Most Concise

Most Concise
  • Best For

  • Looking for a supplemental study resource
  • Well organized information
  • Not Recommended For

  • Someone looking for multiple practice tests
  • Someone looking for a comprehensive option

Pages: 327

Test Prep Books has prepared another great value option that we can add to our list of MCAT study books. While this guide works well as a companion to other MCAT prep books, it struggles as a standalone. However, it is one of the most organized books on the market.

This book also includes an MCAT practice test and extensive review materials for each question. We highly recommend the Test Prep Books’ version as a companion to other more comprehensive guides. It’s well-organized and affordable, making it a wonderful addition to your study regimen.

Notable Features

  • Comes with a practice test and highly detailed explanations for each question.
  • Information is updated annually.
  • A concise, well-organized approach makes this the best companion prep book on the market!

Pros

  • Practice test comes printed in the book, providing a way to study without having to get on the computer.
  • Highly organized MCAT prep book that makes it easy to access specific information.

Cons

  • Not a great standalone prep book.

At a Glance

If you decide to purchase this book, you will find the following chapters:

  • Study Prep Plan
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

Is Kaplan or Princeton Review books better for MCAT?

Both Kaplan and Princeton Review offer great MCAT study books. This mostly comes down to what you are looking for. Princeton Review was our choice for best value while Kaplan had 2 options listed on our list – the most comprehensive option and a best for practice questions option.

Are MCAT prep courses better than books?

This varies on a person-by-person basis. Some students may prefer to study from a textbook and are self-motivated to learn on their own from a book.

Other students may need some motivation and more guidance when preparing for the MCAT. A MCAT prep course may be a better option for students who want a set schedule, all of their resources in one place, and different study materials.

Which prep book is best for MCAT?

We have listed 5 different MCAT prep book options above. Each option is a great choice depending on what you are looking for. In general, Kaplan’s Complete Subject Review was our choice for most comprehensive and Princeton Review’s Complete Box Set was our choice for best value.

Which books should I buy for the MCAT?

You should buy the prep book that will help you most based on your needs. If you just need to focus on practice problems, you should buy our recommendation for “Best for Practice Questions.” If you need a complete package, consider our recommendation for most comprehensive or best value.

Do not be afraid to buy multiple books and pair them up based on your needs. Plenty of students use multiple books from different providers.

When choosing the best MCAT prep books, don’t forget that your current level of knowledge and study schedule play important roles in your decision.

If you already have advanced knowledge, then you might not need to spend hundreds on a comprehensive book. Check out our guide on how to study for the MCAT for more information.

Last update: 4/7/2022

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