Venture inside any bookstore and you know there’s a book for just about everything, and studying for the MCAT is no exception. There are shelves and shelves of MCAT prep books, some of which you’ve probably already heard of (or own) and some you may not.
Here’s a rundown of the tip of the iceberg of what’s available in the MCAT prep world:
The Gold Standard MCAT, by Dr. Brett Ferdinand, covers all science sections in detail, and includes a review for verbal reasoning, a “Five minute, Five step” approach to the writing sample, conversion tables for MCAT scores, and over 100 diagrams and illustrations.
Available at mcat-bookstore.com for $60, the 842-page Gold Standard includes a comprehensive and easy-to-understand review of the MCAT, and three pull-out full-length practice exams with explanations. This manual covers all aspects of medical school admissions, as well as tips for improving your grades, preparing for medical school interviews, and strategies for autobiographical materials and letters of references.
Dr. Ferdinand was accepted by all the medical schools to which he applied. During medical school, he completed the Gold Standard textbook. The book received distribution throughout North America and instantly became a best-selling study guide. Today, Dr. Ferdinand is a surgeon and is well known for making difficult concepts easy to understand. Over the years, he has lectured to thousands of pre-medical students and reached thousands more through his books and through online interactive programs.
Dr. Ferdinand also wrote The Silver Bullet: Real MCATs Explained, which is a 592-page book containing the answers to MCAT Practice Tests I, II and III with clear, complete explanations given by people who wrote and excelled at the MCAT. It also includes lists of essential equations to memorize, a summary of important Organic Chemistry reactions, and special attention to difficult questions, all for $39. This study guide also includes a full-length, simulated practice exam along with answers and explanations.
ExamKrackers offers a line of MCAT study guides, including the MCAT Complete Study Package, by Jonathan Orsay, for $174.95 at examkrackers.com. This five-volume set of the newest editions of the ExamKrackers MCAT manuals includes a top-quality, full-length practice MCAT as a bonus. The package includes all five ExamKrackers course manuals, one for each MCAT topic (biology, physics, chemistry, organic chemistry, and verbal). It contains 1,088 pages; 31 30-minute MCAT practice exams with answers and explanations; and more than 1,638 MCAT questions.
Jonathan Orsay took the MCAT three times from 1989 to 1996, scoring in the 90 percentiles on all sections before becoming an MCAT instructor. He has written an internal intelligence report for ExamKrackers for each MCAT administration since 1998 based upon student impressions days after taking the actual exam, and he has taught premeds from such prestigious Universities as Harvard and Columbia.
He is currently the Director of MCAT for ExamKrackers, and he has written ExamKrackers MCAT Physics ($41.90); ExamKrackers MCAT Chemistry ($36.99); ExamKrackers MCAT Organic Chemistry ($29.99); ExamKrackers MCAT Biology ($45.99); and Examkrackers MCAT Verbal Reasoning and Mathematical Techniques ($29.95), all of which can be purchased separately.
Among the more recognizable MCAT study guides is Kaplan’s MCAT Premier Program for $50.40 at amazon.com, which is 1,080 pages and includes all the essential information that students need to know about the new exam. The text includes a complete science review, featuring two full-length practice MCATs; detailed answer explanations; two full-length verbal reasoning tests; proven score-raising strategies; and a CD-ROM with additional practice questions and flashcards.
The Princeton Review’s Cracking the MCAT CBT is 1,120 pages and costs $59.95 at princetonreview.com. Cracking the MCAT brings proven techniques from the test prep experts that will help you score higher on the exam. Plus, it includes the most up-to-date information about the MCAT CBT (computer-based test) format.
The book includes hundreds of practice questions and exclusive free access to practice tests online; simulated MCAT passages just like the ones you’ll find on the exam; substantive practice tied to every concept reviewed, followed by detailed solutions; special sections on MCAT essays and a review of essential mathematics; and a thorough and systematic review of all science and verbal skills you’ll need for the MCAT. All topics in the physical and biological sciences are presented with sample problems, labeled illustrations, charts and diagrams.
SDN has recently entered the MCAT study guide arena with it’s review book Student Doctor Network MCAT Pearls, written by Alfa Diallo. Published in 2007, it features 504 pages of review questions and tips.