The Best MCAT Review Books of 2019

By March 15, 2019 October 16th, 2019 Medical Book Reviews
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The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is usually used to assess whether a student has the necessary academic knowledge and skills for admission into a medical school. While the MCAT scores you based on your percentile rank instead of your raw score, most medical schools accept students that get an MCAT total score of 510 or above on the average. In that case, you need to be able to get a solid score by using some of the best MCAT review books available on the market.

Need MCAT help? We researched 125 actionable MCAT study tips you may find helpful here.

Our Favorites for the Best MCAT Review Books (the best out of the bunch)

MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review by Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan is known as a leader in the test prep industry and is one of the best at developing review books for medical and health sciences. In that sense, its volume for the MCAT is known to be the best set of books you can get in the market if you are looking for a review experience that is as thorough and as comprehensive as any other.

While these seven books are branded as “review” materials, it seems as though they are not. That is because they are so in-depth and comprehensive that you would need a lot of time and dedication to read through the entire volume. However, if you manage to do so, you will find yourself more than ready to get a really good score in the MCAT.

Even though it might be a really lengthy type of review material, this volume tends to be easy to read and understand. It uses full-colored charts, graphs, images, and illustrations to break the monotony of endlessly reading through texts. The visuals are also great for anyone looking for a more interesting type of review. And, if you do not have the time to read everything from scratch, there are quick sheets that contain the most important information.

You also will not find yourself lacking in practice because this volume contains more than 350 questions that are designed to challenge your knowledge and hone your mind in time for the MCAT. There are even three online practice tests you can use to get an idea of what it’s like taking the actual exam. In that sense, you will be equipped with the perfect blend of knowledge, practice, and also confidence.

For its price, Kaplan’s book is not the most affordable volume but it is worth every penny if you are someone looking for the most comprehensive and in-depth type of review experience available. It consistently garners five stars on Amazon. And, if you actually think of it, it is a lot more affordable than taking review courses because you get the same kind of quality review by reading through this entire seven-book volume.

What makes it unique:

  • It is a set of seven comprehensive books that each specialize in their own topics.
  • The books are excellent in terms of overall textual and visual detail.

Why choose this book:

  • Reading through the entire volume with full effort and dedication ensures you that you will be more than ready to take on the MCAT.
  • While it focuses more on a detailed and complete review, it is also a good all-around material for those looking for quick summaries and practice questions.


MCAT Prep by Test Prep Books

This book fits the description of a true review material in the sense that it really is just for review purposes. However, even though it might not be as in-depth and as detailed as some of the other books on this list, it does its job as a prep material almost perfectly because of how it really bolsters and improves your knowledge of the topics tested by the MCAT.

While it follows the same usual format that most prep books have in the sense that it contains a content review portion and a section dedicated to practice questions, the best feature of this book is the section on test-taking strategies. Usually, knowledge is not really enough to get the best score in the MCAT or in any other exam for that matter. Because of that, it is essential for you to know the best strategies that can give you that necessary edge.

The strategies found in this book have been tested by time and are consistently updated to fit the changing times. In that regard, they help you answer the exam in a more efficient manner while also making sure that you are able to minimize your errors as much as possible. This helps put your mind at ease as you take the MCAT without any pressure.

Priced on the lower end of MCAT resources, it is quite affordable compared to the bundled up volumes on the market. In fact, it really fits the definition of what a review material is. Most students agree that it is not a primary study material if you are looking to start from scratch. But, if you want a review material that simply refreshes your knowledge while building you up in time for the MCAT, this is a great choice.

What makes it unique:

  • It has some of the best test-taking strategies that are designed with efficiency in mind.
  • The book is comprehensive in the most concise way possible.

Why choose this book:

  • With only more than 300 pages, it is a good book to choose for anyone looking for a quick review.
  • It is versatile in the sense that it can both be your primary material (if you are already confident with your fundamentals) and your supplementary tool.


The Runners-Up for the Best MCAT Review Books (still good but a little lacking)

Princeton Review MCAT Subject Review Complete Box Set by The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review is also a known leader in the prep books industry. The remarkable thing about its material for the MCAT is that its content review portion is even more detailed the one that Kaplan has. In that regard, this seven-book set is arguably the most in-depth and comprehensive study guide on the market.

In more ways than one, The Princeton Review’s book is able to expand your knowledge and provide you with information and details that you might not have even thought to exist. That is simply how comprehensive and detailed this book is. It is also written in an understandable and organized way and was able to explain certain complicated concepts by using visual tools such as images and graphs. And, for a quick review, there are chapter summaries you can use if you are short on time.

Of course, no Princeton Review book is complete without practice questions and practice tests. This volume provides end-of-the-chapter review questions that can help improve your retention. It even comes with three full-length practice tests that seem quite challenging to make sure that you are well-prepared both in knowledge and in practice.

For its price, Princeton Review’s MCAT guide is comparable to Kaplan in terms of quality and price. However, we believe that it is too detailed of a tool to the point that some information tends to be unnecessary for the MCAT. And Kaplan also seems to be the more visually appealing study guide as far as content is concerned. Nevertheless, this material is as in-depth as any other on the market and is a great set to use if you do not mind all of the extra information.

What makes it unique:

  • It is a seven-book set that is full of detail and information.
  • The chapter summaries are useful for anyone looking for a quick and targeted review.

Why choose this book:

  • It is similar to Kaplan in terms of overall length and quality but is geared more towards texts than visual aids. If you prefer reading texts, it might be the better choice for you.
  • Using a seven-book set that is as complete as this one ensures that you have the right amount of knowledge and practice needed for the MCAT.


The Princeton Review MCAT by The Princeton Review

Think of this book as a condensed version of Princeton Review’s complete box set. While some would not regard the seven-book volume as a review material, this book fits that very description as it includes all of the necessary details you need to know for the MCAT without being as lengthy and as wordy as the complete box set.

Despite being shorter, this book still has over 1,300 pages of good comprehensive content. It is still as complete and as in-depth as any other review book on the market but does not have the fluff and unnecessary information that some of the lengthier materials tend to have. Moreover, it also uses a lot of diagrams, tables, and graphs to give you a visually appealing experience.

And since this is a complete review book, it does not rely on content alone. It has a section that discusses specific strategies that were designed for certain types of questions. You also get to tear out a reference guide that can be used as quick study sheets. And, since it is still a Princeton Review book, it grants you access to four full-length practice exams.

For its price, The Princeton Review’s MCAT study guide is a more affordable alternative to the complete box set. It might not have the wealth of information and detail that the set has but it has more than enough content to prepare you for the MCAT. In that sense, it really does its job as a review book really well.

What makes it unique:

  • It is like a condensed version of The Princeton Review’s seven-book set.
  • The book contains strategies that were specifically designed for different types of questions.

Why choose this book:

  • It is more than half the length of the seven-book volume. That means that you will be saving both time and money if you prefer it over the complete box set.


The Best Value for Your Money for Best MCAT Review Books (good and affordable)

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the MCAT by Ryan Gray, Next Step Test Prep

What can you get with an Alexander Hamilton? Well, the answer to that is this book. With just 178 pages, The Premed Playbook was designed not as a comprehensive review material but a guidebook that can serve as a replacement for MCAT tutors. You probably do not have enough money to shell out for a private tutor. In that case, why not choose a comprehensive review material and this book to replace an expensive tutor?

While what this book gives you tends to be limited, it is nevertheless a very useful tool to have especially if you are trying to pace yourself and learning the different strategies and techniques you can use both while reviewing and while taking the MCAT. It really is a playbook if you think about it.

As a playbook, this book gives you information on the things you need to expect after signing up for the MCAT. It helps you build your own study plan to make sure that you control your pace during the entire review. The book even gives you information on the review materials you need to purchase based on your own individual preference and learning style. In that sense, it is a unique material that you need by your side if you want the latest information and the most important details about the exam and the tools you need to use to get the highest score possible.

For its price, it is one of the most affordable MCAT-related books on the market. It might not directly affect your score because it does not have a content review portion but it can indirectly improve your performance because it helps you understand the ins and outs of the MCAT, as some satisfied buyers on Amazon would say.

What makes it unique:

  • It is more of a companion guide instead of a review book.
  • The book provides you with insight instead of knowledge.

Why choose this book:

  • It might not help improve your knowledge but the information it provides you really is helpful especially if you consider how affordable it is.
  • This book is best used as a companion guide together with comprehensive review materials.


Summary of the Best MCAT Review Books

Putting everything together, in this guide we reviewed the following top MCAT review books:

ProductList PriceNumber Of Pages
MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review 2019-2020 $259.99 3288
MCAT Prep 2018-2019 $24.99 303
Princeton Review MCAT Subject Review Complete Box Set, 3rd Edition $225.00 2864
The Princeton Review MCAT, 3rd Edition $99.99 1312
The Premed Playbook Guide to the MCAT $9.99 178

The MCAT is considered an accurate measure of how well you will be able to perform in medical school. In that regard, getting a high score in the test does not only ensure your admission to a top medical school but also helps you gauge your own potential as a medical student. So, to bolster your chances of success, you need the right MCAT tools and books by your side for the exam as you start your journey towards a bright future as a medical practitioner.

If you’re looking for study tips, be sure to check out our 125 MCAT tips post here.


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