Suggested course materials

You will need one of the big MCAT book sets below and a few other MCAT related publications for this course. All three of the book sets presented below are very good. Each will give you what you need: clear conceptual summaries and topical practice items. The assignments in the syllabus are taken from Examkrackers, but if you choose a different set, just substitute equivalent assignments as you progress through the course.

Examkrackers

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9th Edition Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package is a good all around choice with clear explanations and a solid educational design.

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Kaplan

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Kaplan's multi-book MCAT set is also excellent choice. The folks at Kaplan put a lot of care into their work. Although their explanations can be a bit dry, their practice items and passages are really very good.

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Berkeley Review

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Like WikiPremed, Berkeley Review relies on teaching experience to develop their publications, so revision of their entire set of publications for the new exam is taking some time. Even before one hundred percent revision, no other set of comprehensive study materials will better reflect the sophistication of the new MCAT than Berkeley Review.

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AAMC Materials

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AAMC produces a variety of helpful study materials. They also produce the only truly authoritative practice tests. The number of genuine AAMC practice tests available is limited, though. Your AAMC practice tests are precious. Save them until late in the course.

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Sterling Practice Tests

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With this publication, Sterling has produced a surprisingly excellent set of practice tests. These practice tests only replicate the science sections. There are no CARS or psychology & sociology sections. We will use these tests in the second half of the course to get our knowledge base into shape for test conditions.

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Princeton Review - CARS Review

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This little book is a great value. As a general rule Princeton Review has good advice and practice for verbal reasoning. In addition to is usefulness for CARS, another point in its favor is that when you buy this book you gain access to three full-length practice tests at princetonreview.com.

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Lippincott Biochemistry

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Experience working with many students has taught us that a very important predictor of a great MCAT score is the degree of sophistication and fluency in biochemistry going into the exam. Compared to what the other courses do, our approach to the biochemistry would have to be characterized as hard-core, but it is working. In our opinion no MCAT print publications cover the biochemistry at the depth required for the new MCAT. For this reason we recommend this excellent supplement from Lippincott.

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Lippincott Molecular Biology

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Like biochemistry, you need a resource for molecular biology that covers the material in a bit more depth than MCAT review materials. We recommend Lippincott's excellent review book and we use it in the course. With both of these Lippincott supplements, please note that you don't need to order the very latest edition. Feel free to order a used back edition as long as it is in good condition, ie. without too much high-lighting.

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Optional textbooks for reference in MCAT review

While your college textbooks are generally not suited as primary resources for MCAT review, it is important to have a complete set on hand to serve as a reference desk to help get past confusions and provide more depth in critical subject areas. You can also use a textbook for knowledge mapping exercises, for example, taking an hour to look at figures and bold headings to give yourself a sense of the scope of a discipline or to recover prior familiarity from your lecture course. If your college coursework used a different textbook than our recommendations below, stay with the one you already have. It will have countless associations for you. The textbook links below go to latest editions, but as everyone knows college textbooks are incredibly expensive. Feel free to build your textbook collections from back editions for MCAT review.

Cutnell's Physics

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The most popular textbook in algebra-based college-level physics for decades, Cutnell's Physics has a clear, concise way of explaining things so that difficult ideas become internalized as common sense. Remember to feel free to order a good quality back edition. With textbooks, the current edition always costs a fortune.

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Zumdahl's Chemistry

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Among prominent current textbooks, we think Zumdahl's Chemistry is the most readable and the most relevant to MCAT review. It is a clear, straight-to-the-point textbook.

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Organic Chemistry

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The organic chemistry you need to know for the new MCAT is a bit less in scope than it used to be, but what you do need to know, you need to know extremely well. Organic Chemistry - A Short Course is a good companion for MCAT review, concise, well-organized, and very clearly written.

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Biochemistry: A Short Course

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This is an abridged version of Lubert Stryer's wonderful textbook. In our opinion Lubert Stryer is the greatest textbook writer of all time. Remember that a back edition is fine, and if you really want to get this textbook without spending too much, order the 2nd or 3rd edition of Stryer's standard Biochemistry text. These editions are from way back in the late 80s and early 90s. In our opinion, the editors of A Short Course were aiming for the compact greatness of those early editions.

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Campbell's Biology

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Campbell's Biology is so engagingly written and illustrated that it could easily become pleasure reading during MCAT review. A special note for non-traditional students: In our experience, students who have been out of college for a long time definitely do need to make reading their biology textbook a primary activity in review, especially at the beginning. While MCAT review materials are good at presenting the facts, they are not nearly as good as a great textbook like Campbell's for helping a person regain a feel for biology.

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