Best MCAT Books | 2020 – 2021

MCAT requires dedicated effort, and ample practice is paramount to achieve full potential. A good schedule and the dedication to follow through creates the difference between an average and a high score. Having a well thought-out study plan spanning over a few months is vital as it avoids cramming and provides the opportunity to get back on track in case the preparation goes awry.

Taking the initial sample practice tests for the MCAT will set a baseline and also highlight weaknesses that need to be resolved. It is very important to take the practice tests seriously — they should mimic the test conditions as closely as possible, especially given the insanely long duration of the MCAT.

The available prep courses for MCAT are quite costly, often starting from ~$2000. Khan Academy is a wonderful resource for MCAT— visual, comprehensive and free! If you’ve decided to go down the path of self-study, a good set of preparation materials is necessary.

The official sources are the best but supplementary materials are often necessary as the official stuff only does not equate to adequate practice. Here, we hand-pick the best books for MCAT preparation and also explain why they are good.

List of the best MCAT study guides


Kaplan MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review

The set of books provided by Kaplan has been the most comprehensive resource available in the market for a couple of years now. It is particularly good for the visual learners as the book provides detailed illustrations and diagrams along with the explanation of concepts.

The book also offers subject reviews to aid in learning concepts, and the number of practice questions available is huge. The questions are available throughout all sections of the book and are very similar to what can be expected on the actual test. The quizzes at the end of each chapter serve as effective checkpoints and let you know the concepts that need to be revisited/reinforced.

The book is well-designed and easy to read. Within the book, the margins are wide enough to facilitate note-taking. The book also has ‘key concept’ or ‘bridges’ to reinforce what you have learned by citing real-world examples of the concept at hand. The explanations to the practice problems are easy to understand and covers sufficient detail.

It has 3 full-length practice tests, and the book also comes along with an access to excellent online resources. It has a review booklet attached that contains important equations and diagrams in one place that is very useful for revision during final few days of the test. Though this book set is slightly expensive, if you need just one resource apart from the official materials, this should be the one.

You can buy this book set from Amazon here.

Princeton Review MCAT Subject Review Complete Set, 2nd Edition

The set of 7 books by Princeton Review is a close 2nd and provides in-depth practice of all MCAT subject areas. The book leads to a good grasp of the fundamentals with a total of ~2400 practice questions. It is very detailed, which sometimes even becomes a disadvantage. The books are lucid and full of colorful illustrations, however not quite as good as Kaplan.

Also contained are glossaries and summaries at the end of each chapter for effective revision. The quizzes at the end are good to test your understanding of key concepts. The 3 online full-length practice tests available with this book are quite good, though appear to be slightly harder than the actual MCAT.

You can buy this book set from Amazon here.

Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package 10th Edition

The 6-book package is a complete manual for MCAT Preparation and provides information that is easier to understand by cutting out all the useless fluff. It is packed with useful tips, facts, details, and memorization tools. The questions are also interspersed in a way that is conducive to reinforcement of the information already learnt.

The authors use a lot of examples to drive the concepts home and the explanations are usually pretty detailed. The questions at the end of the text are sometimes difficult, yet provide good practice. The books are visual, no-nonsense, and as delightful as a book for MCAT preparation can be.

However, you should be ready to adjust to the in-depth explanations offered. If you’re starting your MCAT preparation and do not have 5-6 months to dedicate, this book might not be the best way to go.

You can buy this book set from Amazon here

The Princeton Review Complete MCAT

This book is excellent for candidates who are short on time and need all the exam content covered in a succinct manner. The concept explanations are good and the content review at the end of each chapter leads to ample practice.

The book also provides online access to 4 full-length practice tests. This book is not as detailed as the other books listed earlier but serves as a good refresher for the candidates who already have their basics strong and looking for a concise supplementary book to give a final touch to their test preparation.

You can buy this book from Amazon here.

Sterling MCAT Practice Tests 2015

This book covers a couple of subject areas: Chemical & Physical Foundations and Biological & Biochemical Foundations. The knowledge required to ace both the sections can be found in this book. It has 4 practice tests for each subject.

The book also contains answer explanations for both the right and the wrong answers, which really helps in understanding the logic behind a particular line of thought. Additionally, the book provides online practice tests with diagnostic reports to highlight the strong and weak areas.

You can buy this book from Amazon here.

Kaplan Test Prep MCAT 528: Advanced Prep for Advanced Students

If you already have everything covered but still looking for material to gain a slight edge over the average Joe, this book is for you. The book provides strategies for answering different question types and even dealing with the exam as a whole.

It stresses on the skills, techniques, and shortcuts to handle the trickier questions. Moreover, this book also provides plenty of practice problems and review videos. If you are a potential MCAT superstar, this is an excellent resource.

You can buy this book from Amazon here.

Kaplan MCAT Flashcards + App

For people who prefer not to waste chunks of time, the Kaplan flashcards are satisfying. The 1000 odd flashcards contain the key concepts of MCAT in a succinct format that lends itself to a fast and fun learning experience.

You can buy the flashcards from Amazon here.
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