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Examkrackers Complete MCAT Study Package Paperback – Aug 22 2013
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ExamKrackers probably has the best prep books for MCAT. It covers all the topics on the MCAT, and explains the concepts quite well. So far, I haven't had the need to use textbooks. They also have a very attractive layout of the material that makes reading enjoyable. I also appreciate that it comes with a full MCAT past paper, in addition to the multiple practice questions already in the books. If you had to choose just one prep company to go with, go with ExamKrackers.
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Books are not as thick as TPR (motivates you more)
Colorful pages and fun to read
Different writing style than most textbooks
Mcqs available every 5 pages with explainations to the right and wrong answers
Not enough examples for physics and orgo
Requires a higher than expected level of comprehension of the material beforehand
Suggestions: should probably check out the EK web page where the extra tools and forums are
Buy the TPR book for physics
Get Kaplan practice tests for $30+ on amazon( the difficulty is rumored to be Kaplan>mcat>aamc
If you had to choose just one prep company to go with, go with ExamKrackers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As for the books themselves, I've only gone through the physics and organic chemistry ones so far, but they are actually kind of fun to read! They include vivid, color pictures that describe the concepts incredibly well. Usually, I just skip over complicated diagrams and pictures in text books, but the ones in the manuals are very helpful and easy to understand. These manuals also do not read like traditional text books. Writing is broken up and only the essential, need to know ideas are included to avoid waisting your time learning topics that will not be found on the MCAT. However, if you are not familiar with some concepts and ideas than these manuals can make you a little confused as the author kind of assumes that you have a general knowledge of what he is talking about. So if you have never taken a physics class before or remember barely anything from it, then these books might confuse you as they skip some fundamental points.
I did a lot of research on whether to go ExamKrackers or Kaplan Review for MCAT books, and I can say I'm glad I bought this set. I'll be sure to update this review once I've taken the MCAT to see if these books really helped me.
The EK study package is definitely not your typical study package. The manuals are MUCH more concise and present material in a much more digestable way than do other books: the language is not dense, extraneous materials is eliminated, the Cracker guy always gives you hints as to what is most important, and there are very useful mnemonics scattered throughout. They only cover the material that you absolutely need to know. I believe that this approach is great because the MCAT truly is a basic science test that only requires you to apply BASIC science concepts to novel situations. EK covers all of the basic science concepts, and their practice problems are a great way to get used to thinking the "MCAT way" about the various concepts.
One disadvantage is that EK does not provide a large number of problems. You can solve this by either buying their 1001 series of workbooks or finding practice tests from other prep companies. One thing about the 1001 workbooks is that they are mainly meant to solidify the foundation of your science knowledge - they do not ask questions that are truly "MCAT" caliber (except for the 1001 Biology workbook since it is organized slightly different). Thus, I found that using practice tests from other prep companies was extremely useful to make up for the lower number of practice problems from EK. I also highly recommend buying the 101 verbal passages from EK: it provides a LOT of good practice.
EK's recommended 10-week schedule is a good starting point, but I found it to be a little too "easy". I would recommend doing more practice on the side in addition to the EK work.
All in all, I would highly recommend this study package for the MCAT - it makes self-studying very effective and it helped me get a score of 40 on the MCAT (14 physical, 13 verbal, 13 biological). Also, given the quality of the 8th edition, I have no doubt that their 9th edition (tailored for the 2015 MCAT) will be just as great and effective. Thanks, EK!
The amount of change from 7th edition to the 8th is so minute (More pictures, 1-2% changes) that you can save a chunk of dough buying the older version. Also, EK is known for its typos and their lack of creating a well-made forum that holds all these errors (they have a forum, but it does have all of the errors, not by a long shot).
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