This book is an almost comprehensive (A few US universities and a lot of Cadanian schools didn't have thier school data published) and highly useful book for pre-med students. It can usually be found in pre-med advising offices, but if it can't, it's definitely a good resource to own.
The MSAR will help you get a good idea of what sort of GPA and MCAT scores are needed to get into a university. If you are interested a multiple degree program like myself (MBA/MD), the MSAR will tell you which colleges/universities offer these combined degrees. ( Note that this book doesn't tell you what sort of GRE/GMAT scores are necessary to get into these combined degree programs. Usually with programs that offer combined degrees, GRE/MCAT/GMAT scores are usually higher than if you were to apply to each school individually).
Though this is a very good book it has some major flaws that I hope the AAMC/MSAR address, some of the problems are highlighted below.
Many of the numbers in this book are flawed for a few reasons.
1) A student who is applying from out of state to a public university has to get much better MCAT/GPA scores and shouldn't rely greatly on median acceptance scores listed in the MSAR as a basis of judgment for whether they can get into that university.(ie. If you're a student from Kansas applying to any of the University of California schools, you're going to have to get much higher scores than the California applicants to get ineterviews.)
2) For many universities that have both undergrad and MD programs, the median GPA's will be off. For example, students that go to Indiana University or University of Florida will be the ones who usually apply to the respective medical schools. If universities have grade inflation (which is hear is the case for Indiana University), it will be more difficult for a student not attending Indiana to gauge what sort of a GPA they'll need to get in.
For futures editions, I would also like for the MSAR to include what the median numbers for people who got interviews. Once applicants get an interview in a medical school, the interview can make or break whether they get into med school or not. If some one is a good speaker, has an affable personality or has some other exceptional personal attributes (volunteer work, working in a lab, getting published etc), s/he will be able to generally get slightly lower scores and GPA and still be able to get into a university. For those who are involved in such endeavors, it would be interesting to see how important extracurricular activities are compared to GPA/MCAT scores and will help others determine how much such extracurriculars come into play as far as getting an interview goes.
In addition to this, it would also be nice if the MSAR could provide the median range of high school GPA & SAT scores that are typical of students who get in straight-med programs (these are the programs that offer combined B.A.s and M.D.s in time periods ranging from 6-9 years).
Also keep in mind that the scores listed on the MSAR book are for those ACCEPTED. There is a big difference between those who get accepted and those who actually go to the school. Considering most serious pre-med students apply to 6-12+ schools and end up going to only one university, the median accepted scores will be inflated compared to the scores of the people who actually go there.
Though the statistics in this book are a very helpful resource, and probably still very accurate, take everything you see in the MSAR with a grain of salt and understand that exceeding these scores (GPA/MCAT) doesn't gurantee you admission by any means.