Best MCAT Prep Books for 2020-2021 [Buying Guide]

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Looking for the best MCAT prep books on the market today but don’t know where to start? Here at Test Prep Nerds, we’ve performed countless student interviews to reach our verdict. 

The MCAT books that made our list range from $35 per book up to $200+ for an entire MCAT book set. These books fit into any MCAT prep budget and can come at a fraction of the cost of a live or on-demand commercial MCAT prep course. 

If you’re looking for the best MCAT prep books that have been proven to get students to a 520+ on the MCAT, then keep reading!

Best MCAT Prep Books Review:

In a hurry? Here’s a quick look at the MCAT prep book that made #1 on our list!

OUR FAVORITE MCAT PREP BOOK

Kaplan MCAT Complete 7-Subject Book Set

5/5

This book set is completely comprehensive and can stand alone as your sole MCAT study tool.

The 7 Best MCAT Prep Books for 2020-2021

TITLE

RATING

PRICE

PRACTICE 

TESTS

PRACTICE

QUESTIONS

YEAR

mcat prep books
Kaplan MCAT Complete 7 Book Set
5/5

$$$$

3

500+

2021-2022

princeton review mcat prep books

Princeton Review Complete Box Set

4.5/5

$$$

3

1000+

2018

mcat prep books
Mometrix MCAT Prep
4/5

$

1

100+

2021-2022

kaplan mcat prep book
Kaplan MCAT 528
4.5/5

$$

1

500+

2019-2020

best mcat prep books
Test Prep Books MCAT
4.5/5

$

0

100+

2020-2021

mcat psychology
Sterling MCAT Psychology & Sociology
4.2/5

$$

0

100+

2020

sterling mcat biology
Sterling MCAT Biology & Biochemistry
4.2/5

$$

0

1200+

2020

Kaplan Complete Subject Review

5/5 Stars
5 of 5 stars

MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review 2021-2022

Kaplan has been around for over 80 years and their Kaplan MCAT prep books are top notch. This MCAT book set includes an expert-curated study plan, detailed subject review, and hundreds of online and in-book practice questions. This was the most recommended MCAT prep book, by far, in our most recent poll by recent MCAT test-takers. 

In the 7-book set, you will receive the following subject-specific books: Behavior Sciences; Biochemistry; Biology; General Chemistry; Organic Chemistry; Physics and Math; and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. With this book set, you’re going to get completely comprehensive MCAT prep updated to the current AAMC guidelines. Additionally, all the material in these books are vetted by medical experts as well as an MD for complete accuracy.

Included in this set are plenty of practice with 3 full-length MCAT practice tests, over 350 practice questions in the book (plus more online), and 15 review questions after each chapter. These questions are high-yield and mimic the AAMC test taking interface. For those who are visual learners, you’ll love their 24 full-color “Quick-Sheets” that are essentially colorful visual study guides for easier recall. 

  • End-of-chapter summaries and concept checks make for easy reviewing
  • One-year online access to 3 full-length practice tests, videos, practice questions, and quizzes
  • 350+ practice questions in book + additional online
  • 24 full-page Quicks Sheets provide visuals for important concepts

Top Feature: Access to all online review content + videos

Who Needs this: Students wanting comprehensive review

Sale
MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review 2021-2022
  • Kaplan Test Prep (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 3448 Pages - 07/07/2020 (Publication Date) -...

Princeton Review MCAT Complete Box Set

4.5/5 Stars
4.5 of 5 stars

The Princeton Review MCAT Subject Review Complete...

The Princeton Review MCAT Complete Box Set comes next in our list of the best MCAT prep books based on student reviews. This is a 7-book set that utilizes effective strategies and techniques proven to increase MCAT scores based on 35 years of experience. It’s written by real teachers and includes a bit more humor than you’d find in Kaplan’s book set. 

Similar to the Kaplan MCAT book set, you will receive 3 full-length MCAT practice tests, end-of-chapter review, easy reference glossaries, full-color illustrations and diagrams, and online student tools. The difference in these two book sets, however, is in the amount of content covered. This book set by The Princeton Review provides more in-depth information on principles than Kaplan’s book set, which can be either good or bad depending on how much new knowledge you’re looking to acquire versus how much of your MCAT prep is to review. 

The Princeton Review comes with 7 MCAT books: MCAT Biology Review, MCAT Biochemistry Review, MCAT General Chemistry Review, MCAT Organic Chemistry Review, MCAT Physics and Math Review, MCAT Psychology and Sociology Review, and MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills Review.

  • More in-depth information than Kaplan
  • Thousands of practice questions
  • High-quality graphics for learning difficult concepts
  • Comes free with a Princeton Review MCAT Course

Top Feature: More in-depth information on principles than Kaplan

Who Needs This: Students with content gaps who need more than review

Sale
The Princeton Review MCAT Subject Review Complete...
  • The Princeton Review (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 2864 Pages - 12/18/2018 (Publication Date) -...

Mometrix MCAT Prep Book

4.0/5 Stars
4 of 5 stars

MCAT Prep Books 2020-2021: MCAT Secrets Study...

Here is an extremely affordable MCAT study guide by Mometrix. Included are hundreds of practice questions with detailed answer explanations, content review, video tutorials for difficult concepts, and helpful test-taking strategies.

This study guide stands out for its video tutorials that are linked in the content. These videos feature instructors breaking down the difficult concept and working through examples step-by-step. As you may learn in your MCAT prep journey, sometimes sticking to just reading text solutions is not enough and being able to watch an instructor break down a problem can be a godsend.  

This is truly one of the best values in our best MCAT books list for its low price point. If you are looking for a quick study guide with some bells-and-whistles, then this one by Mometrix is a good pick. 

  • Includes 1 full-length practice test
  • Logical layout intuitively flows from one concept to another
  • Instructor videos break down difficult concepts in video tutorials
  • Detailed answer explanations to each practice question

Top Feature: Video tutorials and affordable price

Who Needs This: Budget students who want an affordable MCAT study guide

Sale
MCAT Prep Books 2020-2021: MCAT Secrets Study...
  • Mometrix Test Preparation (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 563 Pages - 01/26/2020 (Publication Date) -...

Kaplan MCAT 528

4.5/5 Stars
4.5 of 5 stars

MCAT 528 Advanced Prep 2019-2020: Online + Book...

The Kaplan MCAT 528 Advanced Prep is a much more affordable alternative to Kaplan’s 7-book set and packs a lot of punch for less than $30. Like all Kaplan MCAT products, their content is updated to reflect all current AAMC guidelines. In this MCAT book, you’ll receive comprehensive review, high-yield practice, and star ratings to let you know how important specific topics will be on the test day. 

Practice questions are included in this book with more than 500 practice questions with detailed explanations (and more can be accessed online) and a full-length online practice test. The online questions are in computer-based format, giving you the feeling like you’re taking the real MCAT on test day.  

The highlight of this MCAT book is the star ratings, which was one of the factors considered when ranking this among our top 8 MCAT prep books. MCAT experts have rated topics on the MCAT based on their importance on the MCAT. This helps students to get the most targeted focus on the most-tested concepts! 

  • More than 500 printed questions and answer explanations
  • Reflects latest AAMC guidelines
  • Full-length online practice test mimics real MCAT
  • Star ratings rank importance of concepts on the MCAT

Top Feature: Star ratings help students identify most important concepts

Who Needs This: Students who need targeted MCAT review

Sale
MCAT 528 Advanced Prep 2019-2020: Online + Book...
  • Kaplan Test Prep (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 432 Pages - 10/02/2018 (Publication Date) - Kaplan...

Test Prep Books MCAT

4/5 Stars
4 of 5 stars

MCAT Prep Books 2020-2021: MCAT Study Guide 2020 &...

The Test Prep Books MCAT is a much more affordable option in this list of MCAT books for students looking for a comprehensive MCAT study guide. This book covers every topic that is tested on in the MCAT. In this study guide, you’ll get MCAT review material, MCAT practice questions, and test-taking strategies. 

You will get comprehensive review on Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, 

Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, and CARS. 

Included in this book are MCAT practice questions as well as detailed answer explanations for each. This MCAT study guide is great for students who are looking for an easy and organized review of key takeaways on the MCAT

  • A straightforward review of all the content on the MCAT
  • Practice questions printed right in the book
  • Detailed explanations to every question
  • Responds to emails with questions or concerns

Top Feature: Concise study guide for review

Who Needs This: Students who need a quick review MCAT study guide

MCAT Prep Books 2020-2021: MCAT Study Guide 2020 &...
  • Test Prep Books (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 303 Pages - 11/24/2019 (Publication Date) - Test...

Sterling MCAT Psychology & Sociology

4.25/5 Stars
4.25 of 5 stars

Sterling Test Prep MCAT Psychology & Sociology:...

We’ve reviewed and listed a couple of Sterling’s MCAT prep books because they manage to do an incredible job putting theory into practice for their section-specific prep books. We don’t find the sociology aspects of most MCAT prep books to really help teach the qualitative sociological theory that’s necessary to truly understand its components.

This MCAT Psychology & Sociology prep book helps you to actually apply these theories and grasp them more than you would through traditional MCAT prep self-study books. This MCAT Psychology and Sociology book provides a detailed and thorough review of the updated psychology and sociology topics tested on the MCAT in 2020. We’re also confident that all topics and skills in this book are according to the AAMC guidelines for the redesigned MCAT.

  • Covers all information of Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior section of the 2020 MCAT
  • Organized into 15 focus knowledge areas
  • Detailed explanations
  • Higher score money-back guarantee

Top Feature: Thorough review of Psychology & Sociology

Who Needs This: Students looking for more help in Psychology & Sociology

Sterling Test Prep MCAT Psychology & Sociology:...
  • Prep, Sterling Test (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 582 Pages - 01/07/2018 (Publication Date) -...

Sterling MCAT Biology & Biochemistry 

4.25/5 Stars
4.25 of 5 stars

Sterling Test Prep MCAT Biology & Biochemistry...

Here’s our second Sterling recommendation that made our best MCAT prep books list, specifically for general Biology. We bring this book to your attention because most pre-med students don’t need much more knowledge on general Biology, yet still can benefit from some additional practice, especially with practice problems that incorporate biochemistry.

This is a fantastic brush-up book to practice and really hone in on using what you know on the MCAT. That’s why we ranked this as the best MCAT prep book for general Biology to brush up on the basics. 

  • 20 Chapters of questions grouped by concepts
  • 1,200 high-yield practice questions
  • Answer keys and detailed explanations to questions
  • General strategies for taking the MCAT

Top Feature: Best review of Biology & Physiology

Who Needs This: Students looking for MCAT Biology-specific practice

Sterling Test Prep MCAT Biology & Biochemistry...
  • Prep, Sterling Test (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 439 Pages - 12/16/2017 (Publication Date) -...

Best MCAT Prep Books FAQ

Are Kaplan or Princeton Review Books Better for the MCAT?

Kaplan’s MCAT prep book set is the highest-rated among students we’ve interviewed. It is comprehensive and comes with access to Kaplan’s online platform and video content. Princeton Review’s advantage is that their book set is more detailed for those with content gaps. If you missed any classes in college, then we’d recommend Princeton Review’s books. 

What’s the Best MCAT Physics Book?

We have two favorites for those looking for an MCAT Physics book. We recommend the MCAT Physics book by Garrett Biehle and Sterling Test Prep’s MCAT Physics Practice book for additional practice questions.  

Why Isn’t Examkrackers on this list?

This year, we did not include Examkrackers MCAT books on our list. Their content can be too detailed and outdated. They do not put out new editions to match the latest AAMC changes. 

How Far in Advance Should You Study for the MCAT?

We recommend a minimum of 3 months, but your MCAT prep can range from 3-6 months depending on the amount of time you have to commit to studying. You should complete 200-300 hours total in your prep, so however you can disperse that in your schedule is how long your prep will last. 

Can You Study for the MCAT in 2 Months? 

Cramming 200-300 hours of MCAT studying into 2 months can be a recipe for burnout. We recommend choosing another MCAT test date if you only have 2 months to prep before taking the test. 

How Many Times Can You Take the MCAT? 

You can take the MCAT up to 3 times in 1 year, up to 4 times in 2 consecutive years, and up to 7 times in your lifetime. 

How is the MCAT Scored?

Each MCAT section is scored on a scale of 118–132 (highest). Your MCAT total score (which is the sum of your section scores) ranges from 472–528. Because different versions of the test have varying levels of difficulty, the scale will be slightly different from one MCAT administration to the next.

How Much is MCAT Prep?

A standard MCAT prep course live or online will cost around $2,000. A book set, however, can come at a fraction of the cost with a maximum expense of $200.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, there are plenty of MCAT prep books to choose from. The final decision on the best MCAT prep book boils down to you. If you are still on the fence, we highly recommend the Kaplan MCAT book set for its effective and comprehensive review of every subject on the MCAT.

OUR FAVORITE MCAT PREP BOOK

Kaplan MCAT Complete 7-Subject Book Set

5/5

This book set is completely comprehensive and can stand alone as your sole MCAT study tool.

Looking for More MCAT Prep?

Check out the best MCAT flashcards and free tools to supplement your study as well as some free MCAT practice tests to get your prep to the next level.  

Get up to 20% off some of the best MCAT prep courses on the market today! That’s up to $159 in savings. Check out the best MCAT prep courses and discounts.

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