Barron’s MCAT Books Overview
Many tools, books, and materials are available for you as an aspiring medical student to help you ace this test. This wide range may lead to confusion if care is not taken.
Investing in the wrong preparation materials is as painful as toothache; you do not deserve the wasted money, time, and effort. Then, ultimately, the thought of not getting into your dream college can be highly devastating.
Do not worry; this review is the guide to choosing the right books for your preparation. This review focuses on Barron’s MCAT books published by Barron’s educational services. Barron’s MCAT book review thoroughly analyzes Barron’s books and online test prep services, including quality, pros and cons, and student reviews.
The opinions in this review are personal, and they all originate from my experience using Barron’s MCAT test prep books. I found some loopholes and grey areas and am willing to expose them all to help guide your decision-making. Are they worth your investment? Will the book help you ace the test? Find out in this comprehensive Barrons MCAT review.
List of Barron’s MCAT Preparation Books
Barron’s preparation books are updated consistently to meet the changing test requirements and for easy accessibility to students like you. Here is a list of the reviewer editions and their unique features.
Barron’s MCAT: Medical College Admission Test (Twelfth Edition)
Barron’s MCAT 12 edition (How to Prepare for the New Medical College Admission) contains helpful resources and content that concentrate on helping you develop the right skills to pass your test.
From my experience, I discovered that the book was designed to help you practice and master time management, essay reading, and writing skills needed to ace the exam. Authored by experienced experts and published in 2008. This book is currently out of print and has Limited availability.
- Test overview
- Practice exams with answers and explanations
- Practical strategies to develop the proper study habits and decrease test-induced stress
- Math and Science Review
- Two model tests on CD-ROM
- Essay writing tips
Barron’s New MCAT with CD-ROM (Second Edition)
The Barron’s new MCAT with CD-ROM is the updated version of the 2008 release. This version is designed to meet the needs of constantly changing technology. This test is now a computer-based exam, so the authors developed this version, which comes with CD-ROMs to serve as the online prototype to aid your preparation. The second edition was published in 2015, and you can get it on Amazon.
This book has additional features, like resources that will help you with exam-taking skills and exam anxiety. You’ll also find AAMC recommendations that will help you learn concepts by heart instead of cramming.
- The new Barron’s book also has revised science topics.
- Review for psychology
- Review for biochemistry
- Review for sociology
- Two sets of actual practice models
- Several months of study plans
- CD-ROM with two extra tests to simulate online tests
After using this version of Barron’s prep books, I was more impressed than the initial release. The improvements were evident. The high point for me in this Barron’s MCAT review was when I tried the CD-ROM. The two additional practice tests were specially curated to simulate the actual exam.
However, I found some questions outdated, at least compared to the latest resource available for this test. The material is still comprehensive enough to have an average score.
MCAT With Online Tests (Barron’s Test Prep) (Third Edition)
The Barron’s MCAT test prep third edition is a reasonable improvement to the second edition reviewed earlier. This means it has more relevant questions and is accompanied by answers and explanations. This edition was published in 2017 and sells on Amazon.
- Online resources
- Test answering speed and improvement strategies.
- Exam Orientation
- Study guide
- Strategies to remember the correct answers
- Three-month study plan
- Subject areas covered: Psychology, physics, sociology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and biology
- Critical analysis and thinking skills [CARS]
From my experience with this version, I discovered that the author did an excellent job ensuring that the book covered the exam’s fundamentals. The book also contains strategies and resources (study plans, practice tests) to excel in the test if implemented.
During my research, I found another valuable resource Barron’s education service produced: the Barron’s MCAT flashcards.
Barron’s MCAT flashcards seem to be their most popular product on Amazon, with 4.3 stars (from 247 ratings). The cards sell on Amazon, and they greatly help students actively preparing for the exam. However, you’re advised to use the flashcards with special study materials.
From my research and reviews, I discovered, after testing out Barron’s books, that some of their claimed features are not real. This was evident through a quality check and validation process based on honest reviews from trusted sources like Reddit and Amazon. You’ll find out what I discovered in the later section of this review.
Also, there is a need to upgrade and improve their question banks, test and study materials so that students can get up-to-date information and resources. In the following sections, you’ll learn more about the quality of Barron’s prep books and other alternatives you can leverage to ace your exam.
Quality of Baron's MCAT Material
Barron’s MCAT reviews are complete with a thorough evaluation of the quality of these books. Barron’s test prep books are authored by Jay B. Cutts, M.A., with the first version released in 2008 as a tool to help medical college aspirants ace their test.
Their features sound great on paper, but upon trying them out, I realized that some of these contents need to be updated and completed, and they are insufficient to give an excellent result on the actual exam. That’s not to say that you wouldn’t get an average score, but if you’re like me, passionate about getting good grades, Barron’s books may not do justice.
Barron’s books provide a comprehensive content review, but its effectiveness varies. Some prefer the balance of strategy and content in Princeton Review and Kaplan materials.
To remove bias and allow for fairness, I also conducted a comparative analysis of Barron’s prep books with other popular materials, focusing on quality, features, and value for money. This comparison is based on the most recent version or edition.
|Barron’s MCAT with Online Test Prep
|Princeton MCAT Test Prep
|Kaplan MCAT TestPrep
|Jay B. Cutts
|The Princeton Review
|Kaplan Test Prep
|4.8 (37 ratings)
|4.8 (72 ratings)
|Science review chapters
Practice tests that simulate actual MCAT questions and passages
|Seven complete subject guides and three online practice tests
|7- book subject review and three full-length online practice tests
|Comprehensive multi-month study plan
and Extensive glossaries
And Expert Guidance
|Laser focus on strategy
|Thousands of practice questions
|Included with detailed solutions
|Extensive with solutions
Prices for the Barron’s MCAT Books
Here are the prices of the various Barron’s MCAT preparation books as stated on Walmart.
- Barron’s New MCAT with CD-ROM: $0.96 [used]
- MCAT with Online Tests (Barron’s Test Prep): $39.70
- MCAT Flashcards (Barron’s Test Prep): $12.50
Student Feedback and Reviews of Baron's
Here is some feedback from students who have used Barron’s MCAT test preparation book. You can also find my honest submissions based on my experience and in concert with the reviews from Reddit, the Student Doctor Forum, and Amazon.
The Barron MCAT prep tests allow students to simulate the actual test and have scores that show their level of preparedness. My trial was a similar experience to that of the student who left a comment on Reddit. The consistency of the result shows the test is relatively easier than the actual test.
Some reviews from the student doctor forum revealed certain truths about Barron’s MCAT books. However, I didn’t take their word for it until I tried out the resources myself.
One thing to note is that you can’t judge a book based on its old editions, so when reading a review, be careful to note what year it was released and what version or edition is being critiqued.
From my usage experience, Barron’s MCAT books are comprehensive enough to help you pass the MCAT. One reviewer on the student doctor forum wrote that getting questions wrong when starting with Barron’s practice test is not unusual. Consistent practice matters, as you will know things by heart instead of memorizing and forgetting.
Someone else commented about the book size and the need for improved formatting. I believe this has been significantly resolved, considering the availability of digital resources and soft copies of the new version and edition of Barron’s MCAT preparation books.
Amazon Review (Barron’s MCAT 2015 review)
This review is related to the Barron’s book with Online Tests Prep, the third edition)
Despite this high rating, some reviewers seem to have found the book useless, while others leave positive comments. I also took the online test to get a feel for this version, and to my amazement, there are a lot of improvements from the previous version.
One user found this material helpful for the environmental health and management field. I find this particularly interesting and agree with the reviewers, as the subject areas covered in the book will help boost health science students. This makes it a valuable resource for science students interested in the health and medical fields.
However, Barron’s MCAT test prep may not be 100% sufficient to pass the actual MCAT test.
- Barron's MCAT books contain comprehensive information needed to pass the MCAT.
- They contain exam-passing strategies (answer recall strategies, confidence through practice).
- Study plans for the proper study habit.
- Digital resources to prepare for the CBT.
- Barron's MCAT books cover many topics tested on the MCAT..
- The books provide detailed content reviews, particularly in the sciences.
- The material is organized systematically, aiding in study planning.
- Barron's includes practice questions to reinforce learning.
- The inclusion of full-length practice tests helps simulate the actual exam experience.
- They provide explanations for answers.
- Compared to some other prep materials, Barron's can be more budget-friendly.
- Barron's MCAT books are widely available in bookstores and online.
- The books often include helpful diagrams and visual aids to aid understanding.
- The language used is accessible, making it suitable for a broad audience.
- Barron's doesn't emphasize test-taking strategies enough.
- The difficulty level of practice tests may not always align with the actual MCAT.
- The books may not cover behavioral sciences as comprehensively.
- In some instances, explanations for answers might be limited.
- Depending on personal preferences, users might find the need for additional resources
- Barron's updates are less frequent and prompt than other test prep materials.
- The quality of practice questions varies, with some being more representative than others.
- Less Focus on Critical Some users feel the material doesn't emphasize critical thinking skills as much as needed.
- Barron's books do not offer as many interactive elements as some digital platforms.
- For digital versions, the user interface is not as intuitive or modern as on other platforms.
- Cluttered content and information overload.
Conclusion: Are Barron’s MCAT Books Good?
After going through Barron’s MCAT preparation books and the various online reviews, I conclude that the books are a good option for thorough material review.
However, looking into other options like Kaplan and Princeton reviewers might be helpful.
These options balance a comprehensive MCAT passing strategy and in-depth, updated content/ test materials.
What is the best MCAT review book?
There are tons of MCAT review books out there. The best MCAT review book varies by individual preference, but Kaplan, Examkrackers, and Princeton Review are popular choices.
Is Barron’s effective for MCAT prep?
Barron’s MCAT prep book is effective as it contains all the resources and strategies you need to pass the MCAT exam.
What is the best MCAT resource?
Individual learning styles differ, but the best MCAT resources have good ratings based on popular demand. Kaplan, AAMC materials, and UWorld are often highly recommended.
Is Barron’s or Princeton Review better for the MCAT?
Preference varies, but many choose Princeton Review for a balanced approach. Barron’s is praised for strategy but less favored for content.