All students hope to get a decent score on the MCAT because, after all, this is not the kind of exam you’d want to end up retaking.
As such, while studying for the MCAT, you may need all the help you can get, and one resource many seem to swear by is the Berkeley Review.
Is this prep course really all it’s hyped up to be, though?
Well, let’s find out in this Berkeley Review MCAT review, shall we?
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Table of Contents
Berkeley Review MCAT Options Compared
Full Online Course
Live Lecture Hours
Access to TBR Study Forum?
Berkeley Review MCAT Prep Overview
The Berkeley Review, also referred to as TBR, has been around since 1992, and students have nothing but amazing things to say about their MCAT prep resources.
Perhaps the one major thing that sets this company apart from other MCAT prep companies is that the Berkeley Review specializes purely in the MCAT.
Unlike other test prep companies such as the Princeton Review, which diversifies to the ACT, LSAT, etc., Berkeley Review does not cover any other tests.
So you can rest assured that plenty of time, money, energy, and dedication has been used purely to deliver one of the best MCAT prep resources in the market.
The Berkeley Review offers two options: TBR’s Full Online course and the Home-Study Program.
a) TBR’s Full Online Course
The Full Online Course will cost you $1,995 for a 4-month subscription period.
TBR’s Full Online Course
September to December
January to April
May to August
Taught by top-tier MCAT instructors with 100+ years of combined experience, signing up for the Full Online Course will give you access to the following:
- 100+ hours of Live Lectures
- Make-up Lectures
- Lecture Summaries
- Class Portal
- Post-Class Supplementary Readings
- Access to the TBR Study Forum
- Post Course Review Sessions
- 10 Review Prep Books
- 5 Full-Length Practice Exams
- 6,000+ Practice Questions
- 750+ Passages
- 40 Sectional Exams
- 200+ Office Hours
- 1-on-1 Check-In
- Personal Statement and Interview Workshop
b) Home-Study Program
The Home-Study program will cost you $495 for a 4-month access period and offers a very rigorous self-study regimen complete with an assignment schedule.
Signing up for this option gives you access to the following:
- Complete 10-Book MCAT Review Set
- 5 Full-Length Practice Exams
- 6,000+ Practice Questions
- 750+ Passages
- 20+ Sectional Exams
- Study Schedules and Assignment Schedules
- Cohort Instructor Point of Contact
Berkeley Review MCAT Review For 2023
The first thing you are going to love about TBR’s live lectures are the highly knowledgeable teachers who not only understand their subject matter impeccably well, but they also know the MCAT exam inside and out.
With each instructor specializing in one or two subjects, their expertise combined with their unique teaching styles make these lectures more than worthwhile.
Each class has a maximum of 40 students, and each session is typically 2 hours long, with there being 4 or 5 classes each week.
Besides the scheduled weekly classes, there are also supplemental lectures available for particularly challenging topics.
The 100+ hours of in-class instruction are distributed as:
No. Of TBR Live Lectures
Psychology & Sociology
What sets the supplementary lectures apart from the typical classes is that they are designed to present the material and ideas from a more fundamental perspective.
Aside from these extra lectures, you also have make-up lessons and lecture summaries, and students get access to a class portal.
Keep in mind that live lectures are only available when you sign up for TBR’s Full Online course.
Another feature only available for the Full Online course is that students have access to 200+ office hours. Instructors have set this time aside for certain hours each week, whereby students can come in and ask for assistance.
This gives your MCAT prep that personalized element that all students are sure to appreciate.
The office hours are a mix of set weekly hours and flexible hours that vary week to week as per the student’s request.
The best thing is how flexible and accommodating the Berkeley Review instructors are in that they are more than willing to work with you and your schedule regarding which office hours may work for you.
You can reach out to your assigned instructor to check your progress or if you simply have any general MCAT-related questions.
While there are no office hours for the Home-Study program, students are assigned an instructor who will serve as their point of contact.
Should you have any technical or logistical questions related to your MCAT studies and assignment schedule, feel free to reach out to this instructor at any time, and they will sort you right out.
MCAT Review Books
The Berkeley Review books are very well written and go into more detail than any other MCAT prep books on the market.
The complete 10-book set comprises 2 Bio books, 2 Gen Chem books, 2 Organic Chem books, 2 Physics books, a Psychology book, and a CARS book.
Furthermore, you will be happy to know that these books are very up-to-date.
TBR books are very dense because all MCAT material has been covered thoroughly. This attention to detail will be a great help, especially if you do not have a particularly strong science background.
Granted, these books aren’t as colorful as other MCAT books, such as those offered by Exam krackers, for instance.
Regardless, the content has been written with an impressive amount of clarity, so you will find it easy to read the text-heavy books.
Plenty of explanations and examples have been included, allowing you to perfectly understand the context of various principles, such that you will have an elevated understanding of even the most challenging scientific principles.
Furthermore, these MCAT books feature excellent quality practice material in the form of MCAT-style passage-based and discrete questions.
Practice Exams, Questions & Passages
Any MCAT student knows that the most high-yield studying comes from practice rather than pure content review. On that front, Berkeley Review guarantees plenty of practice to get you more than exam-ready.
From the stand-alone full-length practice tests, practice questions, and passages to the practice material included in TBR’s MCAT books, you will love this company’s high-quality practice material.
To begin with, the practice questions included in the books are divided into 3 phases, and this perfect structure truly stands out from any other test prep company.
There are plenty of practice problems at the end of each chapter, and you are bound to love this, especially in the sciences.
For instance, for the Bio books, there are 100 questions after each chapter. That’s a ton of practice to help reinforce what you have just learned in each chapter.
TBR passages are known to be very challenging, offering excellent practice for the actual MCAT. Furthermore, TBR goes as far as to tell you the specific topic of the passages, which is extremely helpful.
In addition to the numerous practice problems, Berkeley Review comes with detailed answer explanations that are of excellent quality.
Rather than simply highlighting the correct answer, this in-depth program does an excellent job of teaching you essential skills regarding how to eliminate answers.
Essentially, the answer explanations teach students how to approach MCAT questions, thereby improving their overall thought process.
Everything is outlined in an easy-to-understand format, complete with plenty of fantastic mnemonics and tricks.
One key aspect of getting the most out of Berkeley Review is to ensure you complete the weekly assignments, as this is also used to track your progress through the course.
The weekly assignments are based on the review books, and they can range from assignment readings to assigned problem sets.
Berkeley Review MCAT Prep Pros & Cons
– TBR’s Top-notch MCAT books are very well written.
– Teaches material in an easy-to-understand format.
– In-depth and thorough coverage of all MCAT material.
– Offers a ton of challenging practice.
– Excellent detailed answer explanations.
– It is very dense and can feel overwhelming for some students.
If you want a good chance at getting into a top-tier medical school, the Berkeley Review would be your best bet.
From the live lectures to the MCAT books to the practice material, this prep program is in-depth and extremely detailed, guaranteeing that no stone is left unturned during your MCAT prep period.
Although there is a ton of material to go through, it has all been taught in a way that’s very easy to understand. Even the most complex concepts have been explained simply by being broken down into fundamental principles that are easier to grasp.
Aside from that, TBR also teaches you how to approach the exam strategically, thereby improving your overall thought process altogether. There are a ton of great examples provided, along with tricks and helpful mnemonics to help you reinforce content.
Granted, the amount of minutiae within the Berkeley Review can feel overwhelming, and some details can even be unnecessary in that they will never be tested in the MCAT. This aspect of TBR has often gone both ways in that it is the reason students either love or hate this MCAT prep resource.
What I’ll say is this: with TBR, you will definitely need to stay on top of the material, and so it is a better resource for those who have ample MCAT prep time and those who may not have a particularly strong science background.
If you are short of time, definitely consider going for a lighter course load or opt to use TBR purely for the practice material rather than for content review.
Berkeley Review MCAT Prep FAQs
How Effective Is The Berkeley Review For MCAT Prep?
The Berkeley Review is a highly effective MCAT prep resource.
The fact that this company focuses purely on the MCAT means that it has dedicated over 30 years to curating top-notch MCAT prep content along with challenging practice material and hiring some of the most knowledgeable tutors in the industry.
Ultimately, what you get is an excellent quality MCAT prep program that all students can attest to.
With that being said, I think pairing the Berkley Review with a memorization tool such as anki or Memm can make your preparation a lot easier.
Are The Berkeley Review MCAT Books Any Good?
Yes, the Berkeley Review MCAT books are simply top-tier.
They may not be as colorful as Exmkrackers, but TBR books are very detailed and well written with impeccable clarity.
Despite being text-heavy, you will actually enjoy reading these books because of how well concepts and principles have been outlined in a manner that’s easy to understand.
Is Berkeley Review Updated For The Latest Version Of The MCAT?
Yes, Berkeley Review is updated for the latest version of the MCAT.
The current set of books is actually updated to 2023 edition to ensure you are all caught up on the most current MCAT exam structure, format and content tested.