GATE Preparation

The Truth About eBooks And Exam Prepration

I have been collecting eBooks since last couple years say since 2003.  One thing i never realized about during early days of my life that I am not going to spend much time reading them all. Things have changed a lot during last few years. especially with the popularity of smart phone and handy computing devices.

I spent much of my time collecting eBooks, conducted a lot if search to make collection copied them to cds, dvds, and portable hard drives and kept them soo dear to me. On the same time, when I look into the use of them now, I seriously don’t see that i used them much in years. If i take the ratio of the time that i spent on collecting them, i feel it was just like a hobby of collecting postal stamps.

I always had issues related to using eBooks. I would share them but on the same time I have friends and know people with totally opposite attitude towards it. Though totally depends on person to person, most of the average students suffer with them in context of exam preparation as I do. These are following problems with eBooks when it comes to exam preparation with them.

Source Of Distraction
I am so easy to be distracted by nature and always move over to net or other thing during learning from eBooks. If I don’t have internet connection I go and play music and do some search in computer hard disk. eventually I get distracted and out of an hour I can concentrate only less than half of its time.

Highlighting And Short Notes
While preparing for exams I am used to make short notes and highlight important stuff in books. Write few points in book itself so that I can grasp whole chapter in few words, mark most important formulas, so that i can refer them during revision and just before going to exam. There is no good PDF reader that does this efficiently for me as much as hard paper book.

Carrying Preparation Notes
As i make a preparation notes while preparing for any exam in books, I would like to carry that book to library or to friends where I decide to go and prepare with concentration. Soft copies usually make it difficult to be carried and opened in different places. The technology has grown big with the advent of tabs and cloud but in India we still don’t have easy and comfortable access for these technologies. This makes it almost impossible for us to totally relay on the technology and advancements. Not all students’ have these facilities and we also have battery charging issues with existing devices. I hope this will change in couple of years with technology reaching common man.

Preparing for competitive exams is different from reading a novel, news, or some self help book for pleasure. Exam preparation needs a high level of dedication and effort that makes eBooks not so friendly for the purpose. I read a lot on my phone and share with friends. You cannot imagine even i read Quran and other religious text on phone, almost everything i read these days is on my hand held computing device. I am really not against using soft copies. On the same time, when I learn a new technology and make use of it and try experiments i use hard copies and also make use of papers to make initial notes.

With this I would like to ask you to not to run after trend of collecting eBooks. Just be smart and try to avoid distractions, make a print of soft copy or few important chapters of it, if you don’t have money to buy the book or take a whole book print.

Don’t waste your time being distracted and searching for something that you don’t use much later on. Time is super fast so just choose your study material smartly and be sure how you are making best use of your resources. Don’t risk your future for your distractions.

Wish you all a great luck ahead.


  1. srikanth

    i think , we have to read both eBooks and other study material . We can gain extra knowledge from eBooks

  2. Saheli

    New adobe comes with features where we can comment,highlight add texts to pdf.. which r easy and handy..

  3. rohith

    200 percent true!!!!

  4. Sai Kiran

    I too search net for topics, but rarely save ebooks, as soon as I find a worthy point from net I just note it down in my notes. I prefer wikipedia and other fourms to get my doubts clarified. I feel it’s good to learn from the net in parallel or at the end of small topics where there is missing clarity. I just search Google for my doubts, depth in subject, and some interesting points.

  5. Anup

    I agree with nitin C

  6. Nithin C

    I am complete fan of your blog and I am a subscriber from 2010. I have read almost all of your posts since then and it was always helpful.

    I totally disagree with you about “The truth about e-books and exam preparation”. I studied my entire B Tech and M Tech course using ebooks only. Moreover I cleared Gate 2010 and obtained an admission in IIT Kharagpur. I prepared the GATE exam using ebooks only. Currently I am doing Phd at IIT kharagpur and I use ebooks for studying for the coursework. I never found any difficulty in studying from ebook and I prefer ebooks over hardcopy.

    Time spend on collecting ebooks is very much. I agree on that. But I think that that is worth because of the utility and convenience of ebooks. Distraction is always there in life. For me with ebook or hardcopy distractions will kill the time. If laptop is of I spend time in chatting (via sms) or listening songs on phone. So the effect is always the same. ( I always prefer music while studying. Some of the scientific studies have proved that music can really help in concentrating and avoid other distractions.)

    Ebooks are the most convenient form of books as we can carry it anywhere in a thumbdrive or can access via cloud services like Google docs, Dropbox, Ubuntuone, etc. As most of the people have broadband connections or Plug and Surf devices, it wont be difficult to access these. But you are right about the inaccessibility of these fcilities in rural areas. ‘ As necessity is the mother of invention’ and ‘demand is the driving force for market’, I believe these facilities will become available in near future. But it will not help students currently preparing for a competitive exam. They have to depend on hard copies.

    Another important fact is that ebooks are very cost effective. The cost of hardcopies are too much and common man or middle class cannot afford it. This is true regarding biotechnology but I am not sure about other subjects. Most of the good text books cost more than 5000 INR and atleast 7 such books are needed for preparation of Gate. Ebooks are saviour in this case. Also if we plan to buy hardcopy books, we cannot go for more than author for a subject due to economic considerations. But ebooks are very convenient in this case.

    1. Ishan

      @Nitin C. I totally agree with you, dude.


    It is true! Printed versions are always the best handy ones for any preparation. And for that matter, best for eyes too. Soft copies do distract one easily for sure. Right points.

  8. Asr

    Very important note

  9. sanjeev kumar

    I agree with you…Printed books are good.. But for those who dont have money to buy it ,e book is good options…One thing we can do to avoid distraction is just remove internet connection while studying.

  10. Abhilash

    I totally agree with you. Printed books are nice because staring at them dont cause eye strain.

  11. Narendhara kumar . V

    Respected Sir, u clearly present like a mirror whats going on my mind. I too the lover of ebooks of all kinds , especially story books. I didnt have computer but i started collecting the books related to my studies too using my college internet. As you told about technology I recently got penta tablet before 4 months and now I am using that ebooks for my studies and opens the same book in minimum three ebook reader (to urgently refer important tables and figures which was in another page to avoid scrolling everytime). Just a minimise is required and easy too in android. On coming to point that the very worthy and rich data having books are costly and pushed us to hav it has ebooks only. I am in confusion what to do and how to do abt hard copy. Now I got clear idea to get printout of important ones alone. I wil make use of it outer areas especially in my bus travelling. Thanks for great idea. Even it is small it wasn’t strike out in my mind before reading this article. I also follow your words that, to read and study the important areas using old question papers. And surprised to get a approximate blueprint. Thanks a lot sir. This is not just thanks with words. Its from soul. You are developing india.

    1. Rinsu Paul

      xactly true man…
      i usually copy the materials from the ebooks and get it printed out for my preperations.
      lookin at a screen for more than 1 hr isnt possible… unless its a movie, or a game.

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