Preparing for IIT, GATE, or UPSC? IFS officer Himanshu Tyagi, who is also an alumnus of IIT Roorkee, shares how to read books effectively to retain important information while preparing for competitive exams.

Are you getting ready for exams like IIT, UPSC, or GATE? You might spend hours searching for the best subject books, but students often don’t realise that there’s another key factor that greatly influences your success.

And that is ‘how to’ use and understand the book, which is just as crucial to retain the information.

IFS officer Himanshu Tyagi — who also is an institute medalist from IIT Roorkee — shares how he picked the right books and read them effectively during his exam preparations.

He took to X (Twitter) to share tips on making the most of reading books for every competitive examination. “Book reading enhances understanding, but inefficient reading is only a waste of time,” he wrote.

Here are five top tips shared by Himanshu for effective reading for exams:

1. Pick the right book

He advised students not to buy every book recommended by toppers. “Select good books and stick to them,” he wrote.

2. Read the index

Himashu further advised students to make sure to read the index before picking up any book. “Before starting, understand what the book is about. Understand the design of the book,” he noted.

3. Read the interesting chapters first

The IFS officer introduced a concept that he calls “superficial reading” — fast reading of the chapter you are interested in.

4. Deep-read all the chapters

“This is when you go back to the chapter again,” he wrote, while advising students to not make notes while reading. “Make notes after completing the concept without referring to the book,” he opined.

5. Read and repeat!

“Read a book multiple times, rather than reading multiple books,” he advised.


He closed the thread with a question for students — “A good test for effective reading is: Can you teach the concept to someone else?” he wrote.

(Edited by Pranita Bhat)



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