Debunking Concepts of Physics, and why you should NOT use this book.

Posted on Mon 22 June 2020 in JEE

I generally don't post stuff that is extremely specific to JEE, but this time I'm willing to make an exception.

A lot has been said about Concepts of Physics by Dr. H. C.Verma and it's usefulness for JEE Preparation. The website itself claims that

Students from the past twenty years of JEE preparation used this book and have successfully cleared JEE. So, you cannot neglect this book. A common problem that was observed with many JEE aspirants is that they follow multiple books in parallel, thereby ending up in confusion. Follow only one book at a time and make sure it is reputed one like Concepts of Physics by HC Verma. You may consults other books too but not at the cost of creating more confusion.

Thankfully, this website is not endorsed by Dr. H. C. Verma himself. It seems to be made by a third party looking to sell their own books, in conjunction with Dr. Verma's. I have nothing against the book itself: as far as physics books go, it is brilliantly formatted and lucidly explained. It's a great introduction to Physics for several physics noobs, including me. Let me repeat that again:

Concepts of Physics is a great introductory book for people who are not good at physics.

Everyone starts out a learner. It's fine to use a book like this when you're learning. However, this book has almost zero applicability when it comes to preparing for JEE(A). It might get you through JEE(M), but it's extremely risky to refer to ONLY this book and accept it's word as the word of god. Here are a few reasons not to use Concepts of Physics for long term preparation:

  1. It's not exam-oriented! This has to be the biggest gripe of mine. The book's content has not kept up with the demands of the exam, but that is not it's purpose. However, people still believe that it has kept up and is still as relevant as it was 20 years ago. The Single Correct and Multiple Correct questions (Objective I and Objective II) are mainly concept oriented, with no numericals. Even the subjective questions suck big time, compared to Irodov or Krotov. Here's a snap of Chapter 18, Geometrical Optics:

    chapter 18

    Notice that questions 61-66 are exactly the same with the only difference being the type of lens and mirror in the situation and the parameter being asked.

  2. It covers irrelevant concepts! TVF made a point of this in their skit "A Day with H C Verma". Chapter 47, Relativity, is not included in syllabus. A lot of other concepts, such as Peltier effect, Zeeman effect, measuring speed of light etc are irrelevant from an exam point of view.

  3. It does not cover relevant concepts! Some concepts such as force on a dielectric (question 74 of Capacitors chapter) are not explained in the textbook and are left to the students to solve. Angular momentum (one of the most important concepts, see JEE(A) 2016) is paid a lip service in Rotational motion, with one big mathematical derivation explaining the whole concept.

As I already mentioned, Concepts of physics is a great physics book, which is often the entry point of many students into the world of Higher Secondary Physics. However, I am tired of self-proclaimed 'gurus' and other JEE toppers proclaiming that this book is all you need to crack the exam. This is a blatant lie.