Most people starting AIPGE preparations are confused regarding which MCQs book to follow and whether to stick to Salgunan or to AAA or both?
During the course of my AIPGE preparations I had done both Salgunan and AAA, though neither fully nor fluently, but in the process I did get to know the spirit of both books (!) and as always, I realised the best way of going about them only when my preparation was almost over!
Here are my views regarding this aspect. Hoping that someone gets the realisation when there is still some time to put it to use!
Salgunan - Salgunan offers something that no other book can offer, because of two reasons;
1. Its bombards questions in a haphazard manner, without any partition into chapters and topics.
Therefore, it is better for doing retrospective study for any subject. Because in the process of finding the reference text for the questions you will face the same page several times, during the course of the subject and that will make a better memory of things, because of a simultaneous revision is ensured and every topic will stay in 'front of the eyes' through out your affair with the subject.
This is in contrast to AAA where the questions being formatted into chapters and topics. Things that get 'done' once wont ever come to notice and since the topics are covered sequentially, in the end the earlier topics would be escaping out of the visual and textual memory.
I think this difference is very critical because ultimately our aim is memorising things. And I am sure finding references for the haphazard questions of Salgunan makes much better memory of things than the sequential and well arranged questions of AAA.
Therefore for first reading my recommendation is SALGUNAN.
2. Salgunan covers questions from several exams (some even unheard earlier...!), are not covered in AAA.
PLUS Salgunan does not provide references hence all sorts of questions are dumped into the book, even those that do not have easy references. Such questions one wont find in AAA because they have got to provide references.
Thus the pool of questions is wider in Salgunan.
Salgunan is best done through group study where a few people sit down together with all the books, go through a page or two of Salgunan at a time and then distribute the questions among themselves to search for references. In the end everyone shares the "Gyan" (knowledge) about the topic with all. This will make Salgunan very lovable and it can be finished with the minimum effort and time.
Salgunan has a few flipsides, I agree...
1. Lot of old and outdated questions! But they are avoidable. We did only the questions till 1994. That also helped us to finish the book faster.
2. Lot of wrong answers! But thats not a problem if one searches for authentic references for each and every question. In fact, the constant threat that the answer may be wrong ensures that we find the reference and the flipping of pages to find the correct answer makes a lot of memorising in the process. So I think this aspect is a boon in a sense.
AAA - as I said, AAA has the questions topic wise, hence AAA is best for revision, i.e. after the subjects have been finished through Salgunan.
This will ensure two things;
1. The Gyan (Knowledge) achieved by now and gets formatted systematically in compartments because it was all haphazard till now.
2. There are some questions in AAA which are not there in Salgunan, they will get covered.
So thats it!
I think this is my personal view and in no case should it be considered authentic and unquestionable. I found this method useful and successful for myself but there cant be just one method for all people, so take it if you feel it would suit you, this method is by no means 'indispensable' for success...
Note: Disclaimer: All views expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of RxPG.
We thank Shaky for writing such an indepth and useful analysis which will indeed help several others who have just started their PG entrance preparations.