2 Nov 2012

TOEFL Essay 4: Topic 4: Not everything that is learned is contained in books

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It has been said, "Not everything that is learned is contained in books." Compare and contrast knowledge gained from experience with knowledge gained from books. In your opinion, which source is more important? Why?  


Learning, as the name indicates has lot many meanings as to which source one would choose to understand things of his own interest. Books have always been an inevitable part of one's life as they have the ability to make people aware of the different things happening in our world. It is said that not everything that is learned is contained in books. This is in fact true because books can offer us knowledge regarding the things that have happened and sometimes the ways to deal with a situation that one can encounter in his life. I would appreciate the fact that the knowledge gained from experience is much more important than that we receive from books. I would like to further illustrate my reasons as follows:

Everyone would admit the fact that knowledge gained from experience is one that remains in our mind forever. It is correctly said, "Experience is the teacher of man."Being a science student, I have gone through different books where we come across different reactions and experiments, where the results will be shown in the form of diagrams or may be expressed in a simple language. Unless we conduct that experiment we will not know the problems or the difficulties we will have to overcome during the experiments. Textbook knowledge is merely a description of facts and outcomes, whereas the same knowledge when gained through experience teaches us a lot, right from the start till the end and it is a journey through the various aspects of one process which one might not be aware of and might not be described in the books.

During my undergraduate years I had only knowledge from books and I used to wonder how the experiments are designed and how they are carried out. But, during my postgraduate days I had to do a two month nutritional trial on fishes where I had to cope up with everything like procuring tubs and fishes, arranging aeration facilities, preparation of food for the fishes, daily water exchange, samplings, analysis and so on. Now, I am confident of carrying out similar works and the experience that I have gained will remain with me as long as I live. When similar instances occur, we will have more self-confidence and when such aspects are passed on to our juniors, they would also feel happy and confident.

Needless to say books are also very important. What I have mentioned is from my view point as a science student. There are many different subjects where the conduct of work is tough and in such circumstances we gain information from books. Some aspects would be time consuming and tedious and performing such a work with a limited period of time would not be feasible. In such cases, books definitely open a person's eye towards various aspects and give him first hand information about what he wants to know.

A person who has learned from experience never forgets what has happened and if it was proved a bad thing then he would certainly try to avoid that situation in the future. If something good has happened then he will put his best to further improve it; that in turn will enhance his skill and boost his self-esteem. Knowledge gained by experience can be passed over to others who also are supposed to face the same situation and that helps the person to be aware of what he intends to do. He can even avoid those factors that can affect his performance.

In fact I would rather say that knowledge gained from experience lingers in our minds forever and that boosts our confidence when taking up a similar task. On the other hand, the fact that books are knowledge providers cannot be ignored, because books provide us with lot more information about the different things that are very difficult to be experienced. Hence it can be concluded that knowledge gained from books is secondhand knowledge whereas knowledge that are gained from experience is firsthand and it takes a person through the different hidden intricacies of the task and makes him learn the knowledge in a practical manner.

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