This is one of the most asked questions by the students pursuing JEE throughout the years and why will this be not? Most of CBSE schools have always asked their students to solve either RS Aggarwal or RD Sharma if they want their mathematical foundation strong right from standard 6th.
Students who love maths and found it easy solved RD Sharma as it is more in depth, has variety of questions and mind wrecking HOTS (The extra difficult questions). The students who were not that strong in mathematics and wanted their base to be solid did RS Agarwal after solving NCERT. The maths journey continued with RD Sharma till class 10th boards as this is the BEST book ever for CBSE Board Examinations. It covers all the types of questions, previous year questions, NCERT important question solutions, repeated board questions answers and even sample tests.
But when it comes to the part of preparing JEE Main or JEE advanced, RD Sharma is far from best. I wouldn’t say it is not good. It has great analytical problems. It focuses mostly on clearing the concepts as it is pretty subjective in nature.
RD Sharma does make your foundation for JEE strong and ready for conceptual questions of Advanced but it is advisable to use other reference books and coaching institutes materials. You need to practice more and more if you want to crack this exam. More the variety, better it is.
If you have ever studied from RD Sharma, you will know that this book has been explicitly written for sake of building conceptualization in students such that there are innumerable similar type problems before shifting to any other type so that students get a good amount of practice of each type of questions. Hence, the back exercises can be tedious sometimes. On the other hand, the explanations of the mathematical derivations and theory are so clear and easy to understand that students would not require any other book to understand the concepts once studied from RD Sharma.
NCERT indeed is the bible and must be studied thoroughly but not all can understand bible at once. They need an aid which explains them the bible in plain and simple manner and this is RD Sharma for you.
Since you are planning to give JEE Mains, my advice would be to opt for RD Sharma Objective book rather than plain RD Sharma. RD Sharma Maths book for iit jee is not enough. The objective book focuses on MCQs rather than subjective questions. However, this is more of a practice book since there is very little theory explained in this book. This book does give you exposure to new concepts but you need to have far better grip on understanding if you want to go to atleast NIT.
If you are aiming for any random engineering college, RD Sharma and RD Sharma Objective is more than sufficient. But if you are aiming to get a government engineering institutes or any good college, this isn’t enough.
I would recommend you the following books to study for JEE Mains.
• IIT Mathematics by M.L. Khanna
• The Pearson Guide to Complete Mathematics for JEE by SL Loney
• NCERT Textbooks for Mathematics
• Objective Mathematics Vol 1 and Vol 2 by R.D. Sharma
• Complete Mathematics (TMH) by Ravi Prakash, Ajay Kumar, Usha Gupta
• Arihant Skills in Mathematics- Set of 7 books by Dr. SK Goyal, Amit M Agarwal