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Zerodha Varsity Review: Too Good to be True?

Created on 12 Feb 2022

Wraps up in 6 Min

Read by 3.9k people

Updated on 18 Aug 2022

Money cannot buy a person happiness, but it can sure make being unhappy comfortable. But this drive to be comfortable has a lot of people running the rat race, working their fingers to the bone.

While the modern workplace is breaking the stereotype of boring or unlikeable jobs, people's wish to retire early and let their money do the earning is a dream that is prevalent and valid. To fulfil this wish, more and more people have taken to the stock market and started to invest.

But this entry into the stock market is often a result of herd mentality. Not all entrants have the proper financial literacy necessary for healthy investing/trading. And when the beginner’s luck runs out, people are often faced with grave losses.

Fortunately, people are not completely oblivious to this fact and are actively seeking to fill the gaps in their financial knowledge. To satisfy this hunger for knowledge, a lot of e-learning platforms have recently come into existence and are finding success in helping people educate themselves.

The fact that the public needs to seek external sources of education for a subject so important to their lives sheds some light on the not-so-positive state of the prevailing education system. But we'll leave that bit of social commentary for some other discussion.

However, a topic close to investor's education that won't be left for another day is the subject of today's article, Varsity by Zerodha. So let's take a look at how the discount broking giant is trying to educate the Indian masses about the bourses (FYI I didn't know the stock market were called the "bourses" either).

Varsity by Zerodha

Zerodha has its fingers in a lot of pies, with Rainmatter funding multiple startups. Thus the “partnered with Zerodha” line doesn’t necessarily mean Zerodha’s direct involvement in the platform’s creation. But Varsity is homegrown by Zerodha and one thing that’s consistent with all things Zerodha; and something I personally appreciate a lot, is clean, no-nonsense user interfaces.

Varsity has a total of 13 modules. A module is a collection of chapters that pertain to a singular topic. These modules cover a variety of topics from fundamental analysis for investors to futures trading for traders. The topics on the platform are more inclined towards trading, but the “value investing gang” isn’t forgotten or neglected in any capacity. The two chapters that do exist and pertain to this topic are very in-depth and well explained.

Varsity also offers 10 out of 13 of its modules in Hindi, ensuring that language is not what limits people from attaining financial education.

While most chapters are text-based, Varsity has started releasing video lectures explaining the chapters in various modules. Currently, 4 modules have video explanations that feature Prateek Singh from LearnApp and Karthik Rangappa, Head of Education at Zerodha.

Something that stood out to me when I was browsing through the website was the “Innerworth — Mind over markets” module. What caught my attention was that the behemoth of a module had 603 chapters. I calculated, and the entire website has a total of 807 chapters. That means close to 75 per cent of the website’s information is collected in a single module 🤯.

Turns out, the module is actually a collection of newsletters on trading psychology published by an American stockbroking firm from 2002 to 2007. Zerodha acquired the publishing rights to these newsletters and made them available to Indian readers.

Varsity is also available as a storage-light app and is available for both Android and IOS. The app version of the platform doesn’t have video explanations but is a good way to keep reading on the go.

These were the features of Varsity. Now let’s take a look at what the platform has going for it, and the facets where it missed the mark.

Pros and Cons of Varsity

The Plusses

  • Fully Free Content: I mean, does this need any more explanation? Anything and everything on the website that is available for reading is completely free. No string attached, no hidden costs, no trials, nothing. Varsity brings free financial education for all, and that’s that.

Varsity even has a series of books called The Rupee Tales which aims to give children a headstart at being financially literate. The books cover topics such as savings, banking and inflation, taxation, insurance and even the stock markets. While the hard copies that were released in limited numbers are now sold out, digital copies in the form of PDF are still available on the Varsity website. The hard copies were sold for ₹470 for the set of five books. The digital copies are free.

  • Downloadable Content: All the modules on the website can be downloaded in PDF format for reading during times when network limitations may prohibit online reading.

  • Simplified Content: All of the modules in Varsity are explained in a very simple and jargon-free language. The stock market and its goings-on are equated to everyday activities to build familiarity as well as bring understanding to the learners.

  •  Responsive Creators: Varsity is not just a one-way platform. Karthik Rangappa, the creator of the written content can often be seen interacting with the platform’s audience in the comments section. Karthik can be seen responding to doubts, clearing them and generally keeping the audience engaged with the page.

  • Updated Content: The existing chapters in various modules are frequently updated and new chapters are added as well. Currently, Varsity is on its way to uploading a video series on Options trading.

The Minuses

  • Interface Troubles: As mentioned above, 4 out of the 13 modules have video lectures. However, switching to the video section corresponding to a chapter is not too easy once a user has entered said chapter’s text section.

  • IOS Log in Issue: As of the date of writing this article, there seems to be an issue with logging in to the app version of the platform. This problem can be observed when trying to log in to the app using Google. The issue seems limited to users of IOS devices only. Hopefully, a future update can fix this issue.

Let’s go on a Quest

Ever wanted to start your financial learning journey but didn’t know where to start? All the platforms you browse show you the same courses but none give you a clear path to follow? Found the right course for you but it’s too long to stick with? Need courses catered to your background in financial understanding to let you keep up with the learning curve? Got room for more questions? Well, forget questions, and get to Quest-ing!

Quest by Finology has the “Racetrack” feature to help you map out your financial education curriculum. The financial quizzes help you find how well you know your finances. Based on the result of these quizzes, you can choose courses that fit your knowledge profile. You can also choose between Sprint (~15-20 mins) and Marathon (~2-3 hours) courses based on your attention span.

On top of these features, Quest also gives you nifty little badges to keep you motivated on your financial education journey. Quest also provides certification courses by Quest as well as BSE Institute.

So what are you waiting for? Hurry over and get started on your Quest.

Our verdict

Varsity is a well-rounded website. What looks like a seemingly blank webpage is actually a result of clean, minimalistic design. The interface is quite intuitive and simple. The web version is more suitable for those wanting to read and watch at the same time, while the app version has a better use case for reading purposes.

The fact that all the content on the webpage is free, makes the platform even more worthwhile the user’s time. Coverage of more fundamental topics would be definitely welcome as Varsity’s attention seems more focused on topics revolving around technical analysis.

Overall, the platform shows great promise thanks to the fact that it’s still kept updated with new information and chapters are not just uploaded and forgotten.

That’s it for this article. See you on the flippety-flip.

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Deb P Samaddar

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Deb is a keen learner and eager to learn about the finance world. He is that person who would never stop talking, but my oh my, the words he uses, are not something a normal human would in a regular conversation. While the conversations are well, interesting, the write-ups are faultless. With an increased proclivity towards tech and language, he aims to capitalise on his interests as a content writer at Finology.

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