I completed my B.Tech from Amrita University in 2014 after which I worked with Infosys as a systems engineer. I wanted to return to my core field of engineering and pursue higher studies from one of the IITs. So I took the GATE in 2018 (my 4th attempt) and secured an All India Rank of 13. My GATE score was 858/1000. Currently, I am pursuing my M.Tech from IIT-Madras. I will complete the program, then work for a couple of years and return back to academia to pursue a PhD.
Actually, as I stated before, I have taken the GATE 4 times. First was in 2014 in the final year of college. Then, I took it again in 2016 but didn’t do so well. I took coaching in 2017 and secured a rank of 600 but it wasn’t enough to get into the IITs and programs that I wanted. So I decided to again retake the GATE by preparing on my own in 2018 and this time did well. I studied pretty regularly but really increased the time spent on preparation towards the end. In the last two months, I took a complete break from work and studied on average for 12 hours a day.
The first thing to remember is that GATE is not difficult. It just requires dedication and discipline. Now, when one should begin preparation is very subjective and depends from person to person. However, you should have at least 6 months for preparation but if you have the opportunity to prepare for more time – like 1 year or so, that’s even better. While there is no generic formula for the perfect study timetable, here are a few important tips to consider while making your timetable / study plan:
Each person is different and should therefore have their own test taking strategy. However, in my case I solved the questions as per order in the exam. One important thing that I would like to highlight is that students should read each question at least twice and understand the full essence of the question before attempting it. Another thing is that if students face difficulty in solving a particular question, they should move on to the next question and not get stuck onto that question.
Finally, while each student would have their own strategy to allocate time during the exam, I think that the following is a good template:
Because revising your answers is so important, don’t think that you have 180 minutes to solve the GATE paper. Assume that you have only 140 minutes to solve all the 65 questions i.e. a little more than 2 minutes per question.
I think that understanding the fundamental concepts of engineering is the toughest, as well as the most important concept. This was especially true in my case since I was working while preparing, and had therefore forgotten concepts learnt in Engineering.
I think that there are 4 subjects in the IN stream that are really scoring and that have high weightage in the GATE. Students should really focus on these and aim to get ALL questions from these topics right:
Beyond these four subjects, students should prepare well for:
Absolutely! The one thing that ALL GATE aspirants should compulsorily do is solve the questions from the past GATE papers. Not only are questions in the GATE repeated, but solving these questions gives you an idea of exactly how the exam will be which in turn gives you confidence. So students who solve the previous years’ papers will have a much better chance of cracking the GATE than those who do not.
Further, solving other mock exams is important because:
Just 3 things:
Cut out all distractions 1 week before the exam. Get completely into the exam zone.