Just like you, everyone out there is studying 10hrs a day. But what makes a difference is your strategy.


  1. Finish your syllabus thoroughly as soon as possible. (lays the foundation)
  2. Make sure you are strong in basics, no need to waste time in advanced topics, just adhere to the syllabus (most important)
  3. Practice previous years’ GATE questions and good online test series. (improves your understanding of concepts. I joined a couple of test series and did previous years’ papers).
  4. Sleep for 8hrs/day. (helps rejuvenate your mind)
  5. Be regular in your studies. Study for neither 15hrs nor 0hrs in a day. Don’t exhaust yourself too much in a day that you end up taking leaves for next 2 days.
  6. Do the right things and do them right; throw away the unnecessary things from your life (I left Fb, WA) and embrace the right ones (health , family, discipline).


I came back to my native, Delhi, on September 11, 2015. I spent 4-5 days gathering the notes and formulating the strategy. I didn’t join any classroom coaching for I was too late to be admitted to any batch of any leading Gate Coaching institutes. (Though I was recently enlightened that THERE ARE some batches which accept a latecomer like me.)  I was also clear that regularity is not an issue with me. I made a long-term goal, monthly goals, and daily goals.

If you have slightest of the slightest doubt on your concepts, please join a coaching institute. Or if you believe you can perform better after joining it, please go ahead and enroll yourself in a classroom coaching program.

In the exam, your hard work and self-study will help you the most. But, never let yourself feel the guilt of not joining a coaching institute. Let me annotate it with a quote:

“Guilt is to the spirit, what pain is to the body”          – Elder David A. Bednar


GATE RANK 1 (I had even set daily reminder for this. :D)


I slept 8hrs/day and studied neither more than 10hrs nor less than 6hrs in a day. Be regular! There isn’t a single day when I studied too much or too less. Not more than 10hrs and not less than 6hrs.

Mid-September – October 31 – Finish the GATE syllabus.

I had paid attention to my academics during B.Tech, so I was pretty confident on my concepts and fortunately, I had the lecture notes with me. I referred those notes, NPTEL lectures, and some free lectures available online. By the first week of November, I was able to finish my syllabus thoroughly.
I was able to finish the syllabus in such a short time, only because my University (Delhi Technological University (formerly DCE)) teachers taught me very well and I paid attention to what they taught that time. Moreover, I appeared for GATE in 2015 also, prepared for 1 month but was not able to secure a rank under 100. That time, I bagged 450 rank. So, I was in touch with the concepts.

MOST IMPORTANT – Revisions. Keep revising periodically whatever you have learned. E.g. if I learn something today, I’ll revisit it after a week, then after 15 days and then once in a month. In the last month of my preparation, I revised everything on a weekly basis. This is how I distributed my time:

StrategyTableGeneral Aptitude – 5 questions daily.
# – keep a margin of 2/3 days for some unwanted events.
* – It doesn’t mean simply taking the test. Instead, take the test – analyze it – identify your weaknesses and work on them.

Nov 3 – Nov 30 – Practice previous year questions, topic-wise (twice if possible) and take tests.

On the first day of this period, I took a “FULL” test to check my understanding. Obviously, I didn’t perform exceptionally well, I was able to score 57 marks. From there, I started improving. Daily, I took 1 online test [subject-wise] , followed by its analysis and then a WRITTEN correction of my mistakes and rectification of approach. I also practiced previous year GATE questions topic-wise daily.
This period helped me identify areas of improvement and involuntarily skipped topics.

Dec 1 – Dec 31 – Practice + Revision

  • 1st week : Revision + 1 Full test*
  • 2nd week: 2 online subject tests* (daily) + 1 FULL test*
  • 3rd & 4th weeks: Online tests* [subject-wise] + 2 FULL test* + Previous year GATE papers ( with corrections)

During this phase, I tried to improve my speed. I tried to solve the ‘full syllabus’ test in 2 and a half hours so that in the remaining half an hour I can go through it again.
This literally helped me during my GATE exam. I finished the exam in 2 hours and 40 minutes and identified my silly mistakes in remaining 20 minutes which saved me 3.33 MARKS (IMAGINE!).


I ate healthy to make sure I don’t fall ill in the peak period. NO JUNK! NO PIZZA! NO CHEESE!
Revisions also included revisiting my mistakes again and again so that I don’t repeat them in FINAL EXAM.

  • 1st week – Revision + I solved GATE Previous year papers again and did written corrections for my mistakes + 1 MOCK test*.
  • 2nd week – 3 online subject tests daily with corrections + 1 MOCK TEST*
  • 3rd week – Revision + 2 MOCK TEST*
  • 4th week – Previous year GATE papers once again (with corrections): 3 papers daily + 2 mock tests.
  • Remaining days – Revision!
  • Feb 5 – RELAX!!

I practiced GATE previous year papers more than 4 times each. This practice and the Online test series made me feel at home during the examination. I took more than 100 tests during my preparation. I found explanations provided for GATE questions on GATEoverflow & GeeksForGeeks very useful. Moreover, I used “handbook of CS” published by MADE EASY for quick revision in final days of my preparation. I found it good and precise.


Practice played a vital role in my success. I had joined online test series of MADE EASY and ACE. I suggest gate aspirants enroll in multiple test series so that you can encounter a lot of questions without over-fitting the data. For more information on these test series, read this.


I referred my class notes which were prepared from standard books. As I had a little time, I skipped going through the books all over again. Instead, I used my notes, NPTEL lectures, and some random free online lectures.

You can refer the books suggested here.

Free Online Resources which were very helpful:

To all GATE aspirants, NEVER UNDERESTIMATE your ability to succeed. Remember to LEARN, TEST, ANALYZE & IMPROVE. All the very best!!

A final note to the readers:
If I have helped you in any way, and you wish to say thanks, then please feed a stray animal at least once in your lifetime.

Thanks for your patience!


Author: AnkitaJain

I am a slow learner who secured all India rank 1 in GATE 2016. I am also an engineer who did her B.Tech from Delhi Technological University (formerly DCE) in Computer Engineering.

374 thoughts on “THE STRATEGY”

  1. Hello Ankita mam, should we solve questions ( back exercises and examples) from standard books, considering the fact that some questions are directly picked from standard books in Gate? My question is which topics and from which books should I solve compulsorily?
    Hope I’ve not been ambiguous.
    Thanks in advance.


  2. Hi Ankita,
    This blog is really helpful and a wonderful read indeed.
    What was your position in test series when you compared yourselves with others in various subject wise tests, and mock tests?
    What mock test did you give in which you scored close to 57 Marks in the month of November? Maybe i can use that as a benchmark for my preparation.


    1. Thanks Deepak.
      It was varying. In few of them, it was single digit, in some it was double digit and others it was 3 digit. I tried to make it single digit that was my aim.
      I took open test at MadeEasy site, in which i scored 57 marks.
      Hope it helps.


  3. Madam iam 2017 pass out student, iam took long term from ace our course finished 20 days back while faculty teachnig i understood well but now my mind became blank even i cant make strategy and schedule i came to my home can u please suggest me how to study,revise & practice.


  4. Hi Ankita,
    The blog is indeed a motivating one and I turn to it whenever I feel low in my preparation. Just needs few tips so that I can achieve my Target.
    Current State;
    1. CS syllabus completed
    2. Having overview of topics , need to practice now.
    Now I am confused about the following(Assume: Maths, aptitude, revision daily)
    1. Should I focus on topics which I am not confident and which r usually tough in paper.
    2. Solve topics in which i am good and make its accuracy 100%.
    3. Solve one previous year paper on alternate days and practice que in which i am going wrong on next day.
    4. Should I stick to prev year papers of Gate for Maths or solve some extra problems?


    1. Hi Tushar,

      Key is “Prioritize”
      If I were you,
      I would have focused on point 2. And then previous yr pprs, and then the topics i am less confident with.
      Same goes with maths too.

      Hope it helps!


  5. You said:
    4th week – Previous year GATE papers once again (with corrections): 3 papers daily + 2 mock tests.
    Did you mean 5 full syllabus tests that’s for 15hrs/day or subject wise tests included? Just curious how hard I should be pushing myself…


    1. That’s an interesting interpretation!
      Let me give you my interpretation:

      First of all, the word “Daily” is with 3 previous yr papers. Moreover, I took Gate in 2016 and I felt past 15yrs ppr were most relevant. This means I could do them in 5days. And rest 2 days could be invested in mock pprs.
      Now when you are repeating the pprs they dont take as much time as a new test. I was able to solve them within 1 and a half to two hours. Which means 6hrs at max daily in solving previous yr pprs. Now comes their analysis. I was not making much mistakes in the last week only 2-3 in each ppr was there. That means analysis took 30-45 mins per paper. So that means 8 +- half hour at max.

      Above all, what i did is not mandatory. You should follow the schedule you are comfortable with. Dont pose such an unrealistic goal of 15yrs!

      Hope it helps!


      1. Hello ma’am,
        straight to advise,
        How can I improve over silly mistakes in one month and what would be the average marks should I achieve in mocks to be in top 10. Because you achieved rank 1 so you can do better overview on this!!
        Thank you in advance.


      2. Hi Ashutoshaay,
        I have already mentioned in the blog my approach for improvement. My recommendation would still be the same. Your focus should be more on concepts than marks. I used to get between 65-80. I was more on the lower side.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello Ankita Mam
    This is vaishali
    Mam i wanted to take suggestion regarding few things
    Mam yet i have completed maths,and 7 subjects in technical…and have not done CO,and CN, n Apti part s left
    mam i have only completed syallbus and revision and practice is left and have only taken 15 topic test only…
    Mam what is the exact startegy to score high from 1 jan onward…
    so that i can sore high in less time…


  7. Hi ankita,
    Could you please tell me did you resign from job when you started preparing for GATE in the month of September?
    The problem with me is that I have to work in shift which keep on rotating in every 5 days sometimes 3 days as well so somewhere I am finding it difficult to study simultaneously.
    Please reply.


  8. Your strategy and hard working for perfect Salute you.🙌🙌🙌
    Currently I am preparing for Gate 19 just started
    But the thing is that my college timing nos from 9 to 5. So hardly I can get 3 hours to study so what to do now any idea.


  9. Hi Ankita

    How did you overcome the pressure during your preparation?
    The thought of what woul’ve happened if you fail?
    I’m in a similar position as your’s. I gave GATE this year couldn’t manage to get a decent rank. I’m ready to take a drop but what scares me is what if I fail again?
    I’m working as a software developer at one of the reputed produc companies


    1. Whenever we fail, we should accept it, learn from it and move on. I know its easy to advice but difficult to practice. But this is the only way (I know) to handle failures.

      This reminds me of a famous quote of Robert schuller,
      “What would you attempt to do if you couldn’t fail”?

      Choice is always yours. 🙂


  10. Hi ankita,
    Could you please tell me did you resign from job when you started preparing for GATE in the month of September?
    The problem with me is that I have to work in shift which keep on rotating in every 5 days sometimes 3 days as well so somewhere I am finding it difficult to study simultaneously.
    Please reply.


  11. Hello Mam…
    I am preparing for Gate and have joined the long-term batch in ACE academy.
    Mam I want to know what should be my revision strategy up to the Gate exam. As resources I have my classroom notes,test series and material.


  12. Mam, I’m very inspired by you. I’m preparing for GATE too but every now and then I feel what will be the outcome of an M.Tech. Can you tell me how an affected your life? can you please give me some examples of your friends(average guys during too?


  13. Hey Mam your strategy and dedication boost me thanks for sharing it. Actually i am from mechanical and i took a Gap and join Ace…Its difficult to get it in the class i have to read one more time to understand everything because of that i am not getting time for previous years question solving and revision…is there any thing you can help me…..


  14. Hi Ankita,
    I have started gate preperation with coaching today. I need your suggestion in planning my study besides the coaching as I want to complete my syllabus well in time by mid Nov. But as coaching institute take it to the month of December, I want to plan it as such i have a synchronization with the classes to clear all doubts with complete syllabus within my time. Could you please suggest some ways?


  15. Hello mam, I just saw your video on youtube of the year 2016 and then came across your blog. First of all, Hats off to your guts and hard work and diligence towards GATE.
    I will appear for Gate 2020. I am currently in the 4th year of my college (enrolled in 5 years programme of Integrated Btech-Mtech).
    1) Is it really necessary to study from books? Will coaching notes not be enough?
    2) For those days, when you are feeling low, how did you keep yourself motivated? I have so many people telling me that Don’t prepare for the Gate exam. As I am already doing Mtech. What good it will bring to go to IISC or IIT’s. Also, Gate exam is overrated. You won’t feel good even if you get AIR 1. I am not very good at trash talks and at replying them etc.


    1. Hi Abhinav,

      People will always have something to say about your life, goals etc. And there are many such opinions. You should decide what suits you well. You have mentioned that “I will appear for Gate 2020”. This is the end of story.
      1) it is really necessary to have good hold on concepts. All other things are secondary.
      2) motivation – sometime from within, sometimes family, sometimes faith – i stopped looking for it and just followed what was my daily plan.
      AIR 1 doesn’t define a person, no one should settle after that.

      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

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