Just like you, everyone out there is studying 10hrs a day. But what makes a difference is your strategy.
- Finish your syllabus thoroughly as soon as possible. (lays the foundation)
- Make sure you are strong in basics, no need to waste time in advanced topics, just adhere to the syllabus (most important)
- 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).
- Sleep for 8hrs/day. (helps rejuvenate your mind)
- 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.
- 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).
MY STORY MY WORDS:
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:
General 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!).
Jan 1 – Feb 5 – REVISIONS + MOCK TESTS.
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.
ONLINE TEST SERIES:
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:
- NPTEL lectures.
- GeeksForGeeks / GeeksQuiz
- GateOverflow / GATECSE
- RavindraBabu Ravula’s FREE lectures.
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!