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.

277 thoughts on “THE STRATEGY”

  1. Ankita,
    How did you manage to not make silly mistakes in paper, I end up making silly mistakes (infact as bad as 4-5 questions 😦 ..)
    Can you tell me how did you approach the paper ?


  2. Hello Ankita,

    Happy new year!!!

    I have solved ACE chapter wise previous year book. Now I wanted to solve the previously asked questions paper wise.

    Could you tell me from which year onwards should I solve the papers?

    (It will be better if you also tell where can I get all those papers and their solutions.)

    Thanks in advance.


    1. Happy new year Amit 🙂 previous year papers – focus mainly on past 10 years’ papers. Google them. Some of the papers are available on IIT’s website. You can find papers on geeksforgeeks also. Some are available on Gateforum’s website (for free). All the best 🙂


  3. Hi Ankita, i would like to ask you one thing. Giving the test is mandatory? Actually i completed full syllabus and mainly focused on last 10 years questions and Revision over n again. When i need to do practice i pick up one previous year questions and solve it completely. But never gave any Full length test provided by Made easy or ACE or gateforum (Nywy i’m already registered for the test series of ACE and ME and gave few subject wise test). i thought within this 3 hours i revise at list one subject completely and do some previous year qstns. This is my as of now. Correct me if i’m not on right track plzz..!!

    Thank you & yes, Belated Happy new Year 🙂


    1. A very Happy new year Arindam.
      Take some full syllabus mock tests too. They will help you prepare for surprises. Have you practiced under time constraints? Prepare for that too. All the best 🙂


      1. Till now i’m not giving any Full length test or Previous year papers under time quantum. Yea, gave some subject wise test under time constraint. But ty for your valuable suggestion. From now on word i’ll definitely follow it.

        Thank you once again Ankita 🙂


  4. Hi Ankita,My question is how was your performance in Madeeasy and Ace test series i really want to know whether my performance is good or bad .Even After completing whole syllabus I am not able to get decent marks in full test(48/100,30/100,21/100). I am very much dishearten and don’t know what to do next.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My performance in majority of the tests taken in
      Jan – 65 – 80, i scored 80+ once or twice.
      Do previous yr papers as many times as you can and then try mock tests.


  5. hello mam, can you please tell me your secured marks in first attempt and second attempt without normalization so i could rough idea of rank vs marks analysis…thank you.


  6. Hi Ankita , currently I’m perusing my B.Tech in mechanical ,I in 6th sem , I wanted to do gate in CSE as switching is possible , what would yu recommend to do my graduation along with gate preparation or complete my graduation and then for gate as both are not related at all ?


    1. Hi Shrihari,
      If I were you, I would have start my preparation along with graduation or in vacations. Do whatever suits you and your way of life. I don’t really know how much hours your graduation demands everyday. If it’s possible, devote 2hrs/day everyday. Start learning basic concepts of computer science. I assume some intro to CS was given to you in 1st year. You can start from there itself. All the best.


  7. Thank you for responding , do you think is it possible for me to complete the entire syllabus if I study 2 hr /day ? Which subject should I take up first ? I made a list of subjects of gate according to the semesters in which they are in the syllabus of B.Tech and planning to read them accordingly. I started with digital design long back .


  8. Hi Ankita,
    I appeared for GATE twice (once in 4th year and once while working 9-6) and secured <40 marks both times. Could you please suggest some strategy to secure a <30 rank?



  9. How you cleared your doubts of questions asked in test series(if the provided solution is not satisfactory).? Also, which previous year questions book is best with accurate solutions.?


  10. i am in 3 year i am a gate aspirant i want to know that if only postal syllabus of MADE EASY is enough for preperation of gate exam as i am not much good in preparing good notes for revision.


  11. can you please suggest some books on c programming language which will help me to solve all programming related questions asked in gate?


  12. Hello ankita mam,
    Thank you for all the advice and strategies, this will really help me to crack GATE 2018 with better rank.


  13. Hello ankitha mam I am one to get < 500 rank in gate 2018 so now I joined in ace academy for long term coaching but while attending classes I am unable to understand properly so I lost my total confedence so suggest me the best one.


    1. Hi Swa,
      Practice ques along with the lectures. Practice Prvs year ques as soon as a topic is covered in the class. If you face difficulty while solving the ques, ask your teacher to help you out. Hope it helps!


  14. Hi mam , are questions in subjectwise tests have any relevancy with actual gate questions.i had joined ace test series and in doubt whether to give subjectwise test or not


    1. Yup they are. But I feel it’s good to stay away from advanced tests. Well I took the test series of GATE 2016 so I dont really know what has changed in later test series and to what extent.


  15. i am currently in 3 rd year .i have some backlogs and did’nt study well in 2nd.Now i have to study both subjects of 2nd and 3rd year in the 3rd year due to which i cant focus on some software developement learning like making websites.apps etc.i want to know will i get enough time during my mtech to develop those skills?


    1. At present, you may focus on clearing the backlogs and getting good aggregate for with poor aggregate you’ll not be eligible for mtech in IITs/IISC.
      You may not find time to develop a website/app during mtech either unless it is your mini/major project or an assignment.
      However, you may learn them proactively while preparing for GATE. A dedicated effort towards learning these skills won’t take much time.
      All the very best.


  16. I have just finished my first year of CSE. Is it good to prepare for GATE from now. Like I will have subjects like Datastructures, OS etc from next semester. So I will try to prepare subject wise.
    Is it possible to prepare for GATE without any coachings?


  17. Hello , mam.Hope u r doing well,
    I am having difficulty in reading books, it is time consuming and i cannot fully grasp the content , please tell me some way to sort this out.


    1. Books cannot be substituted as such. You may try videos (like those on NPTEL) and then read books. Are you from CS background? If so, weren’t they covered during your btech?


      1. I did not paid attention during my btech.But now want to pursue my dream of doing mtech from iisc.
        I am from cs background mam
        Can u please give some tips
        to read book properly
        How u did that?
        I already told u that i cannot understand the content fully.
        Thanks a lot in advance..


  18. Hi Ankita Mam!
    Pleased to have mentor like you.I read all of ur comments which is posted above.And it is damn useful for getting a path for gate Preparation.!!
    I’m in currently 2ndyear last sem.In this sem only i got a push from my inside to go in IITs by cracking,i want to ask that since i’ll go now in my 3rd year of course.How much time i should give externally for gate preparation,so that i can make perfect balance in both study(gate& college stuff)and i can get rank under 100.
    Kindly tell me a way for acheving this.


    1. Hi Samar,
      Thanks for your kind words. You need to devise a strategy for yourself. You know your weakness and strengths more than anyone else. Try to give 2-3 hrs daily atleast and practice Prvs yr ques alongside. Be consistent. It will definitely pay. All the best. 🙂


  19. Hello Ankita Sister,
    Is Studying Lecture Slides of standard books sufficient for gate like Galvin Lecture slides,Korth Lecture Slides and for other subjects as well.


  20. Hi Ankita,
    I have one question. Learning from nptel videos is enough to revise concepts or should I need to refer each and every concept from standard books ? Or postal coaching material from ace academy is also enough?.if I need to refer from standard books. please tell me the list of books with authors.


    1. Hi Vamsi,
      What is enough is the clarity of concepts. You can get that clarity from NPTEL lectures or may need standard books too. So, it depends on you.
      For books and authors you may refer “Books and others” post on this blog.


  21. Hello mam
    I did my b.e in year 2016 with aggregate 5.9 and that I took gate also .marks which I get is June(2016) I passed out from college then started searching for job.which I don’t gate. Then I went to home in month of August and start preparing for gate next year(2017). I borrowed some postal coaching lecture from one of my friend.then start preparing from gate in month of September (2016). I go through all material( which I get from friend ) only.
    I took around 40 mock test . After completing almost full core subjects I went for my first full ace mock test(in first week of Jan ),marks which I get is 45 .
    After that in all subsequent full mock test (around 4-5) I was getting marks 40-53.
    In all test I didn’t try any verbal ability question (BCS I didn’t study any).
    Finally gate paper CSE(2017) 2-5 sitting .
    In exam hall I stuck in 2-3 mathematics question which takes 10 to 20 minutes .i didn’t able complete my full paper in given time . I left 4-5 question .I ended up with normalised marks 46.34 ,rank-2026.
    Again this year I went to finding some job
    (Due to peer pressure).
    but I don’t want to do now.In (first week of July) I convinced my parents to allow me to prepare this year again.
    And now I am preparing from last 5 days engineering mathematics .
    I am feeling like same thing I did last year also.
    Please provide some guidance
    And Thank you for all the advice and strategies in advance mam


    1. Hi Joy,
      There is tremendous improvement in your performance. With perseverance you can achieve what you want. I’d recommend you to work on your weaknesses like work on verbal ability, time management also. Like try to find out where exactly you are lagging in mathematics and work on it. Trust yourself. You know yourself better than me.
      All the very best. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s