No matter whatever be the exam, classes (coaching institutes) can show you the correct path but one has to travel along by his/her own. Owing to numerous opportunities after GATE, the competition for it is increasing year after year. Most of the students prefer to join coaching classes for the preparation of the exam. But it is completely possible to prepare for GATE without coaching and get good rank. Certainly it would require subtle plan with proper execution. Let us quickly overview what the GATE is, and then start with the subject.
GATE is conducted by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and seven IITs on behalf of the National Coordination Board – GATE, Department of Higher Education, HRD ministry. It tests the comprehensive understanding of engineering and science students of various undergraduate subjects.
The paper consists of 65 questions of total 100 marks. Out of 65 questions, 10 questions are of general aptitude and remaining 55 questions are from Technical Section and Engineering Mathematics. The questions are of two types Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) and Numerical Answer Type (NAT) carrying one or two marks.
The GATE scores are used for admission to master of engineering, master of technology and PhD programmes in the Indian Institute of Science, IIT and other higher educational institutes in India. About 20 PSUs also use GATE scores for recruitment.
GATE is considered as one of the toughest examinations and almost 9 lac students appeared for the examination in 2017 while only 16% were qualified.(Source: Hindustan Times)
Many of the engineering students aim for the GATE but very few get succeed to get expected score. One of the many possible reasons may be method of preparing. In this article, I am going to discuss the steps that should be ideally followed while preparing for the GATE exam.
One should go through three level preparation to get complete command over the GATE syllabus that are- Detailed study, Abridged study & Assessment.
Detailed Study: Backbone of your GATE preparation
It is very first thing you need to do when you start preparation. Take the latest syllabus from the official GATE website. Besides that try to get previous 5 years’ question papers.
Decide your daily schedule. How many hours can you give for study? What are your strong subjects? What are weak subjects? Always remember you should study all the prescribed subjects. Once the schedule is decided try to follow with utmost priority.
Help from Reference Books
Before taking any subject for detailed study carefully go through the syllabus, as we can not study each and every thing from the reference books. Study calmly each topic/concept of the syllabus from any material you prefer with frequent references from standard books. The goal is to understand thoroughly that concept. Give targets to yourself keeping eye on the time available.
Making own content
In this stage of detailed study, make your own content by briefing each topic in your own way. Some would call it making micro notes but I would call it “Personal Reference Notes”. As you should be able to link your complete work/study as you look into that notes.
Based on the time available, this phase- Detailed Study would take half of the time of your GATE preparation. For example if you have 12 months for the exam this should take 6 months and you should not stretch it more.
After this step, you are ready with the tools i.e. concept and basics. Now it’s time to practice them applying.
Abridged Study: Grasping the complete Syllabus
Personal Reference Notes
Start preparing each subject and each topic with your own content. You should be able to recall most of the study done in first phase. Off course take help from Reference books, but not quite often. You can take help from books like Shaums series in this phase. You can also take online help or refer any standard GATE notes for required topics.
Nicely blend this schedule of abridged study along with topic wise tests. Remember, though you have not joined any coaching for regular study but you should join any of the good national test series. Study topics/units, give test and analyse thoroughly yourself in unprejudiced way.
This schedule of abridged studying should be ideally over before the 2 months of the final GATE exam. You should have attempted all the topic wise tests of all the subjects.
Mock Tests: A real Marathon
The final step is full length Subjectwise & complete syllabus tests. Appear for the tests as it is final. No new thing should be learned during these two months. Only revision, paper and analysis.
Keep self motivation at the highest peak during this whole process of preparation by any of the means you feel better like watching inspirational stories, morning walks, good diet etc.
Keep going. Best of luck!