Is coaching important for cracking GATE ?

Some questions never die, but the answers to those may change due to changing circumstances and newly discovered options. So, here are 3 such questions and my present day answer to those:

Is taking coaching a must to crack GATE: NO
Can somebody crack GATE with top 100 rank without coaching: YES
Can I crack GATE without coaching?: YOU CAN JUDGE BETTER

Now the question is, if the judgement depends on you, then why should you waste your time in reading this blog post?

The reason is that even to take some decision on your own, you need to understand various facts, options, and their consequences. So,  this blog post will assist you to reach the final decision suitable for you.
First of all, coaching is not evil or unnecessary, but like the medicines available at a chemist’s shop it is good for those who need it, unnecessary usage may lead to loss of money and side effects.

So, starting with points in the favour of coaching:
Points for:

  1. Continuous push: In comparison to exercising alone at home, you are more motivated while exercising in gym. The environment and energy of other members energises you too. If you miss the gym, your trainer and your friends try to get you back on track. Coaching institutes are like gym for you mind where your teachers and classmates push you to remain consistent and motivated. This is the first and biggest reason that physical coaching institutes exist in this digital age

  2. Effective planned and targeted study: Coaching classes work according to a schedule or plan to cover, revise, and test the subjects and topics required in a prioritized manner.

  3. Continuous practice:They give you the opportunity of practicing again and again though various test series modules.

  4. Enables you to understand fundamentals quickly: everyone is not good at self study. Coaching institutes (assuming that they are good) help you with the concepts which are tough or normally time consuming to learn on your own.

The points mentioned above were only one side of the coin, here is the flipped version:

Points against:

  1. Only a handful of Coaching institutes are good, rest are average or frauds fooling you: The long list of toppers you see in the prospectus or advertisements may be fake or exaggerated. Many toppers join different coaching institutes for test series and class room teaching. Some may even quit in the middle feeling cheated, leaving behind their money. However, after result announcement, their names are displayed in the success stories of all the coaching institutes as if they own the toppers. Some coaching institutes even pay toppers to allow them to use their names. So, never get tempted by the list of toppers displayed.

  2. Everything that glitters is not gold and even if it’s gold, it can be adulterated: Not all teachers of a renowned coaching institutes are good. The good teachers constantly keep switching from one institute to another or start some coaching on their own. So, relying completely on the last year’s reputation or reputation of few teachers can be harmful for your concepts. Therefore, do thorough research if you value your time and money.

  3. Coaching may waste your time: If your basics are clear, you only need practice, taking coaching may waste your time. You may be spending time to listen to the lectures which are not that significant to you. The time and money wasted in travelling to and fro from the coaching institute and the fatigue of travelling is also an important point. However, you will have to pour in consistent and honest efforts by fighting off all tempting distractions (which is hard to do, but cracking GATE is also not a timepass stuff).

So, you are the best person to decide whether you should go for a coaching or not. However, given below are few more points which may help you in making the final decision:

  1. Be realistic and do your personal trend analysis: Realize how good have you acted on your past decisions (specially in and around academics). If you are really bad at self studies or consistency in terms of studies, then a good coaching institute may help. However, make sure you don’t end up bunking your classes or missing their assignments. There is no point in paying them and roam outside or sleeping (even watching walls without any idea of concepts being taught) in the class.

  2. How good you are at building logic with self study?:
    GATE exam is quite different from your college exam. You may top your college, but may fail to even qualify the GATE. So, check the magnitude of your logical strength.

  3. Do a logical calculation of the syllabus you need to cover and the time in hand: To learn the basics, you need to either learn from someone or you need to refer text book. Of course learning from someone takes less time and effort. So give it a calculated thought to see which way you can cover the syllabus easily.

  4. Does your pocket support?:
    After all, you need to see whether you are economically capable of attending a coaching or not. Now a days coaching institutions are charging 50K plus which is a considerable amount. Travelling expenses extra.

  5. Is your basics clear and you only need practice?: If yes, then there are tons of free study or practice material available online. Paying for some selective online test series or study material is also an affordable as well as comfortable option.

Therefore, calculate everything and decide after considering all ifs and buts mentioned above. Everything can never be perfect, but don’t be reckless. Always take calculated risks, because

"Between calculated risk and reckless decision-making lies the dividing line between profit and loss." --Charles Duhigg

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