Published: 23 Nov 2013 | Last updated 8 October 2015
GATE-16 has very few months remaining. This is the most crucial time for a real aspirant. Till now, whatever you have done, whatever study structure you have followed will hardly matter. However, the pattern you are practicing now onwards will surely reflect in your result. A year ago, I faced the same situation and fortunately survived. I wrote GATE-13 with Computer Science and IT stream where among 224,160 I managed to be in Top 160 (with AIR 153). This write up is a reply to the various mails asking for the guidance.
"Success might be hard to achieve but can be practiced"
If you see the above no. of students preparing in a particular stream, out of 224,160 only 24,160 are the aspirants who are really dedicated. Out of 24,160 almost 20,000 falls in the category who just cover the syllabus, but not practice enough questions; loose their hope or just give up due to other reasons. The real competition remains only among 4,160. As you are reading this article, I consider you among the Top 4,160 with a desire to be in Top 160.
I believe, success doesn't have a predefined path. Once upon a time, somebody followed some schedule and achieved his target, people were impressed, he told his success story to the public, he told about his schedule and study structure. People considered it as a golden path to success; but guess what, most of them failed to get desired success. What I want to say here is, you can never achieve deserving success by following somebody else's path. You need to form you own path which suits you. So the first thing to follow is, don't just blindly follow somebody. Below is some FAQ which will answer most of your questions.
Consistency and Patience
I consider it as the most important factor for any competitive exam. Inconsistency in the study structure will lead to unsatisfactory result, although you spend a significant number of hours in preparation. Start with giving few hours a day, but everyday. Once you make a gap, it will take additional time to resume the pace. Recent researches says that it takes 66 days to add a new thing to your habit. Take some time, but make it a habit.
Most of the time students start giving up as the exam date comes closer. This is the time when self motivation plays important role. Keep motivated, never even think that it is now out of reach. You need to give your best till the last date. Believe me, whatever result comes, you will never regret that in future.
How much Hour
Truly speaking, it really doesn't matter. Quality of study is more important than quantity as always. The ultimate target is to cover entire syllabus with enough amount of practice. So, give some moments to think about the remaining time and matters to cover. Decide your own schedule, make some target for each single day, and try to achieve it.
Priority of subjects
To get a good rank, total score matters. It really doesn't matter from which portion of syllabus you have secured it. So you just make a priority according to the marks distribution, and your grip on the subject. If all your subjects has same level, then you can follow the following order...
1. Maths (contributes 15 marks in which 10 is easy to get)
2. Digital electronics
4. Data structures and algorithm/ TOC
9. Programming Language
Emphasize on Frequent topics:
In every subject there are topics which are more frequent; for example, in Digital - Negative no. representation, counters; in Operating system- process scheduling, Deadlock, Paging etc.
This is another important aspect of preparation, because it's not possible to refer book every time. I suggest to prepare two kinds of notes. One for each individual subject, and another Short Note. Short note should contain formulas, important results, and facts which will help to revise entire subject in few hours.
"The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle."
Before you walk to the examination hall it is important to have enough practice of time management, question selection, and handling the exam pressure. Almost 30% of the aspirants fails to score good rank just due to the lack of enough practice. From 2014 onwards, GATE is going to be online. Giving a paper online has different challenges. In offline paper, often you can solve the question by finding some space on the question paper itself. However, that's not the case with online exam. You should have ample practice, so that you work on correct value as in the question.
Reading standard text books is the foundation of concept building. One can realize its importance during interviews. But, at the same time it is time consuming too. So, it is recommended to react according to the span of time left in hand.
This is most frequently asked question by all students who are planning to appear in GATE. And, the answer to this is also very dependent. Joining a coaching is not a necessary condition and not sufficient too. When I was preparing, I preferred to join a coaching just because I had a two years of gap in study, and felt difficult to cover the syllabus by my own. But, I met many good rankers who have achieved the results without the help of any coaching center. Even, my roommate got 118 rank without any coaching. The only thing required is to maintain the consistency.
PS: No matter how good you start the things, what always matters is how good you finish. Whenever you go on starting something, you always make a plan to achieve the goal too. You just have to stick with the plan. Believe me, the GOAL WILL WALK TO YOU.
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