I am Suraj Kesharwani, I have secured AIR: 372 and GS 764 in GATE 2020. My previous Ranks are 5793 and 7613 in GATE 2018 and 2019 respectively. Here I will be telling you my personal experience how and what I did in previous attempts and If you like to read about my preparation strategy of 2020, you can read it from here.
(Some Background of GATE 2018:
I passed out in June 2017. I knew that the joining was going to be late so were just procrastinating and waiting for it. But it was around last Sept when for revising my core subjects I thought of taking GATE. I started from 23 Sept and continued till 3 December till my joining.
Tried continuing to study with a job. I was serious about GATE but was not putting serious efforts. And clearly lacked planning things for it.)
Mistake 1: Not following Good resources.
Resources in preparation are the most important factor. A good resource will help you clear your concepts really well and does not allow you to get ambiguous thoughts of topics. I can understand that people like to watch videos for topics because that is easier than reading books and don't want to read books because they are afraid that they have to cover all the books. But the reality is different and you do not have to cover all the books just read topic wise. Even if you watch lectures, do once read them from books to get proper clarity.
One more thing is that sadly almost 80% of the free resources present in the internet will make you dumber and not improve you. The most horrifying thing is they can leave you with hollow concepts. Suppose you read a question and are not aware of the standard used there, so you are bound to waste your time thinking about the approach to take and also will solve the question incorrectly. GO surely provide the list of those resources. You just have to explore the website.
Mistake 2: Blindly Solving Question
I will tell you about my experience and if you can relate to it then you are smart enough to know what to do.
firstly I use to solve only those subjects questions which I was comfortable in like DS, programming, DBMS, OS. Even though I was solving them but I was not getting the depth what question was demanding and was simply blaming that the question and I thought "It can be approached with many other ways..there is no way that the method they used is the only one..there can be a different answer to this question...they are not stating the problem clearly what we have to do..this concept is out of scope."
So you see these are the ambiguity you will get if you do not follow good resources. The Gate questions are of a very high standard (99% of them are) so they will contain all the information you need to solve it. Every word is really important. If you are not able to understand any question and have slightest of the doubt in understanding them clearly you lack some concept regarding those topics. To get a clear idea re-read it word by word take your time and if all does not help read the discussion and comments in those questions you will really learn many things I guarantee it.
Mistake 3: Noting down the "question" which was wrong.
In general, we have a plan to not repeat the mistakes we made earlier. So what generally people do is copy the question in copy and write the solution and keep it in their revising notes.
I did the same mistake in previous attempts. The problem with this approach is:
The notes we make by these will increase in size exponentially and at some point in time, you will find it hard to revise it.
Noting down the question will not help you. While revising if you read questions frequently then you actually are memorizing the solution and its answer. After some time when you look at questions, you will simply pass it knowing the solution and its answer. Actually that does not help you to learn from your mistake at all.
What you should do to these questions while analyzing is. That you re-read the question and try to solve it again if it gets solved correctly then compare, how did you get it wrong in the first attempt and note down only that cause in your copy. If you are not able to solve it. then there must be some knowledge gap in it. So you should note down those concepts in your notes copy and try to focus more on it while revising.
Mistake 4: Attitude
In my previous attempt, I thought that I can able to solve only easy and medium questions. And had always a negative attitude because of failing badly. It is not like that. If you know the concept in and out of the topic asked in question you can not get stuck in any question. And the funny part is the long essay type question which we are afraid of are actually the most hollow questions. It will have a very basic simple idea and all other things will be just there to intimidate you. Once you catch that idea it can be solved within 1 min. the tough part is to understand them. You should also know that these are the question which is going to set the difference between an average student and a topper so it is up to you which one you want to become.
Grow wherever you are planted, take full responsibility on you. Stand yourself accountable for every deadline which you did not complete in terms of completing topics.
Mistake 5: Ignoring Maths
Maths is the most important subject if you are going to do Mtech. We think that life will be easy after the GATE and we can chill after that. But welcome to reality. GATE just helps you to build a strong basic foundation and prepare you to be eligible to study in the finest institution. So learn it one by one. My sequence was. DM -> Linear Algebra -> Probability -> calculus
DM - Gatebook
LA - Applied Ai (they have actually followed the whole content of 3Blue1Brown so try 3b1b yourself and if you do not get it to watch applied ai later), shrenik jain youtube
Probability - JEE mains channel of unacademy for basics and for distribution I used Packet Prep.
Calculus - JEE mains channel of unacademy and shrenik jain youtube