I am Prashant Ravi and I got AIR 283 this year and my GATE score is 787. This year I prepared with a job. This rank is an improvement over my previous year rank which was 2050. I have already covered my preparation experience in a separate article here. So, I will try to keep this post short and cover main pointers for working professionals and also about how I used GO.
Main pointers for working professionals:
- Make a realistic schedule. Keep buffer time in your schedule for unprecedented activities. Slowly try to get used to that schedule and then stick to it. Occasional faulting is fine because everyone needs a break.
- Time is a luxury so utilize it properly. During weekends, if you can’t study 7-8 hours per day then don’t but don’t waste weekends completely. In best case try to study more on weekends than weekdays and in worst case, try to study as much as weekdays. I used to go out on alternate Saturdays or Sundays.
- Start as early as possible. Have a high-level plan beforehand only that by what time you should have finished what. And try to achieve those goals.
- Arrange some quality, concise and to the point content to refer to while preparing. Try to avoid going out of syllabus from preparation perspective.
- Studying in office is a personal decision to take. Except for 2-3 instances, I never used to study in office because the free time I had used to be my break time and I couldn’t study or work whole day. This worked out for me but may not work for you. So, you want to study in office or not is totally your personal choice.
- Try to live as near as possible to office. If nearby area is expensive, then try to get a residence in such vicinity that per day you don’t take more than 30-40 minutes in travelling.
- You must lose something to gain something. It’s perfectly fine missing some parties, movies, lunch and dinners. You will have ample time to enjoy all this but once this time is gone, it’s gone.
How I used GO:
- FB group of GO is very responsive and provide you with solutions of your doubts really quick. Apart from that, whenever I want, I could have a healthy discussion about why my approach to a question is right or wrong.
- Being a community driven platform, the quality of answers on GO is very high. By quality I mean correctness, explanation and also in some answers, if there is a new concept or an uncommon concept used to solve problem, then mostly you can find links to read about that concept within that answer only.
- GO pdfs were bible for me while preparing. All 3 GO pdfs combined have almost 3k questions covering almost every previous year question of GATE as well as ISRO, CMI, ISI and TIFR. I had 2018 version so there can be more additions to recent editions.
- I started preparing towards the end of July, so I didn’t have much time to read standard books. There also GO pdfs helped me a lot. After finishing theory of a subject, I used to attempt that subject’s questions from GO pdf and while attempting questions, I used to learn so many new concepts. Then I used to read that concept in depth, and I used to write that concept down subject wise and topic wise in a notebook. This way I could read so many new concepts which I was otherwise missing by not reading standard books.
- While solving questions from GO pdf, I used to learn so many one-two line concepts which I used to write down subject wise and topic wise.
- If I wanted more insight at some question, then I used to visit that question on GO platform and read the discussion around that question which proved really helpful for me.
There are other facilities also which GO platform provide which I couldn’t use but are really helpful. For example, GO Classroom and Assignments.
Other helpful pointers:
- Maintain a separate notebook to note down whatever new you learn throughout your preparation and write that down subject wise and topic wise.
- If you don’t have enough time to make short notes, then once you know all the theory, start marking main main points in your actual notes. Mark in such a way that during final revision, subject like Computer Networks also don’t take more than 2 hours.
- Appear for as many tests as possible. If possible, try to take previous year papers on GO platform and try to score 75+. By the time you are appearing for these tests, you must have completed previous year questions twice and if still you are not able to solve already solved questions, then you may need to re-assess your preparation strategy and make necessary changes.
Mistakes I did:
- Did not go through standard books. Since I was short on time, I had to prioritize the material I want to study, and I chose not to read standard books. However, it is highly recommended to read standard books. One thing that is common across double digit rankers is that they read standard books.
- Time management. I wasted a lot of time in unnecessary things, which made me rush my preparation at later stages. I had to compromise on quality of preparation on some aspects.
- By the virtue of 2nd point, I was not able to appear for sufficient number of tests. My strategy for appearing for exam went for a toss while writing GATE. Just because I didn’t practice much in exam conditions trying different different strategies and working out the best one for me. Ideally, I should’ve been writing tests all of January but that couldn’t happen for me and I wrote really less number of tests. I missed all CBTs also for which you must go to a center to give test. Giving sufficient number of tests is really important.
In the end, again I will highlight that Gate Overflow was a very crucial factor in my success. Thanks a lot Gate Overflow!
To read my preparation experience in detail, please click here.