Hi, I am Suraj Kesharwani, I have scored AIR: 372 in GATE 2020. My Gate-Score is 764. This was my third attempt. I had to leave my job earlier in June 2019 to prepare seriously as I decided this would be my last attempt. My previous ranks are 5793 and 7613 in GATE 2018 and 2019 respectively.
I want to thank my family, GO Community, and my friend/ Mentor Abhishek Shaw. He has cracked GATE in 2019 with AIR: 175 and has also inspired me to leave my job and prepare full time. This blog is in continuation of his preparation strategy as I have also followed it with some improvements. You can find his blogs here (Blog 1) (Blog 2) (Blog 3)(Blog 4)(Blog 5)(Blog 6)
Some Personal Background:
I never thought about taking GATE in my whole UG. Neither did I planned for a PG.
I did my UG from private tier-3 college in West Bengal where people are trained to fetch marks just by mugging things up.
I was not good at math. (I only think I am decent now)
I had not read any standard book before this attempt.
Knowing What’s Wrong
After getting such low marks your confidence gets collapsed That is why I started my preparation to get around 70-75 marks which can land me the rank of below 200. So, I took a mock of 2019 itself, in my home after 2 weeks of actual exam. Even at home, I was only able to score just 42 marks. I realized that the problem was with my concept. I made a chart similar to the GO stats. So that I could know which all subjects ware my weak spots and needed extra attention.
Also, wrote down those topics which I found hard to understand. I planned to work on these first and then moved onto the other subjects.
I started a reverse plan and started to mark the dates as much I could for the next attempt with a week division like
and also made a sheet for each book of GO PDF. The sheets contained details of the topic of a particular subject sorted by weight.
You can copy the sheet if you want. Book 1 Book 2 Book 3
I did add columns for the question numbers as It is hard to find the questions when using GO lists and favorites questions.
When someone has to prepare on their own, they have to have a monitoring factor to check their improvement on a daily basis. So I opted for a Test series just to make sure that I am completing the subjects with some timeline. I enrolled myself in GATEBOOK. (Because they were offering a 500rs prize money. So I motivated myself that I should top in some of the tests and could get my payment fees refunded in a way.)
After I collected this data, I started preparing the topics having more weightage. I took two subjects in parallel. One in which was I was weak and other, a lighter one. I would use to read them first from standard books and then tried to solve the PYQ of those topics from PDF. I would set a threshold of around 70-75%. I would revisit the standard books and standard resources until I was able to solve the questions with 70-75% accuracy.
After completing each topic I used to take a topic-wise test of completed topics available in my test series and GO. For the questions which I was not able to solve in the first attempt, I used to note their question numbers in my sheets. The next day, my first task was to attempt them one more time. (Going by the theory of Eating your frog first). This time I would read the words very carefully of these questions twice or thrice just to make sure that I am not missing some important details. This can help you to solve 50% of these problems. For the rest 50% which you are still not able to solve, you can go to the respective questions and read all the comments and discussions regarding each of these questions. (These questions are the most important ones which will help you to stand apart from average student). I used to decide my day in the previous night itself about what topics and subjects I would be reading the next day. As someone has rightly said. “You should run your day or else the day will run you.”
You can make your study plan as per your wish but don’t make it for more than two weeks. I prepared a sheet for myself like the one attached below where I used to make a to-do list with a color-coding. The most important thing about it which I personally feel is when some days in preparation when you are feeling down, you just have to complete your task and not do anything else since consistency is the key.
I also used to mark such topics just to get an aggregated view of subjects like
Once I have covered the 60-65% topics of each subject. I started with a full-length test of previous years. It was around September end. I used to take paper for the previous year on a weekend. and in other days kept completing the subjects and topics. By this time I was scoring 55-60 marks in them. (Remember to leave the test from 2017 to 2020 for future use and do not see their questions while solving pyq.)
I made a separate copy of my mistakes where I used to write down my conceptual mistakes in these tests. (It was a great help while revising). And when I felt nervous with the very thought that I might have forgotten an already covered topic, I would randomly generate question number in the topic question range and solve them just to make sure that I was fine. (I had written a simple program for it.).
Some of the topics are hard to understand in one go. Like for me, it was Turing Machine and Reducibility, Pipelining, Congestion control, etc. You can visit those again just to be sure. These things were continued till November end and by this time I was scoring around 70-73 marks in previous year tests. All these while I was revising the completed topics from my notes from time to time.
In December, I took TIFR as it has new questions, and that too standard one. It helped me to judge my ability to solve and understand new questions. Also, I started to solve aptitude daily for 20 mins. I used to solve only GATE aptitude with all the branches of previous years. You can download it if you want from All Apti Sets. You can download a gate calculator just to get the right environment and monitor your time with a stopwatch. You can also get the result data saved and try to see how you are performing and the area where you need to work on. My average was 10.33 total and I also scored about 13 in the actual exam.
This time is very crucial you have to finish the small topics as well since you cannot be sure as to where the questions will come from. At least you should cover the topics from which questions are asked in GATE since 2014. and cover them since they are very small and can be done in a very few days. Try not to learn anything new in Jan and wrap all your new learnings in December. You can now make use of the GATE papers from 2017 to the current year. Solve one in each week at exactly on your actual test slot. and can change your plan accordingly. I had saved 2018 and 2019 papers only and when I took them, I scored around 65 and 67 marks. If you aren’t scoring 70+ in these tests, try to read and get some ideas about the questions, and its solutions which you are not able to solve as some questions are there just to scare you but are actually based on simple logic, for example:
So I completed these types of questions. and taught me not to get scared after seeing these types of questions in the actual exam.
CBT and All India Test
In January the CBT and the All India Level Test of various Institutes had started and I was just regularly revising my subject notes and my Mistake Copy notes. (Apart from subject notes you must have even shorter notes which you can use in the last week to revise).
I took two CBT tests, one from made easy and one from ACE. and scored AIR: 346 (38.33 marks), and AIR: 189 (54.66 marks). You can just judge yourself and practise the environment of the exam. Even if you get some fewer marks don’t be disappointed, as real battle is still there. I was not concerned with marks but knew my attempt strategy was okay and I was scoring well in the previous year papers not because I am memorised but I am solving. I also took one test by Applied Gate. I scored only 15 marks and then I realised that they are not framing the questions well enough like standards of GATE and are giving some questions way above the GATE level so I did not attempt any more of their tests.
In the last week, I was tensed as I had a slow speed in the calculation and I used to get stuck in some questions which generally takes more time than a normal question. So to teach myself the art of leaving those questions and try to fetch marks from other relatively easier questions, I and Abhishek came up with a plan of something we call it speed-GATE. I used to solve the same previous year papers but in just 2 hours time so that I could get familiar with leaving questions and judging quickly as to how much time will it would take to solve it and then solve it accordingly. (Ideally, I should have got 80+ marks after seeing those so many times. But I was making sure that I solve them each time and do not mark those solved questions just by memorizing.) My stats of those as follows:
Just two days before the exam, I was just revising the shorter notes and my mistake copy notes. The last day I just tested the Interface by taking the mock in the actual GATE site. I did not take the whole test as I was just making sure whether I know all the functionalities of this year's interface. The last day I just relaxed.
After the result came out this year, many of the students were much tensed as some of the GO answers were multiple. And I finally ended up securing 64 marks. At last, I would only like to say If you are preparing alone, be true to yourself while solving the questions. If you are taking a shortcut for even for a single question, you are just cheating yourself and if it will be continued you are the only one going to suffer. I have seen in GO Fb page posts of people in Jan that they still are getting some 60 marks. But instead of re-reading the weak topics, they just kept taking more tests.
Some additional tips:
Refrain yourself from watching a web series as you can not control the urge and it will end up taking your time.
Create a playlist where you can add songs which inspire you to achieve your goal. You can listen to them often to get motivated or when feeling low.
Take proper sleep of 8hour. You are going to use your mind heavily so let it have proper rest
Never compromise on your health as a healthy mind resides in a healthy body.
Do not have a conversation with your friend who is not so important as much of your energy and mental peace would be used explaining to them what you are doing and why are you doing so.
Once in a week take a break for 3-4 hours as it’s a long journey and we need some relaxing time as well
Have the logo of your dream college printed in your study area so that every time you see it, you can remind yourself Your Ultimate Goal.
If you are comfortable with PDF then you can download almost all the standard books pdf from Books.
I personally liked the earlier version of GO-PDF so if you want to download it, you can find it GO-PDF.
If you are watching any video lecture please be very sure that you are using standard content, as most of the (around 80%) of the content on the internet for GATE will make you dumber. I know two such Youtubers/ Teachers who have massive students following them but they themselves have not cleared GATE with a good rank and are teaching subjects for GATE (at least I did not find that about their rank).
A unique channel which I discovered was Shrenik Jain on youtube. For those who are searching materials for Engineering math of other branches, You can pause his video and solve and also see some short tricks shared by him using Just the properties.