Hello , my name is Bodhisattwa Dasgupta . This year I got 66.29 Marks and AIR 123 in GATE (CS) – 2021 , and this was my first attempt in GATE. It’s not the best rank , but decent enough to fetch me a good IIT hopefully ( hence the title...)

 

My Background:

I’m currently a final-year student , pursuing my B.Tech in CS at Future Institute of Technology , Kolkata. It’s a Local Private College here in Kolkata which was established just in 2015. I never was a good student at anything throughout my school days and most of my college life. I remember in 11th  class Mid-Year exam I failed every subject other than English and CS , the amount of judgement I got from my classmates and teachers were tremendous.

For those who are wondering , I attempted JEE Mains 2 Times, 1st time I got ~1 Lac Rank and in my 2nd attempt also I got ~70k Rank. So nothing to write home about. All throughout my academics I absolutely despised subjects like Physics , Chemistry ..etc , the ONLY thing that made sense to me and I enjoyed was CS ( in school-life it was basic coding and DS stuff.. ) and bits and pieces of Maths. 

So naturally I choose CSE over other branches in better colleges and this was the BEST decision of my life.

 

My GATE Story:

I first heard about GATE from my friends in 2nd Sem and then after a few days of research I decided to prepare seriously for the same. The idea of studying CS from Top IITs intrigued me a lot and not just that , an All-India based exam based fully on CS got me very excited. 

I never had any Coaching till this point in my life , but since I decided to prepare seriously I enrolled @ ACE Coaching back in Jan 2019.

But unfortunately for the entire year ( from 2019 to Dec 2019 ) I only attended the classes and didn’t put much effort myself , as a result in Late Dec 2019 , I found myself at a very bad position , I had all my class-notes but couldn’t recall any concepts. (MISTAKE #1)

So from Jan 2020 , I decided that I’ll put consistent effort from now on , and try to get a sub-500 Rank. I made a time-table and started preparing accordingly. For each subject I used to give ~2 weeks , and in that 2 weeks first I used to learn the concept , then look at examples and then finally solve the PYQs in parallel. Using this approach I more or less got over with my syllabus by July 2020.

In the month of July I wrote my First Full-Length Test and I got ~62 Marks in that. (  The test was an easy one.  ) , But here I noted that I scored very less in aptitude section , but I ignored it. And I continued to ignore Aptitude for the remainder of my preparation ( MISTAKE #2 ) , why this is a mistake you’ll see later on.

From Aug onwards I decided to do revision and I did so by solving all the PYQs again, this time From GO-PDF. ( Previously did from ME Book ) , and this blew my mind. For each and every problem , extremely detailed solutions were available at GO along with necessary references . And this not only helped me to Learn more BUT ALSO helped in developing a habit of reading standard papers/articles/wikis/books. Which I feel is going to be very useful later down the line for M.Tech.

From Sept onwards I started writing tests more often and regularly. After writing the tests I used to rectify my mistakes.

My marks in Test-Series are:( Avg / High /  Low )

  • Made-Easy = (74 / 87 / 47)
  • ACE = (82 / 91 / 68)
  • Applied-GATE = (78 / 89 / 65)

Looking at my performance I assumed that I’d surely get a sub-100 Rank ( MISTAKE #3 ) . This mindset would prove detrimental in my preparation. 

Things were going pretty good until in Mid-Jan we tested +ve for COVID , while it didn’t affect much but after that point there was a noticeable dip in my test performance. Still I was fairly confident with my preparation.

 

During the GATE Exam:

I got allotted Set-2 which was a bit lengthy and quite different from previous years. First Question was the Little-Endian One , I never solved such questions before but I knew the concept clearly so was able to get it Correct . Same thing happened for the next 5-6 Questions. I was able to solve correctly but took lots of time and my fear-level was increasing as the Question types were pretty uncommon. 

After going through the first 25 Questions , I had only attempted 13 Questions and left 12 totally. Now Panic started and every negative thoughts came to mind .. “Will I even cross the 50 Marks threshold?” , “Only 2hrs left , this year gone to waste….” ...such thoughts. (MISTAKE #4) . Since I already had made some assumptions about my performance earlier (see Mistake-3), this was exponentially more difficult. 

Because of this Panic-mode , I made mistakes which I could’ve easily avoided otherwise.

Lastly , since I didn't do much prep for aptitude , this really showed in my exam. As I only got 9/15 in Aptitude . Even IF I had 13/15 in aptitude , then probably I would’ve been in Top 60. This is my Biggest Regret YET. 

And In retrospect ,It’s quite Ironical that if I didn’t make assumptions about my performance before the exam , then I wouldn’t have panicked as hard and would’ve been able to meet my expectations. 

Conclusion and Advice for future Aspirants:

  • Does Test Series Marks and Actual Marks have any correlation? Yes and No .Don’t make assumptions based on test-series marks . If you are not getting good marks , don’t be under confident , analyze and move on. If you are getting good marks , don’t be overconfident , analyze and move on.  But certainly if you are performing well in Tests , that’s great and indicative of good preparation.
  • Revision should be done consistently , otherwise not possible to retain all the concepts clearly. Even if for 10min , just go through your own notes and that is good enough.
  • NEVER Ignore aptitude , because it can make or break your exam. I ignored and paid the price . So take necessary steps and don’t make the same mistake that I did.
  • How many Hours should I prepare?  Doesn’t matter.  But consistency should be maintained even if its 1hr a day.
  • Learn to manage pressure . I didn’t handle pressure during the exam well and suffered the consequences.

Still at the end of the day , I’m quite satisfied with my rank and planning to join IIT-Madras or IIT-Kharagpur. My learning journey has just started and I still have a long way to go.

GATE taught me that your college / background etc NOTHING MATTERS . The only thing that matters is your own Will to Learn and Self-Belief. If you believe in your own ability and put in the necessary effort , then you can surely get it.

I know I don’t have the best rank , but if you have any questions or doubts regarding preparation , please feel free to ask. I’ll try my best to answer.

Thanks for reading.

posted in Preparation Experience Mar 21, 2021
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15 Comments

15 Comments

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Still a great achievement. Your hard work has paid off. All the best for your future.
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Congratulations.
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Congrats 🎉.

Hey, tell me how to handle pressure during exam time?

 How do you avoid silly mistakes?

As you see, this yr they asked deeply about the concept. So how should I prepare so that every concept can be cleared?
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Thanks for writing blog.. there is too much things to learn for future aspirants and interesting to see that 100+ rank holder have almost same up and downs and even committed the same mistake while their preparation.
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I'm still clueless about handling the exam pressure. As I also couldn't handle it myself. But I guess the KEY is to not to worry about the end results and focus on the question only.

For avoiding silly mistakes , I kept my rough work really clean and neat. This way I avoided mistakes , but in actually exam wasn't able to execute this properly.

Doing PYQs are a great way to build concepts. See the solutions given on GO and read the references which are mentioned for a deeper understanding.
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Congratulations .. 🎉🎉
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Congrats brother for your achievements 👍 and thank you for writing down your mistakes and preparation journey, There's quite a lot to learn from it. 🙂

One question:- Did you refer to standard books in phase-2(After coaching) or only notes?
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Congrats on your efforts .

From where you had practice questions other than PYQ.
What to do if your doubt list is long?
Can you make a list from where you had read subjects, books used or not?
How to do revision simultaneously.
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Congratulations 🎉

Hard work pays off.
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 , I didn't follow much standard books , but I read stuff online , be it articles on Wikipedia or some papers by foreign universities. 

For majority of the topics I stuck to class-notes , for some tricky/conceptual topics I referred articles and papers. Like for example : The Fundamental theorem of finite ablelian groups. Hardly in any class notes you'll find this , But do a quick Google , and you'll find a great papers by foreign Universities. This is just one example , many other such topics are there.

 

 , Other than PYQ , GO has TIFR/ISI/CMI Questions which are very conceptual , but quite hard at the same time. You can do those also. Other than this practice TestSeries.

 

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Sirf mein hi hoon jiske 31 number aaye hai online deektha hoon toh sabke 60 se uppar hi hai feeling sad :(
edited Mar 21, 2021 by
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@Bodhisattwa  about revision and how to solve doubts? I got stuck in many questions.
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Really Awesome journey, and thanks to share your thought and learning with us...... it's a pleasure for all of us.. wish u a great and tremendous future ahead.........this year i totally messed up (#mistake 1 in your article), hope next year i got something.... anyway Thanks from my heart _/\_
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 , For revision , just keep in touch with the concepts , that's good enough. And For doubts you can ask here at GO or Join a good telegram channel. ( Although be aware , and don't join too many useless groups. )

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Congrats !

Lot to learn from you and improve my technique towards GATE 2022. Thank for sharing your experience.