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...)
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.