Hi guys, I am Arathi Nair M. This is my second attempt in GATE (CSIT)- 2021. In GATE (CSIT) 2020, I got AIR 11966 with 30 marks and in GATE (CSIT) 2021, I got AIR 306 with 60.6 marks. This might not be much, but I hope it is good enough to get into a good college.
Feel free to scroll down to resources and advice if you don’t want to go through the whole journey.
If I can, anyone can!!!
A Little About Me
I am a B.Tech (Hons.) graduate in Electronics & Communication Engineering(ECE) (2016-2020) from College of Engineering Trivandrum(CET), a government college in Kerala. In my school days, the subjects I loved the most were CS and Maths and so was planning to do B.Tech in CSE. But since I got admission in ECE in the best government engineering college of my state, I ended up deciding to do my M.Tech in CSE.
I don’t remember when or from where I heard about GATE exam. Somehow, I came to know about it and realized, I will have to write GATE if I want to do M.Tech. But what I didn’t know then was, I could write GATE CSIT instead of GATE ECE. I thought I could get admission in M.Tech CSE only by writing GATE ECE. So stupid of me… I know… haha.
In short, I started my GATE preparation in ECE. But thankfully, I realized that I can write GATE CSE around the time GATE 2020 application form was out and obviously, I decided to write GATE CSE. But, by that time, it was placement season and I got placed in a product-based company and as expected I relaxed and decided to work for one year and then join M.Tech. So, I took GATE CSE preparation too lightly. Basically, I decided to write GATE 2020 as a confidence booster. I borrowed books from my friends, and studied the easy subjects including digital logic, DS, Logic and a bit from TOC, CN, DBMS and Algorithm. That was pretty much my whole preparation for GATE CSIT 2020.
As the first step, I decided to enroll in a coaching and joined ACE Deeplearn. It had recorded classes and I thought I can watch them whenever I feel like and also if I join the company (which I didn’t), I won’t miss any classes. I joined Deeplearn in May 2020, but got a bit busy that I started my preparation only in June (And in between at times I didn’t prepare when I needed long breaks). I started watching lectures and writing notes. Here I would like to mention my first mistake.
“I concentrated more on finish watching the videos and far too less on doing more questions and in all subjects except one or two I didn’t solve questions other than those in lectures at that time.” Mistake 1
I started with subjects that were easy for me. This was a trick to boost my confidence, I guess. And I prepared Engineering Maths and Discrete Maths in between technical subjects. After a point, I realized I remember only a few things I studied until then and I didn’t have a short note to revise from. This was my second mistake in the initial stage of preparation.
“I didn’t make short notes in the initial stage of my preparation.” Mistake 2
The best thing about making short notes is on writing it again, it stays in mind for longer and if proper revision is done, one will remember those concepts for a life time. I started preparing short notes (even though my short notes are long, thankfully not as long as original notes) after finishing around 2-3 technical subjects and also a few topics from maths. Here starts my third mistake.
“I neglected revising many subjects until the last few days before the exam, which ended up in me not being able to revise all subjects before exam and this panicked me and I lose a few marks from well known topics.” Mistake 3
Basically, I listened to lecture, note down everything and made short notes then started another subject and continued this pattern. In case, I feel bored while studying a specific subject, I either took break for a few days or start a new subject which piques my interest. It is really important to feel fresh when one decides to sit and study.
“Started being lazy for some time as I had only around 4 subjects to finish” Mistake 4
This mistake costed me to lose marks from 3 subjects. I ended up not studying half or even more than half the syllabus of three subjects.
After being lazy for some time, I decided to do previous year questions(pyq) and questions from ACE workbook. For this, I prepared a timetable and tried to follow it. But making a time table never worked for me till date and as expected, this time too it didn’t work for me. I like to take days off when I am not in a mood to study and also when making timetable, the habit of pushing me to do far more than what I can take, didn’t help me in following the time table. I consider this as my fifth mistake.
“Not making realistic timetable” Mistake 5
Even after failing to make a realistic timetable, I did a fairly good number of questions mostly pyq except for a few subjects. For the rest of the subjects, questions solved in class were the only practice I had.
The thing I am sure I did right is that while doing questions, even when listening to lectures, I tried really hard to find answers myself and only then checked their solution and learnt it too if they used a different method. I might end up not getting the answer or while checking I end up finding a far easier solution but I never let it discourage me. This is one of the most important habit, which helped me get this rank even when I did so many mistakes.
After this I did one of the four subjects, I didn’t yet cover the syllabus of. By that time (Dec last week or Jan first week) I realized that I forgot to make short notes for 2 to 3 subjects I covered and also that I didn’t yet do test series except for two. In those test series, I got only 49 marks each. I decided to not study anything new anymore. Even though, I had studied a bit of the remaining three subjects, I didn’t finish them. I chose to make short notes while revising over studying new things.
In between making short notes I did a few test series. I attended test series from ACE Academy, free tests conducted by Gradeup, pareeksha series of unacademy and did two or three previous year question papers. But I could find the marks of only two of them and as far as I remember, I got less than the lowest mark I mentioned below in previous year question paper in the third one.
Test Series Marks
ACE Academy: Lowest: 49 Highest: 63
Gradeup: Lowest: 50 Highest: 56
Pareeksha: Lowest: 48 Highest: 62
Previous year paper: Lowest: 53 Highest: 56
“I didn’t even bother to analyze the questions which went wrong while attending test series.” Mistake 6
I didn’t analyze those questions thinking I don’t have enough time. But I now know that is a stupid excuse. Moreover, what happened was I lost confidence and decided to take no more test series. Stupid move but still a wise move as I was not analyzing where I went wrong and was simply taking tests. I recommend gate aspirants to not lose confidence at any point of time. Working hard is the only solution to success.
Once I stopped giving test series, the only thing I did was revision. I watched YouTube videos of Gradeup. I watched selected playlists of them along with some other videos which I thought I should watch. Along with this I revised my short notes, except for some portion as I said earlier. But the effect of low marks in test series stayed with me, and my confidence level was pretty down.
I was pretty nervous. As I said earlier, I decided not to join the company, and it added to the nervousness. I was afraid if I lose one year for nothing and so on. I wanted to give the best but these thoughts made me so nervous and actually affected my marks.
“Being nervous during the exam hours.” Mistake 7
Being nervous, I did silly mistakes in few questions which could have been easily avoided otherwise and thus, losing the chance to get a rank within 100. But if I be honest, after my exam, mainly due to my nervousness I guess, I thought I did my exam very poorly and is not going to get good marks.
- ACE Deeplearn Lectures
- Gradeup YouTube videos
- A very few videos from other YouTube channels
Advice for Future Aspirants
- Believe in yourself no matter what. You are the best. Never let anything or anyone take away your confidence. Work hard for what you dream.
- If you are planning to make a time table, make a realistic one which will not tire you. Find out what is best for you.
- Don’t neglect aptitude and maths. They are really scoring areas.
- Solve questions related to the portions you cover. Try solving it yourself before checking the solution. Check the solution even when you get the answer correctly, you might be able to learn a new method.
- Make short notes and revise it regularly. Regular revision is a must and short notes makes it easier. Don’t neglect a subject from revision totally just because you know that subject well enough.
- Never procrastinate. Try finishing the portions as early as possible.
- Do as much test series as possible but never let the marks make you feel underconfident or overconfident.
- Analyze every test series you attend. Dedicate the time after test series to analyze your mistakes. Read the short notes from that portion and if you are making mistakes in that portion repeatedly, read notebook or even standard text books if needed.
- Be calm on the exam day. Take deep breaths. Believe in yourself. Don’t waste too much time on lengthy problems. You can come back to it after the first round of answering questions.
- Don’t just read this article, but do not repeat the mistakes I did during my journey.
All the best!!!
I thank Almighty, my family, friends, teachers from ACE Academy and Gradeup for helping me in achieving this rank.
Hope this article is helpful. I might not have the best rank but still feel free to ask in case you have any doubts regarding preparation.
Thanks for reading
Arathi Nair M