I am Jaynik Gaglani and have obtained AIR 26 in GATE 2021. My actual marks are 69 and after normalization I have obtained 72.89.
I am a final year student pursuing B.E. in Information Technology from Dwarkadas J. Sanghvi College of engineering in Mumbai. It is a good college with good placements for CS and IT branches. I did not sit for placements except for 1-2 companies because my focus was completely on GATE.
Some tips and Advice:
- Don’t rely on last month/week, try to finish everything on time.
- Past failures don’t matter, just keep interest in subjects and you are good to go.
- Please don’t keep any specific mindset like biasness towards certain subject. All subjects are easy if concept is understood.
- Minor hiccups like less marks in certain tests don’t matter.
- Please read questions thoroughly and don’t assume anything unless told so and also practice more problems to improve thinking skills, speed and accuracy.
- Just persist even in tough and boring times, that phase will pass.
- If you are giving topic wise tests simultaneously with the topic then give it 2 – 3 days after you finish the topic in order to increase retention capacity.
- Analyze each test properly by checking all mistakes and unsolved question.
- The comment section of GO is itself a good resource so check that too.
- When solving PYQs with multiple option correct given in MCQ, solve them as MSQ without checking the options. Also, solve each question with its true solution, that is without tricks like option elimination since it gives clarity to concepts, improves problem solving skills and lots of such questions can come as NAT where such hacks are not applicable. You can definitely use whatever solution you like in the exam.
- Don’t forget to understand basic concepts of maths too.
I started my GATE journey from March 2019 (Semester 4) when I joined Gateforum offline coaching. I took offline coaching because I was not disciplined and also had not done proper research that online coaching is better for GATE since for me, coaching institute was 1 – 1.5 hours away from my house which wastes a lot of time. They were on weekends for total 13 hours. I was not at all serious for GATE then as I had started thinking that the exam is 1.5 years away. I kept making notes in classes but didn’t study seriously and solved PYQ myself in the class as taught by faculty. I started studying seriously from June 1st 2020. I had most of the notes with me and started watching lectures on YouTube and gateforum online. I finished my portion around October and PYQs around mid – November as I used to study in a pipelining manner. Complete a subject from all resources, give topic wise tests, give subject wise test. Start next subject, start PYQ of previous subject. And in next subject, revise the first subject.
I was using gateforum PYQ book for solving but whenever I didn’t understand questions/solutions, I used to google them. Initially, I used GFG but some answers in there too were confusing which led me to temporarily use GO. Once I started seeing some great answers and my other doubts were also getting solved through comments, I started using it full time for solutions. Just exploring, I came across the pdfs which I decided to solve later. A mistake I did as the pdfs have very good accessibility by just clicking a question redirects to GO and also the bookmarks.
I used standard books just for theory topics in OS, CN, DBMS and also some topics like sockets for which I didn’t have any material. I didn’t prepare for aptitude much apart from profit and loss and time and work as I had prior experience with it and also got practice with the help of test series.
At the end of October, I prepared short notes from my own notes, bookmarked questions from tests and from GO comments. One advice here is that when you read short notes, you should be able to recall everything from main notes and lectures else check them again.
My preparation journey was not only studying all day though. On an average in these 5 months, I used to study around 5 – 6 hours a day. During June – July, I also used to do competitive coding and various extra courses. Completed watching The Office US from June to January, used to play games, watch movies/tv shows, went out once or twice a week. But didn’t do this between studies, I had a time dedicated for all this after lunch, so don’t get any wrong ideas. The thing is that GATE is basically an aptitude test so just the core concepts matter. Once you know the concept and have problem solving skills, you can counter any problem.
I kept giving full tests every alternate day except for days when we had the semester exams. Before 8th Jan, I kept switching times from 9.30 to 12.30 and 3.00 to 6.00. After 8th when I found that I am in set 2, I gave all tests at that time. I even gave at least 5-6 tests with mask. I also started using GO PDFs for the first time from December 1st when I was doing PYQs for the third time. I marked some conceptual questions with specific comments in book for seeing in the last 7 days, completed PYQs of all subjects except aptitude till 9th February. I only had last 4 days to finish marked questions which weren’t many. Though for some topics in CN, OS and COA I checked most of the questions again.
I also kept revising from my main notes (used short notes later from around mid – January). On days when I didn’t give full tests, I gave MadeEasy topic-wise/subject-wise tests just for revision, solving more questions and also increasing accuracy. I analysed the test series after giving each test to know my mistakes, new methods to solve problems and any new formulae/concepts. In the last 5 days, I checked all the marked questions, questions from my weak topics, gave GO Test 5 and kept revising from my short notes.
This was a sprint period and I used to study averagely 7 - 8 hours a day including test series analysis. I had stopped going out of home from around January 15th so as to not catch the virus. Also, in these two months, I just used YouTube as an entertainment tool and watched one movie: “The Pursuit of Happyness” (it’s a really good movie to watch when you feel down). At the time of study though, I used to study with full concentration and without distraction.
Totally I gave 35 full tests just to make a habit of sitting for 3.5 hours and also to practice more questions and also improving my accuracy. Also, I used to give them from 3 to 6 after it was confirmed again for keeping my mind active at that time.
************ ****** Test Series: Used just 2021 series, the questions are basic and on easier side. Used its release date as my schedule for studying and gave tests 2 – 3 days after completing the topic. Though, I couldn’t follow it after August when CN came due to a bit of burnout and start of college. I left some multi subject tests at the end. Started full test on 29th November. Gave 14 full tests.
Highest Marks: 87.33, Lowest Marks: 63, Avg. Marks: 76
Gateforum Test Series: Used for extra practice questions. Didn’t give all tests, only for weak topics. Full tests were good but other tests were basic. Gave 6 full tests.
Highest Marks: 78.33, Lowest Marks: 63.33, Avg. Marks: 72
MadeEasy Test Series: Bought it in December, gave most topic wise and subject wise tests just to solve more questions as they were really good though sometimes out of scope according to me. Full tests were also good, gave 13 full tests.
Highest Marks: 74.33, Lowest Marks: 62, Avg. Marks: 69
I also took GATE 2020 paper unseen at the end and obtained around 74 marks giving a really good confidence boost at the end.
At the end, on 10th Feb, I gave GO Full Test 5 for that shuffled paper feel and obtained only 51 marks which shocked me but regained my confidence with the help of my mentor, Gitin Kakkar sir who was my TOC and Algorithms teacher at Gateforum and helped me throughout my journey with some really great advice and also doubt solving. Also, read comments of Arjun sir as my handle name was mentioned in the list of 50+ marks. And my parents motivated me too to not worry and finish it off on Saturday (Day of exam).
On the day of exam, I woke up at 9.30 having a good amount of sleep. I was surprisingly very calm as I knew I had done whatever I could on my part and there is nothing much significant I can do now. Though had some sudden anxiety, overall, I was fine. Just took some deep breaths and kept calm. Left for centre around 12.30 with my parents in a car and reached there at 1.45. Went to exam hall and closed my eyes till the instructions came. When the paper started, I did the first aptitude question just to not leave the first question of the paper. Then attempted CS section calmy just like giving test series. The trick to solving was keep going on and mark for review whatever I could definitely solve later. After solving everything, I just had 5 minutes to check the mark for review answers and a mistake I did was not marking even ones without any negative marking while parsing them. I lost marks in optimization question where I forgot to count addition in for loop and one where I gave answer as Syntax Error. Also did mistake in Boolean Function question where answer was 6 and I got 10 (due to missing out some value as I didn’t have much time) and not reading the math question on finding standard deviation which was pretty basic. I attempted 60 questions including random guesses in total.
The questions are always new but it doesn’t matter as concept is important and if you know the concept then any question is easy. This paper was not very difficult just the questions were a bit lengthy. The main thing is to read the question fully without missing any word so that you don’t have to read it again and since last few years some questions are coming such that they have one word which completely changes the answer.
In CS Section, I got 17 one-mark questions correct and 8 wrong. I had attempted all of them. And 19 two-mark questions correct and 6 wrong out of 25 questions attempted.
I got full marks in General Aptitude, Algorithms, Programming and DS, Databases and 10/11 in TOC which boosted my performance as these were my strong subjects from start.
Final marks were 69, though less, but due to difficulty of paper, I could get a really good rank out of it with a score of 918/1000.
Finally, I would like to thank my family, friends, all the teachers and GateOverflow for helping me achieve this rank.
Thank you for reading,
You can contact me on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaynik-gaglani-3a87a616a/
My experience on video: https://youtu.be/2EEAtZWmzC0