I got AIR 302 in GATE 2017. So, here's my GATE journey and experience on this awesome community.
I was introduced to GATE Overflow last year by one of my friends who is doing M.Tech in IIT Kanpur. It was around the time when IISc Bangalore released the answer key for GATE 2016, and everyone was predicting their rank in the GO App. Yes, 2016 was my first attempt, and I got AIR 3935 in that. Once I predicted my rank, I knew what was coming, and decided to drop an year and reappear next year.
My Preparation: I had a habit of reading textbooks during semesters. While the rest of my friends read the University Question Bank before exams, I used to read textbooks. So, I had finished majority of the textbooks (Galvin for OS, CLRS for Algorithm, some part of Forouzan for CN etc) during B.Tech itself. But I was not motivated to take GATE. As a result, I didn't practice anything, didn't take mock tests and simply went for GATE 2016. The result was a 4 digit rank.
I started my GATE 2017 preparation from 2nd April, 2016. This time I focused more on practice. Since, I had read some textbooks already during B.Tech, I didn't read them again. Instead, I filled up the blanks in my preparation from online lectures, NPTEL, Ankur Gupta notes etc. I finished my syllabus by September end. During the last 4 months, I solved all previous GATE questions thrice, and attempted mock tests to master time management skills and accuracy.
Exam Day: I got Set-1. One thing I learnt from the test series is not to panic on stressed situations. It worked for me. But since Set-1 was a bit tricky, my attempts were low (47/65) because I spent some extra time on few questions (like RSA Algorithm question).
Its okay, everyone cannot get into top 100. But I had learnt few lessons that day.
My GateOverflow Learnings: I started using GATE Overflow full fledged from October. I used to post my doubts (maximum silly, a few very good) and got answers within hours. One of my problems initially was that I couldn't take criticisms. So, whenever someone downvoted my answers/comments, I used to hide those (There is a Hide option for everything you post). GateOverflow gradually helped me in overcoming my that problem, and I am thankful to the members for the same.
Thank you Arjun Sir, for your so precise explanations. Thank you Bikram Sir, for your support. And I didn't wish to write a blog (because I was a bit disturbed because of my rank. A little better would have kept me on a safe side). Thank you Bikram Sir, for motivating me yesterday to write it.