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This was my third attempt and I managed to get $71.67$ marks, I found many fellow aspirants were too much focused on test series but I managed to get decent marks without taking any test series so I thought of sharing when I think one should take any test series.
I would recommend you not to take up any test series because of the following reasons:

  1.  Wrong questions
  2.  Wrong solutions
  3. Incomplete questions

For the first two if you know or discuss among others you may correct it and save yourself from learning wrong concepts  but the third one is the most dangerous and I am going to discuss why.
Let’s take an example from a question asked in one of the most popular test series in a CBT i gave in January 2019:
(Q) Which one of the following represents overflow condition

  1. $xyz+\bar{x}\bar{y}\bar{z}$
  2. $\bar{x}y\bar{z}+xy\bar{z}$
  3. $\bar{x}\bar{y}z+xy\bar{z}$
  4. $x\bar{y}\bar{z}+\bar{x}\bar{y}z$

The question does not mention what is $x$,$y$ and $z$. The candidate needs to assume himself what is $x$,$y$ and $z$. Now when a aspirant is used to solving 100’s such question they develop the habit of not reading the complete question.
Similar question when given in gate has a proper explanation for each term see below:

(Q) When two 8-bit numbers $A_{7}...A_{0}$ and $B_{7}...B_{0}$ in 2's complement representation (with $A_{0}$ and $B_{0}$ as the least significant bits) are added using a ripple-carry adder, the sum bits obtained are $S_{7}...S_{0}$ and the carry bits are $C7...C0$. An overflow is said to have occurred if 

  1. the carry bit $C_{7}$ is 1
  2. all the carry bits $(C_{7},...,C_{0})$ are 1
  3. $(A_{7}.B_{7}.\bar{S_{7}}+\bar{A_{7}}.\bar{B_{7}}.S_{7})$ is 1
  4. $(A_{0}.B_{0}.\bar{S_{0}}+\bar{A_{0}}.\bar{B_{0}}.S_{0})$ is 1

Source: https://gateoverflow.in/118289/gate2017-1-9

Someone not reading the complete question might not commit mistake in this question, but will definitely commit mistake in this one.
(Q) We consider the addition of two 2′s complement numbers $b_{n−1}b_{n−2}…b_{0}$ and $a_{n−1}a_{n−2}…a_{0}$. A binary adder for adding unsigned binary numbers is used to add  the two numbers. The sum is denoted by $c_{n−1}c_{n−2}…c_{0}$ and the carry-out by $c_{out}$. Which one of the following options correctly identifies the overflow condition? 

  1. $c_{out}\left ( \overline{a_{n-1}\oplus b_{n-1}} \right )$
  2. $a_{n-1}b_{n-1}\overline{c_{n-1}}+\overline{a_{n-1}}\overline{b_{n-1}}c_{n-1}$
  3. $c_{out}\oplus c_{n-1}$
  4. $a_{n-1}\oplus b_{n-1}\oplus c_{n-1}$

Source: https://gateoverflow.in/1815/gate2006-39
Here Sum is denoted by $c_{n−1}c_{n−2}…c_{0}$ but many students will be in rush in exam and in speed treat it as carry and mark option $c$ in exam and proceed. 

In GATE all information and hints will always be there in question. But many aspirants are used to solving substandard questions prepared in test series and hence skip those vital information.
The question that follows is what should be done when one finishes his preparation.
This completely depends on the month  in which syllabus has been completed which includes solving all the previous year questions from any book (Gate Overflow pdf recommended).

Assumption 1: Syllabus completed early (October or before)

(1) Previous year question https://gateoverflow.in/exams/gate?type=1

(2) Analyze your average marks if it’s below 80(for 2016 onwards),70(for 2010-2015) then you are lacking some important concepts figure them out, complete them.

(3) Solve subject wise previous year also  https://gateoverflow.in/exams/gate?type=3 , this makes sure you have covered all good questions even before 2010 in the particular subjects and ensure proper revision.

(4) Now it depends on which month you are in, subtract the number of days from 1st January and take a decision on how many test you want to give in this duration and purchase a test series or take the free ones or redo the previous year ones, completely upto you.

(5) In the last month you should once again solve previous year gate paper once more but this time it should be solved in 2 hour 15 minutes and 15 minutes revision to spot any silly mistake done.(Will write another blog how I minimized my silly mistake)

Assumption 2: It’s mid November or later.
Skip 4th point.

Recommended exams to give before Gate:

(1) TIFR: Interface is similar with Gate, new questions are given, no repeated question, a litmus test of your preparation you must get atleast 60% if you are targeting below 100 (if not analyze where are you going wrong).

(2)One Center Based Mock exam in Jan: In the month of January both ACE and Made Easy conduct center based test if you want you can give both or one. Ace is recommended because it gave standard TCSion center and the interface was exact with gate. Like I got to know few things scroll won’t work, the zoom feature given in Gate Mock test won’t work, the options will be displayed beside the radio button, pressing save and next on question marked for review removes from marked for review to answered or not answered. etc…

What many aspirants do is skip 1-3 and directly start with step 4.
From Arjun Sir’s post after Gate 2018
For those who gave a lot of test series and was expecting same kind of paper in GATE and now preparing for GATE 2019, my only suggestion is to book a slot for GATE 2020. Some people never learn. Some others will now be switching their coaching institutes to improve the results -- please understand the whole reason whether good/bad for your result is just YOU. The toppers photos which comes in any institute page is just fooling you. Even in GO, the testimonials clearly say what the toppers did and what made them toppers -- no one came there, had some capsules and suddenly became toppers.
Source : 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/gateoverflow/permalink/746335835571629/?comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22O%22%7D

posted Feb 9 in Preparation Experience by Active (1,431 points)
recategorized Feb 13 by | 1,930 views
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16 Comments

congratulations, It was great information you shared! I want to know whether you repeated for full time without any job or you have done it alongside any job?

@ congrats brother!

can u share the link of that Arjun sir' post?

@ I left job on 31st August 2018 knowing that 5 months is enough for me to just complete only standard resources.

were you in job or preparing full time?
Congrats 😊 Happy to see at least one person realizing it. And I admire your guts not to give any test series especially when the whole crowd is doing it - makes me remember my Engineering college days when there was only a single person in my class (who was my schoolmate) who had not taken any coaching during +2.
@Arjun Sir,
Thank You and GO was very helpful in adding new feature like segretting the marks obtained in 1 and 2 marks questions promptly after the request and many other thing.
You're welcome 😊
Congratulations brother :)

Please don't mind but I guess I have seen your name in some test on GO.

You already took 56 tests here right? :P

Personally I feel go and gatebook tests are most beneficial and I wish I could finish all the tests here but I couldn't due to lack of time. Tests on Go are much recommended!! Thank you so much Arjun Sir, Kiran Sir, Bikram Sir for such questions!
Here is your calculation for 56 (Full length gate - 25, Subject wise - 9, Isro - 6) remaining 16 includes few GO test and few free subject test of gatebook.

@Arjun Sir, is this page updated? Especially the video section, the NPTEL lectures are from 1996 I think. 
 

Not so subtle humble brag ;)

This year's paper was test series type questions galore.

Avoid Ace - they can't even write grammatically correct sentences in questions. Spelling mistakes add insult to injury. (btw, wrote around 15 tests) What kind of technical accuracy can one expect from this sorry excuse for a test series.
Congratulations 😊

I completely agree with the idea of not getting wooed with false promises and marketing stunts of these so-called successful coaching-cum-business centers.

In July 2018, I enrolled for ME test series, and then in November 2018, I came to know about GO. I quickly realized that I made a huge mistake and wasted my Rs. 960. I found the standard of questions and tests on GO to be of a better standard. I think it's because the questions are probably screened for quality before featuring on GO.

Though I did not score well this year, based on my experience, I will recommend relying on GO for preparations, along with standard textbooks.

@zeeshanmohnavi Thanks for your words. But to be frank there werent any serious screening of questions before adding to GO. All the questions of GB were just formatted and added. But once added, due to the nice reporting by GO users almost every mistakes got correct. Now those tests are almost perfect -- distributed correction 😊

In Go test series ,there is always a new questions or just similar previous year questions

Trust me @Abhishek Shaw Now those words of @Arjun Sir (Regarding Standard Books and Do's and Don'ts)are resonating in my ears and it feels bad that despite following this grp from late Sept I didn't take the right initiative and result is Frustation in First attempt. ( Credits goes to my Ignorance and last one month Poisonous Mindset).

 

But better late than never, I'll try hard to improve not only for exams but for every possible aspect.

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