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:
- Wrong questions
- Wrong solutions
- 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
- $xyz+\bar{x}\bar{y}\bar{z}$
- $\bar{x}y\bar{z}+xy\bar{z}$
- $\bar{x}\bar{y}z+xy\bar{z}$
- $x\bar{y}\bar{z}+\bar{x}\bar{y}z$
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
- the carry bit $C_{7}$ is 1
- all the carry bits $(C_{7},...,C_{0})$ are 1
- $(A_{7}.B_{7}.\bar{S_{7}}+\bar{A_{7}}.\bar{B_{7}}.S_{7})$ is 1
- $(A_{0}.B_{0}.\bar{S_{0}}+\bar{A_{0}}.\bar{B_{0}}.S_{0})$ 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?
- $c_{out}\left ( \overline{a_{n-1}\oplus b_{n-1}} \right )$
- $a_{n-1}b_{n-1}\overline{c_{n-1}}+\overline{a_{n-1}}\overline{b_{n-1}}c_{n-1}$
- $c_{out}\oplus c_{n-1}$
- $a_{n-1}\oplus b_{n-1}\oplus c_{n-1}$
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