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This post specifically asks Arjun Suresh for guidance, though anyone is welcome to help.


I am a 2014 passout from a private college with 3.5 years of IT experience. In 2018, I quit my job and decided to prepare for GATE 2019 with the aim to complete Masters (and later, a Ph.D.), and to become a professor later. I followed video lectures only (without any reference textbook) which are recommended at best-video-lectures-for-gate-cse ranging from NPTEL, Shai Simonson’s, Stanford’s, etc. During the examination, I messed up very badly by making blunders and ended up losing around 10-15 marks. Now, I don’t know what my future holds, but I am waiting for the results. I realized that going through these video lectures are beneficial only when studied with a standard textbook.


I am now thinking of buying some standard textbooks and maybe prepare for next year, with a job, or otherwise. I could only buy one book per subject. I got the link to the What_to_read_series by Bikram Ballav, but it mentions multiple books per subject. I want a list of the most recommended (“the most appropriate”) book which could not only help me with my preparation for next year, but could also be used in the future for reference.


Thanks in advance.

posted Feb 10, 2019 in Study Materials 2,487 views


@zeeshanmohnavi AFAIK you don't have to buy every single book for every single subject and read every single line of it to clear your concepts. Go through the detailed syllabus of GATE and what to read series by Bikram Sir and study topics only relevant to GATE either via textbook pdf (no need to buy every book out there, just download a copy of it) or via standard videos plus along with it solve prev yr Qs from GO pdf.

All the standard resources are already mentioned in the website be it textbook or videos like Shai Simonson's Algorithms, etc.

"The most appropriate books" is subjective as there are multiple of such standard books out there for each subject. I recommend you to keep copies of all textbook pdfs so that if some topic you don't understand from 1 book, you can immediately switch to other standard book for the same topic of interest.

For automata,you can try TOC-peter linz,CN- furozen , Compiler- ullaman,ALOG- cormen,

, I am also on the same boat with exact same story of yours ( 2014 passout with 3.5 years of IT exp and quit job last year). And also screwed up GATE 2019 badly. I have also realized that I need to practice more from standard exercises. Only Test series questions do not do the job.

Even though, I followed standard text books for theory and also standard lectures, I hardly practiced any question from them. So really confused now. Started preparation for IIITs, ISI and BITS now. So help from the top rankers are much appreciated.

@zeeshan, @dan31

how you guys still focused to study even after working 3.5 years in IT company ?

( i am 2016 passed out, and doing job, but it takes nearly 15-20 days to recover my mood from job to study )

really you people are amazing... hat's off to you brothers :)
where is this What to read series by Bikram Sir, can you share the link

@dan31 How was your exam? Where do you stand now?

@Shaik Masthan

Working in a service-based IT company does pay relatively well, but for me, it wasn't satisfying. And then there were some situations that forced me to take this step. However, the hardest part of the decision was the realization that the regular flow of income is at stake. In spite of my family's financial needs, my parents and my family supported me throughout, and I thank them for that.


Anyways, I thank everyone who helped with so many links to PDFs. I have now a huge collection of books on every subject, and I have to figure the best among them.

, It was below par than I expected..expecting not more than 54 marks.

How are you planning to prepare for the next exams?

@dan31 I am very demotivated and depressed after my performance this year. My mathematics is not so good, and I lack the confidence (and skills) to crack exams like ISI, CMI. IIITH is too expensive for me, so I am not preparing for that. I have filled a couple of application forms for government jobs (it is to be seen how that goes), but I am hoping that maybe I can get Jadavpur University or NIT Patna (or some other NIT of this level) in this year's counseling.

 brother, don't feel demotivated because of one exam. We were motivated enough to leave our jobs despite all the risks and bad signs. Don't give up now so easily. You still have got 2 more months to prepare for ISI and CMI. I know it is easier said than done but we gotta try harder for these two exams. Forget about the GATE exam as of now and concentrate on these exams as your whole year depends on it. Do you really want to lose one more precious year of your life for GATE?

I will try to make the most out of these 2 months and I strongly encourage you to do the same. We have ample help on GO community at our disposal.