Hi, I am Darshit Gandhi. At my time, JEE was not compulsory after 12th Std in Gujarat, we had GUJCET exam. So I gave GUJCET and scored pretty well in that exam. I was not having any craze for IITs during that time. So I decided to pursue my B.E. in CSE from one of the topmost college of Gujarat. During my B.E. also, I had no plans of doing M.Tech.
In my second year of B.E., one of my friend asked me to go with him in the demo class for GATE. I went with him to give him some company, but was unaware of the fact that this thing was gonna change my future.
Attempt 1 : GATE CS 2021 - The Beginning
Even though I have joined an local offline coaching in my 2nd year, but I was not at all taking it seriously. I was just attending the classes, making notes, then I come home and just forgot to revise. This was my life for 1.5 years. Initially, it was very difficult for me to understand subjects like OS, DBMS, COA, etc. as it was only my 2nd year, and we were just studying C++ in our college. But one good thing in my coaching was that once they complete the syllabus, they start to teach again the whole syllabus. So, after around 1 year, we started to study our whole syllabus again in around July 2019. And now this time, I was understanding what was taught in the class. But now also, after coming home, I was not doing anything. I was treating this like some college semester exam and this was my biggest mistake. Revision is very very very important if we are preparing for GATE exam. It is a very boring and tedious thing, but we cannot get good rank without doing enough revision (There may always be some exceptions).
Anyways, until Feb 2020, I was just attending the classes and making notes and nothing extra. Then, I realized that I am having only 1 year for my GATE exam. Now I was worried wondering that how will I complete 10-12 subjects in 1 year along with college work. So from March 2020 onwards, I started my serious GATE preparation. I started to take subjects one by one, started studying them, referred notes, google and also youtube. Initially, I was following youtube channels like Ravindrababu Ravula, Knowledge Gate, Gate Smashers, etc. and websites like Gate overflow, geeksforgeeks, etc. So I studied the subjects in this order : Discrete Maths → TOC → Compiler → DBMS → DS → Algorithms → OS → CN. I haven’t touched COA because that was the most difficult subject for me. I haven’t touched Maths, Aptitude and Digital because I was in a dilemma that I will complete this all subjects in January because these are “EASY” subjects. But I was very wrong. Also, at that time, “PUBG mobile” was at its peak in India, I used to play everyday from 2 pm to 5 pm with my friends. The thing is that I always underestimated GATE exam. Finally PUBG mobile got banned in October and I guess that was some kind of relief for me from this gaming addiction.
I tried to complete my syllabus (except the 4 subjects) till December end. Then I tried giving some tests from Made Easy test series and was scoring decent marks. Now, I did the same mistake during this time also as I did initially when I started my preparation. I was just “reading” the questions which I answered wrong, not “understanding” it. Also, I was not checking the questions that I answered right. They are equally important as the wrong ones, as we might have got the correct answer by some wrong method.
I was planning to do Maths, Aptitude, Digital and COA in January, but our 7th semester Final exams were scheduled in January due to pandemic. So now,my most of January went for this college exams, and I resumed my GATE studies from around 20th January. Now, the link has broken, and I have also decided to give GATE 2022 next year. I was very scared because my 4 subjects were left to study and I also need to do revision of previous studied subjects. So I decided to go with revision of my previous and left the remaining subjects. I gave around 8-10 full length tests and my average marks were around 54-55 out of 100 and I was getting rank around 500-1000.
13th February 2021 – I woke up at 9 am. My exam slot was in the afternoon. I did not touched any books on that day. I was laying down and closing my eyes and sometime just roaming in the house. Time came, and I went to gave the exam. Initially, I solved 2 questions correctly, so that gave me some confidence, but the 3rd question was from Paging (OS) and I took around 20 min to do that question. I was not moving forward because I know that I will definitely solve that question. I got some odd number as the answer and I was not sure whether I solved it correctly or not (I came to know much later that it was correct). So now I just solved 3 question in 30 min and now I only had 150 min left for 62 questions. My heartbeat increased like anything. I continued solving other questions, but there was a lot of pressure on me at that time. I was very angry at me when the exam got over, but I kept the smile on my face. I asked my friends who were at that exam centre, they also told that the paper was very difficult and their exam went ok. I was somehow relieved after listening that everyone found that the exam was tough, but then also deep down, I knew that I could definitely do better. After the answer key came, I got to know that I can easily score 7-8 marks more if I was able to calm myself down during the actual exam.
It will not matter how much we have studied, only thing that matters is that how are we able to handle ourself during that 3 hours of the actual exam.
My result came early than the actual mentioned date, I had zero expectation of getting a rank under 300 this time. I opened the website and found out the I got AIR 732. Was not happy and was not sad either. Getting under 1000 rank in GATE CS is a very big achievement in itself. I might have got IIT BHU, IIT Dhanbad, NIT Trichy, NIT Warangal, NIT Surathkal, etc, but my goal was only top 7 IITs. So now I have decided that I will prepare for GATE 2022.
Attempt 2 : GATE CS 2022 - The Conclusion
For GATE 2022, I only have to prepare those subjects which I left in GATE 2021, revise those previous subjects and solve more and more problems. I got placed from my Campus Placements and decided to take that job as a backup and prepared for GATE 2022, so that I don’t have to worry that what if I don’t get under 300 rank this time also. So having something in backup is a plus point. It will be very difficult to prepare along with a job, but believe me, it will help you lose some of the burden from your head.
I started with COA, but then had a 2 months break because my 8th semester of college was ongoing and I had to complete my lab assignments and project work. I started my GATE preparation again in July 2021 but not full fledged, because I had my job from 9 am to 7 pm and then studying at night with tired mind was very difficult. But then also, I made up my mind to study in whatever time I get. Moreover, this year, Valorant was at its peek. So I used to play everyday for around 2-3 hours from 8 pm to 9pm/10pm. Yeah, I know, I really need to do something regarding my gaming addiction :(
I used to start studying from 9 pm/10 pm and study till 2 am/3 am. On Saturday/Sunday, I used to study for 4-6 hours. I would suggest to study more on normal weekdays than on weekend and relax on weekends. Watch some movie/ web series during the weekend and relax your mind. I might have completed around 15-20 web series and many-many movies during this span.
Now I know that this time, I need some coaching to study the subjects like COA, maths, etc. I cannot do it by myself. So I got the Unacademy subscription in Unacademy’s scholarship test and started to prepare from it. I studied COA from Vishwadeep Gothi sir and that was the best course of COA that I have ever seen. I got each and every concept that Vishwadeep sir taught and I was very happy that now I finally started to understand COA. I studied other subjects like Maths (Engg and Discrete) , digital, etc from Unacademy. Yes, I left aptitude this time also :(
In like November end, I finished the new subjects and decided to start with revision of the old subjects. Trust me, this was the worst part. I barely could remember anything from the subjects that I studied before. I should have revised those subjects in regular intervals. Believe me, this revision process is very very boring, but we need to do it in regular intervals, otherwise it will be very difficult for us to grasp everything during actual exam. Anyways, I decided not to stop and I started studying my previous subjects notes from starting.
I started to give tests and I saw that there is no improvement in my marks from the last year. Till February, I gave around 10-15 full length tests and this year, the highest marks that I got was 54. Last year, my average marks was 54 and now, after giving 1 extra year, finishing all the subjects, highest marks that I got is 54. This was really frustrating for me. It feels like I have done nothing in this last 1 year. I decided not to worry about it now as it cannot be changed. This time, instead of just reading the wrong questions from my tests, I understood it and made sure that if this pattern comes next time then I can solve it. But still, I was not checking the questions that I got right, due to the lack of time.
5th February 2022 – I woke up at 7 am as I had to reach the exam centre by 8 am. I solved the 1st question quickly, but the the real villain came – MSQs. There were approx 15 MSQ in GATE CS 2022. 15 might seem a very small number but this made the whole difference. In 95% of cases, I was sure about the 3 out of 4 options of MSQs but not sure about the fourth option. GATE 2022 CS paper came out more difficult than GATE 2021 CS. Because of MSQ, my confidence went down drastically. I was very very scared because this was my second attempt and I don’t want to lose this one. So I left all the MSQ and started doing MCQ and NAT. But in the mind, only one thing was there, how the hell am I going to solve these many MSQs. Also, along with MSQs, one more problem came. My favourite subject was Computer Networks, and in GATE 2022 CS, very tough questions were asked from Computer Networks. These two things really had a very bad effect on me. But then, I thought to keep solving as many questions as I can. I was just literally solving the questions in a hurry and then directly went to other question, I was not even checking the questions that I solved. My mind was panicking at that moment and I thought the I might have to give GATE one more time next year.
This time, after I completed my paper, I just ran out of the exam centre without talking to anyone and went home. I was very scared that I didn’t even checked my answers when the actual answer key came out. I was behaving like I have not at all given the GATE exam. After thinking much, I decided to take admission in any college that I will get at my rank, and will not go for GATE 2023. I was expecting around 700-1000 rank.
It was 16th March i guess, time was 11:30 pm. I saw in one to the telegram groups that one person has typed “results are out”. My heartbeat increased and I instantly checked out the website. I was shocked and happy at the same time. Turned out that every GATE 2022 CS aspirant found the paper difficult. I entered my GATE registration number and password and as soon as I logged in, I scrolled down to see my rank. I had secured AIR 227 in GATE CS 2022. I was shocked for sometime after seeing the result and I was completely silent for a minute. I logged out and then tried logging in again, thought maybe it was some glitch. But it was real. I really secured AIR 227. I told my mom (who was sitting just next to me) that “mummy result aavi gayu and aa vakhte mane pakku IIT madi jase” (Mom, results are out and I will definitely get IIT this time). My father was sleeping in the next room, I woke him up and told “pappa result aai gayu, aakha India ma maaro 227 rank aayo che” (Dad, results are out, I got rank 227 in whole India). I was really happy and emotional. My 4 year GATE journey has finally came to an end.
Points to Remember – Ending Credits
- Never lose hope. The minute you lose hope, it is all over. Nothing can be achieved without hope and confidence. Just make your goals clear and work hard to achieve it even if you have to sacrifice something you like.
- Revision is must. Revise all the subjects at regular interval otherwise it will be very difficult to grasp all the subjects at once in the end
- Make good and crisp notes, this will help you to revise the subjects more efficiently.
- Don’t leave out any subjects. I heard some people saying that we don’t need to prepare all the subjects, we can leave 1-2 subjects. But what if some very easy question comes out of the subject that you left and a hard question comes out of the subject that you have prepared. (This happened with me, a very easy question came from COA in GATE 2021).
- Try completing your whole syllabus till November and start solving the test series from November only. Revision should be carried out in regular intervals.
- Analyze the test series properly. Don’t just read out the questions that you did wrong, try to understand that concept and in future if any question comes from that concept, make sure you solve it. Also try to check the question that you did right, whether you did it with the correct method or if there any other shortcut way to solve the same questions or not.
- Don’t ever rely on test series marks. Don;t get demotivated if you get less marks in test series. There is no relation of test series with the actual exam (Highest marks that I got in test series while preparing for GATE 2022 was 54).
- Try focussing more on theory concepts more than numericals as I think in next few years, MSQ will take over. If you study the theory concepts, you will become strong both in theory and problem solving. Trust me, it feels worse when you know 3 out of 4 options in the MSQ and not sure about the 4th option.
- Make sure you stay relax during the actual 3 hours of the exam. It will not matter if you have studied enough, but if you panicked during the exam, it can become worse.
- During the exam, try to given a fix amount of time to each question, if you are not able to solve it in that time and if you sure that you will definitely get an answer, then only proceed otherwise move to next question.
- Maths and Aptitude consists of 27 marks. Don’t think of neglecting these subjects, these are very scoring subjects.
- Time management is a key thing in GATE exam. If you don’t manage you time well, then it will create a big problem during your actual exam.
- Don’t study 14-18 hours one day and 2-3 hours on other day. Study for 4-6 hours consistently. And do other things as well to relax your mind. I use to play PC/mobile games to relax my mind.
- Don’t discuss the paper after your exam gets over, just go home and do everything that you have been planning to do since long time. There is not point of regretting as we cannot change our answers now. Open the question paper only when the actual answer key comes.
Post – credit scene
A big Thank you to my family, teachers and friends who have pushed me higher throughout this whole journey.
Hope this article is helpful. I might not have the best rank but still I hope that it will help you in your preparation journey.
Hope you achieve all your dreams and make your parents and all your loved ones proud. Best of luck.
Thanks For Reading.