Can you prepare for GATE by yourself?

The question is crucial. And with so much at stake, it will be worthwhile to explore upon.
For an exam like GATE- one of India’s toughest exams, self-determination, well-planned strategy and consistent practice are the keys to get through. Among all the elements that set the tone for an exam preparation, time has a dual role – it is both,a fixed as well as a variable quantity. While the amount of time available for preparation and its duration is fixed , its use and utilisation vary from person to person. And when money is added to this,the equation becomes more complex.
Coachings, as learning centres do provide an anchor point to base the studies upon. But when time is limited and a major deciding factor,it is wiser to invest it in self preparation. A clear vision and objective is the first step towards realising this goal. Thorough reading and understanding the syllabi is an ideal way to begin with. It is also the most important part of preparation. To know what to do and more importantly, what not to is quintessential.
GATE is more focussed on concepts and so being clear with them is job half done. To handle this part of preparation, take one subject a month and cover it from multiple sources -be it textbooks, online sources,NPTEL videos,notes,MIT lectures  or anything else that ensures conceptual clarity -unless you’re sure and confident enough to handle almost any problem that is thrown your way. And practice questions,as many as you can. This route makes it easier to understand the fundamental concepts and helps you escape the memorizing part.
Once you’re done with one subject, move on to next. Make a schedule to revise the done topic. You can allocate Sundays for revision. Follow a strict routine and make sure you stick to it.
When the competition is tough, hard work is just not enough. You have to be a smart worker. Go through previous year questions and try to solve papers of past ten years atleast. Learn,analyse and understand the level and pattern of examination. Not all subjects are equally important. A few have a higher weightage. Devise a strategy which ensures that you complete important topics first. The nature of exam is such that you don’t need to be a know-it-all . You can’t and you don’t need to solve 100 percent questions. Only 70-80% questions have to be attempted,but with accuracy. So instead of giving your 100% to complete the entire syllabus verbatim,save that 20% to focus more on your soft parts ,give it all yours and make sure that you completely own it.
The basic difference between ranks/marks is determined by the difficult subjects. Easier ones are easy for everybody,but if you’re brave enough to tackle and face the tougher ones, you’ll be standing apart from the crowd. Because success favours those who’ve stood the test of time.Once you’re done with core subjects,move on to Engineering Aptitude and Higher mathematics. Both these subjects are scoring and questions worth 15 marks are asked from each of them. Practice this section well and score as much as you can.
The importance of mock tests can not be undermined as they give you real time feel of the exam and instil confidence within to tackle the exam. Join a good online test series and solve them religiously. Learn from your mistakes and make it a point to note down your wrong answers.
Devote the last month before exam entirely to revision and mock test. Since formulae have a major role in GATE, make a separate copy for formulae and during your last lap of preparation, go through it daily.The exam is not just about studies but also of mental strength. Stay firm in your thoughts and believe in yourself.
Read success stories. Be inspired. Love and live your dream. Ignore anything that keeps you away from your goal. And just do it. No dream is too big, no goal unachievable if you know what it takes and if you are willing to give it all that it takes.Go shine,the world’s all yours. All the best.