Cracking the Graduate Aptitude Test of Engineering (GATE) can be really tricky for the ones who lack the know-how. For many aspirants, time is one of the most integral parts. Time management is something which has to be dealt with diligence. An aspirant might be in a position to attempt most of the questions, but falls short of time. How unfortunate would that be! In another case, an aspirant might not be able to attempt most of the questions, which is an even bigger loss. All of this later transpires into a meagre score, something which none can afford.
In some cases, aspirants panic. And this panic causes them to wrongly mark the answers to questions which they know very well. Again, the result is the same as earlier. The GATE has a whooping 9 lakh applicants every year, many of whom wish to pursue Masters from IITs or NITs and some of them aiming for jobs in Public Sector Units (PSUs).
In this blog, I will try to unfold the secrets to cracking this tricky exam. Here it goes!

  1. Familiarise the syllabus:

    One needs to check the depth before diving into a pool. Similarly, an aspirant must be well-versed with the syllabus of his/her stream. What this does is, it gives clarity with respect to the current level of preparation. One can identify the strengths and weaknesses by simply studying the syllabus and going through some previous year questions papers. Engineering Mathematics and Quantitative Aptitude are compulsory subjects. So, one has to deal with them despite their dislike for these subjects. Studying the syllabus also helps in study-planning in a much better way.

  2. Learning the Exam Pattern:

    The GATE exam carries two types of questions, Numerical Answer Type and Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs). For every wrong answer to a Multiple Choice Question, marks are deducted. While for a wrong answer for Numerical Answer Type question, no marks are deducted. So, every single extra mark you get is going to push you closer to your chances of cracking the exam.

  3. Study Plan:

    One has to keep in mind that a study plan has to be realistic and viable. Analyse the time that you have at the end of the day, in case you are a working professional, and see if you are able to utilise that time for studying. Different people have different commitments. But unless you commit to studying, cracking this exam will only be a dream.
    So, focus on the quality of studying more than the quantity.
    – Segregate the topics from the syllabus according to your strengths and weaknesses.
    – Start woking on the weaknesses while you have time in hand.
    – Don’t lose touch with the strengths.
    – Make your own notes in lieu of searching it on the internet.
    – REVISE!
    – Write difficult formulae on a white board in front of you which you can glance every now and then.
    – Solve as many questions as possible on the topic you have completed, without wasting too much time on it.
    You must finish the syllabus at least 45-50 days before the exam. Post which, you must take as many tests as possible.

  4. Acquire the best content:

    This is another important point in your preparation. Acquiring good and reliable content is important. There are plethora of options available in the market, books, video lectures etc. Do not purchase either before having made a thorough research on the same. Try video lectures in lieu of books to gain a better understanding of the topics. Reading thick books can be a bit tiring.

  5. Making Notes:

    Making notes is much more advantageous than memorising your studies. It makes you completely aware of what it is that you are studying. As it were, you are revising your reading by writing it down. Reading notes takes much lesser time than reading from a book. It is excellent for last minute revision, concept structuring, basic framework and compilation of concepts from different sources. In the end, you will need to glance at nothing but your notes and you can cover the vast syllabus in a matter of time.

  6. Swiftness and Precision:

    These two go hand-in-hand. Problems have to be solved speedily, given the limited time. At the same time, accuracy or precision also has to be maintained. This comes only through practice. The more you solve, better will be your speed. In order to be swift in the exam, you will have to be well-versed with all the formulae and the basic concepts. As mentioned earlier, a white board filled with formulae helps quite a lot. Every extra minute saved in solving a question can be utilised for the next question. Again, practice, practice and practice some more!

  7. Previous Year Question Papers:

    Don’t count these in the Mock Tests. These help in understanding the marking systems, the weightage given to specific topics, which might differ from your attempt. Basically, you get an idea of how the exam is going to be.

  8. Mock Tests:

    While taking the mock tests, set an alarm and try to finish the paper under the stipulated time, like in the real exam. This will give you an estimate of your speed. It will also acclimatise you for the real exam, as mentioned earlier, when students panic due to lesser time in hand.
    Analyse your score, see where you have gone wrong more and work upon it. In order to reach this stage, you should have completed your syllabus. There are multiple mock tests available online which are completely free of cost. Utilise them to your advantage.

  9. REVISE!

    This can help you devise shortcuts to your studying. You will also come to know if you have unknowingly skipped some topic. This makes learning easier. Revise from the notes which you have made earlier and see if they cover the syllabus thoroughly. Also, plan your revision and don’t start arbitrarily.

  10. Health is wealth:

    Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Avoid smoking, drinking etc. Such things tend to distract you too many times in your studies, and eventually become a hindrance. Ensure that you exercise on a daily basis. This is will help you in keeping your mind fresh and motivated at all times. Dedicate a time of the day for this activity. Trust me, it is as important as studies. This might be in the form of a light jog, playing some sport, basically something which will make you perspire. It will also reduce your burden of studies to a great extent!

Feel free to ask any questions that you might have in the comments section below.
Happy learning!