Competitive examinations in India are a tough nut to crack. The shell’s very hard and requires quite some effort to properly crack. Once cracked, the contents are delicious to eat – similar to how success tastes like after a lifetime of effort. Getting a good rank in a competitive exam means keeping your neighbors and relatives quiet, and being among the top 100 in the country sure counts for something – sometimes even becoming the object of comparison in the neighborhood. 

Getting a rank below 100 is no mean task. A total of 8-9 lakh students appeared for the GATE examination last year. Being among the top 100 means staying on top of the competition in every possible way. Every loose end is a vulnerability – a means for other people to catch up. Any weakness basically means giving up the chance to be among the best in the country. Being the best is certainly difficult, especially when you don’t have a way of determining the state of preparation of every other competitor. 

The first important way to the top of the mountain is finding out a way to grind it out. Everyone feels comfortable with a different way of studying, the technique is to find it. Feeling comfortable is important for grinding out the subjects. If you’re relaxed, you won’t feel the hours passing by when you study, and that’s important. 

It is important to stay focused to improve your strengths while working on your weaknesses. As a general example, most computer science students feel weak in the Theory of Computation, while they feel confident in Databases. Having strengths and weaknesses is good, but weaknesses cannot be exposed to the point where it starts risking your AIR. Also, questions in GATE come from all categories – you never know when the question paper focuses more on your weaknesses than on your strengths. While a certain amount of luck is involved here, it’s important to stay prepared for such an eventuality.

Working out a proper routine is the route to success. If you’ve searched online about ways to succeed in GATE (or for that case, any competitive examination), the one common thing suggested by all toppers is to work out a routine and sticking to it. The routine should allow for all-around practice and study if you’re to get a chance at being amongst the best in the country. Of course, this also means taking proper breaks in between to ensure the study never becomes monotonous. 

Last but not least, it is important to “work smart” rather than “work hard”. Sitting for 6 hours in front of a book and copy and doing only 2 hours’ worth of work isn’t going to help you if you’re trying to get a rank within 100. Try clearing out your mind when it feels clouded – 15-20 minutes worth of reading storybooks or a short documentary on television helps. Try not to resort to social media or the Internet for resolving your boredom – it only removes your focus from what you’re supposed to do. Getting useful work done is the goal here, though one needs to keep a watch on the clock and truly balance work and time if one truly has that inner fire to succeed in the GATE examination.