Rank: 41, Batch: 2018
Place: Mesra, Jharkhand
Around the 3rd year of my graduation, the lean towards academia and research took place. I dug around and consulted seniors and faculties and came across GATE, which was a doorway to the IIT’s and IISC for PG courses. I started preparing seriously after GATE 2017, where a small effort brought me pretty decent rank.
My first reaction
GATE now announces and releases the final key a week before the final result. So the “surprise element” is left only as far as Ranks are concerned. I knew my score beforehand, yet I was a little nervous of what the rank would be. Goosebump moments! It’s always nice and heartwarming to see that the efforts you’ve put in the last few months bore the results.
As far as support is concerned, Family and friends are always a big support. Moreover, for the GATE examinations, conversations and discussions with your seniors or past GATE scorers is highly beneficial. One must indulge her/himself in such discussion forums.
No I did not join any coaching institute. Personally, I do not feel there is a requirement for a separate dedicated class for GATE AR. For people who need specialised guidance there are groups on social media where a more intense peer to peer learning takes place.
A. Study schedule:
Since, I was working while I prepared I kept staffing atleast 1 hour daily and 3 on the weekends for preparation. I prefer a target-based study schedule than a time-based schedule. When you are giving GATE you are already a professional and by then, time management virtues are quite mature, once decided.
B. Strong and weak subjects (How did I prepare them?)
I have had a strong edge in technical subjects like Building construction, construction management, Building Services and History. While I continuously found myself struggling with Structural Concepts and numericals as they required a complete study and regular practice. So I limited myself to Past year questions and concentrated more on my strengths. Also, GATE AR aspirants cannot and should not ignore the importance of past year papers. They should remain at the spine of the preparation as the Syllabus is humongous & large.
Books and e-sources
Before an aspirant even starts thinking about what books are required, I think atleast 10 years papers should be thoroughly revisited. No alternative on that front. Post which, you can refer books and other sources as and when the syllabus demands. There are several websites and blogs that offer PDF versions of most important technical books.
Apart from these, BK DAS authored GATE preparatory material is also very beneficial. For people who wish to start fresh, this compilation of 21 years question papers with solved solutions is a great start. After the Past papers and some materials available in market, your graduation text books will always be something you will look back to.
The Aptitude section for the GATE can be prepared by any aptitude materials available online or in market. Though this carries 15 marks on a whole, but still any amount of preparation might not guarantee success in this area. It is your common sense and logic that will help you go through it. A detailed study of past year questions might help.
Yes. I attended the mock test available by STONEHENGE. A mock test brings you in the tempo and leaves you with a review of your state before the examinations.
I always take an approach of first done-first serve. I keep going at a pace and keep doing the simplest ones in the entire paper at one go. As GATE allows you to go back and forth across your sections, this can be utilised to ones benefit. First layer – all easy ones – see and tick, second layer – nominal calculations, and so on.
Once I fill up the applications, I will look at maximising my knowledge about the specific branch I wish to apply for. Knowledge from UG, the PG program outline, the projects the University/School is working on and general awareness will be important part of the preparation. Architecture does not contain PSU’s, so I am concentrating only on gaining a seat in listed courses.
I am targeting Construction management at IITD and IITM, Infrastructure management at IITKGP and MCP at IIT KGP. I am keen on joining one of these courses.
Advice to fellow students
- First complete the entire past year papers collection for atleast 10 years (post 2007).
- Do not keep changing strategies for preparation, there will be 1000 strategies your peers will suggest – stick to the one that suits you.
- Do not dig too deep into the syllabus – stick to it. Follow the pattern of questions from the last year papers.
- Involve yourself with some discussion forum where you can be updated with other peers doubts and clarifications.
- Most importantly, DO NOT STOP THE PREP TILL THE EXAM DAY. DO NOT QUIT. YOU CAN DO IT.