Gourav Kumar Singh
Rank: 37, Batch: 2016
Place: Jamshedpur, Jharkhand
My first reaction
One day before the result I was very nervous and constantly refreshing the result web page. After seeing my result, I jumped out of joy, extremely happy. I called my dad instantly, he too jumped in joy, congratulated me. My friends were all over me and the party began :).
For my success most of the credit goes to my father, it was his believe in me and his encouragement and motivation that gave me the power to get through GATE, and of course my teachers, my guide and my friends everyone contributed in their own way.
Initially for first two years of engineering I focused only on my branch papers and we have some very good faculties in our institute who helped a lot in clearing my basics and increasing my interest in core subjects. By the end of second year I was good in DBMS, DAA, Programming, DS and DEC. Then after that I joined GATEFORUM in third year. Although I joined a coaching but I would like to mention that it is not at all necessary to join a coaching institute, I joined because I wasn’t that good at self study. But I have seen my friends excel without coaching. So, coaching or self-study that’s your choice, it depends on your style of studying but, either way its fine. Trust me even coaching cannot guarantee you good rank unless you work hard.
A. Study schedule
Since I am a fresher, I had to manage my semesters along with the GATE coaching. So, in the beginning I used to give only two to three hours per day for GATE, then by summer of 2015, I had covered 5 subjects in coaching that I revised in summer and made short notes from them which helped me in quick revision. Then when class started placements began that disturbed my preparation a bit, but thereafter I increased my study hours. In the last 3 months all my time was devoted to GATE, I would wake up in morning, and would stop only to take breakfast, lunch or dinner. I used to study 15–16 hours daily. I used to revise each subject once a week and give a lot of full length test series. Sometimes even 3 full length tests in a day. Revision is the key for all preparation, whatever your learning, you must revise to stay in touch with the concepts and then try to learn new ones.
B. Strong and Weak subjects (How did I prepared them?)
My strong areas are DBMS, DS, DAA, CD and ToC. These I practiced a lot, and my institute faculties who taught me these subjects did a good job, and I didn’t had to attended GATE class for these subjects. I always made sure I kept revising them to stay in touch. CN and CA were my weak areas but then I worked hard for CN, attended all my GATE classes made good notes, practiced problem revised the concepts and eventually became good at it. I thought of leaving CA completely by December, but then one day I took gdrive and watched all the lectures for CA in three days, then practiced previous year GATE problem and hence it eventually became easy for me.
I would advise all not to leave any subject in the beginning, try to cover as much as you can because you never know which subject or which portion weight-age will change.
Books and e-sources
Just follow the recommended books, which I guess most of you know, and I didn’t use much eSources while preparation but certainly gateoverflow and gatecse are good websites.
I didn’t prepare much for this section, just solved the aptitude book of made easy and made notes from them, practiced problems from that book, and then solved all the previous year GATE questions.
Yes I did plenty of them. I joined the test series of GATEFORUM, ACE and MADE EASY. I gave many full length tests from all these three websites. Test series are ‘extremely’ essential for everyone’s preparation, this is one thing which you cannot afford to miss. One should not only give test series but also try to learn from them, I will tell you what I did. Once I had given a test I would mark which questions or which areas I need to work on, and later made a note of them, and when coming for the next test, I would revise these concepts so that I didn’t make the same mistakes again. The idea should be to learn from the mistakes. One should not see test series as to see their rank, or their marks, no, no at all. They should try to analyze what mistakes they are making and how to overcome them. Giving a test series is not as important as is the analysis of a test. If you keep giving tests but don’t analyze them then it will be of no use.
This time management is something which will only come naturally to you after you give a few test series, not only time, but you will also learn how to manage stress during the exams. My approach was simple, I would start with CS section and then solve the easy ones first, then aptitude section and then comeback for the difficult ones.
Although I applied for PSUs but didn’t go for the interviews, I decided to go for Mtech and I got direct admission from IISc.
Right now just do my Mtech well at IISc, try to publish a few papers and then decide between Phd abroad and a job.
Advice to fellow students
Just stay focused, make study plans and have the confidence in you, that’s it friends. I remember MS Dhoni once said that the one thing we do when things go wrong is start doubting our abilities. So, my advise would be, no matter whatever happens, just trust yourself to do well and believe me you will. There was a point in my preparation I thought I won’t even be able to clear GATE cut off, after a series of failures in TEST series, but now here I am. :). Believe in yourself 🙂