Tushar Shinde - AIR 37 Computer Science GATE 2016, Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Tushar Shinde

My name is Tushar Shinde. There are only 3 members in my family, mom, dad and me.

I always felt that I am missing something somewhere. Still, I was thinking joining some IT company based on my web dev and UI/UX design skills. But I also knew that I would never be doing some really core stuff as just a developer and not really a computer engineer.

My first reaction


I knew that I would end up in top 50 but still watching your result live was a great feeling. I would like to give this credit to all my teachers.

Preparation


Its my personal opinion. I was really uncomfortable with books and that was why I joined ACE. But, if you guys are comfortable or even did good in your undergrad, you can prepare by yourself. Many of my friends and college-mates have secured top ranks preparing by themselves. So, its your decision whether to join any institute or not. But, you still gotta prepare by yourself in addition to 4 months of coaching.

As I joined an institute, my preparation was divided in two phases. Phase one is of 4 months when I was having coaching and phase 2 when I was preparing and revising by myself in last 2 months.

For phase 1:

  • Attend Classes regularly
  • Revise from notes about what I have learned once I get to my room (if I was not clear about the explanation given by teacher, I used to read only that topic from standard reference book)
  • Try solving ACE material questions
  • Solve previous year question simultaneously of that topic
  • Try solving standard book problems (I have never achieved this one)

For Phase 2:

  • Read class-notes
  • Make optimized notes
  • Solve previous gate questions and again modify optimized notes with new concepts learned
  • Solve star marked ACE material problems (I * marked few problems in 4 months) – compulsory
  • Solve other problems from ACE material – not compulsory
  • Solve chapter wise tests

Strategies


A. Study schedule
As phase 1 speaks for itself. I will focus on phase 2. When I started my self-preparation, I divided my next 20-25 days after Diwali just for the revision of whatever I had learned and that’s too according to topics or chapters. I gave nearly 2 proper revisions, second one in January. So, for last two months I have made a plan, pasted it on the wall as above. And started revising. Every day, I used to read topics from 2 subjects. One up to 1 PM from morning and other afterwards till sleeping. I modified this schedule in January after 1st revision so that it can now include Mocks tests too. I used to give Mocks at 9AM-12PM and then analyze it for 2 hours. Then for rest of the day, I continued my 2nd revision.

B. Strong and Weak subjects (How did I prepared them?)
I knew for getting top rank, I had to prepare all the subjects well. I found Mathematics as both easy and tough sometimes, so it was my special attention. I knew one who scores in Maths will take the huge credit. I clarified and made every subject my strength.

Books and e-sources


I have not referred any book as a whole and was dependent on the class notes. But, whenever I was not satisfied by the explanations given by the teacher, then I clarified my concepts from standard books. Those include ‘Introduction to algorithms by Cormen’ and ‘Computer Networks by Forouzan and a similar useful book by Peterson & Davi’ . For computer organization – Hamacher is useful though I never read it.

About Online Resources, one should only go for www.gateoverflow.com. That’s enough rather than wasting time on useless sites. For books and other information www.gatecse.in is helpful and for solving previous gate paper www.geeksforgeeks.org/ is useful. You can also get some good examples of algorithms on GeeksforGeeks.

Aptitude Section:
There was no special dedicated preparation. I gathered basic concepts on few chapters of aptitude which were taught in classes such as Time & Distance, Mixtures, Men & Work, etc. After reading those concepts I just solved a book given by institute. You can solve from any standard aptitude book.

Mock tests


Yes, I nearly gave 10-15 mocks in two months. It helped a lot in various aspects right from time management to getting the maximum probability of right answer. I highly recommend to appear for at least 3-4 mock tests before the main exam.

Examination day


My strategy of paper solving : Gate paper has 2 sections- Aptitude and Core. Aptitude section contains 10 questions out of which 5 are for 1 marks and other 5 for 2 marks. In core, you have 25 for 1 marks and 30 for 2 marks. Don’t worry, all questions are easy and solvable.

You should solve the paper in 2 passes. Start with Aptitude and try to solve as much as possible in 15 minutes. Don’t stumble upon tough ones. Take maximum 20 minutes here. All core 1 mark questions are damn easy and straightforward. So, solve all of them in one go till you complete your first hour of exam. If some questions are difficult, leave it for pass 2.

Starting of second hour, start 2 marks core questions. Solve until you get to the question 65. If you feel that particular question is solvable after reading it but it takes time, then don’t solve it in first pass and move on.

Now take a U-turn and try to solve all 2 marks questions. I made it up this way because, 2 marks questions put maximum marks in your scorecard. Don’t be afraid to Numerical Answer Type (NAT) questions, they are easy too! Once you are done with 2 marks core questions, try to solve 2 marks Aptitude questions. Now, move on to the 1 mark core questions which you left and then Aptitude 1 mark questions.

Now, stop for a while and check what mistakes you have done. And don’t stop solving until you gets to this step. Take a deep breath. Drink water if you want to. Solve all remaining questions.

Interviews


I haven’t prepared for any PSU or faced any interview rounds at any of the IITs. I took a direct admission into CSA, IISc.

Future Plans


I haven’t gone for PSU or any other job because I wanted to LEARN computer science. I am interested in getting the Artificial Intelligence coursework at IISc. As well as, I am planning to start a startup pretty soon.

Advice to fellow students


The long form of GATE is Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering. Kindly note the word Aptitude. Its all about your analytical skills. How you see the question, postmortem it, and find a path to solve which leads to correct answer. How well you can imagine the things, the situations. So, you gotta work hard on your aptitude (not the subject – aptitude). People believe that skill comes in born. I don’t think so, if you prepare good enough on your analytical thinking, it will evolve. Trust yourself. Work hard for mere 6 months and you will definitely see the awesome results. Remember, this preparation is worth every sacrifice 🙂