We are all aware that the GATE is an abbreviation for Graduate Aptitude Test Engineering but we often tend to ignore the keyword “aptitude” which is the cornerstone of this examination. If you are a student of computer science who wants to pursue their dream of studying M.Tech or MS in institutes of repute such as the IITs or the NITs, then GATE is your way forward. The idea of this examination might seem daunting to you but remember that it’s simply an assessment of your aptitude and if you have enough passion and love for computer science, it’s bound to be a smooth sail. Let us take a look at the inspiring success stories of some past GATE CS aspirants who were able to pass this tough competitive examination with flying colours. If you are still feeling unsure or anxious, these stories might have the dose of motivation and strategies that you need. This is an exclusive most demanding article with continuation of Preparation for UGC NET Computer Science and Application Exam.
Sumit Kumar, AIR 10, GATE 2012
“If you wanna score good in GATE, I’d suggest to cover the complete syllabus of GATE. All subjects are equally important.” – Sumit Kumar
He studied the subjects according to the following priority list:
Class 1 (Highest Priority): C, Data Structures, Algorithms, OS, DBMS, Mathematics.
Class 2: Computer Networks, TOC, Compiler, Computer Organization, Digital Logic.
Class 3: Information System and Software Engineering, Web Tech.
Number of hours devoted per day – 2-3 hours every day with more number of hours during holidays and when the exam is closer
Mock tests given- GATEFORUM’s TarGATE Plus. He strongly recommends test series as a mode of preparation
Institute of bachelors- Shri Ramswaroop Memorial Group of Professional Colleges
Passout year B Tech – 2012
GATE Topper Year – 2012
Coaching or self preparation- He suggests that aspirants should opt for a good classroom program
– His revision strategy way solving 4-5 previous year’s questions papers within the stipulated time limit
Tips and Tricks- He recommends a correspondence course for the students to start preparing on their own
Ravi Shankar Mishra, AIR 1, GATE 2015
“Just think that if a guy with zero knowledge of computer science with just 5 months of dedicated study and determination could bring his knowledge up to the level of the GATE exam and go on to score the First Rank, why can’t you?”- Ravi Shankar Mishra
Separating his preparation period in two distinct phases-
Phase 1 – Understanding the syllabus, finding the notes and making a preparation plan: Ravi focused on deciphering a pattern of preparation by studying the blogs of previous toppers. He realized that most toppers followed standard books and so he started for standard books which would be simple enough for a mechanical graduate like him to understand. Then he planned the order in which he will approach the topic
Phase 2- Solving previous years papers and going through the books. He listed the chapters in the syllabus and allotted time to them accordingly. He studied a particular topic first and followed it up with previous ten year’s questions on the same topic.
Number of hours devoted per day- 5 hours during phase 1 and 12 hours during phase 2
Number of days prepared for- 15 days during phase 1 and 105 days during phase 2
Total subjects prepared- He gave topics with more weightage such as Data Structures and Algorithm 14 days of preparation and gave topics with lesser weightage like Digital Logic 6 days. He did not leave any topic untouched and even studied for Software Engineering, Web Technology and Verbal ability.
Mock tests given- He appeared for four full length tests by MadeEasy
Institute of bachelors- IIT Kanpur
Passout year B Tech- 2014
GATE Topper Year- 2015
Coaching or self preparation- He did not take any formal coaching but took the correspondence course of MadeEasy.
During revision Ravi focused on recalling what he had learnt in the last four months and tried to push his score further by 5-10 marks. He followed certain notes which made him realize sub topics he had missed such as Made Easy Study Materials, Ankur Gupta Notes and Standard book powerpoint slides. This was followed by the mock tests.
Present Status: He is presently a Research Engineer at Microsoft working on Topic Modelling of Text
Tips and Tricks- According to him it’s very important to appear for the online mock tests as it helps the aspirants to get used to the interface. He also believes mock tests are important because they help you identify your weaknesses and help you get better at time management
Ankita Jain, AIR 1, GATE 2016
“To all GATE aspirants, NEVER UNDERESTIMATE your ability to succeed. Remember to LEARN, TEST, ANALYZE & IMPROVE. All the very best!!”- Ankita Jain in her blog crackgatebyankitajain.wordpress.com
Ankita followed a strategy in which she divided her preparation period in distinct monthly phases. They are as follows:
Mid September- October 31 Finish the Syllabus- In this phase she focused on studying the lecture notes from her B.Tech, NPTEL lectures and online free lectures. She was able to complete her syllabus by the first week of November. She had appeared in GATE 2015 so she was well aware of the concepts even though she ranked 450 in that year. She focused on regular biweekly and monthly revisions where she refreshed her knowledge of previously studied topics
3rd November- 30th November Practice previous year’s question papers topic wise and take tests- In this phase she took one subject wise online test daily and focused on analysis and correction. She also practiced previous years question papers topic wise. It helped her identify topics she had involuntarily missed.
Number of hours devoted per day- Not more than 10 hours a day and not less than 6 hours a day
Number of days prepared for- From Mid September to 5th February
Total subjects prepared- Here is how Ankita distributed time subject/topic wise during the initial phase of studies:
Mock tests given- She had joined the online test series of MADE EASY and ACE
Institute of bachelors- Delhi Technological University
Passout year B Tech- 2015
City- New Delhi
GATE Topper Year- 2016
Coaching or self preparation- She was too late to get enrolled in any batches which offered GATE coaching which is why she focused on hard work and self-studying
Links to notes- These are the online resources which Ankita followed:
NPTEL lectures, GeeksForGeeks / GeeksQuiz, GateOverflow / GATECSE, RavindraBabu Ravula’s FREE lectures.
Study Material followed- She used her own class notes, NPTEL lectures, free online lectures and the books suggested by Ravi Shankar Mishra
Ankita’s revision strategy was divided into two phases: Practice + Revision during December: During this phase, she focused on improving her speed and tried solving the full syllabus test in 2 and half hours so that she has at least half an hour for revision. Revision and Moch Tests during January
Present Status- Pursuing her Master’s degree from IIT Delhi
Tips and Tricks
- Sleeping for 8 hours every day is important as it helps rejuvenate your mind
- Consistency in study schedule is important. If you exhaust yourself too much you will end up taking the next 2 days off.
- Leave unnecessary things like facebook and whatsapp and focus on health, family and discipline
Saurabh Sharda, AIR 3, GATE 2014
“GATE is a devil but a known devil. Study and be through with your concepts. Practice is the key for speed improvement and time management.”- Saurabh Sharda
By July 2013 Saurabh had realized that he had lost touch with books for the last one year while he was working. So he joined coaching classes to recollect and refresh the engineering concepts he had learnt during his engineering days. His strategy was to strengthen his concepts. He recommends reading the concepts first and knowing them well before starting with the tests. He also focused on previous year’s question papers.
Number of hours devoted per day – He put in a maximum of 8 to 10 hours a day
Number of days prepared for- He started his preparation from July 2013
Total subjects prepared- He believes that Computer Science is based on mathematics so if someone is strong in mathematics, logic and reasoning they will be able to ace GATE. According to him, the engineering mathematics questions in GATE can be easily answered by someone who has prepared well for their JEE.
Mock tests given – Yes he gave regular mock tests and according to him mock tests are important because they introduce you to changed question patterns and helps in practising time management
Institute of bachelors- Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT)
Passout year B Tech- 2012
GATE Topper Year- 2014
Coaching or self preparation- He joined weekend classes at GATE FORUM for preparation
Study Material followed- For Networks he recommends Operating Systems by A.Tanenbaum and other standard books. According to him, the standard books available in the market for GATE CSE are good and his books from his engineering days also helped him a lot.
He focused on mock tests to revise since they helped him asses his weaknesses and his strengths
Present Status- He completed his M.Tech from IIT Bombay
Tips and Tricks- According to him the best way to prepare is to concentrate on the previous year papers because scoring well in them can assure a good GATE score. He suggests that there’s no shortcut to hard work and serious studying.
Risabh Gupta, AIR 2, GATE 2018
“Going for coaching or Self-preparation? Totally depends on you. Ask yourself. “Can I do it without coaching?”– Risabh Gupta
He started proper preparation from July 2017 and he prepared the schedule till the exam before that. He focused on standard books rather than books by local authors during his college days which helped him get ready for GATE. He ensured that every single subject had a place in his schedule and that his plan was according to his grasp in each subject. He then focused on solving previous year’s question papers and on mock tests. Whenever he got stuck with a question he took the help of GATE overflow.
Number of days prepared for- He started preparing from July 2017
Total subjects prepared
His plans of preparation for the subjects were as follows:
- July – Discrete Maths
- August – C, Data structure and Algorithms
- September – TOC and Compiler Design
- October – DLD and COA
- November – OS
- December – DBMS and Networks
- January – Aptitude and revision and also Engineering Maths
Mock tests given – He took the help of GATE Overflow and Virtual Gate test series. He also sat for the ME Test series.
GATE Topper Year- 2018
Coaching or self preparation- He strongly believes in self preparation as he feels most coaching centres only focus on rote learning. He instead recommends that the students focus on freely available video lectures by NPTEL, MIT, Stanford, Aduni(Shai Simonson) etc.
- He emphasizes on GATE PREVIOUS YEAR questions as the primary study material
- Questions from CMI, TIFR, ISRO, etc.
He also recommends solving questions from standard textbooks. IIT, MIT, Stanford, CMU, etc. assignments. In this case the student must be careful enough not to drift away from the GATE syllabus.
Tips and Tricks- He recommends not taking notes from seniors and teachers and instead making your own notes as this will make your understanding of the subject stronger
Himadri Banerjee, AIR 15, GATE 2017
“Everybody has the potential to do well, but you should be ready to push yourself with a lot of determination. Surround yourself with people who have a healthy mind-set and can encourage you. Do not get discouraged by failures instead learn from them. With strategy, and dedication you will be able to fight all odds and excel in GATE 2018.”- Himadri Sekhar Banerjee
He divided subjects into categories- easy ones that needed less revision time and once that needed extensive revision. He specifically noted his weaknesses and addressed those daily. He did not run away from the subjects that intimidated him and instead he read and re-read till he gained enough confidence. He did not follow a particular timetable or a pattern because he wanted to stay focused on understanding everything.
Number of hours devoted per day- He started with 5 hours per day which eventually went up to 10 hours per day
Number of days prepared for- He started preparing from mid or late July
Total subjects prepared- He started with easy subjects and then prioritized subjects in order of difficulty like doing TOC and Compiler Design first. Then he took up DBMS, OS and Computer Networks, followed by other topics and Mathematics.
Mock tests given- He focused on solving GATE sample papers and previous year’s question papers
Institute of bachelors- Institute of Engineering and Management, Kolkata
Passout year B Tech- 2016
GATE Topper Year- 2017
Coaching or self preparation- He enrolled for the classes of Ravindrababu Ravula
Study Material followed- Some of the books he followed are standard books
– According to him revision is the toughest and the most important thing to do since there are ten vast topics to cover. He thinks it’s important to strategize what to revise, how to revise it and at what frequency.
Tips and Tricks- He feels that a lot of focus should be given to Data Structure, Algorithm and Maths because a lot of questions are asked on these topics and they should not be left for the last minute.
Namita Kalra, AIR 1 CS, GATE 2018
“Don’t rely on someone’s strategy. Draw your own strategy; experiment in the initial days. It is a long process. Always share whatever little knowledge that you have. Keep calm and success will be yours”- Namita Kalra in her interview to engineering.careers360.com
According to her preparation should encompass a six to seven month period in order to be really effective. She thinks focusing on strong fundamentals is important. She also feels that the questions should be interpreted correctly for correct answers.
Number of hours devoted per day- 6 hours approximately per day
Number of days prepared for- She started preparing from May 2017
Mock tests given- Yes. She started giving online mock tests from Mid October itself.
Institute of bachelors- NIT Uttarakhand
Passout year B Tech-2014
GATE Topper Year-2018
Coaching or self preparation- She joined Made Easy for coaching
Some of the important books she followed along with classroom notes are standard books
Present Status- She wants to pursue her M.Tech
Tips and Tricks- She recommends that the students should get familiar with the virtual calculator so that they don’t have any problems during the exams