You all might have asked many GATE toppers about their hardwork and preparation, and you would have found that the majority of them were college toppers or people who used to do coding since 8th or 10th standard, and that they had done coding in all online platforms. So you might have concluded that you’re not upto that level and it is impossible for you to get a good rank in GATE.
Many aspirants don’t start their preparation due to this fear (even i used to think the same earlier), but the million dollar fact is that GATE doesn’t require all these skills at all! GATE is an awesome exam which only tests your basics in computer science and your aptitude. I know it is very easy to say, and you guys may not believe until you see some examples. So for this, take my example :
I am Gaurav (fb.com/gmamgain) from Delhi. On 18th october 2013, I got offer letter of TCS. I was very happy that now I would also be earning money like others. I was sure that CAT is not my cup-of-tea, as my 12th percentage and B.Tech percentage was less than 80 and it really counts a lot to get a seat in IIMs for a general category student. I didn’t think of GATE, as my technical portion was very weak. In fact, I learned C language after 2nd year so that I will have something to speak in the interviews for a job because many of my friends knew C/C++ from school but I was from medical background in 11th and 12th standard.
Well, just like the other guys, I appeared in gate 2014 and as expected I didn’t qualify the exam (16000 something rank). In that last semester I also appeared for AFCAT and got selected for SSB. I prepared for that and after giving a good performance on Day 1 at Dehradun AFCAT centre, I was pretty sure that I will qualify. However, I was screened out. First time I felt little bit bad and concluded that one needs some luck also to crack SSB (this is only my perception). So I decided I will choose some different career and after some calculations I opted to write GATE and aimed to get a single digit rank but that was very difficult atleast for a guy like me. So I planned to give atleast 2 years to achieve that target as I had to start from scrap and also I was waiting for my joining in the company. Then I thought to take coaching untill my joining comes and I joined one of the institute (MADEEASY) in Delhi and started my preparation from june 22nd,2014 . Daily I used to waste 3 hours to do up and down from home to institute and classes were on an average 6 hrs a day and we didnt get any off on weekends. So I hardly used to give only 1 -2 hrs a day for my preparation as it was sure that I would leave the institute whenever my joining comes. I didnt even dream to get under 1000 rank in gate 2015 but something else was written in my destiny. I got joining on 16th feb,2015 and my coaching was also over on 27th december. At that time I didnt even bother to read any standard textbook. I just solved madeeasy workbook (excluding algo , data str,software engg as i postponed it to solve later) and that too only one time and only those questions which were easy. In the workbooks there were some previous year questions and apart from that I didnt try to touch previous year question bank. I was completely hopeless and sad that again my parent’s money is going to be wasted . Now 40 days were left for GATE and it was not possible for me to solve workbook one more time and all previous year questions . Also I gave only 12 tests out of 36 (only 2 full length tests out of 12) just because lack of time. I was only revising my classrom notes .I don’t know how but I started studying more than 10 hours in the month of january. I revised my notes 3 times and left out some topics also. I studied software engg one time in november but i didnt revise it and thought it would come in 1 or 2 marks. I was just wishing to get a rank under 1000 so that next time I can confidently write GATE to fight for a rank in single digit .
GATE exam day :
Then came the day of GATE (7th Feb 2015). I was only relying on notes and i sticked to basics only as i did very less pratice . It was set 2 and I was very disappointed to see 6 marks from software engg but i didn’t think about rank and I was very calm as I already had packed bag and got ticket of kerala to join TCS. Also there were 7 -8 questions which i didn’t even try to read and simply skipped those and lost all hope to see a good rank as in my mind many negative thoughts were there .
1. I didn’t practice previous year papers.
2. I didnt finish test series.
3. I was never in top 20 among only 200 students in the institute classroom tests.
4. This is my first little bit serious attempt and I need minimum two years to get a seat in any of the IITs.
Somehow I scanned the paper once and I was left with 5 minutes and I was very much sad that I have not attempted many questions. I was lucky that in those 5 minutes I solved three 2 marks question and one 1 mark question and all were correct and finally the time was up and I took a deep breath and felt relaxed. There was a smile on my face that I have put my 7 months efforts in those 3 hours.Then I left the examination hall and reached the dominos near botanical garden metro station with my friends
and then we discussed some questions also and decided not to discuss questions anymore as It was hurting whenever someone was proving other’s marked question wrong.
After GATE exam :
Finally I reached home and started completing all the formalities to join TCS.
In the GATE COMPUTER SCIENCE facebook group I found that I have done silly mistakes in 7-8 questions. Things had gone haywire.
Then I went to Kerala and made some new sweet friends there . We all enjoyed a lot but destiny wanted something else and result was declared on 11th march in the evening. I got AIR 130 (64.83 normalized marks and 65.67 actual marks). It was an unexpected result for me . I was little sad also as I wanted a single digit rank and UNFORTUNATELY I got a rank in which I can get a seat in some old IITs but I was happy also that my another year will be saved with this rank. Later I found that 39 questions were correct out of 52 (poor accuracy just because lack of practice) . I left for Delhi on 12th march after resigning my job.
Admission process :
After then there was a real battle for me to get admission in IIT D or IIT K otherwise I decided to go IIT M but I was so much exhausted that I left my preparation and I compromised to IIT M in my mind . Then call letters of IITK and IITD came and as expected I was shortlisted in both of them . I had two weeks for IIT K written preparation . Again I quickly revised notes of ALGO , DATA STRUCTURE , OS ,DBMS,DISCRETE MATHS ,TOC ,COMPUTER NETWORKS (only IP addressing portion) . Thats it . My preparation was very poor . I just wanted to get shortlist for interview so as to get a nice experience there . I reached KANPUR and enjoyed the beauty of campus. Finally ,we all got the question paper in our hand . I didnt expect that pattern . 30 questions were there to be solved in 2.5 hours (in GATE there were 65 questions to be solved in 3 hours) . So It was a challenge from there side that they are giving more time to solve . I found the level of exam slightly above than actual GATE and also 24 questions were multiple choice correct and there was negative marking in that also. 6 questions were fill in the blanks and without negative marking . So the paper was of 90 marks. I solved only 22 questions and then came back to hostel and started predicting my marks . As my accuracy was not good in GATE also . So I was expecting around 40 marks and hoped to get selected for the interview. Then the result was declared after few hours and LUCKILY my name was on direct admit list . 19 were given direct admit who scored 51+ marks (I was astonished with my accuracy this time ) and 47 were shortlisted for interview(42+). UNFORTUNATELY I didn’t get interview experience but I had a chance for the same in IIT D . Then I appeared in IIT D written test followed by an interview . It was a nice experience .I got shortlisted for the 2nd round in which there was one interview . My interview was not that good and not that bad. The result was out after 3 days and I got 2nd waitlist in that which was expected to clear for sure . Now it was really very difficult to find which was best for me. Finally I decided to join IIT K .
So friends , this was a story of a normal guy like you . If I can have a journey from 16000 rank to 130 rank in just 7 months with a weak preparation then those who are qualified in their 1st attempt ,why can’t they come in top 50 next year ?
This blog was just to motivate you that anyone can crack GATE exam but don’t do weak preparation like me and don’t set 2 years span to achieve your target . Gate can easily be cracked in 1st attempt itself .
Below are some suggestions to you from my side :
1. You must follow standard textbooks in case of a doubt.
2. Solve all previous year papers to get a confidence (take help from gateoverflow.in as there are errors in EVERY book).
3. Attempt test series also just to improve your time management (rank in test series doesn’t imply anything as answer key is not 100 percent correct).
4. Join this group https://www.facebook.com/groups/core.cs/ . Don’t spend too much time here . Utilize your time to solve problems posted by GATE aspirants. It will really help you in revising your concepts and getting your morale boosted.
5. Self study is must. Many GATE toppers don’t even join coaching institutes. Don’t completely rely on these institutes
Strategy to attempt GATE exam :
First of all , believe in yourself . Don’t lose hope .Stay confident . Attempt easy questions which require few seconds to solve in the first scan .Then push the level up and attempt little bit time taking question and continue this procedure . In this way , you will never ever run out of time. Attempt first question with full confidence . If you are not getting the answer then attempt second question with the same confidence. If still not getting answer then attempt 3rd 4th 5th question with the same confidence level. Your confidence level must not decrease because the questions which are tough for you will be tough for all. Those questions may not affect your rank but don’t lose even a single mark in easy questions, that will affect your rank exponentially.
After GATE (If result doesn’t come out in your favour) :
Remember one thing . It takes time to build a career. Don’t be in a hurry because It may lead you to a weak foundation. It’s better to give some more time so that you can get a strong foundation which can lead you to the place where sky is the limit…
Good Luck Friends !!!!
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