Thursday, April 10, 2014

Gateway to GATE

        After the GATE result has been published I have received a lot requests to write a post on how to prepare for GATE. Preparation strategy for GATE depends on many parameters like -
  • Technical background of the student: if you have sound knowledge of the key subjects (like algorithm, OS, DBMS, Networking) then you are already halfway through your journey. If you don't have that then don't be upset, just you have to try harder than the others.
  • Speed of learning : if you have good learning speed then you will need less time to learn things, but if you have comparatively low speed then don't panic, don't rush, calm down, learn at your comfortable speed. Believe me at the end of the day speed merely matters.
  • Can you follow routine: if you cannot follow your own routine then learning will be difficult.
  • Confidence level: if you are confident then you can learn things by heart. If you have lack of confidence then you will be panicked, you will rush, you will try to memorize things, and at the end will mess up everything in the exam hall. But if you have over confidence then you are ruined. Over confidence is worse than low confidence.
  • Dedication level: no dedication no gain.
  • Study materials: try to follow some good video lectures because sometimes you don't even know that what you know is wrong. Read what is worth reading, don't read garbage. Here is a small list of some standard study materials.
  • Intelligence level: if you have high intelligence level then surely you will get advantage. But hey we can change our brain wiring, a stupid person can become a genius over time if he keeps pursuing what he wants to do. There are numerous examples in history. Even Einstein was not the class topper.
etc. Long story short - preparation strategy is not same for all. Only you can tell which strategy is suitable for you. Here I am writing a simple generalized version of a preparation plan, it is up to you to customize this version for your own benefit.

     I have divided the preparation process in 4 phases. This is my personal opinion you are free to use your own process.

        Approximately an average student should need a minimum of 7-8 months ( 6-8 hrs/day ) of study and an advanced student should need minimum of 4-5 (4 hrs/day)months of study. 

  • Phase 1: Mental Preparation
Before you begin your journey mental preparation is a must. Take your time be prepared mentally then start your preparation.
    • Are you sure? : So you want to prepare for GATE. Are you sure you really want to do this? Think properly and take a final decision. If you really want to crack GATE then you should not be reluctant about it. GATE should be your only aim for the next few months. If you just want to sit for GATE just because your friends are doing so then I would suggest don't waste your time and money, go to some restaurant and have some good food with the money. Only prepare for it if you really want it.
    • Can I do it? : Ask yourself this question. Be honest with yourself when answering. If the answer is yes then your preparation is already 50% done because you have the fuel - self-confidence. If the answer is no then you need motivation. Before doing something you have to believe you can do it. If you can't crack GATE even in your dreams then how can you do it in the real exam? No matter how hard it may seem don't lose hope, just try harder, and push your limits. No hope no chance.

  • Phase 2: Study the basics
Duration of this phase: approx. 2-3 months (for advanced students), 4-6 months (for average students)
    • Make a mental routine and try to follow it.
    • Make a list of tasks each week and check at the end of the week how many of those tasks are complete. Try to complete at least 60% tasks. Don't push yourself too hard. Just comfortably learn things.
    • No matter how strong your background is don't ignore the basics, because who knows you may don't even know what you don't know or what you know is wrong. Read all the basics at least for one time. All the advanced topics requires a sound knowledge of the basics. If there is some flaw in basics then you are in a big trouble. It's like a BMW running on kerosene.
    • After reading a chapter solve some problems (at least 50 mcqs and some long problems). Mark problems you could not solve in first attempt.
    • Draw mind maps for some important topics if possible, it works.
    • Try to finish the math syllabus in this phase.
    • If possible register for some online mock test series. This will give you the push.

  • Phase 3: Study advanced topics and practice a lot
Duration of this phase: never ending. Stop this phase 20 days before GATE exam.
    • It is time to modify the structure of your to do list, add more time for problem solving. Try to solve previous year GATE papers (and solve them by yourself, don't cheat).
    • Now that you have a sound knowledge of basics you are ready for advanced topics - like avl, B , B+ tree, tcp life cycle, type checking, p-np-npc, turing machine, DMA controller, pipelining etc.
    • Read a topic until you understand it properly.
    • Take some mock test. Analyze you performance.
    • Weekly revise the previous topics. Solve the previously marked problems.

  • Phase 4: Revision and practice
Duration of this phase: last 15-20 days before GATE exam
    • Revise the important topics and any other topic you need to revise.
    • Solve previous year GATE papers (in this phase don't even look at the mock test papers by different coaching institutes, they just don't have the standard).
    • Stay cool; don't take pressure; leave any topic you have not read yet; believe me no one feels 100% prepared in this phase. Mental condition is vital in these days.


  1. thank u for these advices and phases of learning it will really help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    -gaurav srivastava

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  4. GATE 2013 : 2992
    GATE 2014 : 1116
    both the times i prepared basics well.. as far as i think . only lacking was MCQ and other problems.
    Never solved "all" previous GATE questions. Though solved many which i thought i was comfortable with including OS , ALGO, CN GRAPH THEORY.. some others..
    now i feel helpless..

    i filled MS by Research in IISC , Bombay , Madras.. and i know this "After you are called , Its just your performance in The Interview that matters".. but i dont feel myself courageous enough to again looking @ those exam time notes i prepared .. study material , books ...kuch bhi nahi..
    I fear. Dar lag raha hai..

    i feel very disheartened .. once i think i can get through . i feel happy but just the next moment a thought hammers my mind" 2 bar ho chuka hai .. hosakta fir se aisa hi ho jae... then what "
    left job in December this year for preparation.

    was very confident this year (almost at most of the times) that i will get it through...

    if possible please help me through..

    thank you

    Thank you for the blog post :-)
    it feels good getting to know about the people who achieve their Dreams .:-)

    1. Sometimes our plans don't work, that's the risk we always have to
      take.I think you made a right decision by leaving the job but the
      timing was wrong, if u had left your job 4-5 months earlier then u
      would have enough time to prepare. It is very difficult to prepare for
      GATE while u r working in some private company. Only you can decide
      what is good for you. So, take your time, there is no hurry, think
      what you really want to do, then decide if you are going to join some
      new job or drop for GATE. There is always a risk no matter how good
      your preparation is, it is up to you if you are going to take that
      risk or not. No risk no gain.

  5. I have a doubt whether we should study a text book completely or topics relevant to gate only

  6. If you don't read your text books then your basics will be 'null'.

  7. thanks a will really help me

  8. give list of text books u study


  9. Your intro is super cool bro.. I also wrote my experience. This was the thing I should have told many. Now I could sent this link when some one asks.. Thanks for sharing..

  10. Please suggest good GATE coaching in Kolkata?Please

    1. Gateforum is good for average students, but if you want rank within top 100 then self study is the best choice.

    2. Thanks a lot !

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  12. I finished my 3rd year of BE in CSE . Is it a good time to prepare for GATE during my 4th year or shall I prepare for it after finishing BE along with Job?which one you suggest?
    I heard NODIA publication books are good to prepare for GATE ,is it true?

    1. This is the toughest question. But I think if you can get to IISc or in some top IIT then you will have better job opportunity. I personally know people who are now in Google after completing their masters from IISc.

    2. do not read noida , solve gate papers , u can see also for lots of cs questions.

    3. Deleted a comment. Please do not disclose personal information.

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  14. Thanks for sharing. I am a GATE aspirant and was looking for a course for online Gate 2015 classes in nagpur.

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