Right time vs the ideal time:
“Right time to do a thing is when you’re sure you want to do it” because only then you have enough determination and patience to achieve it. Since there is no bar on the age of candidates applying for the GATE exam, we often see the results come from candidates of varied age group and experiences. It is never late and of course, never too early to start working on your dreams or to follow them. Anyway, there is no guaranteed or fixed time period, as to achieve success for everyone. Different people work in different time frames and accordingly, achieve the same goal in different time slabs; but no one is ideal, it all depends on the level of determination you put, the strategy you follow and the guidance you get.
The ideal time for college students:
Ideally speaking, for a technical exam like GATE, it is advisable to start preparing from second year onwards of college. It is not advised to start preparation in the first year itself since candidates are hardly acquainted with the knowledge of what technical studies, they are signing up for. The first year should be invested in research and experimenting with possible career options and once you are sure and determined of your aims and goals, you can begin with your GATE preparation. A delay of the semester or a month in your preparation won’t do as much damage to your career as lack of a planned preparation or perplexed start of the career would do.
In addition, most of the basic technical subjects asked in the examination derive their concepts from the technical subjects that are taught in the third or fourth semester of one’s bachelor’s degree. This is why the second year of graduation would be the right time to start your GATE preparation. Though, the syllabus of GATE examination is different from that in university exams, even though both are closely related. It, thus, is a good idea to start preparing taking help and reference of the good GATE preparation material. Starting at such an early stage also leaves ample scope for discussion, strengthening of concepts, proper coverage of complete syllabus, doubt resolution, and maximum practice. It is advisable to go for aptitude test and preparation along with non-technical part which consists of English and Engineering Mathematics in the year break after the first year and as the third semester (second year) begins, students can start with the preparations of the technical part.
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How to start:
Since there is ample time for preparation, you can dedicate sufficient time to each subject, solving questions from good reference books as well, along with practicing previously asked questions in GATE. Ideally, no technical subject should take more than 20 days to maximum one month for preparation. After you have read the theory of each subject while forming notes of your own, it’s equally important to practice questions from the same topic within 15 days of the subject’s completion. Short notes or micro notes prove to be an important part in one’s preparation in later stages when you start taking tests. Joining a classroom course for your preparation would be a good idea since it streamlines your preparation and saves on the time and effort required. A weekend batch for GATE by MADE EASY is available at a lot of its centers and proves worthy for a number of college-going aspirants every year. In case you do not have a Made Easy center nearby, you can also enroll for the 70 days summer coaching for GATE by MADE EASY after your second or third year and best utilize your summer break. This course may give you the required head-start along with the appropriate GATE preparation material. After a proper head-start, what follows next is how to keep the preparation going and continued for a long time.
GATE preparation tips to keep the spirits high:
Since a long-time elapse before you actually face the GATE exam time duration, it is important to keep the preparation going in full flow, the similar way as it started initially. There are a number of ways you can do that if you are preparing by yourself or with a job or college:
- Form small support groups, consisting of 2-3 aspirants with similar goals, any successful senior for guidance or maybe a faculty, who can help with doubt resolution. It’s known that no one can succeed alone, you cannot go long if you plan to go alone. Taking help and guidance from fellow aspirants and faculty is, thus, always a good idea.
- There are a number of platforms these days where like-minded graduates with similar goals share and discuss their experiences and doubts. One of them is the Made Easy Student Portal. A number of aspirants connect here to find useful resources, discuss and seek answers even to their technical doubts.
- Though, all these resources and platforms, including social media also, should be used in a minimal and constructive way Spending a lot of time here may prove to be an absolute waste of time also.
Forming a flexible GATE 2020 strategy and modifying it, when and as needed according to how you are performing would be beneficial for the GATE exam. The performance can be judged through thoroughly preparing for and following a good online test series for GATE.
The final shot:
Online Test Series is the final stroke for your strategy. Evaluation and addition go hand in hand when you enroll for a test series. It is advisable that you enroll for a test series, just two or three months down the beginning of your preparation. Opposed to the general convention, test series should not only be taken in the end, very close to the GATE exam, in fact, it should help you analyze and evaluate your performance after each subject. With the help of a test series, you can also keep in touch with all the technical subjects regularly by taking topic wise and mixed subject tests frequently. Full syllabus tests, according to varying difficulty levels, though, can be taken towards the end of your preparation, just before the final GATE exam to analyze and get the complete picture of your preparation level.
Finally, when you actually face the GATE exam, try to keep calm, stay composed and confident. You can gain confidence if you have already planned and practiced the three hours of the exam multiple times before actually appearing for the actual one. Center-based mock tests, conducted on the same pattern as GATE, on a specific center can help you in that. After you have prepared best from your end and done all that you could do, the key is just to relax and be calm.
As we all know, “it’s never too late to start if you start in the right direction”. Even if you failed to realize your goals on time, but later, in the final year or even after that, you realize that GATE examination is the right opportunity provider, you can crack the exam with flying colors just with the right strategy and guidance, put in the right orientation. It has been seen in the past that along with B.Tech. also, students achieved the first rank and at the same time, already employed, married or even parents of small kids achieved top ranks, so its more about strategy and management than about time, age and skills. Talking about strategy, “there is your strategy of preparation, then there is a topper’s strategy, as for one strategy that anyone can follow, it does not exist.” There is no one size fits all here. Strategies and schedules differ from person to person and are unique for each subject, each exam and each student.
Watching topper’s testimonials, interviews and blogs help you in a way to know how they strategized and planned their path of action towards success but one should not follow the same blindly. The first step towards starting the preparation is analysis. Analysis of the exam, the syllabus and yourself. Identify the traditional answer of questions, the rarely asked ones, prioritize accordingly and then plan your studies.
It’s better to plan half an hour before efficient six-hour studies than to study 12 hours a day with zero planning. After you’ve identified your strong areas and your weak points, it becomes very easy to work upon them and improve. Ideally, it is suggested to take theoretical and lengthy subjects towards the beginning of your preparation, but not to dedicate more than two weeks or so for their preparation, covering all its aspects, concepts, practice questions. Once you’re confident of a subject completely, appear for a single subject test for same and after analysis of its result, move forward accordingly.
A very strong, planned and strict revision plan is also advisable to be maintained along with the preparation plan. Time for revision must increase with each progressing month of your preparation. Subjects studied, in the beginning, must be revised via part syllabus tests, modal questions or previously asked questions in between new subjects. This ensures that their concepts are not held loose whilst preparing new subjects.
What matters in the end, is not how well you studied and prepared but only how well you retained and performed. Little things add to efficiency and add up to big results. Make and stick to realistic schedules and routines. Make it a habit to make and read micro notes, eat healthily, take proper sleep breaks. Don’t lose your calm, be sure of your aim and stay confident of yourself. Time taken does not matter in the end if the result is worth the time and the effort. Your determination and required motivation to achieve comes from within as they say, “lost are the people who search for motivation anywhere outside themselves.”
All the best for GATE 2020!