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AIR 13708 in GATE 2015 to AIR 97 in GATE 2016 (ME) – Anshul Tiwari

My rendezvous with GATE started in 2014. I was in the final year and already had a job offer with Hero Motocorp. I was not serious about GATE and went for the exam with zero preparation. I only had a TMH book for GATE which had a little bit of theory and few questions of all the subjects. I used to read from that. I didn’t even revise formulae a day before the exam. And I was unable to recall even the simple formulae during the exam and ended up getting 42 marks in GATE 2014 and rank in the 9600’s. There is a saying –

“Success is not easy and it is certainly not for the lazy.”

Lessons learned

  • You need to have proper resources, books, and question set to crack GATE.
  • Revise all the formulae and make sure you remember all of them.
  • Don’t expect miracles to happen, if you haven’t worked hard.

How to prepare for GATE along with job

I joined Hero Motocorp and was allotted machine shop. It was a shift job. You are expected to work 10-11 hours daily in a private job for a pay package of 5-6 lakhs. It was a demanding job; I tried to balance my studies along with my job but failed badly. I prepared for around one and half month in a random manner without even looking into the syllabus and pattern of the examination. I bought handwritten notes of a coaching institute and refer NPTEL videos without referring to the syllabus and ended up reading topics out of the syllabus. I used to read only theory and looked at the solved problems and didn’t practice any questions on my own. I prepared Production, SOM, IC Engines, and Industrial Engineering. Again I didn’t emphasize formulae and went to the examination hall without practicing previous year papers and test series. The result was same; I ended up securing 46 marks and ranks in 13000’s in GATE 2015. I knew there was something wrong in my approach, as I have failed twice in this exam. There is a saying – “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.” I was determined to succeed this time.

Things you should know before Preparing for GATE Exam –

  • The first and foremost thing to crack any exam is to look into the syllabus.
  • Look into the pattern of the exam and weightage assigned to various topics.
  • Solve previous year paper of GATE (at least 20-25 years) to get the taste of the questions and pattern.
  • Join a decent test series, which gives you an ample amount of good questions and a thorough analysis of the mistakes committed.

GATE 2016

Gate was an enigma for me. I was scared of this exam before starting my preparation. I was confident of clearing ESE, but was scared of GATE. I realized it was difficult for me to prepare along with my job. I decided to resign and joined a coaching institute. Although I firmly believe one can crack GATE along with the job if one is consistent and hard-working. I lacked basic conceptual knowledge in many subjects. I decided to chalk out a proper plan and stick to it for 6-7 months. It is important to stick to the syllabus otherwise you will end up reading the redundant material. So I downloaded the latest syllabus and pasted it in front of my study table. So either you can join a coaching institute or purchase notes from a premier coaching institute it will help you in reading right material with the right guidance.

I divided my day into 3 parts; one hour was dedicated to English, one and a half hour to general studies (for Engineering Services Exam) and 8-10 hours for technical subjects. After attending classes I used to revise class notes daily and solved coaching material, followed by previous year papers. Always try to solve questions within a time limit; it will help you in the longer run. In GATE we are supposed to solve 65 questions in 3 hours or approximately 22 questions in an hour (around 2 minutes 44 seconds for a question). So before solving previous year papers, or questions from any coaching material, set your time limit and solve as many questions as possible within the time limit. Try to use a virtual calculator while solving questions, as it will help you a lot in the final showdown.

I worked hard in Mathematics, English and Aptitude and production engineering as they carry around 45-50 marks in the examination. I used to revise every subject within the interval of 2 months and solved previous year papers and a part syllabus test of test series. One can make a separate notebook for the mistakes committed during solving questions. It will ensure that you will not repeat the same mistake again. I finished most of the syllabus by November end and started revising all the subjects one by one. I attempted around 10 full syllabus test (one should attempt more, at least 25-30) papers along with 3 CBT (Centre Based Test). It gives you a glimpse of the final showdown and helps you in tackling anxiety and silly mistakes. During the last month, I revised formulae daily and wrote it down again and again. I focused on understanding concepts rather than mugging it up.

GATE tests your concepts and understanding of a subject. I secured under 200 rank in most of the tests. I was confident that this year is going to be different as I was thoroughly prepared. I attempted for 89 marks and got 83 marks. My accuracy was up to the mark, reason being I attempted test series sincerely, which helped me to curb my mistakes. I secured AIR 97 in GATE 2016. I realized the mistakes I made earlier in my preparation and overcame my fears and reservations about this exam. I also cleared ESE 2016 with AIR 62. I got job offers from BPCL, IOCL, NTPC, and ONGC. My hard work paid off as I was able to attain what I always wanted to. For achieving success “All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.”

Changes I made for GATE 2016

  • Focused on subjects as according to the weight allotted to them.
  • Practiced previous year papers within the prescribed time limits.
  • Joined and attempted test series diligently and analyzed it properly.
  • Maintained a separate formula notebook and revised it daily in the last one month.
  • Practiced extensively with a virtual calculator to get a feel of it.
  • Focused on the clarity of concepts rather than mugging up.

In the end, I would like to say, you need to have a focused plan, consistency and a lot of practice to clear this exam. The luck factor is also there, but you can minimize it if you cover all the bases properly. It is said that “The harder I work the more luck I seem to have.” If I can do it, anyone can do it. Don’t be scared of failure, as Failure is the stepping stone for success. Make as many mistakes during the preparation phase and test series, so that you can rectify them in the final exam. If you are diligent and focused, you can crack this exam in 6-7 months of focused and planned studies. “Work until your idols become your rivals.” All the best.

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