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What I Learned From My Failed Attempt at GATE Exam?

My full name is Ranjit Kumar Samal. I am from Kendra Para, Odisha. I did my B.Tech. from CV Raman college of engineering (2009-2013) in Bhubhaneswar in Mechanical branch. In GATE 2013 my rank was more than 13000 with only 30 marks. In 2014 my rank was 710 with 67 marks. After this, I was pursuing M.Tech. at NIT Trichy. I got interview call from NLC India Ltd. and was selected in it and got an offer letter. So I gave up M.Tech. and joined NLC in March 2015 as GET( Graduate engineering trainee). Presently I am working in the same company at Neyveli as deputy executive engineer. I am staying at the company township at Neyveli, Tamil Nadu.

The following answer was originally published here –


I can answer this question pretty well having made a failed attempt at GATE Exam followed by a successful attempt. So I know all the nitty-gritty details of how you fail in GATE Exam and how you succeed. In my 4th year itself, I joined GATE coaching classes and got highly motivated to crack it. So I attended most of the classes and was also attentive. I made proper analysis of gate paper and had a well thought plan to study. I was quite good at solving questions and was able to solve most problems that the teacher gave in class. But then at the end I got only 30 marks or AIR >13000. SO WHAT WAS THE CAUSE? Here is a detailed analysis.

1. No time for regular studies

Since I was in final year I had to attend classes, do project work, study for occasional tests, placement training etc. So I would always miss 1-2 hours of coaching class regularly. So there were many topics (20‰) of each subject I had to skip. I would think I will study them on my own but I never did. This cost me badly in exams. So my suggestion is if you decide to skip then skip any section entirely after analysing the weightage. But do not skip anything from the topic which you are studying.

2. No revision

Since I understood most concepts in class I guessed I will never forget them. Hence I did not bother for regular revision. Towards the end I realised I had forgotten most things studied at the beginning.

3. Not making compressed notes

This was my worst mistake. All throughout my life I had never made any formula notes and I did not do so here.i was confident I could revise from the main notes. But towards the last few days seeing the volume of notes will make you nervous. Hence having small compressed notes is more like a psychological advantage than anything else.

4. No belief

I was motivated but at the same time I always had a negative belief that I could not do it. I was overwhelmed by the no of candidates and level of their preparation. As I had never got much success in any entrance test till then so I had no confidence. This diluted my approach and I started setting smaller easier goals like 50 marks etc

5. Major flaw in planning

Since I had limited time I had to do selective reading. One of the teachers had told if you read 7-8 subjects properly you could get 50-60 marks easily. But what he did not tell was the choice of subjects should be carefully done. For eg in mechanical, there are 12 subjects which can be broadly categorized into 4 areas— thermal, design, production and maths and aptitude. So you need to spread your subjects in all areas and especially study maths as it was having sure 15 marks weightage. But I studied mostly thermal subjects and completely skipped maths. This led to many unattempted questions.

So inspite of hard work I failed to get even the 50 marks I had set. But I didn’t give up. I realized all my flaws and now I was confident of getting top 1000 rank. So I tried again next year and got 67 Marks and AIR 710 which was good enough to get into Navratna PSU – NLC.

Finally, I would say GATE Exam is pretty easy given that you study at least 80% of the syllabus and revise 3-4 times.

All the best!!

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