The Graduate Aptitude Test for Engineering is an online exam which gets you admissions in top post-grad programs in the fields of engineering, architecture and technology in India. Hosted by The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) on the behalf of the government, the GATE is attempted by thousands of students each year but only handfuls qualify. Out of the 9 lac registered students, 8 lac appeared for the exam in 2015, but only 15% of these students qualified in the examination. The next GATE exam is to be held between 30th January 2016 and 7th February 2016.
The Indian author Prashant Gupta once, quite sassily, said, “During the engineering exams we only need ink in our pen, nothing else is needed to answer the question paper.” But all of us know that this is just a smart quote. The Graduate Aptitude Test for Engineering (GATE) requires its student to bring a lot more to the exam than a refill for their pen — it’s an online test anyway. The GATE exam is just around the corner, and while anyone smart enough to give the test is smart enough to know how to crack it, it’s always better to make sure that all your ducks are in a row.
1. Familiarity is the key to preparation.
It’s crunch time and knowing GATE like the back of your hand will pull you through. Understand the pattern of the paper to sail through it, no matter the pre-exam anxiety. Look at previous papers and identify their focus. Work with as many mock tests as possible because there are only so many ways to ask you a question. A lot of online portals offer mock tests to help you generate the feel of the exam, or make your own mock test using standard text books. Practice is your true best friend.
2. If there is a question, then there has to be an answer.
Looking at a question, you should be able to decipher what is being asked. Only by understanding the question can you answer it correctly. With all the negative marking, it is important that accuracy should be your focus. So unless you know what the question wants you to do, it might be safer to not do it at all.
3. Get the Fundamentals Right.
While the questions are set to be made demanding, it is the basics that will take you through. Working on your basics will ensure a sturdy foundation for you. The GATE is testing 15 years’ worth of knowledge so practice papers of older academic years. It is also a good idea to compile all the important formulas in one place. This way, not only will you find them easily but putting them together will act as a revision task.
4. Your phone is quite smart, use it!
There are apps that have been designed to help you out with your studying. Your phone is with you everywhere, and the next time your mother wants you to drive her to the dentist’s, you may as well take your study with you too. You don’t have to like a nerd with a fat text-book when you can be a sly nerd, looking like you are just texting. For a nerd at heart, the GATE Encyclopedia app can be a savior.
5. YouTube can be a goldmine.
Some online videos happen to be a great way to learn your topics. Using different mediums will stimulate your learning experience on multiple levels. Plus you can rewind a video all you want, and fast forward it to your liking. Can you say the same about your coaching class teacher? But they’re only helpful as long as it’s the tutorials you’re watching, and not trailers.
6. Test your mind and not your body.
Your body doesn’t know that the GATE is so important to you and it continues to need to sleep and eat. Don’t underestimate the energy a healthy lifestyle will give you. Respect the needs of your body to be able to fully engage in studying. Relaxing your mind is important too. Everyone needs some playtime in a day’s time. So take breaks without any shame, they always give new perspective.
7. Look at GATE objectively.
Yes, it is intimidating to think that a test will determine the next course of your life. So don’t think of it like that! It doesn’t determine much, except whether you can get into a school or not. The bigger picture is that preparing for GATE will give you tools for life, which you will use whether or not you give the exam successfully. It is just another challenge, and like in life, the process is much more fruitful than the result it presents!