10 tips that will help candidates crack GATE 2018

The tips listed below encompass all the elements you need to score well in GATE 2018 starting with getting familiar with the syllabus, to taking mock tests, and do’s and don’ts in the last few days leading up to the exam.

1. Internalize the GATE syllabus: Before diving in, you need to know what is in the pool. So, go through the official syllabus of GATE 2018. It will give you a clear idea regarding the topics you need to study for the entrance exam. General Aptitude (GA) is a mandatory section for all GATE papers. Meanwhile, Engineering Mathematics is compulsory for all papers except (GG & XL). The syllabus has many other key details that would help you streamline your focus.

2. Check the GATE 2018 Exam Pattern: The exam pattern of GATE 2018 will give candidates hints on how they should prepare for the exam. For instance, two types of questions will be asked in GATE 2018: MCQs and numerical answer type (NAT) questions. Also, MCQs carry negative marking, while for NAT questions no marks will be deducted for wrong attempts. All similar points outlined in the exam pattern of GATE 2018 has to be taken special note of. Remember, every extra mark you earn is going to count.

3. Set in place a study plan: Once you know what is in the syllabus and know the exam pattern, next step is to chalk up a study plan. When drawing the plan, ensure that it is actionable. For example, if you make a weekly plan, include only those items you think can be covered or is at least realistic. Or else, it will be less of a plan and more of lofty dreams.

Remember these things when making the plan:

  • Categorise the topics depending on where you stand: weak, medium, strong
  • Allot time for each category
  • Make time for revision of each topic. Indexing the problems you have solved would make life easier.
  • Make it a habit of taking notes.
  • Jot down formulas that you find difficult to remember.
  • Do periodic review of your progress.

4. Get the best book for GATE: GATE 2018 will be conducted for 23 papers. Depending on the paper and the syllabus, the candidate must get the best books to prepare for GATE. The text books generally cover most of the GATE syllabus; they are also extensive, which can be time consuming. So, the candidates must check the content in a book before burying themselves into it.

5. Take notes: There are many advantages of taking notes. One when you take notes, you are aware of what you are reading or solving. Second, notes take less time to revise, since they are summary points. Also, they are easy to follow since they are your own language. Third, if you don’t understand your own notes, it may mean your preparation is not up to the task and needs some push. Go back to the text books again, improve the notes. A point will come when the notes will be kind of standalone material for an entire book. If that happens, you can cover much distance in miniscule time. Fourth, it is easier to carry notes along than carry hefty books around. So, even if you are away from home, you needn’t have to be away from your GATE preparation.

6. Focus on speed and accuracy: Speed and accuracy are key elements for success in GATE 2018 and go hand in hand. When solving a problem, see to it that you are picking up speed. One way of increasing speed is clearing concepts and remembering all important formulas. With good speed you can save that extra second, and can assign that time to some other problem. Second, do lots of practice. As for accuracy, the candidate needs to be sharp and pay attention to the task at hand and not waver. Accuracy, like speed, also comes with lots of practice. Doing sample papers and taking mock tests are other effective ways to improve on these fronts.

7. Solve sample papers: Catch as many GATE toppers you may want, and you will find one thing in common. They all practised from GATE sample papers. And there is a reason why it is so. Sample papers allow the candidates to put into practice what they have learned. And since the questions are set in accordance to GATE syllabus and pattern, invariably all the sides are covered. By solving sample papers, candidates can gain valuable insights into the weightage of topics, distribution of marks, and difficulty level of questions. If the candidate is able to solve the sample papers without much effort, it means the candidate is in good shape. Along with sample papers, candidates can also solve previous year’s question papers to see if there are any specific subjects that needs special attention.

8. Get in exam mode through Mock Tests: Once you have studied the texts, done the revision, and solved enough problems, it is time to take mock tests. As the name suggests, GATE mock tests are not the real thing, but yet contains all the drama the test entails. For example, mock tests can be taken online, is time-bound and there is also an electronic calculator involved like the one offered in GATE test. By taking mock tests, candidates can learn time management skills and also figure out areas where silly mistakes are made.

9. Revision makes a candidate perfect: With enough revision, candidates can acquire new skill sets and make them their second nature. Also, when reading or practising, the thrust must be to build one’s own repertoire of tricks and shortcuts. This way learning and revision both can become easier. For revision, the candidate must have a proper schedule and plan, so that things never go out of hand.

10. Stay healthy: In all the hullabaloo relating to GATE, it is not uncommon to find health related concerns pushed to the backburner. But if you don’t want to fall sick in the last few days of the exam, don’t play around with your health. Also, you can be at your sharpest only when you are in the pink of your health. So, pay attention to your health, smile a lot, enjoy life without going overboard, and be rest assured, success in GATE 2018 would come knocking at your door!!