The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering is a single joint entrance test for admission into M.Tech and other post graduate courses in engineering and science in India. Around 15 lakh students took the exam this year and the competition will only grow tougher in the coming year 2016. Clearing the exam is just the first step which is followed by interviews conducted by the respective universities. This is an ideal time to start planning your schedule for preparing for the GATE 2016.
When To Start Preparing
This is by far the most common question asked by students preparing for any competitive exam. You must be wondering when is the right time to start studying so that you are able to finish your preparation in time. Whether you are a final year student, or have just completed your undergrad or if you’re working, the answer is simple and remains the same for all – START NOW! One loses a lot of time merely deciding when to start preparing. Ideally, if you are in college and know that you want to take the GATE then you must prepare for it while you are still in college. For instance you can start preparing for engineering mathematics as early as in your first and second year in B.E. or B.Tech course. What this does is that the concepts remain fresh in your mind and you don’t have to learn them from scratch.
How to start preparing
Your first step regarding this should be going through the syllabus for GATE. Make note of the subjects you need to put in more hours in order to master it. The syllabus is easy to understand and has all the topics listed in it. You don’t have to struggle with knowing what to study! Now that you know what you need to study for the exam your next step is to make a plan in order to execute the schedule set by you.
1# How much time can you devote?
One of the biggest advantages of being a student is that you are already in the flow of regular and study and writing exams. So preparing for GATE will not seem like much of a hassle in terms of taking out time for study. If you have just gotten done with college and are serious about taking the GATE, again, you are at a profit. You now have more than enough time to devote to preparing for the exam. However, if you are working then it might seem like a bit of a challenge. But taking out 2 to 3 hours of time every day is more than enough to have consistency in studying. Besides if you start now then you most definitely have ample amount of time to be more than ready to take the exam. The idea is not to spend a certain amount of time studying but to make the most of the time you spend studying.
2# Study Material
Once you have gone through the syllabus and the previous year’s question papers, you have already got a sense of what kinds of questions are asked and the topics that are covered. The next step is to find the appropriate study material to cover these topics. This would depend on the subject you choose for the GATE exam. Out of the 22 papers available you need to choose only one paper to write the exam for. You need to specify your choice when you fill the application form. But since the list remains more or less constant you can choose to prepare for one these:
1. Aerospace Engineering
2. Agricultural Engineering
3. Architecture and Planning
5. Civil Engineering
6. Chemical Engineering
7. Computer Science and Information Technology
9. Electronics and Communication Engineering
10. Electrical Engineering
11. Ecology and Evolution
12. Geology and Geophysics
13. Instrumentation Engineering
15. Mechanical Engineering
16. Mining Engineering
17. Metallurgical Engineering
19. Production and Industrial Engineering
20. Textile Engineering and Fiber Science
21. Engineering Sciences
22. Life Sciences
The choice must most obviously be the subject that you have completed your graduation in or still are pursuing it. However, the ‘General Aptitude’ section is common to all stream of engineering and science and is a compulsory paper. This examination consists of a single paper of 3 hours duration which contains 65 questions carrying a maximum of 100 marks. The question paper will consist of only objective questions. The subject papers can be prepared using books from your course in college and other well-known book especially for GATE preparation. However try and stick to basics to get your concepts right.
3# How to prepare for General Aptitude
The General Aptitude section of the paper consists of Verbal ability and Numerical ability. Since this subject is not part of any engineering or science course at the graduate level, anyone can start the preparation for this at any time. There is a major role of English Grammar in this section and if you have studied in an English medium school this should not be a problem for you. There are also a lot of android apps that help you practice new words and grammar every day and they also included tests to check how you are performing. These can make learning fun and also show you where you stand.
4# How to approach the upcoming study for GATE
There is a lot of hype regarding GATE and especially a lot of pressure for one to clear the exam. But scoring high is not the most important thing. You need to have a clear understanding of concepts and application in calculations. Rote learning will be of no use while preparing for the GATE. You cannot expect to score high just by mugging up facts. Try and understand how each solution comes about. Count the number of steps and always try a shorter way of solving the same problem.
5# How to manage your time
You know for yourself how much time you have to prepare for the exam. The other thing that only you know is the amount of time you will require to be confident in taking the exam on your respective subject. Everyone has the same number of hours in a day that they can either make full use of or waste away in pointless activities. Once you have decided to appear for GATE 2016 you need to make up your mind to devote a specific number of hours to study every day. You might not be able to go out every time your friends do. This could also mean that you will not be spending much time with your family. But be prepared for such sacrifices as everything comes with a price.
6# Make notes
This is one of the most tried and tested formula to prepare for any given competitive or semester based exam. Making your own notes helps because learning and writing the same makes a greater impression in your mind. This helps you remember what you learnt better. Picking out key words can help you revise without having to go through the whole topic from the start. It is advisable to rely on your own notes than another’s as you will always remember why you noted something on paper.
It can be most stressful preparing for an exam where lakhs of candidates apply every year. You can choose to make it through by working hard for it or you can choose to give up because it ‘seems’ too difficult. The choice is yours, make it wisely.