Thursday, July 2, 2009


Hi friends, I have promised you in my last post that I will share my view on the very important question “How to prepare?” In the last post author has discussed very important issues which should keep in mind during the preparation.

In this post I will try to show one of the ways to prepare from 1st day of preparation to the day of examination-the total plan. Personally this is just an example; one can have one's own plan.

1st step: Analyze the previous years GATE papers.

• From this and the syllabus available one will come to know that exactly what is to be prepared from each subject. I have noticed that questions from particular topics of a subject only are being asked repeatedly. So list down all such topics for a particular subject you want to prepare and follow this for all subjects. This will give you correct direction for preparation. Or it happens many times that one spend ample amount of time in preparing one topic which is either of least important or not in a course even.

• Now analyze the paper in a different way for a particular subject. What kinds of questions are being asked?

It is clearly mentioned in the GATE brochure.

The types of questions in a paper may be based on following logic:

(i) Recall:
These are based on facts, principles, formulae or laws of the discipline. The candidate is expected to be able to obtain the answer either from his/her memory of the subject or at most from a one-line computation.

(ii) Comprehension:
These questions will test the candidate’s understanding of the basics of his/her field, by requiring him/her to draw simple conclusions from fundamental ideas.

(iii) Application: In these questions, the candidate is expected to apply his/her knowledge either through computation or by logical reasoning.

(iv) Analysis and Synthesis:
These can be linked questions, where the answer to the first question of the pair is required in order to answer its successor. Or these can be common data questions, in which two questions share the same data but can be solved independently of one another.

For example I have noticed that always 2 or 3 questions are being asked from CASTING. One is of application type in which one has to solve the problem by calculation for 2 marks. Second is of either recall or comprehension type.

In case of FORMING they used to ask to solve 1 or 2 problems for 2 marks questions. And one comprehensive type question for 2 marks.

In mathematics one can notice that questions are of logical type. One or two step calculation is needed at most. You can answer many of these questions with out calculation. For this you must know the basics of mathematics. So they just want to know whether you have understood the fundamentals of mathematics well or you have just learned mechanical rigorous mathematics.

So I hope one have understood the importance of previous years GATE papers.

2nd step: Analyze your strengths and weaknesses.

List down separately the topics in which you are strong and weak.

From the analysis of the previous papers you have already come to know about the topics which require lesser efforts but fetch too good marks. If such topics are of your weakness then give considerable time in preparing it. So do prepare these subjects first. But if your weakness is the subjects which are very rigorous and too much time consuming and fetch less marks then do concentrate on your strengths. Prepare subjects listed on your strength side first.

In this way you will come to know the order in which you have to prepare subjects.

Personally speaking never ignore mathematic at all and if possible prepare it first.

3rd step: Its time to prepare too hard.

Some of the points should be taken care while preparing are as follows.

1. Make concise notes while preparing. It will help you to refer it in the last moments. After referring to all the reference books do write basic fundamentals in your own language. List down all the important formulae.

2. Try to understand the topic through its application. Consolidate fundamentals by solving related problems from standard books. Mark the very difficult problems which only are to be seen while revision. No need to waste time for the problems which you already know.

3. After this just solve the various questions only from GATE and GATEFORUM or Test series papers.

4. After completing each subject revise it with the before completed subjects. Don’t left any subject incomplete. Do prepare all the subjects completely.

5. After doing this try to revise the whole course in a few days say 1 or 2, then after try to recall all the formulae from all the subjects in one day. As you will practice the revision time will reduce considerably for the next revision.

Note: It is not must to complete the whole course.90% course is enough to score well. But this 90% course should be perfect. From other 10% prepare easy topics. I am insisting to cover 90% course because sometimes it happens that one can not answer the toughest questions asked from the topics he has prepared and also the easy questions asked from the topics he has left. So if one has prepared 90% course then at least he can answer all easy questions asked from all topics and some hard questions from the topics he has prepared well.

So friends I hope this will help you out. In my next post I will try to show you a typical nature of any competitive exam. I will focus on the issues which are most important besides preparation.

And feel free to ask questions. And post your suggestion too. Your comments becomes driving force for us.


  1. the tips are good, but spending time on only those topics from which questions are being asked is a kind of paradox. while setting the GATE paper, the professors don't have any list of topics already asked from. concentrating on only those questions or topics asked would be like taking a gamble. The best way would be to play to your strengths. if you're good at Math and say, Kinematics and Dynamics, be sure to answer any type of problem or question appearing from it. Selective preparation based on previous GATE papers is a bad idea, as GATE isnt like your regular university exams.

  2. Dear Varun, I am not agree with you. It is possible that you can't answer the question asked from the topic which you think is your strength. As it occurs many times that the very hard questions being asked from some topics, and If unfortunately these topics are your strength, you will be in problem at that time.

    GATE papers tell you what to prepare and what not to prepare. In what depth you have to go for a particular topic.

    And i guess you have not seen the previous years GATE papers before commenting here. If you have gone through it then you can understand what i mean to say.

    At the graduation level we come to know across so many topics but all these are not at all important for GATE.

    And remember that at the college level you have to remeber(study) only 5 or 6 subjects at a time. Here in GATE you have to remember(study) almost 35 subjcets. So these papers will help you a lot to understand what are the topics to be prepared from a particular subject.

  3. There is a big difference in idealism and reality.
    Before starting any task you tend to make your mind up to follow the ideal path but sometimes it is not practical, if you can prepare everything to the depth, if you can understand all the equations, all the theorems, all definitions that is good enough, you need not wonder about how empirical relations come up.

    What we are posting over here is a common guideline about what you should stress on more, it's not about distracting you from some topic.

    When you are appearing in a competitive examination, it's not just your knowledge that is tested, your approach towards the study material as well as your preparedness also hold equal importance.

    e.g. if someone wastes half an hour for solving a tricky question and then ends up in not being able to attempt 20 more questions, he/she is a fool.

  4. GATE papers tell you what to prepare and what not to prepare. In what depth you have to go for a particular topic.

    can you enlighten me more on this???? GATE papers arent your regular university exams, and going by your approach, one can score good marks just by working out the last 5 GATE papers, which is not true... i know what i'm talking about dude, but dont take it personal... each guy has his own viewpoint and methodology, we only hit upon the right one by knowing our strengths...

  5. Dear Varun, I have not taken any thing personally.

    First of all , one should not prepare for university exams by just working out previous years papers. And no need to compare university exams with GATE. University exams contain only 1 subject and GATE contains all the subjects of the engineering course work ( i have told before also).

    Consider the Case where one have not seen the previous years GATE papers. Now he don't know that weight age of problems are exceptionally more than the theory part in GATE exam. It is possible he will just focus on the physical meanings of the subjects and ignore the problems. He may think that he has prepared well and he is strong enough in that particular subject though he is not.

    And as far as your question is concerned the answer is given in the post itself. Author has written so many examples like casting , welding and forming etc. which enlighten the answer of your question. So just go through it properly.

    And i am very much agree with you that each one has his own methodology and viewpoint. You can reach USA from INDIA through AUSTRALIA , and you can Directly also reach to USA. You have to decide what path you want to follow. This posts are just the guidance to crack GATE without extra work( to reach USA directly).

  6. whether GATE is a one subject paper or a multidisciplinary approach, the methodology of preparation is the same. no offence, but we've to study for six subjects too for the university exams and in GATE one huge difference is that you are writing all these exams in one day.

    you dont need to see a GATE paper for obtaining the weightage of theory and problems. As a mechanical engineer, you'd be a fool to go to a competitive exams by reading just the theory. and yeah when he does that, no amount of theoretical knowledge can compensate for actual problems.

    maybe not for your university, but most students in India prepare for university exams by preparing the previous years question papers (though it wasnt the case for me). this was why i emphasized that GATE isnt to be taken that lightly.

    to you, my method would look like going to USA via Australia, but to some guys, believe me, its the direct flight. some may think my route is tedious and far fetched, but some actually find this a lot easier.


  7. I shall be narrating my own case wherein i failed to qualify for GATE once because i prepared in depth topics like Governors and crankshaft designs and others.. Well this time i qualified only because i strategised my studies in a manner wherein i had a look at papers and then zeroed down on the depth with which i shall prepare. Although as Varun said if one has time you should go in deep but at the end its everyone's personal matter to decide as at the end it depends on the personal capacity of every person. So its like fighting to decide whether the egg came first or the hen it shall never end. So the discretion is personal.

  8. hii guys....nice discussion is going people seems to be very much experienced..i am going to attempt gate2010..before reading these comments i liked mr aryas strategy...but know iam in dilema..can anyone help me in one to cover entire syllabus...we have to study around 30 subs perfectly to crack gate and get into some wat strategy or methods we should follow to complete the entire syllabus in time??

  9. Hi Dear Ramesh, As far as my experience is concerned it is not necessary to cover the entire syllabus. I have left some of the topics which have been rarely asked in the previous GATE papers. For Example from Meteorology and inspection , only limit fits concept will do the work.First of all see the wight age of each topic. Prepare the subject which contains most weight age first. Then prepare in a decreasing order. Then after prepare the subjects which are of least important and in which you are weak.
    Remember competitive exams are about concentrating your strength. Prepare the topics which are important from your weak subjects (GATE papers will help you out in this) and prepare the entire subject which has more weight age and which is your strength.

  10. good working carry on -jai ho AmdAvAdi....piyush & parth BABA