Monday, November 01, 2004

How does one prepare for GATE, specifically GATE 2005

Before the marathon begins, the ‘runner’ puts in months, even years, of effort before he actually runs the race. As the saying goes – get your fundamentals right. GATE is an exam that tests you on your fundamentals. The questions are generally derivations of the fundamentals. Preparation for GATE is an ongoing process, and is supposed to happen in stages. First get your fundamentals right, and then test yourself on those fundamentals. When you have done this, you should pit yourself with the competition, which means a mock test which would give you a percentile to let you know where you stand amongst competitors.

How do you choose which coaching material to go with. This is something that is quite subjective. A coaching material cannot be assessed until you have gone through it. So, you could go by the word of your seniors as to what coaching material they followed to prepare for GATE.

Here are some parameters on which you can decide whether you should go for a particular coaching institute, use a particular coaching material, or tests:

1. Uniqueness in their study material: Study material provided by the coaching institutes is of little assistance if they are compact copy-paste or rewrite of materials taken from other books. If the reading of such material doesn’t increase interest and enjoyment then they are not worth it. There are plenty of standard books on each subject by good authors, which can make your study enjoyable during preparation.

2. Collection of quality books in their library: During the process of theory conceptualization and building application capabilities, you need good books, which can really put your brain on exercise. Check out their library!

3. Flexibility in the Coaching Model: What happens when your pace of learning is much faster or slower than the average? Is there any mechanism by which the model can identify exactly where you need help and provide the same? Is it possible in that coaching model to minimize the wastage of your time?

4. Quality of questions discussed: Number of questions discussed is not that important. By discussing and solving 10-15 conceptual questions on each topic you can build a good application capability. On the other hand solving many tricky non-conceptual questions will simply waste your time.

5. Tests and evaluation model: How is the progress of your preparation tested and analyzed? To what extent the feedback helps in identifying the areas for further work? Here I must say that this is the most crucial part of the preparation. This is the area where most of the students fail due to lack of proper test materials which can help them to build in themselves a real-test-like environment and temperament. Once you are able to choose the correct assistance for your GATE journey, it will be an enjoying and thrilling experience.

Here are some things apart from working on your engineering concepts, that you should do for a complete preparation for GATE:

1. Solve previous years’ GATE papers: Solving previous years’ papers gives you a fair idea of what the actual paper would be like. It also brushes up your basics and exposes your ‘areas of improvement’.

2. Solve test papers: Solve as many test papers as possible. This actually is the best way to keep improving as you prepare for GATE.

3. Analyze : Analyzing your test results is a very important part of taking the test. If you do not analyze, the test does not add value. You should minutely analyze and define as to where you could have scored more; analyze your accuracy rates in various topics and maintain a topic wise datasheet which lists your performance topic wise for different test papers.

4. Take up an all India test series which gives you your percentile and All India Rank : This is very important to avoid the “frog in the pond” syndrome. Students tend to take it easy if they attain a high score in the tests. However, GATE is an exam in which people are selected on their relative scores. So even if you have scored 95% it does not essentially translate to a percentile of 95. You are competing with the best in India, and to get through GATE you should know where you stand to be among the ‘top few’ selected for the interview. A test series of this sort is being provided by GATE Forum (www.gateforum.com).

5. Simulate actual test environment : This is very important. The actual test happens in a classroom, and is timed. When you take up the test, switch off your cell phone, have a timer which times your tests, and avoid taking any breaks. Also, if possible, take up a mock test series which enables you to take the test in a classroom environment.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home