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Are you ready for GATE?

Follow these expert tips for your last-minute preparation.

With less than a month left for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), it is worthwhile to look into your preparations for one of the toughest examinations for engineering students pursuing postgraduation.
The exam, scheduled for February 4, 5, 11 and 12, is expected to see an attendance of eight to eleven lakh students. GATE contains Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) and numerical answer questions. It is an online examination of three hours, with 65 questions, carrying a total of 100 marks.
There a couple of similarities in the CAT and GATE examination patterns. First, GATE has a 15 per cent weightage of marks for General Aptitude which is similar to the overall syllabus for CAT. Preparation for CAT will be helpful in preparation for the General Aptitude section of GATE,” says Mr. M.V. Reddy, course director, GATE, T.I.M.E. Students who have prepared for CAT will understand the importance of test-taking strategies like time management, stress management, attempting of right questions, and so on. The same will be useful for GATE.
“In terms of attacking the exam paper strategically and keeping your cool during the exam, taking a high pressure exam like CAT could be helpful,” says Mallesham Devasane, head of GATE community, Gradeup.
At the last stages of preparation, stress takes over and kills confidence. To fight that, here are some quick tips for test-takers.
Sketching the schedule
“With GATE less than a month away, the focus should be more on revision and practising with online tests instead of picking fresh subjects,” said Mr. Devasane. Considering that students are either working or completing college, they should devote six to eight hours for GATE preparation on weekdays and 10-14 hours on weekends.
Previous-year papers
This is the time when students should solve a lot of previous years’ papers and mock papers. One should try and solve the papers which have answer keys easily available so that no time is wasted in re-checking the answers.
Previous-year question papers will also help students in figuring out the weightage that certain sections carry. At this point, students should aim to solve four to five sample papers every day.
Time management
While solving the mock exams, students should aim to complete in two hours 45 minutes, instead of three hours. Try reducing the time limit with every passing day. Always remember that you will be able to score well only if you plan right.
No new concepts
The time for learning and understanding new concepts is over. With just two weeks left for the final exam, students should concentrate on the topics that they know well and brush up their skills. This way, they will be able to score well on the basis of the concepts that they are good at, instead of worrying about the difficult ones.
Make revision notes
At this stage of preparation, it is impossible to go through all the books again. Revision notes come in handy at this stage. Make sure that you mention only the key points in the revision notes.
Read the questions
Since the questions asked in GATE test the depth of understanding of concepts, it is important to spend more time on understanding the questions rather than rushing to finish the paper.
Personal health
Don’t fully involve yourself in the preparations. Being calm and staying healthy is as important as scoring good grades. “One should not lose focus from the overall development of oneself. Not only does doing so directly improve your academic performance, it has multiple long lasting benefits.
Many reputed public sector undertakings that hire through GATE and colleges that admit through GATE have a group discussion/personal interview process besides consideration of GATE score. Candidates, who have worked on their overall communication and personality will see the benefits of their efforts in these processes,” says Mr. Devasane.
Keep your documents ready
In order to avoid any last-minute rush, keep all the required documents filed with you in advance. This will help you to stay focused on your studies near the exam date. Visit your centre before appearing for your exam so that you do not get lost on the big day.
“First, students should ensure that they revise their concepts, especially for their subjects of strength. Second, students should practice a lot of questions to test their understanding. Third, students should write mock GATE exams to ensure that they’re in the right groove to maximise their performance in GATE,” says Mr. Reddy.

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