GATE is an online-based exam that is held each year for aspirants who want to pursue their PG from esteemed universities, IITs and NITs. There are lakhs of aspirants that appear for this exam and yet only a handful of them are able to clear it. It is important to score the best in this exam as many IITs and NITs have their individual cut-offs for taking the students. For aspirants, who wish to take admission into Computer Science Engineering, they need to follow a particular preparation strategy. The field of Computer Science is in a lot of demand from the past few years and this field would be booming in the future as well.
There are few things that one should keep in mind while preparing this exam:
- Know the Exam Syllabus
The exam syllabus for each stream is released every year by the IITs conducting the examination. This exam tests the knowledge of an individual in their respective undergraduate subjects.
The first important section is Engineering Mathematics which covers:
Probability, Calculus, Discrete Mathematics and Linear Algebra.
The next section covers the overall concept of Computer Science and Information Technology:
Operating Systems, Databases, Computer Networks, Programming & Datastructures, Digital Logic, Algorithms, Theory of Computation, Compiler Design, Computer Organization & Architecture.
Individuals need to study each of these topics and gain a better understanding of the overall subject.
- Know the exam pattern
GATE examination contains a total duration of three hours for which the entire paper weighs for 100 marks. There are 65 questions that are based on MCQs and NAT. The entire paper covers aptitude questions, engineering mathematics and subject wise questions. The weightage for aptitude questions consists of 15 marks while for mathematics and subject wise questions consist of 85 marks. Note that for each 1 mark MCQ answered wrong, ⅓ marks are deducted whereas for each 2 marks MCQ question answered wrong, ⅔ marks are deducted. There is no negative marking for NAT questions. Look for the previous years question papers and sort the most likely questions to come.
- Prepare a Study Plan
Make a proper study plan where you can track your preparation. Give equal amount of time to each section. Many candidates tend to neglect the General aptitude questions but remember it is important to prepare for that as well as each mark is very important in this exam. You can miss the opportunity of getting into your dream university by a single mark. Hence, making a proper study plan is very effective when preparing for such high level exams.
- Offline and online sources to study
There are many books available in the market which can help an individual for preparing the exam better. One must refer to those books as much as possible to gain a better understanding of the subject. Apart from this, candidates must take mock tests too. There are many online websites that help prepare individuals for this. The mock tests are designed similarly to the GATE exam pattern. Also, mock tests will help candidates in time management i.e. keeping a track of their completion of the paper.
Some of the books that are beneficial to the candidates are :
Algorithm- Introduction to Algorithms by Thomas H. Cormen
Database Management Systems- Database System Concepts by Henry Korth
Discrete Mathematics- Discrete Mathematics & its Applications by Kenneth H.Rosen
Operating System- Operating System Concepts by Galvin
Digital Logic- Logic & Computer Design Fundamentals by Moris Mano
Theory of Computation- An Introduction to Formal Languages and Automata by Peter Linz.
For General Aptitude Questions, one can refer to these two books:
Verbal & Non-Verbal reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude by Dr. R.S Aggarwal
- Revise and improvise
The last and important step in this preparation strategy is to keep on revising the whole syllabus. Revising should take place on a daily basis and candidates should identify their strengths and weaknesses in a particular subject and then improvise accordingly. Make notes for the last minute study and then refer to it before the examination.
All the GATE aspirants should remember to check the Cutoffs for the stream. The IITs and NITs can have varying cutoffs that are released on their official portal. Preparing for GATE is easy if candidates follow this strategy. A proper study plan, credible study materials, effort and dedication will help one secure an admission into the top universities.