Hi, I got AIR 94 in GATE CSE 2018. The actual preparation started after my 6 sem exam in May. I started with Discrete Mathematics. The strategy I used to follow is that at a time I used to do only 1 subject. I learn the concept either from Standard Books or Videos. Make my own notes. Then do the previous year of that subject. Then move to the other subject. and Keep revising in between.
For previous year I used GO PDF soft copy. For easy question, I solved it within the PDF only. For good question, I used to open it into the browser, then I try to solve it. Whether I solved it or not. I checked the answer, read the discussion, and visit the mentioned links to understand it properly. Especially the links mentioned by Arjun sir, are really awesome, it really helped me to understand the concept better. I feel that solving like this really helped me to widen my strength and also tackle new questions in the examination.
How much quality videos you watched for a subject, but I personally feel that better concepts are built by reading the standard books. Once you read from Standard books it will be cemented into your mind and you will not forget it for a long time. But you should also know how to use those concepts and for that previous year questions or the exercises questions in the book will be too good. I purchased one standard book for all subject, except compiler.
For me, Managing my environment is also a big task. I don't find any person from my college who is actually preparing for Gate. So whenever I have 2 or more days holidays I come to my home and start preparing. Most of the good preparation time I spent at my home. And whenever I was in college I try to attend all the classes so that I can take big holidays and go home, and somehow I also able to manage 75% attendance, otherwise, I have to pay a huge fine. Already paid it many times :p.
You may have heard that quote "Surround yourself with those on the same mission as you", and for that Gateoverflow comes in rescue, Make lots of friends, solved each other doubts. Thanks to @Nitish Joshi, @Ruhul Sharma, @Ashwin KulKarni, @Soumya Jain, @Sonveer Tomar, @anup patel and many many more for being part of this. :)
After Completing Discrete Mathematics, I started C/DS/Algo and I didn't take too much time in it as I already good in it. After that, I moved to System subject and give proper time to understand them. I completed my syllabus in mid of November then I started taking tests. I really enjoyed taking tests at Gateoverflow because we can do discussion if we have some doubt and also we can answer the question if we want and have a better approach for that. Answering the question at GO really helped me a lot. :)
I also took Made easy full-length and testbook test series. It helped me to manage the time and to know that how many questions should we safely attempt (not get negative :P) to be on the safer side. While taking the actual Gate exam I was left with 25 minutes, I already go through the question paper once and only solved 46 questions, I know that it is not enough to get good marks, drink that 250ml water bottle, and again started solving questions with a lot of focus, Solved 11 more question and I think most of them are correct, But on the other hand also did silly mistakes :( and lost 7-8 marks. But it is okay, happened with everyone :) .
There are many up and down during my preparation, especially when I have to go to college continuously. Sometimes I'm not able to study one day, two day but whatever happened I don't lose my belief. I have a belief that I will make it. Really happy to make it. :)
Few advice for the future aspirants:
1. Don't leave anything, complete the entire syllabus. Even a 1 marks in GATE make a big difference.
2. Solved previous year question at least twice or more.
3. Take Tests (either free or paid). In last 2 months trying to take lots of tests for practices.
4. Whatever you are aiming to score, Suppose 70 Marks in actual Gate then try to score 75 or 80 in test series because there will be examination pressure in actual Gate. Have some marks for it in the worst case.
5. Don't compare yourself to anyone.
6. Even the NPTEL videos are bit boring but they are really a high-quality one. They really help to build the good intuition.
7. Even you are not scoring good in test series. Don't worry. Sometimes questions in test series are not good and answers are wrong. But in actual Gate Exam, it is not like that. You will do good in actual Gate.
A Big thanks to @arjun sir, @preveen sir, @bikram sir, @anirudh pratap singh sir, @Habib sir, @Sachin Mittal sir, @Debashish Sir, @Digvijay sir, @Manu Thakur sir and many more for their guidance and inspiration.
In the end, I want to quote, 2 of my favorite quotation for inspiration for future aspirants. I used to take print out of quotation and paste them at my workspace. They give positivity. :)
"There is no greater power in heaven or on earth than the commitment to a dream." ~Ignited Minds
"It doesn't matter what your past is, it doesn't matter what your present is, what only matter is where you want to go."