GATE 2019 Marks: 63.33 Rank -582
Selected in IIT Kanpur, see here for Interview experience: https://gateoverflow.in/blog/8079/iit-kanpur-ms-interview-experience
I started GATE preparation probably around starting of 3rd year, I read a lot of blogs on GO, (see here) and they were really helpful for me, I just wanna go in a little detail about how I did everything - You see, I made a lot(trust me, a lot) of mistakes, so the only reason I'm writing this is to make sure you know the reality of things and then decide on your own what you have to do- Don't repeat these mistakes to get experience, read others experience and learn.
Started preparation with these –
Youtube videos of R, GeekforGeeks prep Notes, [Only good thing was I preferred Cormen for some parts in Algorithms, later switched to Narsimha(Also kind of mistake, realized after GATE)]
At that time my schedule was:
wakeup→Read one topic from Cormen.
Travel 30 KM to college via bus(Reading notes/ watching Downloaded videos )
Look for ways to bunk the class and read notes (I remember going to the topmost floor of our college with Astitva sitting near servers making loud noise and heat during summer)
Travel back home (Reading or watching the same videos to clear my understanding of what I read today)
Around 11-12: Back in my room - Watched NPTEL lectures plus some work from the internship
Got Gateforum material from library started solving questions (Went full berserk – solved them in 2-3 months ) – It also had material for reading- completed that too. We also found class notes of Ace/***/ME: completed them too. – see DON’T DO THIS [I read same things from different notes and in this much time I could’ve read from books which would’ve been much much better]
Now, this went for the whole 3rd year, yeah whole 1 year kinda just went like that.
You see, I did work hard, studied a lot(At least that's what I thought at that time), but I was only average at that time, Then I quit the internship, told dad to free me from shop work and kind of locked myself in my room on off days, Because of some work I still had to travel around 10 KM daily via public transport after reaching home from college around 6 PM, I used to revise from NPTEL pdfs in Auto rickshaws, but it was no problem, I was working hard for my target and at that time using whatever method possible was a necessity.
Let me tell you this : If you study the right way - You won't have to study the same things many times as me, yes short notes from sites like geeks / gate-vidyalay are good for going through syllabus - In less than an hour you would finish a whole topic - but doing this is not only a bad way of studying for the first time, but It'll also create a negative impact on you- You will think you know things but you actually won’t plus you won't know what things you don't know[Yeah, I used to say to Astitva, Man I’ve studied the whole syllabus but don’t know why not getting these questions], Another thing which will happen is - you will face difficulties in reading books It'll be something like this: I've been reading for 2 hours and I haven't completed even one topic.
Take your time to understand things- you have to do this just once, you see I spent whole 1 year reading short notes and what did it gave me? - Nothing, When I saw answers by Arjun sir, Bikram sir [and many others here], discussions on Gate questions - It made me think I actually don't know anything, Not just solutions but the discussion in comments did “overflow”, things like “endianness”,”split-cache” seemed like out of world. Now I realized I need to study “Everything” properly- So I started using resources from GO classroom and NPTEL pdf, since I didn’t have much time to read all topics from Books so I read important parts from PDF version of standard books.
1)MadeEasy : Total ,waste of my crucial 1 month time – They don’t reply when you post a doubt and their solutions are like such that they are given by those who are “studying” in ME, Don’t explain anything, they’re like for this question we use this formula, don’t ask us why we use it.[I didn’t even complete around 10 tests ]
2)Ace: Long repetitive tests -quality same as ME (I didn’t buy it, Astitva took it and I saw some of the tests)
3)R B R: Questions don’t follow serial order, Aptitude in between technical, repetitive questions, mostly very easy questions which make you feel good[Though some questions were better and explanation was little better than ME/ACE], left more than half of all tests
4)Success Gateway: This free test series is really the “BEST” – both questions and explanations were great, Let me tell you – many similar questions were asked in GATE including pumping length, Inode, C program questions
5)Virtual gate: Also pretty great, Solutions were not always provided but you can find the solutions with some googling because they mostly take questions from GATE or MIT/Stanford Courses.
6)GATEBOOK free tests: Good quality -similar to Success Gateway
Most important are GATE papers, I did this mistake of taking so many tests from ME and ACE, Thank god I realized my mistake and left remaining tests, In last two months I only took GATE and Success Gateway tests. It was during test series and solving gate questions that I was clearing my misconceptions through GO answers and MIT/Standford notes.
Pro Tip: Use Notes from geeks/Gate-Vidyalaya to revise things not in the first time learning, first read from books and later when you need quick revision then only use these. BOOKS>NPTEL=MIT>other notes
D-DAY[You can see these mistakes and how much I attempted here]
Aptitude was so easy – I thought I’m gonna kill it (AIR-1 is in the bag), [because of my - “We’ll see what happens” kinda nature, I attempted English part and got negative marks(don’t do this)]
Technical part: Did a large number of questions wrong because of getting excited, Actually in test series you had maximum one trick per question, but in actual GATE every word is a game-changer, lost 4 marks only because of ignoring one word – “Independently”, Lost 2 marks on Inode question – I did everything right, Also Challenged on this question and got them to change answer key but I didn’t get any marks on it because I wrote 3.82 instead of 3.8 and it became out of range 3.7-3.8 [Pro Tip: Always answer in specified precision]
Conclusion: Read books → Use Gatecse resources→ see discussions and take part in them
(Most importantly don’t try to find short tricks else you might get long rank)
From my experience, I can surely tell this: You will not be able to clear any interview by reading short notes and fixed pattern based substandard material.