Khantesh Mohanbhai Agrawal, secured (AIR) 12 Rank in Chemical Engineering, GATE 2016 exam. He believes that ‘Someone who doesn’t believe in taking shortcuts in life, is able to achieve a feat through sheer hard work’. This final year student of BITS Pilani with his focused approach was able to score well in GATE 2016. His strategy was to prepare for GATE exam from the sixth semester itself. He said that he started preparing very seriously from September, and took his seventh semester of college lightly. He tried to complete the syllabus by the end of December, 2015, and left January, 2016, for revision.
While appearing for GATE, his main objective was to strengthen the basics of Chemical Engineering to the best level so that he could be a good engineer. He was more inclined towards a PSU job since it encompasses large practical application of Chemical Engineering, but he decided to take the final decision after the GATE exam.
“Concentrate extensively on clearing concepts”
He concentrated more on concepts, because the GATE exam requires command over them. He studied from the standard books and NPTEL rather than following shortcuts. Khantesh used to discuss problems and doubts with friends who were also appearing for GATE Exam. Now, is coaching a necessity for preparing? Of course, no but he did enroll for GATEFORUM Distance Learning Program (DLP) and EII online Test Series, but he hardly used any of them since the major portion of his preparation was self-study, solving problems online and discussing doubts with friends. Joining coaching classes is a particular question and varies from person to person and his prior knowledge in subjects. If you have studied sincerely during your graduation, there is not much need of coaching, although a test series may help you to manage time. However, there is no good test series available in all branches like Chemical Engineering.
“Don’t fear this exam just because the paper is set by the IITs; this exam is not as tough as JEE. Don’t crack this exam just because it will help you develop your financial status (unless your family needs it badly!). Focus on the simplicity of concepts and avoid selective studying.”
He made the best use of the online resources for preparation. Revision is very helpful since you have to cover almost 15 subjects. I found group study to be the most effective way for this exam preparation. My family has provided me with a strong mental upkeep in my ups and downs. They never forced me to prepare for exams, which other people in general do. Rather, they provided me with the freedom to pursue my interests. My parents and sister have missed me a lot during some of the family occasions, where I could not be present due to preparation for this exam; but they never forced me to attend them so that I could focus on my studies. It is their support only, which has brought good results. GATE Exam is a doorway to post graduate admission and PSU jobs. The number of candidates may appear in GATE 2018 will be approximately 10 lakhs in the coming years. Preparing GATE Exam requires good plan to crack the GATE Exam.
“Do not Deviate from the course”
He suggests the aspirants to not deviate from the course and focus in the prescribed syllabus. Since there are numerous subjects included in the syllabus, it is significant that you should observe complete syllabus. Match your knowledge with the GATE syllabus and design your preparation with known subjects. Know Weightage for each subject based on previous year papers and target your preparation to score more marks in GATE exam. It is not just adequate enough to prepare revision notes, but one should also revise them regularly. Read the revision notes on a weekly basis to remember the concepts of prepared subjects. Each time you revise the same topic/subject, your revision time will reduce to recall the concepts. Have you ever noticed the toppers? One thing you’ll find common among them is they always stick to the syllabus. They are very careful about their study material. You should be too. Too much of it will pour your head swimming with the excess of unanswered questions, causing you to deviate from the actual portion. It makes it difficult to revise the important things when the time comes. So, you need to be attentive as to what your target exam requires from you. And there comes the exam syllabus.
So, instead of spending time reading advanced things about your favourite topic, the practical thing would be to use that time firming concepts inside your syllabus.
“Whenever you start reading a new chapter, read the table of contents”
In the start of the chapter, carefully read the entire syllabus, take note of the chief topics and understand the objectives of the chapter. It is important because it gives a sense of the boundary in which you can stray your mind. Assure that you understand what the chapter is about and what you are likely to learn by the end. Talk to your instructor or anybody who is acquainted with it early on, if you are indistinct about any of the topics, objectives etc.
“Keep a note of the topics which are more stress upon in every chapter as they require more practice”
No examination has an unvarying syllabus across topics. Some areas are covered in more depth than others. You should try to figure out, from the syllabus, in what depth you need to cover each topic – what topics have been highlighted, what has been mentioned just for information purpose. Look to see ‘what books you require and what you don’t’ accordingly and what are non-compulsory or supplementary. It will help you a lot to keep you focused.
As GATE is approaching, we hope this article helps you for preparation. All the best for your exam!