GATE is the most coveted entrance exam acting as a pathway to higher education , for the technical graduates. The demography of the examinees writing GATE largely comprises of the students from private engineering colleges who due to some reason or the other haven’t been able to crack AIEEE or JEE belying their talent after +2. For them, it is the best chance to prove that they too deserve a place in India’s premier T-Schools.
As a GATE-2010(CS) qualified student, I would like to address some of the issues and confusions that the aspirants face during the period of GATE preparation. I will present the answer to some FAQs(frequently asked questions ) here that most students ask, same was my case when I was preparing for GATE. I will be oriented towards CS&IT because I was a CS student and I don’t have ideas about other branches. But most parts of the article should be useful for every branch. If you are a non-CS student you can skip the parts where I’ve delved into CS specifics.
Please note that everything in this article reflects my view and may not comply to everyone else’s view.
Q-1. Is coaching necessary for success in GATE?
Ans. No it is not. But joining a test series from any good coaching institute is what I recommend. Every test exposes some part of the syllabus you aren’t proficient with. So you can work and repair yourself with that part.
Q-2. I don’t have GATEForum or Brilliant study material. How should I study?
Ans. You don’t need any third party study material if you seriously want to crack GATE. You just need the standard course books and previous year GATE papers. I’ll suggest the best course books for the subjects later in the article, but only for CS&IT because I’m a CS student.
Q-3. How should I prepare?
Ans. Well, if you have studied properly during your B.Tech/B.E. then you don’t need to prepare!!! Hehehe! But noone actually studies seriously during B.Tech/B.E.! Engineering is fun time! Passing exams during B.Tech/B.E involves mugging up the important stuff the night before paper and vomiting everything in the answer book! Back to our topic now, well if you have slight ideas of every subject, at least the overview i.e. what the subject is all about and some other basic fundas then you can prepare easily. Just collect all the standard books and previous year papers. Identify the topics which are source to questions in the previous papers and study the topics seriously and thoroughly, followed by practicing questions asked in papers from previous years. That was the way I prepared. As an added advantage, join a test series. To further add up, try to collect test series papers from other institutes from your friends if you can. The crux is that, study the topics and practice more and more and more ….. and more and even more and yet even more questions.
Q-4. How to perform self study?
Ans. Answered in Q-3. I’m emphasizing self-study only.
Q-5. How to start GATE preparations?
Ans. Collect standard books. If you have sold them then collect anyhow, from your friends or from the seconds sale books market or anywhere you can. Then identify the topics from previous year papers and make a list for each subject. The list should be sorted in descending order of the frequency of topic in GATE papers. For example: for TOC I had identified the most frequent topic as “Identifying the grammar or language”. For Computer Architecture, “Pipelining” and “Cache memory” were hot topics. in Data Structures and Algorithms “Trees” were hot. I’ve misplaced my list, otherwise I would have posted it for the students.
Q-6. I’m a working professional, I don’t have time. Can I even dream of GATE?
Ans. If your CS concepts are clear, you don’t need to dream, because you can do it! You just need 2 hours every day for 3 months. Thats enough to crack GATE.
Q-7. Which books should I study for CS&IT?
1. Operating Systems: 1. Galvin, Gagne & Siberschatz or 2. William Stallings
2. Computer Architecure: M. Morris Mano
3. TOC: Ullman, Hopcroft and Rajeev Motwani(He is no more in this world! He was the guide for Sergey Brin, the Google co-founder, you can check Brin’s blog about Late Rajeev Motwanihttp://too.blogspot.com/2009/06/remembering-rajeev.html)
4. Digital Logic and Circuits: M. Morris Mano
5. C Programming: C – The complete reference by Herbert Schildt. Study pointers especially in this book.
6. Data Structures: 1. Schaum series from TMH. Writer is Seymour Lipschutz or 2. A V Aho, Ullman and Hopcroft
7. Compiler Design: A.V.Aho and Ullman
8. DBMS: 1. Elmasri and Navathe or 2. Raghu Rama Krishnan
9. Algorithms: 1. Introduction to algorithms by Cormen and 2. Sartaz Sahni and Ellis Horowitz
10. Networking: 1. Andrew S. Tanebaum AND 2. Forouzan
11. Software Engineering: Pressman
12. Discrete Mathematics: Seymour Lipschutz
Q-8. I’m not sure I can crack GATE. Should I go for it?
Ans. Yeah you can, if you have a mind that loves to learn instead of mug. Go for it!
Q-9. I don’t understand TOC, or subject X. Should I study it?
Ans. You can drop a subject if you hate it. Concentrate and focus more on subjects that you are interested with.
I’m presenting here links to valuable online resources for GATE in the form of PDFs, PPTs, applets and lecture notes. The top 3 links are actually on my servers and they contain standard books in PDF format, and previous year GATE papers as well as some GATEFORUM’s practice papers.
Collection of text books
Collection of more text books as well as several PPTs
All previous year papers
Awesome collection of lecture notes from India’s best T-School i.e.
Indian Institute of Science Bangalore(IISc, Bangalore)
Dictionary of data structures
Graph theory material
An ultimate guide to B-Tree data structures