How do I prepare for GATE 2016 on my own without any coaching classes?Stage 1: Planning -
Put a time table for the next 6 months dedicating 2 days for each sub topic in book. By November end atleast, somehow you should have covered a major chunk of the syllabus (if not all).
Stage 2: Buying the right books and joining institutions for online tests series
- buy MadeEasy and Gate Academy handbook for GATE ECE/EE/CS/ - This book contains formula. This book becomes very handy 1-2 months before exam, a time when you are supposed to be revising.
- These books help you in getting vital marks via shortcuts. Read the preface of the book to understand how you can best utilize the book.
- Join two or three online test series. This is the most important part. After attending each test, you get to know where you stand.
- If your are a 'standard' student, then very good. If you are a 'local' student, then just back yourself to get it right studying 'local' books.
Stage 3: Execution
- GATE is more of a problems solving oriented exam, more so with the addition of numerical answer type questions. Hence, IMO, your focus must be more on solving problems than on reading theory.
- Even if you are not confident of solving problems, start solving the questions in Kanodia MCQ book. The book contains similar questions for same formula, which helps you kind of revise even while solving for the first time.
- Start with solving past 2 years' (7 papers) questions from a topic you are going to study that day, just to get an idea of what to expect.
- Maintain a notebook and note down important formulae and points and revise regularly. This is important because with the syllabus being so vast, it so happens that you wont be remembering in December much of what you studied in June or July if you don't revise.
Stage 4: Finishing
Join 2 or 3 coaching institutions' online test series. Test yourself in months of December and January irrespective of how much % of the syllabus you have covered. With each test you will always learn something new !
Stage 5: Delivering
Ultimately, it is a HUGE waste of time and energy if you do the right things for 8 or 9 months and falter in the 180 minutes that matter the most.
Since GATE is a test of your technical aptitude, ideally you should find yourself knowledgeable enough to appear in it without the need of any special preparation, after studying the subjects of your academic curriculum. However, since we all know how 'good' the Engineering education in this country actually is, you may need some dedicated preparation, which can be done on your own. I would suggest you follow the steps mentioned below.
1. Make a list of subjects that you need to study in order to be completely prepared for the exam. Have a look at some previous year question papers and prioritize the subjects which prominently feature in the question papers most of the times.
2. Pick one subject at a time, get the most recommended book on that subject, study all the topics included in the syllabus, practice numerical problems (if there are any) in parallel. If possible, make your own notes while studying, which will make it a lot easier for you to revise later. After completing a subject, pick some previous year question papers, find the questions asked on the subject you just finished and solve them. You can easily find books having previous year questions arranged according to the subject.
3. Enroll to one of the test series (conducted by an institute). After finishing all the courses, take the tests. It'll give you a better chance to evaluate yourself with all the real test conditions, e.g. time limit, negative marking, stress to deal with. It shouldn't cost you much monetarily.
4. Identify you problem areas based on the test results and work on them.
5. A few days before the exam, stop doing anything new, only revise what you've already done.
6. Before entering the examination hall, swear to god to not attempt any question that you're not sure about.
All the best ...