Ankur Gupta

Ankur Gupta -

Tip 4: Cone Method to Revise The Syllabus for GATE

करत करत अभ्यास के, जड़मति होत सुजान
रसरी आवत जात ते, सिल पर परत निसान
-Kabir Das


The syllabus of the GATE exam is very wide and it takes a lot of time to revise everything. Therefore I thought to tell you the method, used by me to revise my notes in GATE Computer Science 2012, which might help many of you. This method is very effective, specially if you have your hand written notes. I call this method as “Cone Method” and to make this method clear, I am representing it as an image. If you want to follow this method, then you will have to keep this image in your mind for next one month.

In this method, the vertical axis as given in the image, represents the days in bottom up manner, where the bottom of the cone represents the day one month before the GATE exam and the top of the cone represents the day just before the GATE exam. Now consider the horizontal cross section area of the cone as the time required to revise your complete syllabus once. Since the cross section area at the bottom is very large compared to the cross section area at the top, therefore as you reach towards the GATE exam date the time required to revise your complete syllabus will decrease gradually. Since the syllabus is very wide, you need to revise it in multiple iterations. Hence you start revising your complete syllabus and try to reduce the revision time as the date of the exam comes near. When you revise the syllabus for the first time, you might take 4-5 days to revise everything. But if you follow this approach and revise your complete syllabus multiple times, you will be able to revise it within 2-3 hours as the exam date comes near.

Now I will tell you the main benefit of doing this. I have been getting lots of messages from many of you asking me that in spite of knowing everything, you are not able to complete the exam within time, or you are making silly miskates. The reason is that while solving the questions, you spend most of your time in recalling the concepts. If these concepts are on your tips, which can happen if you follow this cone method, then you will not waste your time in recalling concepts and eventually you will be able to solve the complete exam before time.

Tip 3: Increase Your speed, Reduce The Number of Errors

Today I am going to tell you how you can improve your speed and reduce the number of errors in the exam. My experience is that if you can just reduce the number of errors, you will end up with a very good rank. The key idea here is  time management, which will help you with this. You might be thinking that 3 hours time is more than enough for solving the GATE exam paper and you don’t need to worry about time. It’s true that 3 hours is more than enough for solving the GATE exam paper, but it’s true only if you do good time management. I suggest that the day before your exam think about the strategy, you are going to use in the exam, to get better result. If you want, you can also consider  the strategy used by me in GATE Computer Science 2012 exam. But I would suggest that you make your own strategy, because you know yourself better.

My strategy was to solve the GATE exam paper in the following ordered steps:

  1. Try to solve one marks technical questions as much as possible
  2. Try to solve maximum no. of aptitude questions (including one marks and two marks questions)
  3. Now solve all the 2 marks technical questions
  4. After this recheck all of the questions you have solved
  5. Try to solve those questions, you could not solve earlier
  6. Again recheck your complete exam paper
  7. Fill the bubbles

While following this order, keep time management in your mind. First of all think that you have to solve this exam within 2 hours and 30 minutes. Then subdivide this 2 hours and 30 minutes time in above 7 steps and try to complete each step within this time limit. Many times it happens that when we get stuck on a tricky question, we waste a lot of time on that question and later we find that we have no time left to complete the exam. For this I suggest that you subdivide this 2 hours and 30 minutes time in the following way:

  1. Complete the first step with first 15 minutes and don’t give a question more than 1 minute. If some question is taking more than 1 minute, then leave it for step 5
  2. Complete the second step within 10 minutes and don’t waste much time on this part. If some question is left, try it again in step 5
  3. Complete the third step within 45 minutes and don’t give a question more than 2 minutes. If some question is taking more than 2 minutes, then leave it for step 5
  4. Complete the fourth step withing 20 minutes. This is the step where you will find your silly mistakes. If you take this step seriously, you can reduce the number of errors
  5. Complete the fifth step within 25 minutes. This is the step where you will be improving your ranking
  6. Complete the sixth step withing 20 minutes. In this step, you will also have chance to find the mistakes, you could not find in step 4
  7. Now you have 15 minutes left to fill the bubbles and you are done 🙂

Now you might be thinking that where to use the 30 minutes left, since you have done everything within 2 hours 30 minutes. The answer is that it’s difficult to complete each step within strict time limit. So it’s better if you have some extra time, which you can utilize based on your need. One last and very important point that I would like to make is: start practicing it from today while solving the previous year GATE question papers as suggested by me in my last blog post. Otherwise it would be difficult for you to do the time management in the exam.

Tip 2: Solve Only Previous Year GATE Question Papers

This tip is very important specially when very less time is left in your GATE exam. In this time, you should focus only on solving previous year GATE question papers instead of your GATE study material and PSU’s question papers. These question papers (ISRO, DRDO, Coaching Material etc) might have very difficult and challenging problems, but the focus of the GATE exam is on  your aptitude, rather than the depth of the subject. Therefore in my opinion, it’s better to solve last 15 year GATE question papers multiple times rather than solving questions from other material.

If you really want a good rank in GATE, then you should utilize your last month in solving last 15 year papers at least twice. You can easily do this by solving at least one paper a day. I would suggest you that after getting up in the morning, first of all solve at least one GATE question paper. While solving the paper, keep in mind that you are sitting in the exam room. You can’t refer any books, notes or solutions and you have just 3 hours time limit. After that you will be free to spent rest of the day in analyzing the question paper & your mistakes, revising notes and solving solving difficult problems etc.

I would also like to share my own experience which might help people who are working in some company. When I was preparing for my GATE Computer Science 2012 exam, in which I could achieve All India Rank 54, I used to get up between 4-5 am and then solve at least one question paper before going to office. Then in free time in office, I used to analyze the paper & my mistakes and discuss the difficult problems with my friend. Revising of the notes was used to be done by me mostly in evening. I hope it will help you in managing your preparation time with job.

P.S. If you liked this tip, then I would like to request you to like it and share it with your friends. If possible, you can also share your experience in the comment, which might help other people.