Work on Your Strengths for the GATE Exam

The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) essentially examines the aptitude of engineering graduates/students with simple problems and applying engineering concepts to solve them. So, GATE aspirants have to develop the abilityto solveconceptual and practical problems.

GATE aspirants have to go through the following stages of preparation:


Preparation Strategy

Book Selection

Theoretical Study

Key Concepts



Time, energy, hard work and books are the basic necessities of success in the GATE. Each of the seven stages mentioned above is critical to preparing well.


To succeed in the GATE needs motivation, confidence, determination, time, books, energy and hard work. Aspirants need to be motivated and have the right amount of curiosity to studyand seek knowledge as much as possible as a result of self-interest. While preparing for GATE, it’s important to keep in mind the long-term and short-term effects of success in the GATE in the career-making process.

Preparation strategy:

Effectively utilizing time and energyare very important for the GATE Exam. Candidates have to develop a solid preparation strategy including picking important topics for study, selecting the right books/chapters to study from, allotting time for a particular list of topics, etc.

Book Selection:

Planning for theoretical study can be enhanced by using error-free books and cover the topics in detail. The tendency to follow too many books should be avoided.Candidates should carefully survey others and ask their peers and professors to find the right books. Information available online can also be used. Although there are various resources available online, limiting your browsing can help you prevent wasting time. Choose books from respected authors and, if you’re using online sources, check to make sure they are not misleading.

Theoretical study:

Studying the topics asked in GATE papers in depth is very important. For Ask around to see which questions commonly appear in the GATE. Refer to books that provide chapter-wise solutions of GATE questions. Generally, students tend to have only a few subjects that interest them. Find what interests you and learn these topics through and through so you know and understand the concepts. Thereafter, subjects of secondary interest must be given priority in preparation, and so on. We recommendthat you studyyour interests thoroughly to ensure your success in the GATE.

Understanding Key Concepts:

It’s important to make a summary of all the important concepts you come across. This makes it easy to revise later and can help you understand your theoretical concepts much better. This helps you save time and helps build confidence. All the important observations must be clearly noted in brief so you can use them instead of referring to textbooks or starting from the beginning.


The best way to generate and maintain self-confidence is to test yourself regularly. A strong theoretical background is good but, practice is the key to knowing where to apply your theory. The questions asked in the GATE are mainly used to your fundamental aptitude in your chosen discipline or stream. Difficult or lengthy questions are asked very rarely and, those questions will also be based on simple and basic concepts. A physical interpretation of engineering quantities is very important to understanding the problems.


As the GATE is held in February, you should devote at least 4 months to revising for the GATE, with the material you prepared or with help from a guide book. Preparing from October gives you enough time to be thorough and,the month of January can be used to master key concepts, derivations, formulae and any difficult questions. Like any other competitive exam, the accuracy of your answers and time management are very important.You need to answer 65 questions within 3 hours; an average time of 2.76 minutes for each question. Questions on engineering mathematics and general aptitude are usually very easy and so, you can spend less time on them. Speed is a very important factor of time management while writing the exam.

With Inputs from Mr. J K Sinha (M.Tech, IIT Kharagpur), Director, GATEFORUM

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