Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is one of the toughest examinations for engineering graduates in India that primarily tests the aptitude of engineering graduates in solving the engineering problems. The test also examines the conceptual clarity of students in engineering fundamentals across a diverse range of engineering topics from respective disciplines. The examination has features of negative marking. Besides, extensive competition makes the exam even tougher than it used to be a few years ago. The silver lining is that there is no limit to the number of attempts in GATE but failure in this examination still equates to loss of valuable one year.
The preparation stage is highly decisive for success in GATE. A common dilemma which GATE aspirants face is that whether they need any formal coaching to succeed in the exam. This has been discussed comprehensively in the previous blog. Strictly speaking, coaching classes are not mandatory for success in GATE. As there are differences in mind-set, bias in decisions, abilities, and constraints of candidates, the answer to the question, whether or not should a candidate join coaching classes for GATE, becomes the individual’s decision. The option of coaching classes is suitable for the candidate who can spare adequate time, attention and money.
Source: freeimages.com Image ID: 472351
Expectations from a Coaching Center:
After having made the decision to opt for coaching classes, the candidate must seek for following benefits from a coaching center:
- Faculty Credentials: Generally speaking, the faculty in most of the engineering institutions is not typically oriented to guide the students to qualify GATE. This is mainly because of lack of time & expertise. Thus, the aspirants must always look a coaching center that have faculty who can actually help them compete in this examination. Ideally, coaching center must avail best and experienced mentors for all subject areas.
- Motivational & Competitive Environment: Besides theory and practice on GATE syllabus and pattern, motivational guidance is a very essential aspect for success in GATE. The mentors should be trained well in inspiring and motivating the students to succeed.
- Class-Strength: One must chose a batch which has optimum number of students. This allows faculty to devote adequate attention to each student. Group studies and mutual exchange of notes can additionally improve preparation & confidence levels.
- Time and Distance: Travelling to and fro coaching institutes usually adds to fatigue and loss of precious time. The students must select the best institute which is nearest to their residence. The coaching center must be located in a clean and peaceful area with proper ventilation and class-room space.
- Consistency: The coaching center should have a well laid out schedule of classes and must have a reputation to adhere to it. This would directly help in maintaining a regular duration and consistency in preparation.
- Coverage of Syllabus: The coaching institute must undertake an extensive coverage of the GATE syllabus and pattern from a comprehensive view. Expert inputs must be provided for important topics along with quality study material.
- Variety of Topics: In order to maintain interest and consistency of study, the classes must be timely completed and switched between various topics. Preparation for any competitive examination is like a highly competitive game One must enjoy the game in order to win it. Difficult and lengthy topics must be dared and studied in a simple and summarized way. Weak subject areas should also be revised regularly with confidence and gradually transformed into areas of strength.
- Preferential Treatment: Time and other scarce resources must be utilized in most effective and efficient manner. This can be done if important topics from examination point of view, irrespective of whether they are difficult or easy, are given preferential treatment or priority in the study.
- Tips and Tricks: The experienced faculty of the coaching center should also help with quick tips and methods to crack problems in minimum time. This will directly save valuable time in the examination hall.
A word of caution:
It is not feasible to find a coaching institute with all of the above features, nor is there a fool proof plan to scrutinize an institute on all these factors. Thus, students may need to make certain suitable trade-off amongst their priorities. They must seek one of the best coaching centers that can fulfill maximum number of factors mentioned above. Even then, the students must be considerate about the following factors:
- Scope of Study: Students must never restrict their scope of studies to only coaching classes and their study material. They must continue studying on variety of subjects irrespective of class schedules in coaching institute.
- Time Management: Students must make it a practice to utilize time judiciously and cut down on pleasantries.
- Self-Study: A well-disciplined, scheduled and consistent self-study along with suitable time management strategies and adequate practice would improve overall performance in the examination hall.
- References and Mock-Tests: Time should be saved from idle hours and distractions and the same should be utilized in strengthening preparation through browsing, searching and collecting and studying quality study material from all possible but genuine resources. Very good books are now available from reputed publications, which are specifically designed for GATE by master authors in their field with excellent credentials. Mock test papers are also available online for practice. Additional help can be sought from distance learning programs of coaching centers which might not be available in candidate’s city.
A sincere aspirant must not miss out on any opportunity to increase probability of success. The decision to join coaching classes is individual’s and must be taken in view of personal constraints and requirements. Once an institute is chosen, one must be sincere in attending classes and doing adequate self-study and consequently increase score in GATE.
Author: AJAY KUMAR TAMRAKAR
Author of ‘Wiley Acing the GATE Mechanical Engineering’