Author: D V Janardhan Rao

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The usual questions that comes in the mind of a normal student are ,

  Is my preparation up to the level ?
  Will i succeed and get into IIT ?
  how much percentile and rank i should get to go to IIT ?
  how tough would be the paper ?
  Would i be able to write that level of paper ?
  How many questions i must and should answer to get into IIT ?
  What will happen if i wont get a rank below 150 say ? whether i can still  get into IIT ?
  How about the negative marks ? what is its impact ?
  etc ......

I will answer all your questions in two sections .

1. What should u do before writing the GATE exam .
2. What should u do after taking the question paper ( i.e , basically how should u write your GATE exam or answer the paper )

1st section :

I will tell u one truth , even though 40,000 odd students apply for GATE , hardly 5000 students prepare seriously . So u have to compete with these 5000 students all over India .Be brave and confident , your confidence is more important than anything else say your preparation also . A student with good preparation but without confidence will spoil the paper , May be a student who went to exam with little preparation , cool mind and confidence can crack the GATE.

So , how much u have prepared , how many books u have studied , how many problems u have studied does not matter , because no questions will be direct and repeated , the questions will test your basics and your level of understanding of the subject , how well u can apply the theory .

Now coming to question paper , whether it is hard or easy its the same for everyone who is writing the exam so no problem . Some times its hard like2003 paper but it is very easy in the case of 2004 paper , so it all depends so u people should not think about this part . Its a relative grading so it does not depend on how well u have written but how well u have written than your side one.

I will give u an analogy in cricketing words , if a batsmen goes to the crease with fear thinking that how would be the pitch , swing , bounce ,turn then he will definitely get out soon . On the other side if he is fearless and goes to crease with confidence then he will definitely score runs .

Another thing is that don't worry whether i can do good in GATE as my percentage in university exams is very less , for people who think like that let me clarify  your university percentage has nothing to do with GATE both of them are entirely different ball games all together . The student with good basics , understanding , application will definitely succeed irrespective of the percentage .

Coming to getting what rank and percentile to get into IIT?

See percentile is a relative one and it depends on the no of students writing the exam , so it is not a metric . If the no of sudents appeared are more than even if u perform bad also your percentile will be high . So rank is the metric u have to keep in mind . Your aim should be to get a Rank below 100 then u will be in the safe side getting a direct admission in IIT free from all tension . Even if u could not get a rank below 100 for some reason on the day of writing exam don't worry , try to get at least 99%ile . The IIT people think that all the top 1% engineers have equal caliber only due to some reason on that day there was a mishap . So u will be called for the written test and interview there u can prove your metal . Don't worry there are many options like BARC , DRDO , recently KRESIT ( IT  branch )  at IIT bombay which has almost 100 seats calls for written test and interview to all the students who got above 94%ile and above , NTPC , BEL , BHEL , HAL , TIFR , ISRO , SAIL  etc as well  .

Coming to the affect of negative marks ?

Many students think that they should some how answer all the questions and try to do lottery and put answers , they think that as there is 0.25 negative marks if they by chance make a correct guess one out of 4 questions also still they will get +0.25 but your probabilities will fail pals . so don't try to answer un attempted questions its my sincere advice to u .Answer those questions which u have tried . If in the worst case , u are determined to put all answers then go for this option , tick all those questions with same option say B or C which is most common .

2nd Section :

Before going to exam keep your mind fresh , sleep well the before night get up have a fresh bath , eat some idlis it is the best tiffin before exam, once bow your head before god and pray for a few seconds .  After taking the paper , read the entire question paper once by spending 10 minutes . Don't think its a time waste , it will give u an idea of how the question paper and its level .

Now start answering the question paper , u have 30 1 mark questions and 60 2 marks questions right. First start with 1 mark questions and answer those questions which u can do it by just seeing at them without much effort . Now go to 2 marks questions , in a similar manner answer those questions which u can answer without much effort . ( One thing keep in mind if u r spending some time on any question spend some more time on it and solve it ) . Now once again come back to 1 mark questions and try to answer those questions which u think u can solve it or u get some idea , if u don't get idea leave it and move to next question . After the completion of 1 mark questions once again go to the 2 mark questions and try to answer them if u get an idea and think that u can solve them otherwise don't waste time on it and move to next one . ( As u have already read the problems meanwhile your mind will be busy in thinking about that problem and if u gets a solution go back and answer that one ) . In this way try to do in a iterative manner using a greedy strategy.

Why i follow this strategy ? If u go on answering the questions in a sequential manner may be i could finish only 60 questions and there are a bunch of easy questions say 10 to 15 easy questions from 75 to 90 then i would be missing them . even if u solve a hard problem u wont be getting extra credit for that . That's why i say do it in a greedy manner .

During following the above strategy , please make a mark against each question whether u have answered it or not , so it will help u while retracing the path .

*** Another important thing is marking the bubbles on the answer sheet please see the question no correctly and mark against it , if u loose the continuity some how then your entire effort will be in vain and it will affect the remaining questions also . so , be cautious regarding it .

Another important note while answering is , the guys u might be experts in answering the EAMCET papers so u might be knowing the well known theory " elimination , substitution etc .. of options " and sometimes u are given some big problems to solve which may take long time to solve like construction of parse table entries , the intention of the examiner is not that u do the entire procedure . If u know the properties of the answer  then u can answer them very easily . So make a note of this .

One of my suggestions is first answer those questions which belong to those categories u think u are confident and feel u r very good say (Databases , Algorithms , Data structures )

The above article i have written are just suggestions . Once again all the best to all students writing GATE hope u will come up with flying colors  

Acknowledgements: Dr. N.B. Venkateswarlu garu , Dr. M.N. Seetaramanath garu