GATE preparation Story Of An Average College Student- ‘It has taught me a lot about life.!’ It was end of 3rd year of b.tech when it started.
I wasn’t aware of anything like GATE then. I had my lunch on Sunday Afternoon and was returning back to my room and as soon as I passed my college gate it was written, ‘GATE exam going on’. Then I came to my room and searched on internet about it.
Before that day it was like software jobs are the end thing for me as core companies don’t recruit from my college. After searching and investigating I felt if I crack this exam with a good rank then things might turn around for me.
Then I changed my roommates as earlier my roommates were from CSE and IT department. I shifted to ECE ones as even they were serious about GATE.
Now after 2–3 months of preparation of easy subjects like networks from Sadiku and digital from Morris Mano and few YouTube videos. I was able to solve GATE questions of previous year. And that made me feel like I will be able to crack GATE sooner or later. And it was July, 2015 when the college campus drive started, everyone one was busy making formal uniform, resumes, solving aptitude and reasoning and filling excel sheets of various companies and I decided not to go for campusing. As it will take 2–3 months and moreover I had no interest in those companies and even the amount offered for the work people do out there is very less.!
In that time I prepared signal system from Oppenhiem and S.C.Dutta lectures and control system from B.C.kuo and control system tricks from few made easy notes that were available online.
My college professor said me, ‘ Vivek you are taking a wrong decision as off campus market is too low and GATE is a very competitive exam. If you fail you will be no where.’ And in my mind I was like sir you are an ECE professor atleast you should support your student who is taking such a bold decision to continue his studies being in this stream.!
Later came the October 2015 phase when I started appearing for test series. I was solving questions and appearing for test series and my marks were average as the tests were from easy subjects. But when I started giving tests of tough subjects my marks reduced.! It were below average. And by November end I realised that my study plan was wrong. As it was focused more on solving questions and less on gathering concepts as tough subjects are all about how well your concepts are.
Then in December I started studying communications from Simon haykin and was solving Schaum series questions. I was making notes but this subject was very tough to understand. Still I finished it by December end.
And somehow in January I started giving full length tests. I was appearing for full length daily and I wasn’t even analysing my tests properly. My mindset was like, ‘more tests means more questions and more marks in GATE.’
Then came my GATE 2016 exam and it was in morning shift. I was anxious and nervous. I slept for around 2–3 hours only.
And I appeared for GATE 2016. I was not in a fresh mood and even normalisation and wrong questions in GATE ECE set 1 screwed up everything. Later I made myself realise that it was my mistake because of which I failed and there is no point blaming others.
Being from an average college make things very difficult for you. There is no proper environment for preparation. Even your department teacher won’t support you to that extent. You don’t have sufficient funds and time to purchase material and join coaching. And even you aren’t aware about right materials. People around you will say GATE is not for average guys like us and we should focus on software jobs. Parents and relatives won’t be that supportive as even they are aware of the unemployment stats of our country. All in all it’s solely you who have to motivate yourself in long run.!
My results of GATE 2016 came and my rank was around 4k. I was pissed off with everything around me. Everyone around me was like you should have appeared for college campusing, even I didn’t had courage to face that faculty who earlier informed me how tough life is going to be if I fail in GATE, all my friends were placed and all I was seeing was a year of unemployment in front of me.!
I had a lot of fight over text with my girlfriend during that period as I was not giving time to her. A very serious 4 year relationship of mine was going through a bad phase because of my depression. She didn’t understand what was going in my life and through my mind and we were having regular fight over texts.
By July 2016 my college got over and I rented a room beside my college and started my preparation. This time the plan was perfect. Schedule was on spot and I had also figured out my mistakes and I knew where I needed to improve.
In 15 days by August 10th I covered up my whole Analog part from razavi lectures and sedra smith.
On August 20 I appeared for BEL written exam and I aced it as maximum questions were from my strong subjects like network, control, digital and even Analog was about 20%.
On September 1st BEL result came and my interview was scheduled in Delhi around 20th September. I started studying EMT part for that and I covered it up in 12 days from professor Shevgaonkar lectures of IIT Bombay and basics fromsadiku. . I went for interview it was really good but the seats were less. And as it was my 1st interview of life I thought I will be able to clear it as I never thought that people who are appearing for interview are equally or more talented than me.
Then I appeared for BSNL JE on 25th September and it was also good.
I informed this to my girlfriend and parents and they were happy as finally my life is coming back on track. But….
God had planned something different for me. And it was worse than my GATE 2016 results phase.
I missed out BSNL JE by 0.5 marks. I didn’t cleared BEL. And even in meantime I appeared for ISRO and I failed to clear the written test by 5 marks.!
I was depressed and it was October end. Still I thought my preparation for GATE is good and if I somehow restore myself and start my preparations again I can easily get under 100 rank.
I called up my girlfriend. I asked her to meet but she said she isn’t interested. She wants a breakup.!
That depression and pain of everything going around me was unbearable for me. I was feeling like, ‘I haven’t intentionally done any sort of wrong things to any person in my life then why am I being tested in such a pathetic way’. Till date I have never been so low in my entire life of 23 years.
And moreover I was lacking friends. I was living in a paying guest, my college was over and only 1 or 2 friends were left.!!
I screwed up my entire 2 months in that depression.
I didn’t went to saloon for 2 entire months. My food consumption was less and I was looking pathetic at that time.!
My roommate was from mechanical and he was also preparing for GATE. He saw my condition and said, ‘Vivek what are you doing with yourself and your life, I started my GATE preparation because of you. And now you are demotivated and depressed yourself.’
Later in december 2016 end, I thought if I don’t start everything again then this depression will go on for one more year as I will be unemployed for a year again with nothing to do in life.!
So I started again with around 40–45 days in hand
- I had a haircut first.
- I deleted my playlist next and filled it with motivational songs.
- Installed a Note app to write down things to study next day before I sleep.
- In 15 days, I revised all the subjects studying 14–15 hours a day. I appeared for cbts and 13 full length tests of made easy. I was analysing my mistakes after every tests series and noting them down in a small formulae copy. I was also revising that formula copy daily till GATE. And side by side I was practicing maths from ‘Made easy‘ previous year questions and concepts of every department book’ daily for 2 hours a day.!
- For technical questions I used, both volumes of ‘bits and bytes’ by ACE academy.
- The schedule was properly planned and also was an efficient one.
- My EDC was weak but I knew even topper fail in EDC question after preparing that subject. As it’s very calculative. But ‘streetman & Banerjee’ and Millman halkias are good book for it. My b.tech project was on MOS-Capacitor and for that I referred ‘Streetman & Banerjee’
Later I cracked GATE 2017 decently.
- Got admitted in IIT kgp, VLSI.
- Travelled a lot.
- Worked on improving my fitness.
- Improved my writing skills
- Helped many aspirants to fight depression and motivated them to do well as I know how it feels to be there from an average college.!
- I don’t want to compete with anyone now. I just want everyone around me to succeed and do well in life.
- And lastly, I made a hell lot of close friends in last one year.
At the time of breakup she was placed in CTS and I was unemployed. I said her something like you are leaving me for this reason right.
And her reply was, ‘judge me when you are at my level, till then admire.’
And really that reply made me feel more bad about my condition.
And even I came to know few of my close ones were very happy at my condition. They were calling just to know my story for their gossips.
This is me now sitting out here and thinking about how cruel life and people close to you can be at times.
‘To an average college guy GATE teaches a lot about life.’
This is my favorite quote.
Just remember these lines, ‘If you are going through hell. Don’t pause. Don’t stop. Keep going. That’s the only way out of it. Else you will remain in hell forever.’
M.Tech VLSI Design, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (2019)