How Can Beginners Start Preparation For GATE Exam "Avoid Mistakes"

The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is a national-level entrance examination for aspirants who wish to seek admission for M.E., M.Tech. and Ph.D. courses in the prestigious engineering institutions of India, such as IITs, NITs, and other reputed colleges and universities. GATE is a single-level examination conducted by IIT/IISc for various engineering disciplines.

As a beginner, you might be clueless about where and how to start your GATE preparation online. The approach to a beginner's preparation for GATE is quite different from the strategy to be followed by a repeater. This article provides handy tips detailing a structured and comprehensive approach to a beginner's GATE preparation strategy.

How Can Beginners Start Preparation For GATE Exam "Avoid Mistakes"

Benefits of writing the GATE exam

Besides the chance to do higher studies in engineering disciplines from top-ranking engineering institutions, here are some opportunities that will open up for you upon clearing this exam:

  • Renowned Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) such as ONGC, BHEL, SAIL, and NTPC may recruit you.
  • The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CIR) provides the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and Senior Research Fellowship (SRF) to engineers who have qualified for the GATE exam.
  • Top MNCs recruit GATE-qualified engineers after postgraduation to high-ranking appointments within their firms.
  • Your GATE score helps you gain admission to prestigious foreign universities for higher studies or research.

Best time to start your GATE exam preparation

The best time to start your preparation is when you are ready. Focus and determination matter a lot in GATE exam preparation, and that only comes when you decide to go for it. According to previous toppers and experts, the ideal time to start is during your engineering degree's third semester (second year). Spend the first year orienting with the syllabus, researching possible career options, and determining your goals. Once you are sure you want to give a shot at this, you can start with the preparations.

A well-balanced strategy for beginners to prepare for GATE

Clearing the GATE examination requires proper planning and sticking to the schedule. Here are the crucial strategies you must not miss as you begin your GATE preparation.

  • Start preparing early

Once you are thorough with the exam pattern and syllabus, list the topics to study according to their difficulty levels. Prepare a timetable and keep the books and reference materials ready. Begin your studies with a single-minded focus to cover all the syllabus topics once. Starting early leaves you ample time in the end for revision.

  • Focus on conceptual understanding

The GATE exam has 65 questions you need to answer in 3 hours. It means you have a little over two minutes to answer each question. To solve the questions asked, you must have clarity in the concepts. Prepare short and crisp notes and use flashcards if necessary.

  • Revise frequently

There is no substitute for constant revision. Prepare a revision schedule and ensure you revise all the topics once thoroughly every week. Do not leave the whole revision load for the last month or week. Instead, plan it after your first completion of the syllabus in a daily or weekly manner.

  • Solve previous years' papers and appear for mock tests

Test yourself repeatedly by solving sample papers. Be thorough with the previous year's papers and their solutions. Revisit and revise the topics where you make mistakes. Time yourself and create an exam-like environment while doing these tests.

  • Practice with calculators

Since the GATE exam allows virtual calculators, ensure you practice using them on your laptop or computer screen to avoid hassles on the day of the exam.

Last-minute preparation tips for beginners to keep in mind

  • To prepare for the Numerical Ability section in General Aptitude, prepare a formula checklist and learn shortcuts while solving the mock tests.
  • For the Verbal Ability section in General Aptitude, work on your vocabulary by reading newspapers, using verbal skill-enhancing apps, conversing in English, and learning the grammar fundamentals.
  • To prepare for the Engineering Mathematics section, make a cheat sheet of the equations and formulae, and keep glancing through them periodically. Stick to one or two source materials only. Devote one hour daily to practice sample papers in this section.
  • Keep peer pressure at bay, and do not stress.
  • Do not neglect your food and sleep timings. Stay healthy.


The GATE exam is one of the toughest national-level entrance tests in India. Aspirants appearing for the exam require an effective and focussed strategic plan to crack it. Following the suggested tips and tricks and adopting the tried-and-tested GATE preparation strategy discussed in this article, aspiring beginners can score good marks and clear the exam with flying colours.

Visit Physicswallah to access structured course material on GATE, live and scheduled lectures, extensive doubt-solving sessions, and helpful mock test series to help you crack this exam easily, even if you are appearing for it for the first time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q.1. Why do some people prepare for GATE and ESE simultaneously?

Ans. The GATE exam syllabus is a part of the ESE or Engineering Services Examination syllabus. The GATE syllabus covers almost 80% of ESE's syllabus, thus saving time and opening up more opportunities when prepared simultaneously.

Q.2. How many hours of daily study does one need for GATE exam preparation?

Ans. You must devote roughly 8 hours of daily study to cover the syllabus, clear your concepts, and prepare well for the exam.

Q.3. Is it possible to clear the GATE exam without going to coaching classes?

Ans. Yes. A sound preparation strategy and dedication can help you clear GATE via self-study. Ensure you periodically solve mock test series and sample papers online from authentic educational sources, such as the Physicswallah website.

Q.4. How many months of preparation do you ideally need for the GATE exam?

Ans. The preparation time depends upon the aspirant's aptitude, concentration level, concept knowledge, and willingness to focus. Some prefer starting with their preparations from their second year of college onwards, while some manage to clear the exam with just six months of intensive studies.

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