If you looking for advice from those who actually juggled GATE preparation, the interview by PrepLadder Team with Sushank Sharma will help you. Sushank Sharma cleared GATE 2015 with AIR 63 and he is currently pursuing MS from IIT Madras.
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PrepLadder: What are the reasons that encouraged you to appear for GATE 2015?
Sushank Sharma: Actually, I wanted to go for research in best institutes like IITs. So I started preparing for GATE examination to get admission in VLSI/ Computer Architecture subject in MS.
PrepLadder: In your perception, what is the right time to start preparing for GATE exams?
Sushank Sharma: We should start preparing actively from at least 1 year prior to exam. I started my preparation from 3rd year. I used to study everyday whenever I could spare time. I studied regularly since my 3rd year of B.tech. Though I did not study for fixed hours regularly but I prepared whenever I got time. Slowly and steadily I completed my syllabus and then I became more sincere. From October, i actively prepared for Gate. I solved mock test, gate previous papers in last two months.
PrepLadder: Did B.Tech college curriculum interfere with your GATE preparation?
Sushank Sharma: I was consistent in my B.tech (84-85%) and on the other hand I was preparing simultaneously for GATE too. We do not need a lot of time to spend for B.Tech exams. I made use of the holidays for GATE preparations.
PrepLadder: Which books did you follow to prepare for GATE?
Sushank Sharma: The books play very important role to crack exams like GATE. You may find difficult to read books at last moment. So I suggest preparing handwritten notes for each topic from very beginning of your preparation so that it can help you at end revisions.
Some of the great books that you may find useful is :
- Algorithms:Introduction to Algorithms by Rivest, Cormen
- Operating System:"Operating System Principles" by Galvin.
- Theory of Computation: "Theory of Computation"by Ullman. Another one is "Introduction to the Theory of Computation" by Michael Sipser.
- Graph Theory: "Graph Theory with Applications to Engineering and Computer Science"by Narsingh Deo.
- Database Systems: "Database System Concepts"by Korth
- Compiler Design: "Principles of Compiler Design"by Aho and Ullman. Read parsing well and also Syntax Directed Translation (SDT) well. .
- Digital Logic:"Digital Logic and Design" by Morris Mano.
- Software Engineering:"Software Engineering: A Practitioner's Approach" by You can concentrate on few topics like Cyclomatic Complexity, Coupling and Cohesion, etc.
- Web Technologies:Have an idea about basic HTML, XML, etc.
- Computer Networks:"Computer Networking: A top-down approach" byKurose-Ross and "Computer Networks" by Tanenbaum. There are other books by William Stallings and Behrouz Forouzan which could be useful for certain topics.
- Computer Organisation:"Computer Organisation" by Carl Hamacher.
- Programming and Data Structures:Have a good hold on basic programming in C. Coremen is good enough for data structures.
PrepLadder: What are the important topics which one need to cover for GATE?
Sushank Sharma: You should not leave any topic. Try to concentrate more on topics carrying more weightage. Some of the topics are:
- Recursive programs,Trees, Pointers, Stack,Queues
- Sorting algorithms, Divide and conquer,Greedy approach
- CPU scheduling algorithms,Paging and segmentation,Semaphores,Deadlock
- Matrix determinant, eigen values, propositional logic, predicate logic, Probability
- Multiplexer, decoder and demultiplexer, Minimization and Counters
- Pipelining, cache organization, Addressing modes
- Relational Algebra, SQL, Serializability, Normalization ,Transaction
- IP Addressing, TCP and UDP, Application protocols, Congestion control
- DFA, Regular expression, Closure properties, Undecidability
- Lexical Analysis, Syntax Analysis, Intermediate code generation, SDTs, LR parsers
And many more…
PrepLadder: How important are mock tests for preparation? Also, what is the importance of solving previous years papers?
Sushank Sharma: As I Have already mentioned in the previous question, mock tests were really very useful. I used to go through the previous years papers during my final year. Though exam papers were not very difficult but they do cover the breadth of the entire syllabus taught during B.tech.
I started taking mock tests sincerely only two month before the exam which helped me polish my skills. Though I would not recommend joining coaching centres if you can study on your own but if you can’t then it may be a good option.
PrepLadder: Any message for the GATE aspirants?
Sushank Sharma : My message to all the GATE aspirants is that attend all the lectures in the college to clarify all the basics and if you think there is a need for extra coaching then go for it, else self-study is on the top of the list for preparing. Join a good test series before the exam; two months are more than sufficient. Set your goals and prepare the best strategy for attempting the exam. All the Very Best.