I have been reading a lot of blogs since the past one year and I always dreamt of writing one on my journey after the results would be out since I had high hopes from GATE. I firmly believed that I could. I still believe I can !
However, unfortunately, the results didn’t give me a chance to be a big achiever. I have a decent score of 621 with 51.33 marks that got denormalised to 49.19 being a not so lucky candidate who sat in the afternoon session like many others.
I have an AIR of 1440. Yeah ! It seems nice to most of the people I met. And yes, it is an Okay score to have. The only thing no one understands is the disappointment I have from my own self. I know I could have done better. Yes, I have cried over the mistakes I did that if not committed, would have added 7-8 more to 51.33 and thus landing me in top 500-600s. That isn’t still a very good score. But it would have been less discomforting. Alright! Alright! I have moved on from “cursing what didn’t happen” to “looking what best I can get with what I have in hands”.
I didn’t want this 7-8 marks to take the pleasure of writing this blog away from me. So, here I am today..sharing my journey for GATE.
It was my 5th semester when this thought of giving GATE and excelling started budding in my mind. It was then, I started reading the blogs of the toppers and I was really inspired. Though, being a big time procrastinator, I thought it was too early to begin with the preparation and delayed it to the next semester. I wasn’t, again, not very serious about it in the 6th semester because the thought was still in the budding stage when one of my friends Ashutosh started watering it 😛 He asked me to start studying something and issued me a book for Digital Electronics (Morris Mano). Everyday, I struggled studying, I would hardly read 2-3 pages a day. I took one whole semester to study Digital electronics and I didn’t still think that I had done it well 😛 I laugh at this now 😛 Though I read bits of OS too.
Okay ! It was the 7th semester then. I had too be serious. I did prepare for some subjects in the holidays I had (Jun-Jul’15) , I finally completed digital electronics, theory of computation and other stuff.
I managed to study for some hours quite well before the college classes started. I was still accompanied by my high hopes to manage GATE and semester studies together in the initial days of 7th semester. But, the college authorities were stricter this time. We had to attend classes till 4-5 pm and then coming back home and summoning up the courage to study was hard while having the pressure of the major projects and other semester related stuff. There started occurring breaks in my studies and at one point, I did lose hope for giving GATE’16. I had made up my mind for GATE’17. But I still didn’t quit completely. I started going for coaching classes mid way. It did help me cover some of the major subjects. But, I relied on self study mostly. And my constant source of inspiration, the friend I mentioned above, did motivate me to study. There were days I could study 5-6 hours even after the tiring college day while there still were days I didn’t even touch the books.
But, a major good thing, I did to myself, was to join the Facebook group for GATE CSE. I owe a lot to that group because when I thought I wasn’t in touch or in continuation with my preparation for days, this group actually helped me do that unknowingly. I used to read the questions, try answering them, learning from people there. There were some topics that I unknowingly learnt from the questions themselves. Not with much time, I became an ‘answerer to some quests’ from a ‘reader of almost all quests and answers’. That gave me confidence. I know, I didn’t really work ‘that’ hard ( did whatever I could ) but I struggled, really I did ! I constantly remained disappointed by the fact that I didn’t have time and couldn’t really study well because of being in a regular and not the training semester. ( Struggling and working really hard are 2 different things ). Meanwhile, I started covering the subjects with the help of my coaching and started solving previous years. I was able to solve some things in one go while with some topics I struggled.
It was November and my semester finals were about to start when I realised I still had some major subjects like discrete mathematics, DBMS, CA etc. apart from the less important ones like CD to be covered.
One month then passed in my exams. This period, was very long. Seriously! A continuous cut off for almost a month from the GATE preparation. This time was such a confidence snatcher that after these exams, I really felt “blank”, even for the subjects I have studied earlier. It was like starting from zero all over again. I cried, cursed destiny for chaining me into this “regular semester”. But with the encouragement of my parents and two of my friends, I came back to track. From then, I never stopped to study. Those were long tiring hours..almost the whole day, I studied. Still, I wasn’t really happy with the way I was working coz of some homely issues that I wouldn’t really like to share. I studied even when the TV was on in front of me. I had no option but to study. I had to cover the subjects I didn’t touch, revise others coz I had merely done them once earlier. It was like starting “all over again”. I had break downs, times where I thought I couldn’t , times that I wasted crying but yes, I had my constant source of inspiration with me. I really owe a lot to him. This 1.5 months were really crucial. I was late, very late. I finished up with my syllabus ( I left CA almost completely, Theory part of CN etc., wasn’t strong at Algos) in January end. I also had joined made easy test series but didn’t really had the time to give the tests. I gave only few subject wise tests and 2-3 mock tests. Not even 10 in total. I sometimes, feared of even qualifying.
It was Feb 1 when I gave my 1st mock test, that was too late to do that. I just did that to summon up some confidence for the actual day. After giving 2-3 tests, I resorted to GATE’15 actual question papers. I practiced previous years from ACE publications which had questions till 2014. So, I gave 2015 papers ( 3 sets ) setting a 3-hour timer for me. I scored as 47, 53, 61 bettering each successive day. This gave me confidence. In some corner of my heart, I had hopes of being in top 500, and in a very minute corner of that corner, I had hopes of being in top 100.
I was okay in the exam hall, only a bit nervous. I don’t know what went wrong, I was just okay after the exam, I thought I had done fine but may be it wasn’t my day. I attempted 49 questions, say up to 50. I knew I had accuracy than speed. I was okay until people started haunting me with their greater attempts of around 59-60 😛 This is such a major drawback of humans — getting influenced. Slowly, I started realising the blunders I did in the 2 markers. I really felt like jumping from the terrace when I learnt that I didn’t divide 33 with the number of processes to find the Average Turnaround Time, I felt so much of heart ache when I realised I wrote 5-2 = 4 as the answer. I’m not reciting every mistake that I did but, as I realised every mistake of mine, I felt pain…pain in my heart and pure disappointment ! But what was gone, was gone ! I couldn’t do anything apart from thinking and wasting my time and tears. So I stopped thinking for a while and calculated my marks few days before the result. It was 51.33.
Alright, now ! That’s enough of it.
I’ve actually realised one thing now. I knew I could have done this in a way much better than it actually happened. It just wasn’t my day. I can’t let those 3 hours question my potential. I still believe in myself. I have a lot more to see in future. I’m going to look for the best I could get now and continue believing in myself.
Atlast, Thank you toAshutosh for the motivation and Divyanshi for bearing me ! 🙂
PS : I know I had a rough tough journey while preparing for GATE. But I have learnt a lot of things, especially the things I shouldn’t have done more than the things I should have. I would really love to share them some other day along with the resources that I used or should be used. May be it could help some of the aspirants out there !