How to manage your preparation for GATE and your college examination
The Graduation Aptitude Test in Engineering or GATE is a common entrance exam for students with science or engineering background. The exam enables students to apply for Post Graduation courses to pursue M.Tech through one of the top ranking colleges in India, like the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institute of Science, the National Institutes of Technology and other prestigious institutions. The exam is usually conducted in the month of February by the IITs across the country in collaboration with IISc in Bangalore, and is one of the most competitive exams held in India.
Engineering students usually appear for GATE during the end of their B.Tech degree, to be eligible to start their PG course immediately after. This ensures that they don’t have to drop a year to take the GATE exam. The application process usually begins at a juncture when you are at the end of the sixth semester in college, which will give you an 8 month head start to begin your GATE preparations. It is imperative that you make use of this time, for the next semester will be a busy one. When the next semester begins, you will be taken up with assignments from your college course, major and minor projects, examinations and campus placements. This will automatically relegate your GATE preparations to the background.
In order to ensure a bright future, you cannot afford to ignore one for the other. College examinations and GATE scores are equally important factors that will shape your career. Here is a list of ways in which you can effectively manage both preparations simultaneously:
- Make use of the free time at the beginning of the semester
The interim period between two semesters is a time of less academic pressure and is usually spent in a spirit of laid-back relaxation, gearing up for the upcoming semester to start in full force. However, with the GATE exams around the corner, you can no longer afford a period of languorous inactivity. The period before your semester begins is to be utilised in familiarising yourself with the GATE syllabus and setting up a meticulous plan as to how you can juggle the GATE preparations with your college studies.
- Prioritize the GATE preparation at the beginning of the year
The transition period when one semester bleeds into the next is often characterised by some available free time. Make the most of your time in these interim months by focusing on beginning and getting on with your GATE preparations. With less time to spare, set up short-term goals so that you can achieve them easily and get things done in the process.
- Sync the college and GATE syllabus
If you have an engineering background, the chances are that there will be a number of topics and chapters which will be common to both your college courses and the GATE preparations. Often the substance is similar, the only difference being the approach taken to these topics. Instead of devoting time separately, try to manage similar topics in one sitting, by covering both angles in one go. This way you will be preparing for both exams together, and the multiple approaches will ensure a more thorough and detailed study of these common topics.
- College syllabus needs attention during semester exams
Students often tend to prioritize the GATE preparations over their college semesters when they could manage both by approaching studies in a smart manner. While GATE can be your focus throughout the year, as the semester exams draw near, shift your focus that are a part of your college examination syllabus. You can come back to GATE once again, after clearing the semester exams.
- Don’t completely lose touch with either
While it is impervious that you prioritize, it is never a good idea to devote your attention completely to one field and completely neglect another. You have to divide your attention and be smart about the degree of attention you reserve for each. For instance, college examinations are the obvious priority with semester exams drawing near but make sure to set aside an hour now and then for GATE preparations. This will ensure that you are in touch, making it easy to pick up where you left off.
- Time management
Managing your study time successfully is the only way to successfully manage two examinations in a limited amount of time. Make a timetable and be sure to stick to it as you embark on this academic adventure.
Preparing for one exam is arduous enough and juggling with multiple preparations is bound to push you beyond what you are capable of. Believe in yourself and try to maintain a positive attitude through all the hard work and effort that the endeavour will entail.