how to prepare for gate without any coaching
*rant coming ahead*
Rank 90 on IES 2013 , Rank 94 on GATE 2012 from Civil engineering both without any kind of classroom coaching.
Difficult but definitely possible!
*A bit of my background*
I was already pursuing my Masters in Structural Engineering in IIT Kharagpur when I decided to appear for IES 2013. There was no way I could join any coaching institute. Moreover, I had only 2 and a half months after my Second semester examination to prepare while working at my MTech project at the side, so I couldn't join any test series either.
Things that worked in favor of me:
- I had a good grasp of the basic concepts of the most of the core subjects as I had prepared for GATE the last year. IES requires a much more thorough knowledge of the subjects, but at least I did not have to start from the scratch.
- My English and general knowledge are pretty decent- I did not invest any time to work on my English or general knowledge questions other than reading the newspaper daily which I usually do. I scored highest in the English and the general studies paper!
Things you need to do:
- Go through the syllabus- You should have a very clear idea of the syllabus. Identify the subjects which carry the bulk marks, start preparing with the ones that carry the highest marks
- Solve Past year questions- The most important measure you need to take. This ensures you have an idea of what you need to know, what you already know, and identify the pockets where you need to work on.
- Practice- If you're following Point 2 above diligently, this is automatically taken care of.
- Set your own targets and deadlines- Literally note down the subject/chapter/topic you intend to study in say a week/day. Challenge yourself to meet the set target within the decided deadline. This will ensure you have a steady pace while preparing.
- Get a study mate- I am not a big fan of Group studies- they produce more noise than results, but having a study mate can sometimes be helpful. You can monitor each others' progress, discuss doubts, create a healthy constructive competition between each other.
- Make thorough, well thought of, clean notes-They are extremely helpful while last minute revision.
- Join a test series if possible. Do not freak out if you cannot.
- For English and GS, solve past years' questions from IES, IFS, NDA examinations. Remember that they carry only 200 marks while the technical part is of 800 marks- your priority should always be to get the technical part straight first.
- Keep yourself healthy-Exercise daily, eat healthy, relax and have adequate sleep!