The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is an All-India Examination
conducted by the seven Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institute of
Science, Bangalore, on behalf of the National Coordinating Board - GATE, Department
of Education, Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), Government of
Post Engineering, all Engineering students come at crossroads, where they have to make a choice
\u2013 a choice that defines their career for the rest of their lives: to choose one amongst the options
of a job, management or M.Tech. The three most widely used options are management, M. Tech
or a job. Given the current situation in India, most of the engineering colleges are not able to give
a 100% placement, which results in the candidate making a choice between management and M.
Tech. This article is about choosing the second option : M.Tech, and the exam that holds the key
to the most important institutes for M.Tech, the GATE.
Why does one choose CAT over GATE or vice versa? To quote the Bible, \u201cA feast is made for
laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things\u201d. Most of the students choose
management because they perceive that a management person makes more money than a
research person. This might have been true in the past. But now that companies like Motorola
and Honda are beginning to outsource their R&D to India, the demand for Research oriented
people is on the rise. "Virtually every single global IT major is rapidly expanding its footprint
into India," says Sunil Mehta, vice president, Nasscom. As of now, 100 Fortune 500 companies -
including Delphi, Eli Lilly, General Electric, Hewlett Packard, DaimlerChrysler and others -
have put up R&D facilities in India over the past five years. Considering the scenario, M.Tech is
no longer the underdog. And the number of students giving GATE has been increasing every
One needs to consider factors other than monetary as well before he makes the choice. CAT is
for management, and management means management of people, finance, affairs of a company,
strategizing etc. So people who are good at management, and have interest in pursuing this
should take management as a subject. M.Tech, however, entails a research oriented job or a
faculty position in a university. Down the line, these people may even take up a management
position in a research based enterprise. However, essentially both kinds of careers are for a
completely different persona and interests.
Two friends, Ram and Shyam, are out on a safari in Kenya. En-route they see a vast
stretch of land covered with velvette-ish green layer of grass. They get out of their car,
relax, put off their shoes and start walking bare footed. Suddenly they see a tiger running
towards them. Ram starts running whereas Shyam starts putting on the shoes. Puzzled,
Ram asks Shyam, "Do you think you can outrun the tiger just by have the shoes on?"
Shyam replies back, "I don't need to outrun the tiger. I just need to outrun YOU!"
India has a huge intellectual capital. With so many intelligent brains competing with each other,
percentile/comparative evaluation is the most logical solution for admission to IISc and the IITs,
which in turn have a limited number of seats. With this kind of comparative evaluation, the
institutions are able to simply take the best of the lot and leave the rest. You should be aware that
only 4 out of a thousand students giving GATE get a chance to be interviewed by IITs and the
IISc. The numbers getting admission to these institutions are even lesser. So being good is not
enough. You should be one of the better ones amongst the best.
The sole purpose of GATE is not only to conduct a test for admission but, which is also the
major goal, to identify the suitable engineers/researchers in various areas and make them to
choose their area of choice in which they can pursue their master degree. As you must be
knowing by now, GATE is only organized by IITs and IISc which always try to innovate and
introduce new systems to test the basic knowledge of candidates in various fields.
As a part of that innovation, the previous year GATE papers were fully objective type. This year
also the same pattern is being used, and mathematics added! Although this made the job
relatively easier for the evaluators, the candidates now have a bound choice to cover all the
topics. Being set by the highly qualified faculty, the questions papers are not like a very
traditional one. They always try to test the very basic of candidates in respective areas by
bringing the element of innovation in these papers. It is not surprising that sometimes the
questions are mere applications of basic concepts in their area of research.
Before the marathon begins, the \u2018runner\u2019 puts in months, even years, of effort before he
actually runs the race. As the saying goes \u2013 get your fundamentals right. GATE is an
exam that tests you on your fundamentals. The questions are generally derivations of the
fundamentals. Preparation for GATE is an ongoing process, and is supposed to happen in
stages. First get your fundamentals right, and then test yourself on those fundamentals.
When you have done this, you should pit yourself with the competition, which means a
mock test which would give you a percentile to let you know where you stand amongst
How do you choose which coaching material to go with. This is something that is quite
subjective. A coaching material cannot be assessed until you have gone through it. So, you could
go by the word of your seniors as to what coaching material they followed to prepare for GATE.
1. Uniqueness in their study material: Study material provided by the coaching institutes is of
little assistance if they are compact copy-paste or rewrite of materials taken from other books. If
the reading of such material doesn\u2019t increase interest and enjoyment then they are not worth it.
There are plenty of standard books on each subject by good authors, which can make your study
enjoyable during preparation.
2. Collection of quality books in their library: During the process of theory conceptualization and
building application capabilities, you need good books, which can really put your brain on
exercise. Check out their library!
3. Flexibility in the Coaching Model: What happens when your pace of learning is much faster or
slower than the average? Is there any mechanism by which the model can identify exactly where
you need help and provide the same? Is it possible in that coaching model to minimize the
wastage of your time?
4. Quality of questions discussed: Number of questions discussed is not that important. By
discussing and solving 10-15 conceptual questions on each topic you can build a good
application capability. On the other hand solving many tricky non-conceptual questions will
simply waste your time.
5. Tests and evaluation model: How is the progress of your preparation tested and analyzed? To
what extent the feedback helps in identifying the areas for further work? Here I must say that this
is the most crucial part of the preparation. This is the area where most of the students fail due to
lack of proper test materials which can help them to build in themselves a real-test-like
environment and temperament. Once you are able to choose the correct assistance for your
GATE journey, it will be an enjoying and thrilling experience.
1. Solve previous years\u2019 GATE papers: Solving previous years\u2019 papers gives you a fair idea of what the actual paper would be like. It also brushes up your basics and exposes your \u2018areas of improvement\u2019.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?