How to prepare efficiently for Electronics and Communications in GATE 2017

In the third part of our series of ‘Prep Strategy’ articles, PaGaLGuY chats with the GATE faculty of Vidyalankar Institute, Mumbai about tips and strategies to crack the Electronics and Communications paper of GATE 2017. Excerpts

What is the best strategy to tackle difficult topics? For example, how much time should one take to finish them?
It depends on subject and topic. If you are good at some topic, make sure you finish it fast. As far as difficult topics are concerned, try to spend more time on it. Look for the previous years’ GATE papers; if they are asking more questions from it, then spend more time on it. Otherwise, it is not worth it.

Outline a 12-week study plan in terms of weekly targets, checklists, etc.
Keeping aside the last two weeks, divide the number of days available into groups equal to the number of subjects. For example EC has eight technical subjects, mathematics and general aptitude. So divide available days in total 10 groups. Devote more days to tougher subjects, and balance it out by giving lesser days to easier ones. Now in each slot, revise all the topics and write tests on that subject. Likewise cover all the subjects. Keep giving full length tests in between, and as per your performance, go back and study whichever topic that needs improvement. 
Here is rough plan for you; How to utilize the last 12-weeks-time varies from person to person, but in general, you can go according to the following plan:
First six week: Complete the remaining subjects.
Next four week: Keep it for quick revision of short notes of the subject
Last two week: Give full length mock test from various coaching institute.

Some tips which will help students with their basics.
Get your concepts clear, understand your strength and weakness. If you have strong basics it will help you to tackle more and difficult question. Read from some good reference books or online material. That is the only way to make the basics strong. Always prepare a separate formula notebook and short notes (not more than 10 pages) for each subject.

Can you recommend some good books or study material? 
Always prefer class notes of concerned faculty and see previous years’ GATE papers. If you feel the notes are not enough, then go for these standard books:

    • Electronic Devices, and Circuits: Milliman and Halkias, Boylstad
    • Analog Electronic Circuits: Milliman and Halkyas, Sedra and Smith
    • Communication: Simon Haykins, Taub and Schilling, Sanjay Sharma
    • Elements of Electromagnetics: Sadiku
    • Signals and Systems: Schaum series, Openheim
    • Control Systems: Nise
    • Network circuits: Hayt and Kemmerly, Van Valkenberg
    • Digital Electronics: Morris Mano

If a student had to skip a topic or two, which would you recommend?
Remember if you are good at six subjects then you can score well in GATE. Always keep in mind that nobody can be good at everything. It is recommended to study the entire syllabus. If you are short on time, select any six subjects out of eight and prepare them very well. While selecting, check the weightage and your comfort level on that subject. On the other hand, you may skip a topic which you have not studied, or studied but could not understand most of it. There is no point in wasting time over such a topic at the last moment.

Which topics should a student focus on?

I would suggest giving more time to core subjects, such as Analog, Communication, EMT, and Network etc. These subjects have more weightage as compared to others and will fetch you more marks. For that, you need to see previous year papers, consult your concerned facility and mark the important topics accordingly.

What is an ideal revision plan and ‘last minute strategy’ for GATE 2017?
As mentioned earlier, make a schedule, revise topics, write tests, then write full length tests and analyse, and then go back to topics that need improvement.
You may not solve anything in last two – three days, which is perfectly fine. A last minute strategy would be something where you just go through important formula and points. On the day of exam, stay confident and make sure you don’t write a paper under any pressure; that will help you make less errors. 

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