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How to Efficiently Prepare for GATE Exam Along with College Studies

Chithrakala Babu

It is always a good idea to align your college studies with your GATE exam preparation. With the latest changes made in the GATE eligibility criteria, even third-year students can write the GATE exam. However, it is a challenging task to manage GATE preparation along with your B.Tech/college studies. You will have exams, assignments, projects, co-curricular and extracurricular activities as part of your college education.

On the positive side, with the onset of Covid-19, colleges are conducting online classes instead of regular classes. Therefore, it is an advantage for those who want to prepare for the GATE exam as it gives the students more time to prepare.

Time management and planning are the key factors in your GATE preparation. You have to develop an efficient routine to manage your tasks every day. If you make a realistic plan and strictly follow it, you will succeed. Here are some tips to prepare efficiently for the GATE exam simultaneously with your college studies.

Familiarise the exam pattern

Graduate Engineering Aptitude Test (GATE) is a national-level, computer-based exam conducted by IITs and IIScs in coordination with the Ministry of Human Resource Development every year. GATE is one of India’s most competitive exams, with an average of 8 to 9 lacs students writing it annually.

Understanding the exam pattern gives you an edge in making an efficient preparation strategy. It will also help you understand what type of questions can be expected in the exam. Understand the marking scheme, questions types, important date and other details about the exam beforehand. Here are some basic details about GATE 2022 that you need to know.


GATE 2022

Exam Conducting Body

IITs, IISc, MHRD together. 

Exam Type

Computer-Based Test, Objective type

Types of Questions

  • Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)

  • Multiple Select Questions (MSQ)

  • Numerical Answer Type (NAT)

Negative Marking

  • -⅓ for 1 mark MCQs

  • -⅔ for 2 mark MCQs

No. of Subject Papers




Exam Date

February - 2nd or 3rd week

Exam Duration

3 Hrs


Engineering/ Science/ Technical/ Social Science & Humanities graduation

Age Limit


Application Fee

750-1500 INR

Exam Pattern

Total 65 Questions

(10 General Aptitude+55 Subject)

Admit Card Availability


Final Result

March - 2nd or 3rd week

Understand the syllabus

  • Visit the official website of the GATE conducting institute once they publish the syllabus and download the syllabus.
  • A thorough understanding of the syllabus helps you stick to the prescribed areas and concepts rather than wasting your time studying unnecessary topics.
  • It will also help you to create your study plan as well as to develop a productive strategy.
  • Keep the printed or a soft copy of your syllabus handy for future reference.
  • Go through the syllabus carefully and compare it with your semester syllabus. This helps you identify the areas where you need to spend more time.

Create a preparation strategy

  • At this step, you need to find what works best for you as per your learning preferences, subject knowledge, interests and study patterns.
  • You need to develop a balanced approach to your studies because you are equally dividing your time and focus on two things - the GATE exam and your course.
  • Find out your strong and weak areas to allot time accordingly.
  • Divide the time for each subject on an everyday basis. Set learning targets for a day, a week and a month.
  • You should prioritise the subjects according to their importance in the exam.
  • Categorise the topics in each subject into difficult/easy and most important/less important.
  • Divide your time according to the weightage, i.e., more time for the subject papers and lesser (but reasonable) time for General Studies/Current Affairs.
  • By allotting time like this will help you to be more specific and systematic in your preparation.
  • Create the study schedule according to your energy level. If you like to spend more time at night, do it the way it suits your sleeping pattern and habits.
  • All these steps help you create a personalized preparation strategy for the GATE exam.

Click here to read 9 Key Points You Should Know Before Making a Study Plan for GATE.

Create a timetable

  • Once you decide on your preparation strategy, you need to create a timetable for your prep.
  • The timetable should be realistic and attainable.
  • If you create an unrealistic and overambitious study plan, you might feel stressed out when you are unable to meet the targets.
  • Be consistent in your study. Spend at least 1-2 hours every day for GATE preparation.
  • Suppose your class starts at 9 in the morning and ends at 5 in the evening. You have 8 hours dedicated to your college studies. Make sure you utlize that time wisely.
  • If you get free time or more than enough breaks during that time, you can practice some online tests or quizzes on simpler topics like General Studies and Engineering Aptitude.
  • Once the class is over, you need to spend some time on some leisure and self-care activities to keep yourself refreshed and healthy.
  • After the break, you can resume your preparation. Spend 2-3 hours for your college exams, projects, assignments etc.
  • After the college session, you can take a small break and start your GATE preparation.  Spend that time to study the concepts and to solve sample tests.
  • Make sure you sleep at least 7-8 hours every day, which is an unavoidable part of your study routine.
  • Try to wake up early to study in the morning before your online class starts.

Read Essential Time Management Tips for GATE/ESE Exam Preparation to make most out of your time during exam preparation.


  • Regular revision of the portions that you have covered will help you keep everything on track.
  • It is beneficial to develop the habit of taking notes while listening to the online class or reading your materials. This helps in better retention and easy revision of topics you have studied.
  • Make sure you include time slots for regular revisions in the timetable.
  • During the revision, note down the core ideas, concepts, terms, and equations in minimal words. This note can be used as a quick reference during the final revision.

Find your study materials

  • If you are planning to join an online course for your GATE preparation, you should be really thoughtful and wise about that.
  • Try to do some research about the best institutes that provide online coaching and check if their courses are effective and affordable.
  • You can also opt for postal study materials from reputed coaching institutes. This will make your study schedule a little more flexible if you are self-motivated.
  • It is better to join an online coaching if you need a time-bound system for your preparation. The classes, live sessions, regular tests etc., will help you to be systematic and focused.

Read our blog How to Find the Best Online Course for Your GATE/ESE/PSUs Preparation to find the best course.

Doing online tests and previous year questions

  • Solving previous year question papers is the best thing you can do to assess and improve your performance constantly.
  • It will help you to organize your study pattern according to the requirements of the exam.
  • It will train you to divide your time for each type of question, thereby ensuring that you effectively utilize the exam hours. In addition, it enhances your time-management skills.
  • Solving the previous years’ questions helps you to get hold of the pattern and the repeated questions.
  • The method of score calculation can also be understood by solving previous year question papers.

Self-motivation and willpower

  • A strong determination is the first and foremost quality you need to have if you are going to prepare for GATE along with your studies. Train your mind that you will do whatever it takes to achieve your goals.
  • Keep yourself motivated by listening to inspirational stories by students, entrepreneurs and other successful people.
  • Focus on the positive side rather than looking into setbacks. Learn from your mistakes and move forward with enthusiasm.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t meet your learning goals. Instead, do it at your own pace.
  • Take breaks if you feel tired or stressed out.

There is nothing in this world you can't achieve. All you need is determination and planning. You must focus on the outcome of your hard work. If you manage to crack GATE along with your college, you will be stepping to your dream job or higher education right after graduation.

We hope the article helps you take a decision and start your journey towards your dream. Best of luck!