What is a good strategy to revise previous subjects with new subjects while preparing for GATE?
Updated: Jul 24
Before going to fix on a particular strategy, it is good to know and understand WHY revision is important.
We are preparing subject by subject for GATE, we do study well and are able to solve most of the questions. Then when we come across a question randomly from a subject we studied like a few months ago - we are like did we even study this topic ?!
The panic mode starts! Having given various exams over the year from JEE, GATE to CAT - I have experienced this quite a few times.
Our mind tells us “I want you to panic”
It is essential to take control of the situation and not let the panic decide your study schedule.
How to do that?
Three-part strategy to revise subjects for exams like GATE and ESE
I will divide this into three aspects.
Things to do when studying a topic for the first time, so that revision becomes easier.
How to revise after completing one subject
How to make sure you have revised completely
#1 What you should do when studying for the first time?
Focus on the conceptual part of any topic before going on to solve problems. Solving problems is important, but it is always secondary to understanding a topic.
Just think like you will not get a chance to reread this topic. Try to understand with that mindset.
A checklist before you proceed on to next topic
Have you understood all the concepts: Try to question yourself why it happens, what else can happen and so on.
Are you able to solve at least 80% of the previous year problems
Have you noted down the key points
Note down important things which you feel is essential. This will help our brain recollect next time when you revise.
There might be some things you do not understand. Note them down, and later you can give a shot at this topic refreshed.
#2 How to revise after completing one subject?
Our objective to retain the information for as long as possible, at least till the exam date. Even though you master part I, it is difficult for us to recollect some lengthy formulas.
Once you move on to the next subject, try to recollect the important points and formulas from the previous subject every morning or weekly once whichever works for you.
You can write them down in a notebook or do it orally as well (without referring anywhere). When you do this, you will know what information you are struggling and not confident.
Even though you may get it right, you will struggle to recollect—Mark these.
When this happens, don’t panic. Just trust that you have studied well; all you need to do is look at this topic again and get it right tomorrow when you do this exercise again.
In this way, you will always remember if you are going wrong. This will turn your weakness into a strength.
When you write these down, spend some time after writing the formulas before checking them (like if you have made some silly mistake, if dimensions are not matching etc.). And you will know it when you are writing the formula wrong, check dimensions (SSD = vt + v^2/2gf => vt should come in metres, v^2/2gf should come in metres as well).
If you keep doing this consistently, the time to revise will keep on coming down every week. You will feel it with your increase in confidence.
#3 How to make sure you have revised completely?
This part is optional, and you can think of this as a booster if you need it. Now, after completing part I and II - every month, you can take a previous subject.
Pick 10 questions from that subject.
Keep a timer and try to solve them.
If you can do most of them in the given time, you know you have mastered that subject.
If not, try to find the mistakes you did.
This will help you make a judgement if you can spend 2–3 more days on some particular topics in those subjects.
Watch this video to gather revision tips and master subjects.
Have you been revising the right way? What is your strategy - is it one of the above or you have your own way?