With the beginning of the New Year, the countdown for the GATE examination has also started. All the aspirants are busy studying, revising and remembering their subjects well. While the students are preparing the technical subjects, we have heard a lot of students discussing about the reasoning & aptitude part of the examination like the importance of the subject, it’s syllabus, books to be referred to and if special attention is required for it. Thus to address the students’ problems and stop any more speculations regarding this, we decided to provide preparation strategies for the subject and also address the misconceptions surrounding the Reasoning & Aptitude section of the GATE examination.
The examination focuses primarily on testing the comprehensive understanding of various undergraduate subjects in engineering and science. It is a 3 hour examination consisting of 65 questions for 100 marks. The division of marks is normally:
60-65 – Technical
15 – Aptitude
10-15 – Engineering Mathematics
Thus it is clear that aptitude questions account for 15% of the total marks and thus can create huge difference in your rank if practiced properly. The General Aptitude paper mainly has two divisions:
Verbal Ability: English grammar, sentence completion, verbal analogies, word groups, instructions, critical reasoning and verbal deduction.
In simple language Verbal Ability is just based on improving your vocabulary and having strong control over English grammar. It mainly has questions based on reading comprehension, sentence completion, error correction, synonyms and antonyms, grammar, identical words etc.
Numerical Ability: Numerical computation, numerical estimation, numerical reasoning and data interpretation.
In simple language Numerical ability is basic mathematics that we all have learnt in class 6-10. It includes topics like speed-distance, profit and loss, percentage, distance-direction, probability, Simple and Compound Interest etc.
Thus it is clear that the aptitude is modeled around common sense and what we do in our daily activity.
There is no dedicated weight age for both of these sections. In the past there have been papers which had questions only from one section and some which had equal questions from both. Not being a part of the engineering subjects that one has learnt during their graduation, many students face a lot of problems while preparing for the aptitude part of the GATE exam. There are lot of books also available for CAT, banking exams, GRE which have aptitude questions and the students are confused about which book one should refer to. The one major issue with aptitude is that the syllabus is not defined which is why one can never be sure if the preparation is complete. Before we begin with the preparation, it is necessary to clear some misconceptions about aptitude examination.
- Aptitude in a day: Aptitude cannot be learnt in a day or month. It requires regular practice and then only you can master it.
- Learning and mugging concepts: Do not focus on learning the method of solving problems in aptitude. You must understand the underlying concept as every question in aptitude is different from the previous one. Only if you understand the concept will you be able to attempt all questions.
- Calculator is a must: Do not rely on calculator while solving aptitude questions, as most of them are easy to solve. So instead increase your solving speed and learn easy methods of solving the problem.
- Difficult questions: Do not rely on CAT, GRE or GMAT books. The questions asked in GATE are basic in nature and do not require one to practice tough questions asked in CAT.
- Added subject: Instead of treating aptitude as an added subject, treat it as a breathing space between your technical preparations. One must practice aptitude whenever you need a break from technical subjects.
- Only one section is enough: Do not procrastinate about the division of marks among the sections and prepare just one out of numerical and verbal ability. GATE has no fixed pattern and it can surprise you any year.
Having cleared some misconceptions, let us finally dig into the preparation strategy for aptitude. This will help you in mastering and guaranteeing the 15 marks in the GATE examination. To master the art of solving all the aptitude questions below are the necessary tips:
Before you begin your preparation, study the aptitude books which are dedicated to GATE preparation. Instead of going around looking for books, you can also refer to coaching material and reference books by MADE EASY. These books are specially curated keeping in mind the previous paper and the type of questions that have been asked in the past. Starting from the basics of each topic to questions with increasing level of difficulty the books provide the students a wholesome coverage of the aptitude syllabus.
Previous Year Questions :
While preparing for any subject it is of utmost necessity that the aspirants go through the previous year paper of the particular subject. Similarly for GATE as well make sure to revise to revise and practice the previous year papers. There have been instances where if not the same question but similar question have been asked in the paper.
Whenever you start your preparation make sure to make notes of the new and important formulae you come across during practicing questions. Also if you find any question that is different and required a smarter way of solving, make sure to also make note of that. While solving the aptitude question various short methods are also there. These short cuts reduce the time taken in solving such questions. Make sure to make notes of any such trick you come across.
In today’s digital age internet is the best friend you have while preparing for any examination. A simple search on Google of ‘GATE aptitude questions’ will give you many results. You can practice various questions and learn new concepts through the internet as well. You can also interact with other aspirants through GATE portals and know more about any books that must be referred for the aptitude.
Verbal Ability section of the aptitude focuses on grammar, comprehension and sentence correction. The one easy and best method to practice Verbal Ability is through reading. Reading newspaper, novels and books helps in improving your English and grammar.
While books, study material, previous papers, internet are all necessary for the aptitude examination, one thing that is of utmost necessity is practice. Aptitude is a subject which cannot be mugged up but instead can only be understood. You can see a hundred different types of questions before the examination, but until you haven’t practiced them it will not yield you any result during the examination. Try to solve a given problem multiple times before giving up on it. This will increase your thinking ability and will help you solve tough questions also with utmost ease.
Aptitude is that seed of the GATE syllabus which if sown and watered with dedication will give you fruitful results and if ignored can backlash at you and reduce your marks. Thus keeping in mind all the preparation strategies and avoiding misconceptions one can easily guarantee the 15 marks in the GATE examination. It may look scary when you first pick up your books, but only practice will help you to get over the fear and come out victorious.
All The best for The Exam!