Preparation Strategies: Digital Electronics

Following the right preparation strategy for ESE/IES and GATE is very important. Specially for a high scoring subject like Digital Electronics, we need to adhere to the right preparation strategy. For Computer Science, Electrical and Electronics engineers, Digital Electronics is one of the important core subjects that one cannot skip when it comes to GATE or IES exam preparation. However, to spend a lot of effort and time in preparation of any one subject is a waste of both and must be avoided at all costs. It is always a good idea to strategize and plan your preparation before starting it. In lieu of the same lines, we try to present the preparation strategy for Digital Electronics in this blog so that aspirants get an idea of what exactly is important from exam point of view and can plan their studies accordingly.

Why Study Digital Electronics:

Electrical Engineering is called the mother branch of electronics and computer science. As an Electrical or Electronics or Computer Engineer, you would be required to deal with various kind of signals. In practice, all real-life signals are analog in nature and at first sight, it seems use of analog is much better as compared to a digital signal. But digital signals have various advantages over the analog signal like noise immunity, more information per unit time and lot more. So, we convert analog signals into digital signals and use them in Signal processing, Control engineering, Microelectronics, Telecommunication engineering and several other branches that belong to Electrical and Electronics Engineering which deal with a comparatively smaller power.

Core Electrical & Power engineers usually have to deal with high power applications of electricity and while doing so, it becomes essential to have a sound understanding of this subject.

Applications of Digital Electronics:

Digital electronics finds a number of applications in various streams of engineering, some of which have been enlisted here:

  • Digital Electronicshas a number of applications in fields ranging from something as simple as the display of your digital watch or the count-down timer which you see at traffic signals in few countries, to something as complex as Rocket Science or Quantum Computing,
  • The fundamentals and implementation of digital electronics are essential to understanding the design and working of consumer/industrial electronics, embedded systems, computers, security, and military equipment.
  • Digital electronics also finds application in various modern-day technologies like LCD/LED TV, smartphones, ATM machines, credit/debit cards.

To study and understand all the Digital electronics, it’s important that we know the basis of Digital electronics and sees a bit more about Digital electronics.

About Digital Electronics:

Digital electronics engineers mainly deal with control, conversion, and conditioning of Analog Signals using semiconductor devices such as switches. Analog systems are those in which the voltage level assumes an infinite number of distinct values. Whereas in all modern digital circuits there are just two discrete voltage levels. Digital circuits are often called switching circuits because the voltage levels in a digital circuit are assumed to be switched from one value to another instantaneously. Digital circuits are also called logic circuits because every digital signal obeys a certain set of logical rules.

To Understand Digital Electronics: Understanding of Digital Electronics for ESE or GATE exam requires various concepts of a number of other subjects from Electrical/Electronics engineering syllabus. Following is a list of the subjects and the important topics from each that might be required

  • Number System: Different types of number systems with different bases are used in digital electronics so it is imperative to have a basic knowledge of number systems.
  • Network theory: Knowledge of basics of Network Theory is necessary to understand the working of Logic Families and Analog to Digital converters in Digital electronics.
  • Semiconductor Physics: Basics of semiconductor physics and semiconductor switches help to learn about Digital switches since they are based on semiconductor switches.
  • Analog Electronics: A basic idea of this subject may also be helpful for the design of digital circuits.

Reference Books:

 When preparing for ESE, one can refer to M. Morris Mano for theory and A. Anand Kumar for the numerical part. Though, it is highly advisable to form one’s own Digital Electronics notes and short notes of key points for proper practice, understanding and revision later. In case of any doubt or discrepancy, one may refer to above books. Especially for topics that have high weightage for GATE and ESE exams, one may go through the questions and solved examples of these books.

Weightage of Topics:

Digital Electronics in GATE generally has a weightage of 4 to 6 marks for electrical students and 6 to 10 marks for electronics students. Whereas in ESE prelims 10 to 25 marks are dedicated to Digital electronics for electrical students and 15-20 marks for electronics students. In stage-2 or Mains of ESE exam, this subject becomes even more important with a weightage of 20 to 30 marks for electrical students and 40 to 50 marks for electronics students. Few topics are common to both electrical and electronics students for ESE and GATE exam, whereas topics like logic families and state machine are exclusively included for electronics students for ESE exam only. Following is a table presenting topic wise weightage for topics common to both GATE and ESE exam:


1. Number Systems 1-2 marks 2-4 marks 5-10 marks
2. Boolean Algebra and Minimization Techniques 1-2 marks 2-4 marks 5-10 marks
3. Combinational Logic Circuits 1-2 marks 3-4 marks 5-10 marks
4. Sequential Logic Circuits 1-2 marks 3-4 marks 10-15 marks
5. Registers and Counters 1-2 marks 2-4 marks 10-15 marks
6. A/D Converters and Semiconductor Memories 1-2 marks 2-4 marks 5-10 marks

Here, Sequential Logic Circuits and Registers and Counters carry more weightage, especially in GATE and also take less time to prepare. This is become important from the examination point of view and must be revised multiple times before the exam. Boolean Algebra and Semiconductor Memories may not even be asked sometimes and carries very little weightage otherwise also. In case you have less time left for IES preparation or have other important topics to finish, you can leave it for end or may even omit it. Combinational Circuits and Analog to Digital Converters have more weightage in Mains of ESE exam, so may be avoided at the time of ESE prelims but is necessary to learn before ESE mains.

There is one more topic in the syllabus, Logic Families though that are included exclusively for ESE for Electrical Students but can come in ESE for Electronics students and carry a weightage of 1 to 2 marks for ESE Prelims and 5 to 10 marks for ESE Mains:

Extra tips:

After planning and strategizing for the ESE exam properly, it is equally necessary to work upon the implementation of the plan and preparation strategy for ESE 2019. Here are some tips included for the same:

  • After completion of each chapter, try to revise the concepts given in the classroom or studied by self on the same day itself.
  • Plan proper revision of the complete subject after completion of course.
  • Classroom notes and micro notes, both must be made properly to aid proper revision at the end.
  • Revise sequential circuits and counters multiple times as these topics consume less time, are easy to prepare and carry more weightage.
  • Since syllabus for Electrical, Electronics and computer science for this subject is closely related, you can practice as many questions from as many possible sources of these branches for better understanding.
  • Don’t fall for unverified sources of study. Apart from the reference books stated, you can refer to the theory book provided in the class and question banks for practice.
  • After multiple revisions, it is important to appear for test series of a good institute. It includes the different level of questions which increases understanding of each topic and each concept.
  • Topic wise subject tests help one in identifying one’s weak areas, work upon them and also, compared with different students.

It’s easy to concentrate on either speed or accuracy at once but what GATE and ESE exams demand is concentration on accuracy in a limited time. Practice and joining a good test series can help you achieve both. We hope this blog helps you with the preparation strategy for Digital Electronics for ESE exam and GATE examination.

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