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How to prepare for GATE CSE for NON-CSE student

  • Difficulty Level : Basic
  • Last Updated : 22 Apr, 2021

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is one of the reputed technical exam in India. This year in 2021 around 17.8% students qualified this year. Every year 7 Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science IISc conducts exams which leads to admission in M.E, M. Tech, PhD and other PSUs. It consists of 100 marks paper which consists of 65 questions. It is being conducted once a year and the eligibility criteria is 3rd year student and above.

The pattern of questions asked in GATE exam are as follows:

  • Numerical Answer Type- 1 Marks, 2 Marks with no negative marking.
  • Multiple Select Questions- 1 Marks, 2 Marks with no negative marking and no partial marking.
  • Multiple Choice Questions- 1 Marks, 2 Marks with one third negative marking.

Today, is the world of modern technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Information Security, Machine Learning. As the demand for the engineers having these relevant skills are increasing, most of the students or working professionals who completed their B. Tech in non CS branches want to pursue M. Tech from top IITs, NITs and IIITs in India and secure their career in these fields. It is very much possible that a student from non CS branches can crack GATE CSE with good rank  with sheer effort and dedicated study for one year. There are tons of non CSE students who cracked GATE CS exam in last few years and most of them have completed their M. Tech and now working in top MNCs like Google, Amazon, Apple, CISCO, etc.
In this blog, we are going to cover how being from non CS/IT branches, one can excel in GATE Computer Science exam. Also, we will cover how to start and from where you can learn and important strategies. Let’s discuss one by one. 
The basic steps before starting of preparation:
       The first priority is to know the GATE syllabus. GATE preparation will take from 8 to 9 months with proper planning and strategy.
In Computer Science, there are generally ten core subjects-

  • C Programming and Data Structures
  • Algorithms
  • Theory of Computation
  • Compiler Design
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Operating Systems
  • Data Base Management Systems
  • Computer Networks
  • Computer Organization and Architecture
  • Digital Logic Design
  1. You can refer to The Latest Syllabus.
  2. You will encounter with lots of new terms in CS subjects. As you progress in your preparation, maintain a separate notebook for these new key words. CSE students are already studying these keywords right from their B. Tech and are familiar with these words.
  3. The second most important thing is to know from where to prepare. Visit GATE CS References to get complete idea about standard text books and online references to follow during preparation.
  4. The third most important thing is to know the weightage of subjects in order to know their priority.
  5. One can start preparation with the high weightage subjects. The following table is an average marks distribution of last three to four years.
SubjectsMarks Distribution
Data Structures and Algorithms15-20 Marks
Mathematics and Aptitude28-30 Marks
TOC and Compiler Design13-18 Marks
DBMS6-8 Marks
Operating Systems7-10 Marks
Computer Organization7-10 Marks
Computer Networks6-8 Marks
Digital Logic Design4-6 Marks

The non CSE GATE aspirants who are willing to write GATE exam in CSE can be broadly categorized into:
Category 1: ECE
Category 2: EE, EIE and IN
Category 3: Mechanical, Civil, Production and other branches

Being from non-CS and learning Computer Science subjects is challenging but can be done easily with proper execution and planning. CS is generally abbreviated as Common Sense. Yes, with basic logic in Mathematics, Aptitude and Programming, GATE CSE can be easily crack. For that a proper strategy for next eight to twelve months is very much important. The three non CS categories above-mentioned must have different strategies for preparing the subjects. 

Here are some tips for preparation of subjects:

  • DSA and C ProgrammingOne should start with C programming followed by Data Structures and Algorithms as it has the highest weightage. All the three category students should focus on this subject first and give a dedicated effort. For placements also DSA and programming knowledge is mandatory. Every non CSE student first honor the programming skills especially in C. 
    Refer:  Data Structures, Algorithms and C Program to master in DSA and Programming.
  • Discrete MathematicsIt is completely a new subject for all the three categories. Discrete Mathematics is the heart of Computer Science. It has good weightage in GATE.  Prepare this subject parallelly with DSA and C Programming. It has lots of application in all the core CS subjects. 
    Refer Discrete Mathematics to know more about topics and notes.
  • Theory Of Computation and Compiler DesignThese subjects are also new for these three categories. So, after completing DSA, dedicated study and proper practice is needed for these two subjects. The order should be TOC followed by Compilers. Compiler is completely related to TOC and hence it is the pre-requisite for Compiler Design.
     Refer Theory Of Computation and Compiler Design courses.
  • Database Management SystemSimilar to DSA, Data Base and SQL are very important for every CS engineers. It is also an easy to score subject and has good weightage in GATE. Refer This Tutorial  to get more idea about DBMS.
  • Operating SystemIt is also an important and an easy to score subject. OS will be a new subject for all the categories. Lot of new concepts and terms are there to memorize. For example: Contiguous memory, Pre-empt, etc. So, make a proper list of the key words as non CS students are not acquainted with these words. 
    Refer:  Operating System.
  • Digital Logic DesignStudents who are in category 3, have to study Digital Logics before going to “Computer Organization and Computer Networks.” Category 1 and 2 students already studied DLD in their B. Tech curriculum. So, they can go with any combinations as per your choice.
    Refer:  Digital Logic Design.
  • Computer NetworksIt will be an easy subject for Category 1 students because they have already covered “Computer Communication” in their B. Tech. Category 2 and 3 students have to put more effort in this subject. It is a vast subject and needs nearly twenty to thirty days to complete. During placements, top MNCs  prefer to ask questions from networking. 
    Refer: Computer Networks.
  • Computer OrganizationIt is the toughest subject in GATE CSE. But average marks can be easily scored from topics like Cache Memory, Pipeline and Addressing Modes. 
    Refer Computer Organization Tutorials for more insights.
  • Mathematics and AptitudeFor General Mathematics and Aptitude, Previous Year Questions of all the branches for last 20 years and test series are more than enough.  They have weightage of around 15 marks from Aptitude and 3 to 4 marks from “Engineering Mathematics” from topics like Calculus, Linear Algebra, Probability. Students generally don’t focus on these portions and prepare at the end. These two subjects will boost your rank as they are easy to score and have good weightage. 
    Refer: Aptitude Tutorial and Engineering Mathematics to prepare Mathematics and Aptitude.

The other bonus preparation tips are:

  1. Be consistent. Daily 5-6 hours is mandatory for eight to twelve months. In the last two months give as much time as possible for revision and tests.
  2. Make your own handwritten notes. Refer- Detailed Notes For GATE Computer Science.
  3. Every month try to prepare two subjects: one technical and one non-technical like Aptitude and Mathematics.
  4. Do not waste time on a particular topic, question for long time. Let, it go and do it after completing all the subjects.
  5. Try to complete syllabus by December. Keep last month completely for revision and mock tests.
  6. Buy at least two test series. Test series help to understand where you are lacking.
  7. Give as many Full Length tests as possible.
  8. Make short notes or highlight the important formulas and concepts in your notes. Refer Short Notes from our site.
  9. Refer our site whenever you filled stuck in any concepts. We have pool of topics with proper explanation.
  10. Try to learn from the mistakes and make a proper analysis after the tests.
  11. Consistency and calmness are the key. It’s a long process and it takes time to shift from non CS to CS. Don’t be nervous and give your 100 percent effort.
  12. Proper hard work is needed as you are preparing for completely new domain.
  13. Previous Year Questions will help to understand the pattern of GATE examination. Refer Previous Year Questions  to practice. We also have solutions for all PYQs. If you feel stuck you can see our detailed solution.
  14. For last moment you can give importance to these important portions from Subject Wise Five Most Important Topics.

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