Chandresh Kr. Mahajan (Founder @exergic.in, AIR-37 ME GATE14, Ex-IOCL)
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes.
Though I cracked GATE with AIR-37 while I was in my final semester, but I have worked with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. for about 15 months and I have many friends who did it along with 9-5 job. After collecting their opinion and joining it with my experience, I think I can appropriately guide you for this.
Since it is very clear that preparing full time after taking a drop will give you the most time to prepare, so in my answer I will just focus on preparing with job with respect to preparing with college studies.
• How is preparing with job different from preparing with college studies?
When one prepares with college studies, one has to invest almost same number of hours for attending college, assignments, tests, exams, etc. However, there are some ways in which preparation with job is different. Though, there are some positives and negatives attached with both of the situations, but here, I am just going to focus on the positives and negative of preparing with job, and how you maximise positives and minimise negatives.
• Top three difficulties you face when you prepare with job:
1. Since god made bosses to be bad in nature and sap your joy away, your mood is generally low when you get back from office. Mood is not that bad when you return from college. ;)
2. Since you have more money to spend when you are in job, you think you deserve a movie on weekends or that Netflix subscription to spend at least few hours relaxing. Bad!
3. Remember that guy who stopped preparing for GATE/IES after getting college placement? When you are in a job, somewhere in the back of your mind you know that even if you do not crack GATE/IES, you still have a job to feed yourself. This push you into a comfort zone. Comfort zones are worst things for your preparations.
• Minimizing above mentioned 3 negatives:
1. Try to get as less noticed as you can in your job. Maintain a low profile. Stay away from your boss. If you are good or bad in his eyes, both ways you will get more work. Stay neutral. Try to display as less emotions as you can in office.
2. I cannot tell you how important weekends are. They are the most important days of your life if you want to do anything big in your life. I work every day. Every Saturday. Every Sunday. You do not have to feel bad about this. You must work every day of you life when you are in 20s. Avoid movies and things that waste your time. Medical studies on human life have shown that life on earth is possible without watching movies for few months. :P
3. Close you eyes for few minutes, imagine your life after 10 years in your current job when you will have the responsibility of running a family. Medical bills, child education, savings, all this can get nearly impossible to manage in your current job.
1. You do not have to appear in semester exams. Preparing for semester exams and attending them is a major time wastage for college students.
2. Your colleagues in job won’t waste your time as your friends did in college. I am not saying that friends are bad, but when you are trying to prepare for competitive exams, try to keep your friend zone minimal. Your real friends will support you in your preparations.
3. You have money to spend on purchasing any course. In college, you have to convince you parents for majority of your monetary decisions.
• Maximizing above mentioned 3 positives:
1. Since you do not have any semester exams, try not to loose touch with preparations due to any other lesser important reason. Losing touch not only stops your progress, it also drags you back since you start forgetting what you knew. You have to invest 4-5 hours daily in preparations irrespective of anything. You can sleep less and take rest in office or lunch hours but avoid long breaks from studies due to any reason.
2. Try to study as much as you can in office. Study when you travel, when you go to washroom, in short breaks from work, in every freakin’ place you can. All these small efforts, when added together, will convert into big success. Mark these words! And when you will think about this after cracking that exam, sweet tears will roll down your eyes. :)
3. Make investments in collecting useful resources for your preparations. You can read 20 reference books from your own in 400 hours, but you can get same knowledge in much much better way in just 150 hours from effective courses for GATE. Why not save time (which you have less) by spending some money on good courses?
I am sure these points will guide you in preparing for GATE / IES with your job in the best way possible. It is not going to be very easy to prepare with job, but what’s the fun if it is easy! Keep a positive attitude. Give your best shot. :)
– Chandresh Mahajan, firstname.lastname@example.org