GATE is organized by IITs and IISc, which have pioneered advanced education at master's level in India. The sole purpose of GATE is not only to conduct a test for admission but, which is also the major goal, to identify the suitable engineers/researchers in various areas and make them to choose their area of choice in which they can pursue their master degree. As you know by now, GATE is only organized by IITs and IISc which always try to innovate and introduce new systems to test the basic knowledge of candidates in various fields. As a part of that innovation, the previous year GATE papers were fully objective type. This year also the same pattern is being used, and mathematics added! Although this made the job relatively easier for the evaluators, the candidates now have a bound choice to cover all the topics. As you know, the setting of questions papers at IITs and IISc in itself is very interesting. The designated faculty in each of the areas who provide the syllabus of a particular stream have the burden to set the questions which is finally combined to a full length paper. Being set by the highly qualified faculty, the questions papers are not like a very traditional one. They always try to test the very basic of candidates in respective areas by bringing the element of innovation in these papers. It is not surprising that sometimes the questions are mere applications of basic concepts in their area of research. The implication of this, it seems is that cracking GATE with a very high percentile is merely having the basics cleared. No! Absolutely not! As innovations are always a part of the question paper, one needs to be able to apply the basics in a new application, too. That is why similar to JEE, GATE is altogether different from other competitive exams. Here in GATE, one needs to prepare thoroughly by understanding the basics. It's not at all the mugging up the end results (formulae) and directly applying them; instead, you need to know the principle in the derivation of those end results because in most of the cases the questions are based on the basic principle involved in the derivation, or the case where they may ask the behavior of the system under some other conditions or simple application of that result.
To secure a very high percentile you should always remember the fact that you are adjudged relatively not absolutely. Hence, your rank obviously depends on how you performed relative to your competitors. Many times, it happens that the candidates are sure of getting many questions correct. But one should always know that although the questions have only one correct answer, other probable choices are deliberately put there to confuse the candidates. In that sense, preparing the choices other than the correct one is also a part of the bringing the element of innovation, which really makes the life hell for a test taker to arrive at the very correct choice.
The question that poses itself to the GATE aspirants now is, how does he prepare, what methods he should adopt that would ensure his admission in the esteemed IITs or the IISc.