The Steps to prepare (self-study)for GATE are:
1. Start your preparation at a right time:
You must start it during final year of your B.tech. If you are much determined for GATE, then you can manage your classes and projects accordance with your preparation. Remember you can pass your semester with mere efforts, but cracking GATE will require huge efforts.
2. Choose best books
First start with your favorite subject. Choose a standard text book for that. Remember that local books (university books) do not have that much of concept building as Standard text books (i.e. reference books). Besides, university books are confined to a specified syllabus only. Some topics/chapters may be omitted in those books. You should start choosing and reading standard books from first day of your college.
3. Reading from Standard Books
Standard books or reference books contain lengthy content. You try to filter/summarize concepts and main theory from that; it will save your time. Grab core of a topic from these books. Remember that questions in GATE may appear from any topic. You must read all the topics; there is no classification of important or unimportant topics in GATE.
4. Making your own notes/concepts/problem solving procedures
while reading from standard references, make handwritten notes which comprise concepts and problem solving methods. These notes will help you in the last days of examination for a quick review.
5. Problem solving skills and concept building
for a decent score you need to learn all basic concepts and solving numerical problems. Both can be developed while reading from standard text books. However, problem practicing cannot be done through these books as they contain subjective questions only. Way to problem practicing is explained in next step.
6. Problem Practicing
Problem practicing is very important for scoring well in GATE. You can learn while solving. Some concepts can be best developed through practicing problems only. There should be a variety of questions in practice which covers whole breadth of the syllabus. In other words, try to solve problems on every topic. Besides, problems should be standardized which match the level of GATE. Many books are available in the market for practicing, but most of them are not much useful as they contain repeated questions and level of questions is also not so good. Though some of them are really good, you have to choose one at your own. Moreover, try to solve previous year GATE papers; they will actually help you knowing level of the GATE.