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GATE 2016 Topper Interview – Raja Majhi AIR 7 (ECE)

Hi GATE Aspirants,
As I told previously that we will be conducting a series of interviews with GATE 2016 Toppers so here is the next interview in the series. This time we have with us Raja Majhi from Burdwan, West Bengal who got AIR-7 in GATE 2016 ECE exam. He is currently studying in Final Year B.Tech in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata.
Exam specific questions
Kreatryx:  How was GATE paper this year? Give us some insights into GATE-2016 paper and compare it to past year question paper.
Raja: Mine was SET 1 of Gate 2016 EC (30th Jan Morning set). This set appeared a little bit more difficult than Gate 2015 & Gate 2014 to me. Numerical types of questions were more than previous two years. More theoretical aspects of a candidate were tested this time. You must have a strong theoretical base as well as good amount of practice to be able to answer them. Also, Virtual Calculator was a problem for most of us.
Kreatryx:  How did you feel after seeing first few questions? Did you feel relaxed and calm or you were anxious during first few questions? If you felt anxious then how did you calm yourself?
Raja: I answered the aptitude part first.  This part was pretty easy (easier than my expectation). I finished aptitude part within 13 minutes. Then I went for the technical part. First few questions of the technical part took a fair amount of time, though they were not that tough but they were little confusing. I started worrying about time-management. Then I had to accelerate a bit.
Kreatryx: How did you go about attempting the paper? How did you distribute time among various sections like did you attempt 1 mark questions or 2 marks questions first? Please give a detailed description of time management strategy you followed?
Raja: I had some pre-plans about how to attempt the paper. I planned to finish the aptitude part within 15-20 minutes, which was executed well by me as I finished it within 13 minutes. That initially boosted my confidence. Then I went for 25 questions of 1 marks serially one after another. I tried to finish that part within the maximum of 1 hour. But I could not execute this plan. I took almost 1 hour and 15 minutes to solve those 25 questions. (I was nowhere at my best on that D-day). But still, I didn’t panic. I went for the 30 questions of 2 Marks. I pre-planned it to finish within 1 hour and 30 minutes. But the problem with SET1 was, there were 3 wrong 2 marks-questions. Those 3 questions took a good chunk of time. Had those 3 questions not been wrong, I fancy, I could have scored lot more. I also planned to revise for last 15 minutes, in which I would check whether I had committed silly mistakes or not. But I could not save this 15 minutes. For this reason, I end up committing 4 marks silly mistakes. (Those were really silly)
Kreatryx: What was the impact of Online Calculator on GATE Exam? How did you prepare yourself to tackle the Online Calculator?
Raja: Online calculators were difficult to handle than physical calculators. A lot of time was wasted for use of the virtual calculator. But most of the questions didn’t require the calculator at all. The values were such given that u don’t need a calculator. But some 6-7 questions still involved calculations heavily. (Questions from EDC, Antenna, Communication etc.) While writing mock tests, I used to use virtual calculator. That gave me a practice.
Kreatryx: What do you feel about the increasing weightage of Numerical Answer Type Questions? How to improve accuracy in order to score well in Numerical Answer Type Questions?
Raja: Yes, weightage of NAT questions really increased over past two years. But actually, I didn’t find it difficult. These are kind of conventional questions which appear in semester exams of our colleges. U just solve the question carefully and write whatever u get!! But you should not make unnecessary approximations in the intermediary steps; that may creep in significant amount of error in the final answer and this might go beyond the range.

Preparation Strategy

Kreatryx: What was the motive behind you appearing for GATE exam?
Raja: I was preparing for GATE 2016 mainly to get into a leading PSU.
Kreatryx: When did you start preparing for GATE exam?
Raja: I started my preparation during my third year of engineering. But I became serious about it after the end of my 6thsemester. I didn’t go for any training/internship, rather I decided to prepare for GATE.
Kreatryx: Up to what date were you able to complete the course once? What was your target as to how many questions to practice in each subject? What was the sequence in which you prepared the subjects?
Raja: As I mentioned, I started my preparation right after the end of my 6th-semester exam. This was a vacation time of almost 2 months (From mid-May to mid-July). I ended the entire syllabus once during this period. 
I used to practice questions from several sources. I tried to solve exercise questions given in the standard textbooks of every subject. I also solved MCQs from R.K. Kanodia. & coaching center’s study material. Previous years’ GATE questions all need to be solved to secure a good rank in GATE.
I started preparing from Network Theory as this is the most fundamental subject of EC. Then I went for all the circuit subjects like EDC, Analog, and Digital & Microprocessor. Then I prepared for Control System & Signal-System. These were very fundamental subjects and need to be strong. Then I went for Communication Systems & Electromagnetic Theory.  Last but not the least I revised Engineering Mathematics (As I was strong in Mathematics, I just took 1 or 2 days to completely revise that subject).
Kreatryx: Which study material and standard books would you recommend for GATE Aspirants in each subject?
Raja: Actually all the subjects need to be read from standard textbooks in order to have a strong base. But I think especially the following subjects are to be read from the following standard books. I am listing them out. 
1.      Network – Hayt & Kemmerly / Van Valkenburg
2.      EDC – Streetman & Banerjee
3.      Analog – Behzad Razavi / Sedra & Smith
4.      Digital — Moris Mano
5.      Microprocessor – Ramesh Gaonkar
6.      Control System —   Nagrath & Gopal (This subject may be read from any standard study material)
7.      Signal & Systems – Oppenheim & Willsky
8.      Communication Systems – Simon Haykins
9.      EMT—Sadiku
10.   Engineering Math – B.S. Grewal
Kreatryx: How did you keep the subjects fresh in your memory the entire time? Did you revise the subjects regularly or you left the revision for last few months? What was your strategy for revision in the last few months?
Raja: Revise is one of the most important things in GATE preparation. I used to revise a subject every 10 days. While studying a subject for the first time, I made my own short notes where I wrote all the formulae and concepts.
That helped me during my revise. Whenever I wanted to revise, I could have revised from there itself.
Kreatryx: What is the role of mock tests in your success in GATE exam? How many mock tests did you attempt? When did you start attempting mock tests?
Raja: Mock test is a key thing in order to learn time management and device a strategy for the D-day. Practicing lot of mock tests also help you to assess your preparation and understand strengths and weaknesses. In January I used to attempt at-least 1 mock test per day. But I started writing mock tests & subject wise tests since October.
Kreatryx: How was your score in Mock Tests? Is there any correlation between mock test performance and actual GATE performance?
Raja: I used to do very well in mock tests. I scored around 80 in all mock tests. In GATE I got 79.33 (Normalized to 77.65!!) But I have to admit this time GATE question was tougher than those Mock Test questions. But I think, if you perform well in those mock tests, it boosts your confidence up.
Personal Questions
Kreatryx: What is the role of undergraduate studies or college studies in your GATE prep?
Raja: The subjects and the syllabus were all covered in the semester exams of our College (Jadavpur University). If somebody follows his college curriculum very seriously, he ought to be successful in GATE.
Kreatryx: How did you motivate yourself for such a long journey towards GATE?
Raja: I always kept in mind that only proper practice and perseverance will bring the success. I always believe in the fact that hardwork always pays off.
Kreatryx: Did you expect such a result after giving the GATE exam?
Raja: Candidly speaking, when I came out from the exam center, I felt I have not done enough for getting into top 10 or top 20. I was sure about top 100 though. As I mentioned, I could have scored more (atleast 4 marks) by avoiding the silly mistakes. Overall, I was not satisfied as I didn’t do justice to my potential on that day. 
Kreatryx: How did you feel the moment you saw the results?
Raja: It was quite unexpected. I was overjoyed by this. I acknowledged my parents first. They were very happy to see that too. It was certainly one of the most wonderful moments of my life so far. 
Kreatryx: What is the role of family and friends in your success in GATE exam?
Raja: My parents were my source of inspiration. I owe highly to them.
Kreatryx: Who would you dedicate this GATE result to?
Raja: No doubt, I would dedicate this my parents and my grandmother (diduma).
Kreatryx: What is the success mantra that you would like to give to other GATE aspirants which has been critical for your preparation as well?
Raja: Hardwork along with perseverance is the key to success. Prepare & revise in a proper manner to crack GATE.

Kreatryx is thankful to Raja Majhi for such a detailed interview. We hope it helps GATE Aspirants who are starting their journey for GATE. Please share this among your friends as much as possible so that they can also benefit from this interview.

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