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GATE 2016 Topper Interview – Siddharth Rastogi AIR 34 (ME)

1. How was GATE paper this year? Give us some insights into GATE-2016 paper and compare it to past year question paper.

Ans. I felt that the paper was one level higher than last year for mechanical engineering. 1 mark questions were straightforward and were not at all time consuming. 2 marks questions were a mix of easy, moderate and tough levels. The online calculator introduced this time consumes more time so prior practice for it is necessary for the same.

2. 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?

Ans. Yes definitely, I was a bit nervous before the GATE exam. But general aptitude was my strong area and the first section had aptitude questions which were easy, so I was relaxed once I had a good start.

3. 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?

Ans. Aptitude was one of my strong areas, so I started with that. Then I proceeded systematically to solve all the problems which were easy to solve and in which I was pretty sure about. I attempted all the tough problems at last.

4. What was the impact of Online Calculator on GATE Exam? How did you prepare yourself to tackle the Online Calculator?

Ans. Online calculator was time consuming and difficult to handle. I had practiced on that calculator before the exam and that made me comfortable.

5. 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?

Ans. The NAT questions are easy but they consume time. Patience and accuracy are needed to crack these type of questions. Practice is the key.


Preparation Strategy for GATE Exam

6. What was the motive behind you appearing for GATE exam?

Ans. I wanted to work in core Mechanical engineering companies like BHEL, NTPC etc. and these PSUs recruit through gate.

7. When did you start preparing for GATE exam?

Ans. I started preparing for gate exam after I left my job in mid 2015.

8. 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?

Ans. By December end, I had prepared my syllabus once and was ready for revision. I had not targeted any particular number of questions for practice but I focused more on quality rather than quantity.  From previous years question bank, I was completely aware of the subjects which had more weightage than other and prepared the subjects accordingly.

9. Which study material and standard books would you recommend for GATE Aspirants in each subject?

Ans. I referred standard books and previous years question bank for ME.

  • FM- RK bansal
  • Thermo- PK Nag
  • ICE- ML Mathur
  • Som – Timoshenko
  • Tom- SS Rattan
  • Hmt- PK Nag
  • Industrial- O.P Khanna
  • MD- VB Bhandari
  • Refrigeration systems- CP Arora
  • Material science- Callister
  • Manufacturing- Kalpak Jain

10. 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?

Ans. I revised my subjects on a regular basis. I did not leave my entire revision for end. I was in constant touch with every subject at all times. I utilized my weekends for revision.

11. 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?

Ans. Mock tests are very crucial for any exam. They help you avoid any calculation mistakes and help you learn time management in the exam. I started attempting mock tests in the last month. I gave around 10 full syllabus tests and then individual topic-wise tests.

12. How was your score in Mock Tests? Is there any correlation between mock test performance and actual GATE performance?

Ans. In most of the mock tests, I was under top-100 but in some of them my performance was not that good. The whole point of giving mock tests is that you learn from the mistakes committed and don’t repeat them, Ranks in mock tests will not matter. There is no definite correlation between mock test performance and actual GATE performance. But they will definitely help you to perform better in GATE.

Personal Questions

13. What is the role of undergraduate studies or college studies in your GATE prep?

Ans. UG studies should be taken seriously. For GATE exam, you need to prepare the subjects covered in 4 years of college together at once. So, if you have a good background and you have taken your college courses seriously, you will definitely have an edge over other people.

14. How did you motivate yourself for such a long journey towards GATE?

Ans. Since I had left my job for preparation, I was determined to crack this exam. Apart from this, a good prospective career after this exam kept me on my toes.

15. Did you expect such a result after giving the GATE exam?

Ans. I knew I had done reasonably well but the rank was a surprise.

16. How did you feel the moment you saw the results?

Ans. It was definitely a moment of joy for me. That feeling of contentment when your hardwork has really paid off simply can’t be explained.

17. What is the role of family and friends in your success in GATE exam?

Ans. My family has been my biggest strength. They supported my decision of leaving job for this. My friends were the ones who made me realize what I actually wanted to do.

18. What is the success mantra that you would like to give to other GATE aspirants which have been critical for your preparation as well?

Ans. Consistency in hardwork and focus are the two main things you should have.

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