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GATE 2017 Topper Interview – Dinesh Khanna AIR 73 (ME)

GATE Exam specific questions


1) How was GATE paper this year? Give us some insights into GATE-2017 paper and compare it to past year question paper.

In a word – Easy.
You will notice a trend of decreasing order of difficulty every year and predictability is also high, that makes the paper much more easier.

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?

I was not anxious. At the time I gave the exam, I was in a thought that I had another opportunity (Gave ISRO interview – was thinking that I would be inducted in for sure – but shockingly I was wait listed, results of ISRO came after GATE). If I did not have an opportunity at that time, I would have been anxious for sure. I would have eased by thinking how well I prepared for the exam, believing in me is the key.

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?

I attended the Non-Tech paper first. I was confident that I could attempt solve most of the questions in Non-Tech. Some questions were difficult for me, I just skipped it believing brainstorming will do it’s part. Finished Aptitude in first 15 minutes (30 minutes was target – rest 15 minutes on final revision). Then I came to Technical. I went attempting 1 marks and then 2 marks, chronological order. I ensured I would not waste extra time on any single question before completing the paper. I scored on 53/55 questions on Technical – ( Rolling question – wrong, Entered 500 KPa instead of 0.5 MPa in brakes question). Scored remaining in Aptitude getting 88/100 in total.

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

It was not an issue. I have practised on that calculator before. Everyone around me buried their calculator deep when they were preparing for GATE exam, right from their first day of preparation. I did not do that as I was confident that I can solve with online calculator with good speed at any time. (Ok OK, laziness 60% confidence 40%)
I recommend everyone to practice with their online calculator.

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?
It is so true that weightage of numericals increase every year. You can improve your accuracy only by solving / practicing more problems in every type of questions they might ask. You must solve more problems in order to increase your accuracy.


GATE Preparation strategy


6) What was the motive behind you appearing for GATE exam? When did you start preparing for GATE exam?
I did not have a fixed plan. I wanted to do something different, which most of my friends did not do / failed by trying. GATE was seen as a herculean task amongst my friends. Then I came to know the scope of GATE ( started preparing seriously after finishing my project in final semester – I swear!)
I wanted to (still want to) join research organisations like DRDO or any Maharatna PSU’s

7) 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?

I as took a drop for second year, I completed every subject before June 2016. From then I was preparing for ESE prelims which reinforced my knowledge on theoretical questions too.
There is no particular sequence – it depends on specifically on the person, whatever sequence you follow, keep revising all the subjects every week.

8) Which subjects according to you require more practice and which subjects need to be read from standard textbooks?

I went through notes and was practicing previous year question papers in GATE and ESE in 2016. When I had doubts I always referred from only one standard textbook. On the subjects where you are weak, you should practice more, try strengthening it, subject varies from person to person. Never ever leave a subject as you are weak in it.

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

As I read only coaching notes and did not go through any other subject materials.

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?
By revising short notes. I prepared short notes for every subject. I had 2 sets of short notes for each subject ( 1. the short notes that cover entire subject 2. this notes contained the topics or questions where I did mistakes more often)
I will not recommend anyone to have two sets of notes as it is time consuming. Instead use markers. Remember – short notes ” the specific sets of pages that has only specific lines that describes / defines whole topic” don’t write everything in short notes, u ll hate to revise then. I revised a subject just going through short notes once and solving problems either in a std textbook / prev year gate qp / whenever a friend asks me when he gets struck onto a specific problem.

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?

The mock tests played a vital role in my GATE preparation. Like I mentioned earlier, I was pretty confident that I will be inducted in ISRO after performing interview good. My laziness got bulked up, and left preparing for GATE and ESE. Then I compromised myself to write a test series a day at least – giving a mock test a day and spending rest of the time watching videos / sleeping (I strongly do not recommend this). I went through what went wrong and was spending rest of the day doing nothing. Between Jan 24-29, I gave two mock tests a day. I believe I am here in this position because I gave mock tests sincerely. I have finished many subject tests before ISRO interview (i.e before the month of December).

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

I was getting constantly 60-70% score as minimum, topped some tests too.
This does not mean that you have to excel in all tests that you write. The tests will help you reducing the silly mistakes you make at GATE, it will not decide what you are going to score. I am not saying not to consider the test marks seriously, but don’t get dejected if you get low marks, think that you have many chances to improve yourself.

13) Did you purchase/use any of the Kreatryx Products? If yes, how was it beneficial to you?

No, I did not purchase any of the Kreatryx products.

14) What is the role of undergraduate studies or college studies in your GATE prep?

It had a role of playing anti-hero in my story – GATE preparation, I swear. My college HOD did not even give permission for an hour to leave early for attending the GATE classes. Overall, it had negative impact on my GATE preparation.

15) How did you motivate yourself for such a long journey towards GATE?

As I took the risk I had nightmares. I thought what will happen if I don’t clear the exam, how some of my relative or friends mock at me, damaging my reputation. It always put me back on tracks.


Personal Questions

16) Did you expect such a result after giving the GATE exam?

Yes, I was expecting a good result after doing well in examination. I knew that, as I ensured that I did not make any silly mistake / calculation mistake ( completed exam in 2.5 hours, went through all the questions )

17) How did you feel the moment you saw the results?

The first word that came in my mind was “FINALLY”. That word kept resonating for few minutes. “Finally my hard work has paid off”.

18) What is the role of family and friends in your success in GATE exam?

Without my parents support, I would have never been here. I knew that when I am going to lie to them, I am cheating myself. They never stopped believing in me, stood by me, nurtured with confidence.
I had only few friends around me. I pretended that I was an introvert and I do not regret pretending so. That few friends helped me to think straight. Keep your friend circle small, help each other.

19) Who would you dedicate this GATE result to?

To my parents, no second thought in that.

20) What is the success mantra that you would like to give to other GATE aspirants which has been critical for your preparation as well?

The first and foremost thing you have to do is to believe in yourself. If you do not believe, you cannot channelize the flow of your preparation, you cannot prepare with utmost concentration.

“If I can top the exam, so can you”

I will list some of the mandatory things that I followed which led me to this position:

1.Solving previous year gate question papers – twice ( solving thrice is also appreciated)
2.Preferring only one standard text book. Believe me, do not try to prepare from multiple text books. Choose one book that contains all the topics mentioned in GATE Syllabus. (You can google and choose).
3.Write Subject wise / Full length Mock tests, keep practicing more.
See, everyone who scored above 75 in this GATE has the capability to score more than 90+ in GATE. If you ask them why they were not able to score 90+, they will say that they had made “silly mistakes”.
4.Short notes making – must.
Those mistakes can be avoided if and only if you practice more, revise more and keep practicing again and again.

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