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GATE 2017 Topper Interview – Jagrati Awasthi AIR 51 (EE)

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.

I had appeared for set-2 of E.E. This was my first attempt in GATE. The overall difficulty level was moderate. However, I found it lengthier than last year’s paper. These were a few calculations-intensive questions and the limited abilities of virtual calculator made it time-taking.

  1. 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?

After seeing first few questions (I attempted aptitude first), I found them easy and was calm but as soon as a few tricky ones came, anxiety rose and the optimism started to decline. But, after some time I decided not to waste time by sticking on a few questions and calmed myself down by understanding that there are 65 total questions and I must maintain same level of calmness in each. However, I had a lot of anxious moments in the exam hall. Later, I realized that being anxious made me nervous and cost me a total of 5-marks of silly mistakes. So, one must not get anxious at a few questions that one does not know and rather concentrate calmly on questions that are readily sowed, else mistakes are sure to happen. Tell yourself that this paper’s each question is an opportunity and not knowing one or two questions initially does not decide the overall paper. So , be calm.

  1. 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?

Order of attempting questions:-

1st – Aptitude (30 mins)

2nd – 2 marks questions (1 hr 45 mins)

3rd – 1 marks questions (45 mins)

Showing 2 marks questions prior to 1 mark questions gave me sufficient time for calculation-intensive numericals and I could attempt them in absolute calmness since 2 marks questions are usually more conceptual and lengthy (and obviously scoring), investing time on them is totally justified.

Also during test practices, I followed this approach, so it was quite tried and tested for me.

However, I took a little long for 2 mark questions. The mistake I did was to unnecessarily check the answers twice initially (out of nervousness) and hence wasting time. So, for 1 mark questions I got a bit hurried and did mistakes in units.

So, I think my strategy was good enough because I could attempt all the questions but the nervousness mode it typical for me.

So, be cool and calm. Practice the time management beforehand.

And never compromise one time of one question with other questions.

But by and large, doing 2 marks questions ahead of 1 mark questions helped me.

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

The online calculator: – I did not find it as comfortable to use as the regular calculator. The online calculator is slower and one needs to be confident beforehand.

I downloaded the online calculator in the mobile phone itself and used it whenever I sowed questions initially. This helped me being well versed  with its various functions and syntax. In the final days, the online calculator in test series and mock test helped me being familiar with it.

  1. 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?

The increasing weightage of NAT questions is undoubtedly the indication of good requirement of numerical accuracy in GATE. For numerical accuracy, while practicing numericals, always solve them till the last step until correct answer is found (use virtual calculator). Do not leave the numericals midway by first doing its conceptual part always, solve till the end. Also, test-series help improve accuracy.

  • The increasing NAT weightage is adding upto the length of the paper. Also, unlike MCQ’s, where options are available to be matched; NAT questions required confidence alongside accuracy because matching can’t be done. So, the confident of the answer.


Preparation Strategy

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

Motive behind GATE was to be into PSU’s. They are well-paid, offer good job security and obviously are the best core branch job opportunities in the country.

  1. When did you start preparing for GATE exam?

I started preparing for GATE in 6th semester. However, alongside college, it got hectic and preparation was inconsistent. I prepared Machines, Power System and control in 3rd year. But, the remaining subjects and the practice and test series took place in the last three months (November, December, January) when the college holidays (along with a few bunks) were these. However, in the last 3 months, I was focused and prepared properly.

  1. 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 was quite late in completing syllabus. I completed it one by January 15. However, in college, the basics learnt in classes helped a lot. Also I had completed machines, power system and control beforehand in July itself and required them in August.

September went into Campus Placement.

October into College exams.

My first and foremost target was to complete previous 20 years GATE questions in each subject and revise them once

As I mentioned, because of college, the time was limited, so I held myself onto properly doing previous GATE questions of 20 years of each subject. Other than this, I solved Test series questions.


  1. Machines
  2. Control
  3. Power Systems
  4. Networks
  5. Digital Electronics
  6. EMT
  7. Analog electronics
  8. Power Electronics
  9. Signals
  10. Mathematics

Aptitude was prepared during courage placements.

  1. Which subjects according to require more practice and which subjects need to be read from standard textbooks?

According to me, machines, control and networks need a good practice. As they are sure to be asked and quite scoring. Machines was quite a dominating subject GATE paper over few years.

I would suggest to must read Bhimbra for Machines since the book lays down the foundation of basic understanding of machines. Other than this, power electronics and power systems must also be properly read as they are asked in interview.

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

For a few subjects I referred books and for others, I read comprehensive notes because of limited times.

Machines – P. S. Bhimbra

Power System – Stevenson (Only for few theoretical topics otherwise, notes)

Networks – Schaum series (Numericals)

Control System- Gopal

Analog Electronics – Boylestad (College course)

  1. 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?

To ensure that I do not forget the already read subjects, I periodically gave subject-wise tests so that concepts are revised. I revised the GATE question which seemed difficult when done first.

Revision, in my case, was very crisp as I had to take care of college academies. (I have a decent 9.23 CGPA in college).

So, I once completed all the subjects and even in between this preparations, I kept doing tests so that subjects are revised.

Revision in last few months is very crucial, because most of the formula being to face. Do make formula list for a quick revision.

In the last few months, my only objective was to complete the syllabus, revise, complete the previous year GATE papers and then also keep doing tests.

Strategy for revision was to appear for mock test and take GATE-2016 question paper (I hadn’t solved it before) as a testament of preparation So, In late January, I started solving complete GATE papers, unlike solving subject wise.

This fetched me confidence as I calculated my marks in GATE 2013, 14, 15, 16 and compared it with the respective results.

Do, revise GATE papers, they are the most authentic question banks.

  1. 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?

Mock tests help in scheduling the papers and managing time. The approach of solving paper should be decided at mock test level.

Like, from the mock test stage itself, I was comfortable doing Aptitude, then 2 mark & then 1 mark questions.

So, the time management tactics should be learnt through mock tests. I appeared for around 5 mock test and they were all taken after completing the previous year questions (subject wise).

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

I scored moderately in Mock Test. The Rank was usually round 100 in first 2 test. However, in later tests the performance improved.

I do not think there is any direct correlation. Because, in my case, my average mock test rank would have been above 100.

The mock test should be taken as an opportunity to analyse week things and also not to repeat the mistakes and most importantly manage time.

Do not be disheartened if you do not perform well in mock tests, first known your mistakes and strive not to repeat them further.

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

Now comes the real thing. The only reason why I could prepare efficiently, even though I was late in preparation was KREATRYX.

  • The subject wise blog of Kreatryx helped me analyse which points and topics are important and which are not. I literally skipped the topics that were tagged unimportant in the blog.

To my amazement, not even a single question come outside those topics.

  • Since I started late, my vision was a bit blur, their subject wise blogs were no less than a blessing and gave me an inspiration to prepare and I developed confidence about the subject.

(K-PLAN Videos).

  • To every GATE aspirant, specially to those who are in find year and are limited by time:-

Do not go uncertain about any subject. Even if you are late, do complete them.

To have a vision about such subjects read the subject blogs available on KREATRYX and make a vision about your preparations.

Being a fresher, these blogs gave me an edge over my preparations for subjects I hadn’t prepared before and in less time, I could read efficiently.

  • It was these KREATRYX resources that made me believe that I must fight till the end & not leave preparation at any cost.

(The topper’s interviews and blogs)

Personal Questions

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

UG studies make a base for these exams. One does not to be a topper of college but definitely should have an idea about the abstract of various subjects, so that you do not feel alien to any topic.

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

The good life PSU’s ensure and the reasons of much sought after “SARKARI NAUKRI”  kept me going. Also, the placement in private sector are not upto the mark in core branches.

“I hadn’t walked till now to just be here, I must reach where I wanted to walk to”

“So, just don’t stop, always think that you have taken many steps already and only a few more, so never give up, fight till the end”


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

Well, based on KREATRYX rank predictor, I was quite sure about under 100. However, 51 Rank was quite a pleasant surprise.

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

The moment I Saur the result, I was pleasantly surprised. My parents were happy and proud and seeing my parents this way made me extremely happy. I felt that the much struggle I put for about 6-8 months has yielded results.

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

Family and friends play a great role. They inspire us, motivate us and act as a driving force when we feel retarded.

Specially, away from family, friends are the one’s who make up as coherent environment which is fit for progress. They also tolerate our lows and down and give the much needed push.

  1. Who would you dedicate this GATE result to?

I’ll dedicate it to the subject blogs of Kreatryx. Had they not been available, I would have taken more time and compromised my preparation.

In person, I dedicate it to my parents.

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

This is specially for college going aspirants:-

  • Do prepare Machines and power systems much before the last months. They are voluminous subjects and last moment reading won’t give clarity. Practice their questions and tests as well.

Once, they are done, major chunk is over.

  • Next, Read Control Systems also before hand because, even in placements, it is a vividly asked topic.
  • For other subjects, go through the subject wise blogs on KREATRYX, identify the topics to be covered, make a timeline for preparation and try to follows it. This would help make a vision for preparation amid the vast course.
  • Solve Previous Year Gate (subject-wise) papers and analyse strong and weak points of each subject.
  • Revise the questions from Gate which were initially typical.
  • Do Not ignore Mathematics, solve as much as you can (Test and Previous year of other branch)
  • Give mock test in the end and learn time management.
  • Take breaks from college on weekends as attendance is not a hard and fast rule.
  • For college exams, one day-night study before exams will suffice.

Never Dishearten

In college, ups and downs are frequents events specially on a personal level. So, never Give up.


You passed 12th standard and 3 years of engineering first to be where you want to be.

Do NOT compromise your 15-16 years of learning just because of hard work of few months.

In the last 3 Months-

  • Be focused leave friends and college. Turn completely to GATE.
  • Some as much as you can explore the topics. Do not look back. Just do all that you can.
  • Revise every concept & formula thoroughly. It is advisable to make a list of formulae and important concepts for a quick revision.


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