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#MyGATEStory #14- Afraz Siddiqui (AIR 36 in GATE 2018 EE)

My name is Afraz Siddiqui. I have completed my B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering from JSSATE, Noida in the year 2017. My GATE 2018 All India Rank is 33 in the EE stream.

I come from a middle class family from Kanpur. My mother and sister teach at reputed schools in Kanpur.

This has been my second attempt at GATE. I had appeared for GATE previously in the year 2018 and I had AIR 833 when I was in the final year of my course.

I was born in Delhi, and did my schooling from Dr. V.S.E.C. Kidwai Nagar, Kanpur. After that, I went to Noida for my Bachelors. Initially when I joined college I had a fair idea about how the placement scenario in the electrical domain is, and it was quite shocking. I had prepared for JEE once , but could not get into a reputed IIT, and hence when I joined college a phobia of IIT had taken over me. I was willing to do anything but GATE preparation. I was scared of how many people attempted the exam every year and that the success ratio is very less.

As I moved up the years I felt more and more comfortable with the subjects. Electrical engineering was not tough to study- it was rather interesting and was easy to grasp if only one had grip over mathematics. I started with the most basic subject – Networks and completed the book ‘Fundamentals of Electric Circuits by Charles Alexander and Sadiku’. This book was by far the simplest textbook I’d ever gone through, and yet it taught me all the basics needed for the coming subjects.

Like this I prepared the other subjects, but couldn’t understand the core subjects very well. I could not go too deep in a subject by myself s self study has some certain limitations. But still I gave my best. By the time came Final year – I was unplaced( rejected by 3 companies – some by luck, others by my negligence) , had a very few friends and had a complete syllabi to cover. The year 2016 was the most struggling period. In November after Diwali holidays I decided to put in all my efforts. I started waking up at 4am for the rest of the preparation period and studied for entire days .

On 11th February 2017, the day of reckoning came. My GATE went badly and I could not attempt most of the questions because of various reasons-

1) I had not prepared any short notes during my preparation for the first attempt for GATE and my mind went blank when the paper began.

2) I had not solved the previous year question bank.

Et cetera, et cetera.

The result was announced a day before the day given i.e. on 26th March. AIR 833 it showed. Although my friends and family pretended to be happy but I knew this performance was worthless as it would not suffice my dream of getting into a PSU. I took admission in IIT Roorkee in the Power system engineering branch.

One thing I’d like to mention here is people often ask whether they should take a drop or join M.Tech. My answer to this will be that wherever you go you’ll have to work your ass off to get what you want- job, studies, drop – whatever it maybe, you need to step out of your comfort zone to make things happen. If you work hard while your masters then I’m sure no one can stop you from bagging an under 100 in the next attempt.

IIT Roorkee was a blessing in disguise. Here I met Dr. Pramod Agarwal – probably the best teacher of Power Electronics and Analog electronics in the Country. This prof was so humble that he used to take extra classes for us in his free time so that we could study from him whatever we wanted to. Nevertheless, I studied complete Electrical machines from him. I can’t really thank Dr. Agarwal for whatever he did for us.

By October 2017 again my preparation was in full throttle. I had bought test series of Kreatryx (K-Test), Ace Engineering academy and Made Easy. By November my preparation was almost complete and what was left was revision. Ankit Goyal sir has been a lot of help during the preparation as he used to upload a lot of videos on YouTube which we very much helpful.

For revision I’d ask you to make your own game plan. For example, have a look at mine. I called this the ‘4 Day Pattern’.


I started appearing for Full Length tests of ACE and Kreatryx (K-Test) first. I’d recommend you to join K-Test first as this would give a perfect feel of the exam pressure and then move on to other test series. My score gradually increased from 57 to 74 i.e. from November to Feb first week. Test series should be attempted with full rigour. What you should really judge from a test is not the Rank but what’s the score/ the tough questions/ how others performed, etc. Time management was the part on which I had worked upon a lot as if time is mismanaged then it can lead to loss of 10-15 questions! I had made a strategy-

  • First attempt 10 questions of 1 marks. Just 10, not 9 or 11.
  • Jumping on to the 2 marks technical section and solving all the questions.
  • By now you’d have around 1 hour 15 minutes in your hands. And your confidence would already be high as now you’ve solved the 2 marks questions.
  • Finish the paper and RECHECK the marked answers.

This strategy worked really well for me and I completed the paper in 2 hours 30 minutes.

However I’d like to share a very interesting thing that happened in the last week of GATE. It was 6th February when I was told that my sister is critically ill and they had to admit her to the ICU. Her platelet count had gone below 7000. I was devastated. I’d remind you, GATE was on 10th Feb. However I packed my bag, and reached Kanpur directly to the hospital and told my mother to go back home and I’d stay in charge. I woke up the entire night to keep a check on my sister. Things could go wrong at any moment. I had completely changed my mind back then that I will not be able to perform well in the exam.

But the next day it was a sigh of relief as the doctors said that she’s out of danger and shifted her out of the ICU. I rushed for Roorkee that same night. Reached Roorkee on 8th Feb around 12 pm. 2 days to go.

What comes next shouldn’t be done 2-3 days before the actual exam. By the time I reached Roorkee my confidence had shattered and only one thing could fix me up , performing well in a full length test. I opened my laptop and attempted a FLT of ACE for the next 3 hours, and guess what – this was my best performance in any of the tests. I got 74/100. Now I was ready to face anything and everything.

What you should learn from this narrative?

Whatever happens in life , never lose your cool. You may have your own problems, but the world does not care. Stay relaxed and focused and you’ll definitely perform well. Many people complain that they worked hard for an entire year but then too couldn’t write the exam well. Make full use of the things you have rather than complaining for things which you do not have.

I was overjoyed when I saw AIR 36 flashing on my screen. And I’m sure you’d love it too. So go for it. Work, work and repeat. There’s no substitute for hard work. Make proper short notes , make your own strategy , solve the previous years questions at least 7-8 times, attempt the test series diligently and you’re ready! The world will look down upon you, treat you like you don’t deserve it all – but you do. You deserve everything.

All the best!

Afraz Siddiqui

AIR 36

GATE 2018 EE

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