GATE 2017 Topper Interview: Mastering fundamentals and solving sample papers are crucial, says Siddhant Khopkar AIR 8 EE
Bachan Thakur, 12 Apr 2017, #GATE
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Over 9 lakh candidates register for appearing in GATE every year, however, not everyone is able to crack the entrance exam successfully. Some of the examinees who are able to clear the test certainly undergo a rigorous preparation regime. But success in the entrance test is not determined merely by hard work. It should be accompanied with with consistency, never giving up spirit, mastering the fundamentals, practising sample papers and previous years question papers, taking mock tests and more. The more one focuses on these aspects of the preparation towards GATE, higher are the chances of cracking the exam. One such test taker of GATE 2017 (who focussed more on these aspects of preparation), is Siddhant Khopkar. Securing an All India Rank of 8 in Electrical Engineering, the GATE 2017 topper wants to join one of the PSUs where he can utilise his skills. In an interaction with Careers360, Siddhant shared the elements involved in his preparation and his success mantra. Read more.

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Excerpts from the Interview:


Q: Tell us something about yourself; where have you done your engineering from and in which branch?

Ans: My name is Siddhant Khopkar. I was born and brought up in Mumbai. My father works as Motorman Instructor for Western Railways and my mother is a housewife. I have done my B.Tech+M.Tech (Dual Degree) in Electrical Engineering with specialization in Microelectronics from IIT Bombay.

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Q: What was the GATE 2017 Paper you appeared in? What rank did you get? What is your GATE score and how many marks did you secure out of 100 in the paper?

Ans:Iappeared for GATE 2017 Electrical paper and secured All India Rank 8. My GATE score is 983 out of 1000 and I managed to obtain 75.7 marks out of 100.

Siddhant Khopkar. Securing an All India Rank of 8 in Electrical Engineering, the GATE 2017 topper wants to join one of the PSUs where he can utilise his skills. In an interaction with Careers360, Siddhant shared the elements involved in his preparation and his success mantra.


Q: What made you sit for GATE 2017? Please elaborate your reasons.

Ans: It’s my dream to work for one of the Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) companies in electrical engineering field. Since these companies shortlist candidates on the basis of GATE score, I decided to prepare for GATE 2017.


Q: Have you applied to any PSU recruiting through GATE?

Ans: Yes. I have applied to BARC, ISRO, Powergrid, NTPC, IOCL, BHEL and MDL.


Q: When did you start your preparation?  How did you prepare for the GATE exam? How many hours did you put in per day as per the different stages of preparation?

Ans: I joined Made Easy classes in May 2016 in New Delhi. I would attend my classes everyday for 5-6 hours, following which I would take a good sleep (of over an hour) every afternoon to freshen myself up. Then I would revise the topics taught in the class the same day and would practice relevant problems from the study material for 4-5 hours. I followed this scheduled throughout the year. So, in a day I would study 10-12 hours on an average.


Q: Tell us in brief how did your coaching help you in the entrance test?

Ans: In my view, the expert guidance of the coaching faculty helped me in bringing clarity and strengthen my subject fundamentals. Also, the test series at the coaching were quite helpful. Taking the test series helped me solve the problems with much ease gradually, through which I could work upon time management and speed.


Q: Can you share any preparation strategies with our readers? When is the ideal time to start preparation for GATE? How to schedule study time and make timetables?

Ans: I feel the key to crack GATE lies in thoroughly mastering your fundamentals and solving as many quality questions as you can. Starting preparation at least 8-10 months before the exam would be perfect and 10-12 hours of study everyday is a must. Apart from this, a quality sleep daily with some leisure activities are also required to rejuvenate oneself.  


Q: How should one attempt the questions in GATE exam – which section to attempt first and which later?

Ans:As far as I understand, one should attempt the General Ability section first. The ten questions in this section can be finished in 15-20 minutes, which can act as a confidence booster. After this, one should go for the section with questions for 2 marks. As there are 30 questions in this section which carry 60 marks, so your performance in this section will majorly decide your GATE rank. The last one hour should be given for 1 mark questions.


Q: What aspect of your GATE preparation would you consider the toughest?

Ans: I would say not to get demotivated was the toughest aspect. There were times when I would find some topics difficult to understand and that would make me not to study those topics again, however, the important thing is to keep working on those tough concepts till you get hold of them. The key point is -Siddhant Khopkar. Securing an All India Rank of 8 in Electrical Engineering, the GATE 2017 topper wants to join one of the PSUs where he can utilise his skills. In an interaction with Careers360, Siddhant shared the elements involved in his preparation and his success mantra.  practice makes a man perfect.


Q: Name some important topics that you feel are a must read for any student appearing in GATE exam?

Ans: The most important topics for EE- GATE paper are Electrical Machines, Power Systems and Power Electronics.


Q: In your experience, what was the most challenging thing in attempting the GATE exam?

Ans:Time management is the most important thing in the GATE exam. If you are stuck with one particular question, then you should not waste too much time on that particular question. Rather, better to save time and move on to the other questions. The left one can be revisited with a fresh approach later towards the end when you are done with most of the questions.


Q: How important do you feel mock tests are and why? Is it true that if one solves the previous year question papers, the probability of cracking the exam increases?

Ans:Mock tests give you a real time demo of GATE exam and help you in understanding what things should be and should not be done in the exam. Solving previous year papers gives an idea of the difficulty level of the GATE questions. It also helps us analyse the level of our preparation for GATE.


Q: Which books did you follow for GATE preparation? Could you kindly mention the most important books for GATE?
Ans:I personally relied onmy handwritten class notes and the previous year GATE question papers. Referring to standard textbooks for each subject is time consuming in my view. Moreover, when you have enrolled yourself for coaching classes, the class notes are sufficient for preparation. 


Q:During the preparation, any specific activity that helped you unwind?

Ans: To freshen up my spirits, I would just watch TV series on my laptop which helped my keep the building pressure at bay. 


Q: Any advice you would like to offer to future GATE aspirants?

Ans: I would say focus on improving your core concepts and try to solve as many problems as you can. Maintaining a regular study regime is also important. Intermittently, one should also have some leisurely activities to unwind. And the most important is not to feel defeated or demotivated.


Also Read:

What is a Good GATE Score?

GATE 2017 Topper Interview Anuj Gupta AIR 1 TF - Keep a balanced focus and chalk your own strategy

GATE 2017 Topper Interview Ameya Dravid (AIR 2 BT ) - Sustain your determination to succeed and you can!

GATE 2017 Topper Interview - Ankur Tripathi (AIR 3 CE) - Focused Preparation and Dedication are sure mantras for success

GATE 2017 Topper Interview Divyanshu Jha (AIR 8 ME) - Success is never denied to those who work hard

GATE 2017 Topper Interview Shubham Rana (AIR 27 CE) - Focus on your preparation and success is yours

GATE 2017 Topper Interview Ishwar Singh (AIR 30 TF) - Focus on building your concepts and strengths

GATE 2017 Topper Interview Revanth Dogre (AIR 70 CH)- Never say die attitude is the Key!

GATE 2017 Topper Interview Himadri Bandyopadhyay (AIR 15 CS) - Believe and drive yourself to reach your goal!

GATE 2017 Topper Interview Shubham Kumar (AIR 21 TF) - There is no substitute for hard work

GATE 2017 Topper Interview Aashish Aggarwal (AIR 16 ME) - Tough times never Last but tough people do

GATE Topper Interview Nihar Sahoo (AIR 9 CS) - Self-confidence and Determination are necessary traits!


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which book use to make easy understanding for mathematics for GATE preparation?

Yavanitha 5th Dec, 2019

Dear pratik,

Engineering mathematics is very much relevant to the GATE exam as the weightage given to this subject has been consistent over these years as compared to other subjects.It's around 15 marks every year and it's easy to score in this compared to other subjects.As GATE Engineering mathematics various for different are some common books mentioned below as you didn't mention your stream:

Higher engineering mathematics-B.S.Grewal

Advance Engineering mathematics-Erwin Kreyszig

GATE engineering mathematics for all streams-Arihant publications

GATE Engineering mathematics-Made easy publications

Good luck!


is sail recruitment notification out through gate 2020 ?

Sharon Rose Student Expert 5th Dec, 2019


No, presently SAIL is recruiting through GATE 2019 which means candidates who have cleared GATE 2019 are only eligible to apply for the SAIL recruitment. The last date for registration is 15th December, 2019. So you need to wait if you are GATE 2020 aspirant. The notification will be released by the officials when they are recruiting through GATE 2020.


possible to get admission in Mtech without gate

Harshita Gupta 5th Dec, 2019
Hey Shubham,
There are a number of institutes offering M.Tech without GATE score. So here is a list of such institutes.
  • UPES University
  • BITS Pilani
  • VIT University
  • VEL tech University
  • PES University
  • ISI
  • IIITM Kerala
  • IIIT Hyderabad
  • SIT Pune
  • Manipal institute of technology
  • Karunya University
  • Jamia Millia Islamia University
These institutes do not require GATE score, but the may conduct their own entrance exam.
The link below will provide information about the dates of entrance exam.
The admission process will be different for each institute, so check the official Websites and stay updated.

Hope this helps!

how to prepare for gate if there is no coaching availble

Nivesh Pai 4th Dec, 2019
Hello Aarav,
I would recommend to follow the below tips :
1. Create flashcards (writing short notes in small rectangle sized papers) which can help you in remembering before the final exams.
2. Take an online course. There are several free courses on the internet and also on specific topics. Also youtube videos is an excellent option.
3. Practice questions papers from the last 5-10 years. 2-5 questions will be repeated based on those concepts.
4. Try taking test based on a stopwatch or a clock in your home. You can judge what time is required to solve a particular question and allocate time accordingly.
5. Have a healthy diet and avoid junk food.
6. In case you have more time for preparation try referring to foreign authors too.
7. Do not skip the aptitude part, it carries equal weightage in addition to maths subject.

I am studying Btech 2nd year in the streem of civil engineering. I want to prepare for GATE ecam. How can I prepare.Give me tips for exam

Nivesh Pai 4th Dec, 2019
Hello Durga,
Here are some tips:
1. You have to start reading for gate in the early semester.
2. You should give equal importance to both aptitude and engineering maths subjects.
3. You should create a proper study plan.
4. After you have completed reading textbooks, try taking a mock test online and solve previous year papers.
5. You need to take tests in time based pattern to grasp as to how much time each question would take.
6. You need to practice various problems in mathematics.
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