GATE 2018 Toppers 2018 Interview Afraz Siddiqui AIR 36 EE - “Hard and smart work always go hand in hand”
Samiksha Jain, 17 Mar 2018, #GATE
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Afraz Siddiqui is not new to GATE. An AIR 833 in GATE 2017 (EE) made him determined to better himself and became the reason for attempting GATE 2018. With the announcement of GATE 2018 result on March 16 by IIT Guwahati, Siddiqui had reason to celebrate as he did better himself. The Kanpur lad scored an AIR 36 in Electrical Engineering branch. Afraz is an alumnus of JSS Academy of Technical Education, Noida where he had pursued Electrical Engineering. In a candid interview with Careers360, Afraz talks about the reasons that made him appear for GATE, again, what he did differently in this attempt to taste success, tips, and guidelines for future aspirants.

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Here is the excerpts from the interview:


Careers360: Tell us something about yourself; where have you done your engineering from and in which branch?

Afraz Siddiqui: My name is Afraz Siddiqui and I completed my engineering from JSS Academy of Technical Education, Noida in Electrical Engineering. I did get into IIT Roorkee for my masters.

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Careers360: What was the GATE paper you appeared in? What rank did you get in GATE 2018? What is your GATE score and how many marks did you secure out of 100 in GATE paper?

Afraz Siddiqui: I appeared in GATE 2018 (EE) paper and I secured AIR 36. My marks are 80.00 and GATE score is 910.


Careers360: Is this your first attempt or did you attempt GATE earlier?

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Afraz Siddiqui: No, this is my second attempt at GATE. My first attempt was in 2017 where I had got a AIR 833. I was in my final year of engineering then and the results were not satisfactory. So I sat for the exam again determined to better my performance.


Careers360: What was the reason you appeared for GATE 2018? Please elaborate.

Afraz Siddiqui: It is my wish to join leading public sector units. PSU Recruitment through GATE is one good way to join leading PSUs. Therefore I reappeared for GATE 2018. I did avail admissions at IIT Roorkee on the basis of my GATE 2017 score but I don’t want to continue with my masters anymore.


Careers360: Have you applied for any PSUs recruiting through GATE? Which ones?

Afraz Siddiqui: I have applied for IOC, PGCIL, NTPC, BHEL, THDC which are some of the maharatnas. Apart from these, I have also applied for NLC, RVNL which are miniratnas.


Careers360: 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 stage of preparation?

Afraz Siddiqui: I started my preparation back in October 2017 with full rigor. Mainly I used to study from the notes/textbooks provided by various coaching institutes. I have not referred to any standard books; my preparation was fully focused on the parts where I was weak in my last attempt. I spent a minimum of 8-10 hours daily in studying the concepts and revising the short notes prepared by me till November 2017.


Careers360: Have you taken any coaching? If yes, from where? How did it help?

Afraz Siddiqui: No, I did not take any coaching. However, I had study material of various coaching institutes which helped me a lot.


Careers360: Can you share any preparation strategies with our readers? When should one start their preparation for GATE? How to schedule study time and make timetables and so on?

Afraz Siddiqui: According to me, preparation strategy is made up of three parts:

  • Studying the concepts: which usually everyone does and which is not the problem

  • Learning how to attempt the 3-hour exam and this is where I feel most of us lag behind.

  • My main strategy was built around GATE 2018 mock test series and consistent revision only.

Careers360: How important do you feel mock tests are and why? Is it true that if one solves the previous year question papers, there is a good chance of cracking the exam successfully?

Afraz Siddiqui: Mock tests are the most important part of preparation. Attempting mock tests of GATE 2018 will definitely give you an ace over others. During GATE preparation, we have a lot of pressure on us for obvious reasons and this is where test series help to boost the confidence. I had joined test of ACE Academy, Kreatryx and Made Easy and I had attempted mostly all the full length tests of all three.


Apart from test series, GATE 2018 sample papers of previous years should also be attempted, at least once in a week for all subjects. This will make you think and crack the question a lot faster in the actual exam.


Careers360: Which books did you follow for GATE preparation? Please, name some very important must-read books for GATE.

Afraz Siddiqui: I used to follow a few standard books like:


Important books for GATE



Fundamentals of circuits

Alexander, Sadiku

Electrical machines

Nagrath, Kothari

Power Electronics-

P S Bhimbhra

Careers360: Which are the topics one should focus more on? Kindly give us some details.

Afraz Siddiqui: EE students should focus more on core subjects like Power Electronics, Electrical Machines, Power systems because questions from these three subjects are asked in abundance. Then next is Engineering Maths. Control Systems is one subject which I think no aspirant should leave at any cost. Questions from EM will be for 15 marks while Control Systems is always a subject that always figures in GATE exam.


Careers360: What was the toughest aspect in your GATE preparation?

Afraz Siddiqui: The toughest aspect of my preparation was Revision- which is the most underrated part of the preparation of an exam. I had made a four-day strategy thereby effectively revising and attempting the questions of all the 12 subjects in 4 days.


Careers360: Name some important Topics that you feel are a must read for any student attempting GATE exam?

Afraz Siddiqui: Candidates must study following topics:

  • Power system stability

  • Power electronics basics

  • Synchronous and Induction machines

  • Fourier transform

  • Laplace transform

  • BJT and OP Amps basics

  • Maths

Careers360: What did you do for leisure? Any specific activities that helped you unwind?

Afraz Siddiqui: After a long session of studying, I generally used to listen to music and go out for cycling. Youtube is also of great help but in moderation.


Careers360: How should you schedule answering the GATE exam – which section to attempt first and which next? Did you have any strategy? Kindly share your exam experience with us.

Afraz Siddiqui: Everyone has their own strategy. For me, I attempted the first 10 questions in the 1 mark technical section and then jumped onto the 2 mark technical questions. I completed all of them and then returned back to the 1 mark technical questions and finally the GA section.


Careers360: What did you feel was a tough thing for you in the GATE exam?

Afraz Siddiqui:: Time management used to be a problem for me. After I worked on it, I started performing better in my tests.


Careers360: Any advice for the future aspirants?

Afraz Siddiqui: Hard work and smart work always go hand in hand. Don’t rely only on smart work. You need to put a lot of effort to reach to your dream. I would like to conclude with a line which my school Principal, Sharmila Nandi used to say, ‘The competition is with no one but yourself.’

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