GATE 2018 Topper Interview Dhanshri Jadhav (AIR 2 AR) “Don’t care, Just Dare”
Saakshi Lama, 20 Mar 2018, #GATE
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A student of College of Engineering, Pune, Dhanshri Jadhav is much interested with the concepts of smart cities in the perspective of planning. This is precisely why she has appeared for GATE 2018 in Architecture & Planning to pursue her dreams in specializing in Urban Planning. Securing an AIR 2 in GATE 2018 in AR is not easy but Dhanshri has pulled it off with her smart work strategy and tremendous hard work coupled with intense dedication. In this interview with Careers360, Dhanshri explains her passion for Urban planning, how she could manage to study for GATE inspite of a busy college schedule and why sometimes one has to stop caring and just dare.

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

Dhanshri Jadhav: Hello Everyone! I am Dhanshri Jadhav from Aurangabad. I am pursuing B.Tech Planning from College of Engineering, Pune - one of the most reputed and the third oldest college in India.

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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?

Dhanshri Jadhav:  I appeared for GATE 2018 for Planning and Architecture. I secured an All India Rank of 2. My GATE score is 924. I have got 78 marks out of 100.

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

Dhanshri Jadhav:  Yes, it is my first attempt.


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

Dhanshri Jadhav: When smart cities came into discussion in India, I was very excited to learn about it as I am basically a planner .I was piqued when I read“There is no universally accepted definition of a smart city” as the first line on Smart City website of India.  My inquisitiveness for an answer to the question “What is a smart city?” sort of got satisfied when I got an internship at IPE Global which has bagged the project for Ujjain Smart City as a winner in the 2nd position. I witnessed brainstorming projects like value capture finance, advertisement tax, tourism enhancement workshop, etc. with extensive interaction with 4 industrious planners from SPA-Delhi. The competence and working strategy of planners in these workshops greatly influenced me to be inclined towards a Masters in Urban Planning. This is the main reason I appeared for GATE 2018.


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?

Dhanshri Jadhav: Because of the busy schedule of my 7th semester, I wasn’t able to deote time and prepare for GATE. In Decemberm I could finally start my preparation. I dedicated the entire month of December and January towards GATE preparation.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” This quote resonates with my preparation strategy. GATE syllabus is very vast. For Architecture & Planning, we have a combination of syllabi from Civil Engineering, Architecture and Planning. So I spent almost 4-5 days just to identify topics and analyse question papers.

In the first week of my preparation, I just got acquainted with the topics based on the previous year question papers. I went through them thoroughly again and again and tried to understand the following factors

  • GATE Exam Pattern

  • Major topics (for numerical and theory) as per weightage which I noted down

  • Relevant materials for study.

Note: At this point, I was just setting the base for the preparation and hadn’t started it yet.


Careers360: Have you taken any coaching? If yes- From where? How did it help?

Dhanshri Jadhav: No. Though coaching is available, it would have cramped my style of thinking. I rely on my own way of thinking and alternate with development techniques while solving the questions. So traditional coaching may not have worked for me.


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?

Dhanshri Jadhav:  Obviously you should start as early as possible. Only important factor that fetches good marks is frequent revision. In the last two weeks before exam, I revised previous question papers right from 1991 to 2016 each day. I also read solved question papers from Gate Architecture/Planning by B.K.Das.

Some of my strategies can be summed up as


Memorising Architects, their books and buildings - This is a topic that is very important and a cause of worry as I needed to memorize all of them. So I made up entertaining stories in my mother tongue for each architect which included his/her building names. I spent 2-3 days on building all of them up. It made studying interesting while ensuring that I wouldn’t forget them. I could successfully complete this section well.

Numerical Questions – These questions require a degree of precision. So I jotted down all the various formulae and solution strategies that I came across while solving question papers. I noted their uniqueness and revised them frequently. I would advise to prepare a list of formulae especially for HEAT, LIGHT and SOUND.

Architecture Dictionary – This is a must read and I would say its never too late to start reading it. The book by Francis D.K. Ching can be used and you should read one page per day. By December, you will have covered most of it to become a pro at it. It is an important step for all planners.

URDPFI – This is a bible for all planners as we know it. It outlines and specifies standards and case studies so all Architects need to read it carefully to understand planning aspects


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?

Dhanshri Jadhav: I just gave one mock test during my preparation. Mock Tests are surely beneficial as they teach you time management and reduce your overconfidence.


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

Dhanshri Jadhav: Some books I would suggest as necessary for GATE preparation are:

  1. Building Construction by B. C. Punmiya

  2. Architecture Dictionary by Francis D.K. Ching

  3. Estimation and specification by Dutta

  4. GATE Question paper set (B. K. DAS)

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

Dhanshri Jadhav: Since the pattern is not fixed for theoretical questions, I would suggest reading each and every topic given in the GATE syllabus. You never know where a question may come from. For numericals, focus on

  1. Heat, Light and Accoustics

  2. Beam

  3. PERT and CPM(

  4. Scale

  5. Paint- pigment and volume

  6. Concrete – Volume, density and grade

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

Dhanshri Jadhav:  Nothing!!! Relevant strategy for every topic made it a simple and enjoyable journey for GATE.


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

Dhanshri Jadhav: During my leisure time, I watched Sandeep Maheshwari's lectures. It not only kept me motivated but helped in developing myself. Apart from this I am a regular yoga practitioner. I never skipped that 1 hour of daily exercise and this kept me mentally sound and physically fit. I also spent time talking to my friends and hanging out with them once in a week or so.


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.

Dhanshri Jadhav: Attempt the section in which you are sure of the answers. It will boost your confidence. I did my best for the sections on core subjects and started with 2nd section of architecture and planning. I attempted 90% of the paper there. It boosted my confidence and then I solved aptitude section with a relaxed mind. I did not review the questions, read them through or anything like that. I just started answering them one by one.


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

Dhanshri Jadhav:  Segregating the vast syllabi of 3 disciplines i.e. Civil, planning and Architecture was the toughest thing for me.


Careers360: .Any advice for the future aspirants?

Dhanshri Jadhav:  “Don’t care, Just Dare”.  Take the risk to answer the questions if you have prepared well. This attitude of mine took me to the 2nd position in GATE 2018. The exam is very easy if you prepare strategically and use your own ways but impossible if you try to follow someone blindly without any logic. You have one year to prepare, develop your strategies, keep discussing with your friends, share your knowledge, it will bring you more that you dreamt of. All the best!

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