It is a dream come true when one accomplishes the goal of cracking one of the toughest national level engineering exams. March 16 brought forth smiles and happiness to Dheeraj Kumar Sahu who secured an all India rank of 9 in GATE 2018 for Geology and Geophysics (GG). Dheeraj, a budding engineer pursuing a five year integrated M. Tech programme at IIT Roorkee spoke to Careers360 about his preparation strategies, time management and difficulties faced during preparation. Dheeraj stresses on the need to keep one’s fundamentals strong while studying in college and focussing more on important topics rather than the entire syllabus. Read the complete interview on this page to get an insight on GATE preparation and exam strategy.

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GATE 2018 Topper Interview Dheeraj Kumar Sahu (AIR 9, GG) - “Keep your fundamentals strong and achieve your goal”


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

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu: I am pursuing a five year integrated course in Geophysical Technology from IIT Roorkee. My home town is Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan.

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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?

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu: The GATE paper in which I appeared was Geology and Geophysics. My GATE 2018 AIR is 9. My score is 857 and out of 100 I got 66.33 marks.

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

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu: This was my first attempt and I have not appeared anytime earlier for GATE.


Careers360: What was the reason you appeared for GATE 2017? Please elaborate.

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu: It is my desire to work in PSUs. Cracking the exam means I have a good chance at PSU recruitment through GATE as it is one of the means to get into a good public sector unit.


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Careers360: Have you applied to any PSUs recruiting through GATE 2018? 

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu: I have not applied to any of the PSUs this year as I am still pursuing a five year integrated course. I will be applying to the PSUs next year.


Careers360: When did you start your preparation? How did you prepare for the exam? How many hours did you put in per day as per the stage of preparation?

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu: I started my preparation for GATE 2018 in October , 2017. My strategy was to solve past years question papers and prepare notes while doing that. In the beginning I used to study for four to five hours. During the course of my preparation, I used to study from the standard books and from my class notes. December onwards my schedule turned bit hectic and I started to devote six to seven hours every day to GATE preparation.


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

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu: I did not opt for any coaching. I completely focussed on self-study. Initially I did not have any clear cut plan for GATE 2018. I started with solving the GATE sample papers, drew my plan about topics and then studied accordingly.  


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?

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu:  I adopted a very simple strategy and focussed on the topics which were very important and from where questions are mostly asked. There are certain topics which are very lengthy and very few questions are asked. Therefore, it is imperative to complete those topics first from where more questions are asked.  If you have a basic idea about the subject, then three to four months of dedicated preparation will help you to sail through.  


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

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu: The toughest part in GATE 2018 entrance exam was to choose which questions to attempt and which one to leave since there is negative marking.


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?

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu: Mock tests are very important and an integral part of one’s preparation. One gets to know the type of questions that will asked in the exam. During the GATE mock test , one can feel the same kind of pressure that is existent in the actual exam. That way, one gets acclimatised to the exam environment. There are certain sections in the GATE exam where you can lose your confidence while answering since they are quite tough. GATE mock tests are aids that help drive the jitters away and allow one to know which areas to work upon.


I really believe that solving the past years questions papers is very extremely beneficial. Questions might be difficult but concepts remain the same. Hence one should ensure that the fundamental concepts are strong. One should solve at least ten years question papers. 


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

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu: General Aptitude section is scoring so one should focus on and be good at it. The aim should be to score full marks in it. After the aptitude section is done, move on and focus on geophysics section. Some topics that one must focus on are:

  • Seismic Prospecting 

  • Electrical Prospecting  

  • Gravity and Magnetic Prospecting 

  • Well Logging  

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

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu: I mainly studied from the books which had past years question papers as they prove very beneficial. However some of the books that are useful are:

  • Complete Master Guide GATE  by Amresh Singh

  • Geophysics by Telford

Careers360: What did you feel was a tough thing in GATE 2018 exam?

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu: There was some change in the exam pattern as compared to last year. In the geology section, the questions were tough as compared to the past years and there were numerical type of questions also. Though the numerical type questions were time consuming but they were proved to be helpful since there was no negative marking.


Careers360: How should one schedule answering the GATE exam – which section to attempt first and which next? 

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu: One should first attempt aptitude questions and then proceed towards the geophysics section and finally the geology section. One tends to score less marks in the geology section as compared to the others and there are more chances of getting the questions wrong.


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

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu: I used to read novels, books and newspapers during my free time. I used to go out for walk with friends and occasionally go out for dinner. Once in a while I used to watch movies also.


Careers360: Any advice for the future aspirants?

Dheeraj Kumar Sahu: Work on your basics and make your fundamentals strong while you are in college. Once the concepts and basics are strong, then you can start preparing for GATE exam in December and one will not face any difficulty while taking the main exam.


Short notes must be prepared as they prove beneficial in the last stage of preparation. One can go through the formulas written in the short notes few days before the exam.  

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Questions related to GATE

Showing 14419 out of 14419 Questions

hi, I written gate paper in Engineering Science (paper code -xe). I have done my in mechanical engineering . which nits accept (xe gate paper) and which branch or department can i get. ???

NILUTPOL Student Expert 27th May, 2020
Since you have written GATE paper in XE, you won't be eligible for jobs into the PSUs. XE paper is quite easy compared to other paper codes as you have many choices out of which only two has to be attempted. XE paper is specifically for studies into M.Tech and direct PHDs. So you can get into NITs with your GATE XE score.
As you have done bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, you can get into NITs for mechanical engineering by giving XE paper. All NITs take admission through XE paper.

Engineering Sciences (XE)syllabus majorly divided into 3sections.The first section isGeneral Aptitude and the second section is Engineering Mathematics which is named as section A is compulsory for candidates.The third part comprises sectionsB to H andcandidates have to choose any two sectionsto appear for the exam.
Hope it helps

what is the top strategy to qualifying the gate exam after btech ????

Shivani Chaudhary 27th May, 2020


Following points will help you to qualify GATE :-

1.You are advised to refer the GATE previous year question papers to have an idea about the difficulty level of exam, pattern of exam and questions, topics which are covered frequently or which topic has more weightage over the others.

2. You should have a clear understanding of the GATE syllabus  and exam pattern.GATE syllabus comprises the subjects and topics which are taught at graduate level programs in engineering.

3. You must select the best study material for GATE 2021 preparation to come up with the best result. You should refer to the books which are easy to understand.

4. You must study regularly so that you can cover all the syllabus within time. Regularity in study will help you to score great marks.

5. What you have studied during the whole day you must revise that before going to sleep.

6. You must Practice Mock test daily to check your preparation level and to get a reality check of your Preparation.

For more information follow the following link given below

Hope this will help you!.




anantikakushwaha 27th May, 2020
Hello Aspirant,

Seems like you've completed your BTech through the Electrical Engineering. So the core courses you can choose for MTech which has huge scope are

  • Power system
  • Control system and Automation
  • Power electronics

Regarding interdisciplinary branch you can VLSI, it has a huge scope in industry nowadays.

gate qualified students ko upsee k lie registration krna hai ya nhi?

anantikakushwaha 27th May, 2020
Hello Aspirant,

GATE and UPSEE are both entrance examinations. GATE is a national level exam conducted for admission in various Institutes for MTech/ME courses. And also for getting jobs in various PSUs.

While UPSEE is a state level examination conducted for admission in BTech courses for the state of Uttar Pradesh.

when its happening gate exam in every year

Sharon K Rose Student Expert 26th May, 2020


GATE is usually conducted in the month of February once in a year.The official notification will be released in the month of July/August and registrations will begin in the month of September first week tentatively.And results will be announced in the third week of March tentatively.

The question have been saved in answer later, you can access it from your profile anytime. Access now

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