GATE 2018 Topper Interview Naman Jaswani (AIR 1 IN)–“Hard work complemented by unwavering focus and determination triumphs talent”
Manashjyoti, 18 Mar 2018, #GATE
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If you need any evidence young India is changing, look no further than Naman Jaswani, the GATE AIR 1 in Instrumentation Engineering. This small-town boy from Nangal, Punjab, believes and follows the motto – hard work beats talent in the race to success. Such firm belief is a breath of fresh air, as it shows we as a nation are no longer a stickler for talent. A 4th year student in NIT Jalandhar, Naman started his preparation for GATE in earnest when he was in his third year. So engrossed was he in his preparation that when winter break came a couple of months before GATE 2018, instead of flying to the cosy confines of his home, he choose to stay put in his bunker, and slog with a few of like-minded mates. A few months earlier, he also had to weather a little storm when the 7th semester exam started and he had to put aside his GATE preparation for a couple of weeks.

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On the day, GATE results were announced, Naman was caught unawares, though he was expecting a good rank based on his consistently good performance in the test series, as the realization took some time to hit home!

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Interestingly for Naman it is not all about study, as he is as much a family man who is close to his parents and retains his religious leanings. He fondly recalled how, on exam day, his parents picked him up from his college in the morning, and they together visited a tranquil temple to get the blessing of the almighty. The calm presence of his parents and the moments spent in the soothing ambience helped him stay cool on D-day, he confessed!


Here are the excerpts from the interview:


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

Naman Jaswani: I am from Nangal, a town in Rupnagar district in the state of Punjab. I am currently in the 4th year of my B.Tech programme (Instrumentation) at NIT Jalandhar. My father is an employee with National Fertilizers limited, while my mother is a housewife.


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

Naman Jaswani: I appeared in Instrumentation paper in GATE 2018. I have score AIR 1 in my paper. My GATE score is 944, and marks out of 100 is 92.67.


Careers360: Have you appeared in GATE earlier?

Naman Jaswani: No, this was my first attempt. And I have cracked GATE in my first attempt.


Careers360: What motivated you to appear in GATE 2018?

Naman Jaswani: It was my uncle who goaded me to appear in GATE, as he felt it would open a window of opportunity for me.


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

Naman Jaswani: I have already applied for IOCL, HPCL, NTPC, and plan to apply to ONGC when application opens. I have a soft corner for petroleum companies, because most of them are well-regarded, pays well, takes care of its employees, and you get enough leaves to spend quality time with your family.


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

Naman Jaswani: Yes, I took coaching at Engineers Academy in my third year. It helped quite a bit, as I was studying only coaching material. Also, when my teachers were teaching or writing something on the board, I always made it a point to note down the important points. These notes or short notes helped immensely, especially in the last two months of preparation when you have to extensively focus on revision.


Careers360: Can you share how you went about your preparation?

Naman Jaswani: I studied rigorously for around one year, starting with a coaching stint with Engineers Academy; coaching ended in November 2017. I was attentive in coaching class, noting down all important points and practising them at home.


When I was done with my coaching materials, I joined the Online Test Series by Ace Academy and Made Easy. I found the questions of Ace Academy of higher difficulty level than GATE standard, but I pursued. It was because, I thought if I can handle these questions, it will make my life a lot easier when I attempt GATE questions. Also, to get good scores in GATE one has to be able to answer the difficult questions; after all easy questions will be answered by almost everybody.


I was consistently scoring well in the test series, almost always ranked inside the top 10. So, I was positively confident that I would do well in GATE 2018. I am happy it was what happened.


Also, to ensure that I don’t get ruffled and surprised on exam day, I took an interesting decision. I appeared in CAT 2018, since it was held in the same venue as my GATE exam. What it did was it helped me get familiar with the exam-day events starting from entering the examination venue till submission of answer sheet. I also got first hand experience of how people reacted to situations; it I think gave me a idea about what I need to do in those moments to stay calm and do my job.


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?

Naman Jaswani: I attempted around 90 tests through the Online Test Series by Ace Academy and Made Easy to get ready for the exam. The online test series included both mock tests and subject-wise tests. The mock test was a simulation of the real exam, so it gives you a hang of what the real exam is.


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

Naman Jaswani: I fully relied on the study material provided by my coaching institute, and didn’t follow any text book as such. There were also my short notes which helped in my preparation, especially for quick revision.


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

Naman Jaswani: From the outset, I was targeting a rank inside the top three, if not the number 1 rank. So, leaving any topic out was never an option.


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

Naman Jaswani: One major challenge I faced when preparing for GATE it comprises analytical-based questions, unlike in degree which is more of theory-oriented.


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

Naman Jaswani: I did meditation in the morning, and regularly talked with my parents and sister, who is in the 11th standard. Also, to keep myself chilled out, I listed to songs by Coke Studio. In fact, I used to study with songs humming in the background to keep me sober during preparation.


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.

Naman Jaswani: I started first with the aptitude questions, then moved on to 1-mark question, and finally to 2-mark questions. Also, when attempting questions, I never spent more than a minute in a question, if I was unable to solve it. I only came back to such unanswered questions only after the rest of the questions were answered. During GATE 2018, I had around an hour to re-try such questions. After that I finally did my revision, which allowed me to get around five answers right. In my first attempt, I got the analytics wrong.


Careers360: What would you like to say to future aspirants?

Naman Jaswani: My success mantra is hard work, willpower and dedication. The candidate also needs good parental support. This is in addition to my other mantra – hard work beats talent!

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