March 16, 2018 was a day when Rohit Tripathi finally could rest easy. His GATE result showed that he had secured an all India rank of 7 in Electrical Engineering branch. Having attempted GATE twice earlier, this year Rohit was determined to crack it to his satisfaction which he did. A career with a leading PSU is his dream and the reason behind his GATE attempts. A dedicated approach and sheer hard work has seen him through with what is his best and successful attempt inching him closer to his PSU dream. In this article he talks to Careers360 outlining his preparation strategies, his struggles and his GATE journey so far. Read on to know how he made it to the top ranks.
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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?
Rohit Tripathi: I’m Rohit Tripathi, a graduate from NIT Raipur (2012-2016) in Electrical Engineering (EE).
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?
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Rohit Tripathi: I appeared for GATE 2018 EE paper and secured AIR 7. My GATE score is 995 and I scored 87.67 out of 100.
Careers360: Is this your first attempt or did you attempt GATE earlier?
Rohit Tripathi: This was my third attempt. I appeared for GATE in 2016, 2017 and then 2018. I got a rank of 4k in 2016, around 8k in 2017 and now AIR 7.
Careers360: What was the reason you appeared for GATE 2018? Please elaborate.
Rohit Tripathi: In August 2015 when placements were underway, I just took a shot at GATE with a very vague idea about the exam. I did manage a rank of 4003 in GATE 2016. However I had a job offer in my hand and so it was not my main concern then. Then, I decided to pursue my dream to get into a PSU in 2017. This time, I could manage to put in around 1-1.5 hours daily but the result was devastating - an AIR 7993 and 34.76 marks. This became the foundation for my determination to crack the exam and hence my attempt in 2018. So in a way you can say that the adage, “ Failure is the stepping stone to success”, came true in my case.
Careers360: Have you applied to any PSUs recruiting through GATE? Which ones?
Rohit Tripathi: Yes, I have applied to almost all the Maharatnas whose application forms were available till date.
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?
Rohit Tripathi: For GATE18, I started my preparation from September itself and believe me it was a rigorous effort. I used to put in around 10-12 hours of study daily. (I gave myself no exceptions and this meant no festivals, no holidays and no Sundays).
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?
Rohit Tripathi:The important and the most over looked point by students is the GATE syllabus. You should not only check it but stick to it. I know that the GATE 2018 syllabus is exhaustive but stick to it and don’t follow any other thing. It can’t get more official than that – after all the IITs which conduct the exam announce it. A rigorous study schedule of 6-7 months should fetch you a very good rank.
I don’t believe in timetables. I follow what I call topic-tables. A topic table schedules the study hours for each topic. So plan your hours/day according to the topic you want to finish instead of a traditional daily schedule that plans every hour of the day say 6am-7am study, 7-7:30 – breakfast etc. My topic table went like 7 am – 9am – 30 questions from DC machines just to give an example. Always remember, if you follow your goals with all your heart, you will surely be a winner.
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?
Rohit Tripathi: GATE 2018 mock tests are very important blocks of one’s preparation. According to me, GATE isn’t an exam that tests your theoretical knowledge. It rather judges one’s question/numerical solving skills. This can only be honed by solving the maximum number of questions within the time limit of say 3 hours. You can achieved this only by practicing maximum number of mock test series available from coaching centres, on the net etc.
Apart from this, previous year questions paper and sample papers of GATE 2018 will also give you fairly good practice and an idea of what topics have to be focused on with weightage.
Careers360: Which books did you follow for GATE preparation? Please name some very important must read books for GATE.
Rohit Tripathi: Look we all have studied standard books during our engineering and hence we just have to brush up the topics rather than re-reading them. We have a lot of online resources now a days so ideally check those that are GATE centric as they are built around the exam and checking them gets you more clsoser to the exam.
Careers360: Which are the topics one should focus more on? Kindly give us some details?
Rohit Tripathi: Do analyze previous year question papers and prepare accordingly. I focused more on:
We all have certain subjects that outweigh all the others so my advice is to give more focus to them as at the end our goals are scoring marks.
Careers360: what was the toughest aspect in your GATE preparation?
Rohit Tripathi: My last two attempts were not good and this resulted in GATE becoming a haunting experience. I needed to pull myself out of that to concentrate on the exam. I believe that to conquer your fears is the toughest aspect. As soon as you conquer your fears, the goal just inches closer.
Careers360: Name some important Topics that you feel are a must read for any student attempting GATE exam?
Rohit Tripathi: Mathematics has the highest weightage and it is highly recommended to practice such that you don’t lose marks in it. Apart from this, don’t go with preconceived notions of what is important and what is not. Everything is important else it wouldn’t be the syllabus. So be prepeared for a question from any part of the syllabus.
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.
Rohit Tripathi: Mock tests actually get you accustomed to carving your exam strategy. The more tests you take, the better you understand how you should go about it. So attempt mock tests using different strategies and find out what works best for you and then try to polish it. Don’t try anything new just prior to the exam.
My strategy - aptitude first, then 1 marks question followed by 2 marks one. I had my time limits fixed. Aptitude 20 minutes, 1 marks 40 minutes, the remaining time for 2 marks question and final half-an-hour for review.
Careers360: What did you feel was a tough thing for you in the GATE exam?
Rohit Tripathi: I began my exam with a really calm mind. After solving few questions, I found the question paper to be a bit lengthy. Therefore, I had to speed up while maintaining accuracy and this was the toughest thing for me in GATE 2018 exam.
Careers360: What did you do for leisure? Any specific activities that helped you unwind?
Rohit Tripathi: My mother is my strength and talking to her was always therapy for me. Sometimes some online shopping would also do the trick but mostly talking to her helped me calm down. We discussed mostly trivial stuff but I just needed that breather. Apart from this, my evening exercises helped me a lot.
Careers360: Any advice for the future aspirants?
Rohit Tripathi:GATE isn’t very tough; it’s just a test of your persistence. Just keep calm and study hard. The biggest motivation for you is to have faith in yourself. Believe that and win the situation.
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There are no measurements which could enable you to realize what rank/marks will cause you to get set in PSU's. It fluctuates from test to test, relies upon characteristics of the toppers, paper trouble level and selection of hopefuls who scores superior to you and also it will be based on number of vacancies in PSU that particular year you are appearing for GATE exam. In any case, for a definite sure determination in a PSU then you ought to be in TOP 200.
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