GATE 2018 toppers Sashidhar Saash (AIR 13 IN) - “A fixed mindset, a calm disposition are good traits to succeed”
Samiksha Jain, 19 Mar 2018, #GATE
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There is a popular quote that says, “It’s hard to beat a person, who never gives ups.” This perfectly suits Sashidhar Saash, who cracked GATE 2018 and secured an All India Rank 13 in Instrumentation Engineering. The Andhra Pradesh based boy who is currently working at Infosys in Hyderabad had earlier attempted GATE thrice half-heartedly. An interest in pursuing his Masters from the IITs or other such premium institutes spurred Sashidhar to crack GATE successfully this year. Careers360 interacted with him to know about his exam preparation strategy this year, future plans and more..

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

Sashidhar Saash: I have completed my B.Tech in Electronics & Instrumentation in 2014 from Amrita University, Coimbatore. Currently, I am working at Infosys, Hyderabad.


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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Sashidhar Saash: I appeared in GATE 2018 Instrumentation (IN) paper. I secured an AIR 13 having scored 84.67 marks out of 100. My GATE score is 858.


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

Sashidhar Saash: No, this is my fourth attempt. Prior to this, I have appeared for GATE thrice. In 2017 I secured an AIR of 600.

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

Sashidhar Saash: I appeared for GATE 2018 again in all seriousness because I want to pursue higher education in my technical field.


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

Sashidhar Saash: Not yet. I am not particularly interested in a job right now.


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?

Sashidhar Saash: This year I relied on self-study and started 2 and half months before the exam i.e. December. On an average I studied for 12 hours a day for my GATE 2018 attempt.


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

Sashidhar Saash: Yes, I have taken coaching from Ace academy, Hyderabad. It helped a lot. I had completed my B.Tech about two years ago. For GATE, a basic conceptual understanding is necessary and I got the same through coaching.


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?

Sashidhar Saash: GATE mock tests are very useful because you’ll get to know the real time experience of writing the exam. Not only this, practicing mock test of GATE 2018 acts as a reality check as to what to expect. Previous year sample papers of GATE 2018 do help a lot as there are fair chances of the questions being repeated.


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

Sashidhar Saash: Honestly I only read the notes I prepared while I attended classes. So if you are taking coaching, follow the notes given by them. They are detailed enough and you won’t need to check other books.


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

Sashidhar Saash: Based on the weightage, students can choose 6 to 7 subjects and can prepare thoroughly in them. I would rate Mathematics to be a must topic as it is also scoring. My emphasized topics were

  • Signals

  • Controls

  • Networks

  • Analog

  • Digital

  • Transducers

  • Optical Instrumentation and

  • Maths

I didn’t study Measurements at all and studied a bit of Communications.


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

Sashidhar Saash: Understanding the basics. Once the basics are embedded strongly, then on it’s all smart work and revision.


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

Sashidhar Saash: I would say Controls, Networks, Signals, Maths are scoring subjects and one must not miss these subjects. Out of the remaining ones, it’s based on the individual’s choice about which to study and which to omit.


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

Sashidhar Saash: Listening to songs, taking an evening walk, conducting small talk with friends - all these activities helped me a lot to relax.


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.

Sashidhar Saash: During the first one hour, I targeted general aptitude and one mark questions. Next one and half hour, I devoted for 2 mark questions. Last half an hour is the most crucial one which I used for solving reviewed questions and trying more difficult ones which I had not attempted earlier. One should be cautious to avoid wasting more time on one particular question. If student feels that a problem is taking more time for solving, it’s better to do it at a later stage.


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

Sashidhar Saash: During the exam, the main challenging thing is to be in control. This is most important so that we can avoid unnecessary errors and silly mistakes while calculating or even to understand the question correctly. Always read question twice if you are unsure and take enough time in understanding the complete essence of question. All these mistakes can be avoided by practicing as many mock tests as possible.


Careers360: Any advice for the future aspirants?

Sashidhar Saash: A fixed mind set for preparation is the most important trait. Revision is the key. Don’t take up new topics a few days before the exam. Don’t panic if you can’t answer one question. Move to the next one and keep calm during the whole time. Keeping steady is very important during the exam.

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