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KEAM 2018 Topper Interview: Amal Mathew (Rank 1) - Being the top scorer of a state level entrance exam and a university level one is no easy task but Amal Mathew did it and with much grace. The result of KEAM was announced on May 22 and for CUSAT CAT, it was announced on June 5. In both the exams, Amal aced it setting a new benchmark for others to follow. This could happen when he shifted his interest from research to the technical aspect of engineering. Along with interest came passion, followed by the desire to make it count in KEAM and CUSAT CAT. With a dream to study in a reputed IIT, Amal believes that there are no shortcuts to success and only hard work is something that can help you reach that goal. Read the exclusive interview of Amal Mathew, top scorer of KEAM 2018 with Careers360 below and know how to ace it like Amal.
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Careers360: Congratulations for your outstanding performance in KEAM and CUSAT CAT 2018! What was your reaction upon knowing your Rankin both the exams?
Amal Mathew: Thank you. I was hoping for a result like this and I was ecstatic when it arrived.
Careers360: Tell us something about yourself. Which board have you studied under? Which school have you studied in?
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Amal Mathew: I studied under CBSE board in Indian School Ibra, Omantill class X. I completed class XI and XII in Kuriakose Elias English Medium School, Mannanam, Kerala under Kerala state board.
Careers360: What is your score in KEAM and CUSAT CAT 2018? What is your all state Rankand category Rankin both?
Amal Mathew: I scored 685 out of 750 in CUSAT CAT 2018 with first Rank. In KEAM 2018, my score is 868.94 out of 960.
Careers360: Why do you want to study engineering? When did you decide to study engineering? Which branch would you be interested in? Which college do you wish to apply for?
Amal Mathew: Initially my primary interest was in research and pure science. It was later that I began to like the practical aspects of it. At present, I would like to study engineering physics. I am trying for admission to IIT Bombay.
Careers360: When did you start your KEAM and CUSAT CAT preparation? Tell us something about your preparation strategy and daily routine?
Amal Mathew: I took coaching from Brilliant Study Center Pala in class XI and XII. I used to study for 5-6 hours daily, devoting more time to Chemistry as it was my weakest point.
Careers360: Was there a difference in the preparation strategy in the last months of KEAM and CUSAT CAT considering that the board exams also are during this period? How did you manage preparation for both?
Amal Mathew: Two years of coaching really paid off for my board exams. I spent comparatively less time preparing for my boards and focused more on the entrance exams.
Careers360: What was the purpose of appearing in CUSAT CAT and KEAM both? What was the difference in both the exams?
Amal Mathew: My primary aim was JEE Advanced. So, I appeared in KEAM and CUSAT CAT mainly for exam experience, and for practicing the questions. KEAM focused a bit more on Physics than CUSAT CAT with Maths being the main subject. Otherwise, they were very similar.
Careers360: Which college will you choose on the basis of CUSAT CAT and KEAM scores?
Amal Mathew: CUSAT CAT gets you admission in Cochin University. A good KEAM score gets you into any engineering college in Kerala.
Careers360: Did you take coaching for KEAM and if yes from where? What are the benefits of coaching according to you?
Amal Mathew: I took coaching classes from Brilliant Study Center Pala. Coaching gave me a lot of benefits. Endless practice improved my speed and helped in time management.
Careers360: Mock tests and sample papers – how extensively did you practise with the help of these? Do you think practising from the previous year papers help and how?
Amal Mathew: At the end, mock papers and sample tests were my only mode of preparation. Solving previous years papers gave me a lot of confidence, improved my speed a lot and helped refine my strategy.
Careers360: Are there any special books that you feel have helped with your KEAM preparation? Are the school text books adequate for preparing for KEAM and Class XII?
Amal Mathew: I don't think school textbooks in itself are adequate for entrance exams. One simply cannot pass an entrance test without extra preparation. I used to refer to books by Haliday, Resnick, S Bahadur and Amit Agarwal for my preparation.
Careers360: Did you face any problem during the KEAM and CUSAT CAT examination? Which subject was the easiest and which was the toughest in KEAM & CUSAT CAT? What do you think is a tough thing to manage during both the exams?
Amal Mathew: Chemistry was the toughest for me in both the exams and I felt Maths to be comparatively easier in both. According to me, 'Time' is one thing you have to learn to manage during an exam.
Careers360: What do you think are the key factors behind your stupendous success in KEAM & CUSAT CAT?
Amal Mathew: Hard work has no substitute while preparing for an exam. I also had a lot of support from my friends and family.
Careers360: How did you de-stress yourself during the preparation? What are your hobbies? How often could you pursue them?
Amal Mathew: I am an avid reader and always used to find time to read novels in between exam preparation. Now that was a real de-stresser for me.
Careers360: Who is your ideal or biggest inspiration in life and why?
Amal Mathew: Honestly, I don't really have one.
Careers360: You know you are an inspiration to thousands of students across the country. Do you have any message for future aspirants on tackling KEAM and CUSAT CAT exam?
Amal Mathew: I will ask them to work really hard for it. Natural intelligence can only take you so far. In the end, it is the hard work that matters.
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Yamuna, the application form for KEAM 2020 is scheduled to release in the first week of February 2020 in online mode and can be filled till the first week of March tentatively. The admit card would be released by the second week of April and the pen paper based test would be conducted on 20 and 21 April 2020.
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