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KEAM 2018 Topper Interview: Nicholas Francis (Rank 4) - Nicholas Francis, who has secured the fourth rank in KEAM 2018, is not your typical topper in the sense that he had to fight for his success. He completed his 10+2 last year, but decided to drop a year, as he felt his preparation inadequate to get a good rank in exams like JEE Advanced and KEAM. So, when KEAM 2018 results were declared and he found his name splashed across different media, it brought both a sense of relief and elation. He though was expecting to do well this time around as he had put in the hard work. A Steve Jobs devotee, Nicolas plans to study Engineering Physics at IIT Madras.
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When Careers360 got in touch with Nicolas to do a KEAM 2018 Topper Interview, we also came to know about his humbler side. He informed us that he has been a fan of the Careers360 for a long time and that the Interview with the toppers is his favourite section. Read out what else we found out about this young achiever.
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Excerpts of KEAM 2018 Topper Interview: Nicholas Francis (Rank 4)
Careers360: Congratulations on your performance in KEAM 2018! What was your reaction upon knowing your rank?
Nicholas Francis: Thank you. I was really happy but my excitation started a month back. KEAM is an examination where equal weightage is given to marks obtained for both board and also the entrance exam and then the final rank list is prepared. The entrance exam score was released last month and I got 2nd rank for the score. So in truth my excitation and expectation lasted a month until the final rank list was released.
Careers360: Tell us something about yourself. Board and school have you studied in?
Nicholas Francis: Well, I did my schooling till 10th from Saudi Arabia, followed by 11th and 12th from Vijayagiri Public School, Chalakkudy. I was a CBSE student my entire life. I completed my 12th grade last year and decided to take a drop for a year and prepare for JEE Advanced at Brilliant Pala.
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Careers360: What is your score in KEAM 2018? What is your all state rank and category rank?
Nicholas Francis: My KEAM 2018 score is 846 and I got Kerala Rank 4 which is also my category rank(general).
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?
Nicholas Francis: Since a very young age I have been highly fascinated by Math and Physics. Moreover I love all modern technologies. I think it was when I was 10 years old that I fixed my mind to be an engineer. I am planning to join Engineering Physics at IIT Madras.
Careers360: When did you start your KEAM preparation? Tell us something about your preparation strategy and daily routine
Nicholas Francis: I started preparing right from 11th. A key to success in KEAM is speed and accuracy. The questions are not going to be very tough. Time management is very important. I did a lot of previous year questions which I think is more than enough.
Careers360: Was there a difference in the preparation strategy in the last months of KEAM considering that the board exams also were during this period? How did you manage preparation for both?
Nicholas Francis: As far as KEAM is concerned the board exam marks are very important too. To do the various questions properly the student needs a good grasp of theory; NCERT books are extremely reliable. As for balancing the two exams, it helped that the they were more or less similar. So, I didn’t have to prepare for any one exam in particular.
Careers360: Did you take coaching for KEAM and if yes from where? What are the benefits of coaching according to you?
Nicholas Francis: Yes I took coaching from Prof. PC Thomas Classes for 11th and 12th Grade and did my Repeaters Programme at Brilliant Study Centre, Pala.
Personally, I believe proper coaching is vital for students these days as the teaching faculty know which parts have to be stressed upon and which parts create misconceptions and they help in rectifying them. Further the vigorous mock exams help students get a grasp of the exam and what they need to focus on.
Careers360: Mock tests and sample papers – how extensively did you practise with the help of these? Do you think practising from previous year papers help and how?
Nicholas Francis: Mock exams and sample papers were an integral part of my preparation. I was practising them on a day-to-day basis. Practising from the previous years’ papers is crucial as they help us predict what kind of questions to expect and which topics we need to focus on.
Careers360: Are there any special books that you feel have helped with your preparation? Are the school text books adequate for preparing for KEAM and Class XII?
Nicholas Francis: I loved the Resonance DLP Material and practised it daily. I feel that school textbooks do not have sufficient questions for an exam like the KEAM. Further I would also like to advice all students not to study same topics from different guides but focus on only one guide.
Careers360: Did you face any problem during the examination? Which subject was the easiest and which was the toughest? What do you think is a tough thing to manage during the exam?
Nicholas Francis: I did not face any problems as such during the exam. In my opinion the Physics section this year was more tougher than usual, I felt like they asked a lot of out of syllabus questions. Maths was definitely easiest for me. I personally believe time management is the toughest part in KEAM as the questions are not going to be very tough.
Careers360: What do you think are the key factors behind your stupendous success in KEAM?
Nicholas Francis: I believe that time management has been the key to my performance along with accuracy and also my solving previous years’ question papers.
Careers360: How did you de-stress yourself during the preparation? What are your hobbies? How often could you pursue them?
Nicholas Francis: I went out with my friends who were preparing for entrance exams to restaurant's and cool bars once in a while. My hobbies include watching anime and movies. I was not able to pursue them often during my preparations. Right now I am trying to catch up with movies I have missed.
Careers360: Who is your ideal or biggest inspiration in life and why?
Nicholas Francis: My biggest inspiration in life has been Steve Jobs. I love the fact that besides being a techie, he maintained a positive attitude in life even when he came face-to-face with cancer. His speech at Stanford University is my favourite and I try to live by the rule, what would I do if this is my last day on Earth.
Careers360: You know you are an inspiration to thousands of students across the country. Do you have any message for future aspirants on tackling the KEAM exam?
Nicholas Francis: It still feels unbelievable what I have achieved right now. To all the students and anyone reading this article I just want to say this. If you have a goal and you earnestly work for it with all your heart and soul and deep down you know you couldn't have done more, then rest assured you don't need to go behind success, SUCCESS WILL FIND YOU.
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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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