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What made you to choose GATE over other exams? Why M.Tech in India and not job or MS abroad?
I wanted to continue my studies and options were GATE/CAT/GRE. I was more interested in technical field and prefer staying in India, so to pursue Masters in India, I prepared for GATE Exam.
Was there any gap after your B.Tech before joining M.Tech?
There was no gap. I joined M.Tech immediately after completing B.Tech. I appeared for GATE in 3rd year of B.E and secured a rank of 105. Then in 4th year I got rank 1 and joined IISc.
When did you start preparing for GATE?
I started serious preparation from third year but the concepts read from first year of B.E made my preparation easy.
How was your GATE Prep method?
I have taken coaching from ACE institute. Concepts taught in my college and also foundation laid in 11,12th and ACE coaching made things more clear and perfect. Faculty there are very experienced and their teaching and notes helped a lot. I used to attend all the classes regularly and revise them daily. Reading things as and when they are taught will help remember them for long time. Then I used to prepare short notes of important things like formulae, etc. After reading, I used to practice from previous questions or other materials. I would suggest not to start practice without reading the subject. By December, coaching and hence one round of preparation was completed. I revised for two-three times in last two months, made very important notes to revise in the last week.
Group study or individual preparation?
Mostly individual preparation but I used to help friends which helped me find different or tough questions out of the whole lot.
Which was your favorite subject? Most challenging subject?
Subjects involving less memory and more logic and problems were my scoring areas. Like Digital systems, Signals, Networks. Challenging subject was Electromagnetics before coaching, but after coaching, I was more or less comfortable.
Which text books did you follow for different subjects?
I really didnt follow very high standard foreign books as I was not very much aware of them before joining into IISc. I used to follow notes which I wrote down during classes(in college and coaching)
Even if someone is not taking coaching, it is helpful to get some notes as it will have consolidated info from many books required for competitive exams. (Again, it’s all a choice, concepts might not be so clear from notes but, I just want to say that it helps for time critical competitive exams)
How did you manage time for different subjects? What planning went into that?
I used to prepare according to class I had on that day. My plan was to complete one round of all subjects by mid November or December and to do mostly revision in the last two months. For this, at least one needs to start preparation in 3rd year beginning, so that we have one month per subject.
Did you take help of NPTEL lectures?
I was not aware of them before GATE, but I have seen a few of them during Masters. I felt them very useful for self study, but one need to keep in mind of time taken.
How crucial is solving previous year question papers? When is the ideal time to solve them?
Practice is very crucial to manage time in final exam. But I feel practice must be done only after understanding the subject properly. It’s useful to practice subject wise in the beginning and in the last 4 or 5 months, when most of preparation is done, we can jump into previous year questions, mock tests, etc. Solving problems without understanding the subject will reduce one's confidence.
Did you prepare for all subjects or left some part in some subject?
I prepared for all subjects. I did not rule out any subject completely, gave time in the beginning, but in the end I revised only topics which I already read. Filtered only based on small topics, not at a subject level.
How important is coaching for GATE/IES? Which year is ideal to go for coaching ?
Coaching makes target easy, I got proper time table, I could spend more time on reading, more concentrated reading, consolidated notes, lots of practice. If one is serious, good to take coaching from third year.
How should the candidates prepare 1 month prior to GATE?
That is very crucial time. I did not read anything new in that time, only revision and practice. This helped me keeping my confidence. I have taken mock tests, almost daily one.
How did you manage stress? Any games/sports that you remember playing?
I am not a very good sports man but I used to switch to easy subjects when I felt stressed with tougher ones.
What care did you take to eliminate silly mistakes?
Practice helped me reduce but still there were a few. Even in final exam !
Why did u choose VLSI at IISc ? Was there any interview or was it direct admission?
I was interested in VLSI and it is also in demand. I got admission in Microelectronics which is directly based on GATE score, there is one more embedded kind of course which has an interview.
Did you apply anywhere else other than IISc?
I was not very sure about the institute and I was still gathering info, so I applied for IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay and IIT Madras also. But I did not attend any of the interview.
How was your M.E experience in IISc?
It was very good. I have learnt a lot in IISc. I have experienced the real learning at IISc. It’s completely different from local college education system.
How is life on campus? How about extracurricular activities?
In short, it was awesome !!
How are the placements and other opportunities after one completes Mtech?
Usually it is more than 70-80%.
What is your message for your juniors preparing for GATE ?
All the best !!
Interview of Rakesh Kande – GATE Topper
B.Tech : MVSR Engg College , Affiliated to Osmania University
M.Tech : Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
Currently working as ASIC engineer in Juniper. (Started as New college graduate on 7th July 2014)
GATE Rank: AIR - 1 in ECE 2012