DTU Times interviewed Pranav Sharma, 4th Year, COE who achieved an All India Rank of 1 in the Computer Science and Information Technology paper of the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) 2019.
What has been your inspiration behind choosing GATE, amongst various options? Did passion towards your field play a role?
The reason for choosing GATE, since the start, was to be eligible for public sector jobs.
I strongly believe that passion towards your branch is the most critical requirement for this journey, since during this large span of preparation, you have to remain motivated. Some candidates start their preparation only to find out later that they no longer want to continue.
What is the ideal preparation strategy for GATE? Is classroom knowledge enough? How would you compare self study to coaching?
I believe that the ideal preparation strategy lies in practice. I advise every candidate to practice as much as they can. Speaking about my branch, i.e., Computer Science & I.T., we have around 9-10 major subjects, so a candidate cannot leave a single subject assuming it to be of less importance. Every subject has equal weightage in the exam and thus, all are equally important.
Self study is important but I think that it is a blend of coaching and self study which gives the best results. Coaching is important because it provides you with a framework.
How did you balance between preparing for semester exams and preparing for GATE?
Finding a balance between the end semester exams and GATE preparation was, in fact, the real challenge. In this regard, I would like to thank my mentor, Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Department of Computer Science and Engineering for his invaluable contribution during the important stages of preparation. He was a constant support and guided me during the time when most of the candidates either drop out or get overly demotivated. Due to his assistance, I focused on revising the GATE syllabus even during the end semester exams, though it affected my CGPA.
Since you are a top scorer, many options will be open for you. Which one would you choose, Masters or PSU?
I will go for some Public Sector Undertaking (PSU). It was my aim from the very beginning to work in the public sector domain, and this would be the perfect opportunity for me.
Was GATE your only plan? Did you have backup plans as well?
I got a Pre-Placement Offer (PPO) from a very reputed company after my internship, so that was always my backup. A good plan-B always helps you to cope with stress, and enter new areas.
What difference do you feel exists between JEE and GATE, in terms of both, preparation and competition?
JEE and GATE are very different exams. JEE has more number of students and is more competitive than GATE. A student appears in JEE right after school, while GATE aspirants are either straight out of college or have a few years of experience. The pressure and stress levels associated with both the competitive exams are very different.