DTU Times interviewed Umang Dokania, 4th Year, COE who achieved an All India Rank of 5 in the Computer Science paper of the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) 2019.
What has been your inspiration behind choosing GATE specifically, amongst the other options? Did passion for your field play a role?
Passion in one’s field does play a very important role. I began by searching up various research possibilities in the Computer Science field and hence, decided that I want to study further and develop my knowledge in other specific areas such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Thus, I decided that I want to proceed by taking the GATE.
What is the ideal preparation strategy for GATE? Is classroom knowledge enough? How would you compare self-study to coaching?
GATE focuses a lot on the fundamentals, hence you must have a very clear idea about them since the beginning. One should prepare a subject thoroughly and then practise according to the previous year questions. Since the syllabus for the GATE just mentions topic’s name and does not specifically tell the specific areas that one needs to cover in it, so if you try to cover everything contained in a topic, the syllabus will look vast and difficult.
Self-study, according to me, is very important. Practising more and more questions is the key to success in the GATE. If even you study a topic thoroughly and the question can trick your brain. It is thus important to take as many mock tests as possible and solve maximum questions.
How did you balance between preparing for semester exams and preparing for GATE?
You just have to be regular in classes for acing the semester exams and ideally, you can start preparing about five to six days before the exams commence. The GATE requires regular and extensive study hours and luckily you score enough time for it too in the seventh semester.
Since you are a top scorer, many options would be open for you. Which one would you choose, Masters or PSU?
I wish to go for higher studies. I wouldn’t have chosen PSU, because if my motive was to settle on a job, I wouldn’t have written the GATE and would have chosen other private companies with better opportunities.
Was GATE your only plan? Did you have backup plans as well?
If I had decided to not take the GATE then I would have applied for jobs in private companies and would have considered MS or MBA after one or two years.
What difference do you feel exists between JEE and GATE, in terms of both, preparation and competition?
In the JEE, about 10 lakh candidates take the exam whereas, in the GATE, about one to two lakh candidates write the exam, per branch,and thus students compete branch-wise as compared to all engineering aspirants in the JEE.
GATE syllabus is vaster; about 10-15 % questions are new or tricky and hence you need good time management skills, whereas in the JEE (Advanced) you can expect 50-60% new and tricky questions and one gets enough time for problems.