Agam Garg, a small-town boy from Rajasthan took the GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering) examination twice, his first attempt was in 2015, while he was in his final year of BTech (Bachelor in Technology) at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati. He also appeared for countless job interviews after that, but couldn’t crack any of them.
After one year of coaching, he took the GATE exam again in 2016 and scored the top rank.
In conversation with PaGaLGuY, he offered some tips and strategies for GATE 2017 candidates, which might come in handy for your last-minute preparations and D-Day game plan. Excerpts from the interview…
What was the strategy for your second attempt of GATE?
When I couldn’t get a good rank (AIR 267) in my first attempt, I decided to drop a year and study for GATE 2016. I joined Made Easy, Delhi, and studied devotedly for a year. But it is not necessary to join a coaching institute. If your basics are strong then you must solve questions, so enrol for a test series instead of joining a coaching institute. It is important to join a test series as you will get to know other people like you and the level of competition.
How different were GATE 2015, and GATE 2016 for you?
In GATE 2015, negative marking got me down from top 100, to AIR 267. I was better prepared for GATE 2016. Even though I failed in many interviews, I didn’t mean I was going to stop preparing. I was expecting to be in the top 20, but I did not expect to be the topper. When I checked my GATE 2016 results for the first time, I closed the browser, thinking I had opened someone else’s account.
Any tips for GATE 2017 aspirants preparing for the exam?
Finish your syllabus by December, and start topic-wise revision from January. Either join a test series, or take regular mock exams to help keep a track of your performance. Also, one quick tip would be to get used to a virtual calculator. Many students struggle with it during the exam.
Any tips for D-Day?
Don’t stress yourself and the exam will go alright. I don’t know how it will work for others, so I will tell you what I did. When I entered the examination centre, I saw so many people and I realised that only the top 250 will get a job, while the others will not. Our life is dependent on this exam, some will make it and some won’t (I got a little philosophical here). I spoke to people who were sitting next to me, I wasn’t even thinking of the exam.
Don’t revise anything on D-Day, listen to some music, or do anything to de-stress yourself.