Swaraj Jayswal - GATE 2018 AIR 17 Civil Engineering - Bokaro, Jharkhand
Swaraj Jayswal

My name is Swaraj Kr. Jayswal & I have secured AIR-17 in GATE2018 in Civil Engineering. I come from a small village in Bokaro district of Jharkhand. I am a 2015 batch passout of a private engineering college of Jaipur.

After my graduation, I was working in a Private Construction Company for 1.5 years. In the initial period of my Job, GATE was nowhere in my proximity but later I thought to give it a try & so I applied for GATE2017 but was finding it very hard to study along with my Job. So, I left my job in January 2017. Since I couldn’t prepare for GATE2017, I ended up getting just 29 marks. Then I came back home in February 2017 for self-study & started my preparation from March onwards. My motivation to prepare for GATE was to join a PSU.

My first reaction

I was very sure of getting a Rank in TOP50, but again I was very excited as well as nervous until I had seen my result. I informed my parents instantly & they were much happier than me. While my journey, I had been through some very critical situations of my life or I may say some hardest possible when I was thinking to give up, but again this was my family who supported me & never let me down. So, I would like to give the entire credit to my Parents and Sisters.


I did self-study for GATE. There is always two sides of a coin & here I can list the pros and cons of Self-study –

  1. You will have abundant time to study on your own & plan the journey accordingly.
  2. Since all the concepts will be your own built, so will help you to memorize them effectively & accordingly.
  3. In a coaching, if the faculty teaches you anything wrong or makes an error, then you develop a wrong concept, which is not the case with self-study.


  1. If you have any doubt or get stuck in a concept, then it becomes difficult sometimes to clear that on your own.
  2. You won’t be spoonfed and have to arrange everything on your own, there will be no one to guide you & tell you that your direction is right or wrong.
  3. One may lose consistency in between & may enter the comfort zone.


A. Study schedule:

I am nocturnal so I prefer to study at night, though it’s a personal choice & I never followed a particular timetable, my schedule was quite flexible. I used to study 6-8 hours a day & had divided it into time slots but not longer than 2 hours in a single stretch. In a day, I used to study 2 subjects so that I don’t get bored by studying a subject entire day. Every day I had allocated some time for revisions, I used to revise whatever studied on 1) That day before going to sleep, 2) On the very next day, 3) After a week, 4) After a month & subsequent months. This way, I piled each and every subject very systematically & sequentially in my mind & avoided last month pressure of revision. GATE is a numerically oriented exam, so I used to practice numerical every day of the subjects that I had already studied from textbooks & previous years of GATE and IES.

B. Strong and weak subjects (How did I prepare them?)

My strong subjects were SOM and Soil mechanics & I had prepared them from standard textbooks.

My weak subjects were Steel structures & Hydraulic machines and I had prepared them tangentially & didn’t study them in depth, but I would ask everyone not to do this because you don’t know where they will set the questions from.

Books and e-sources

I used to study from the handwritten notes & used to refer standard textbook only for doubts. Below is the list of the books that I referred:

  • For rest of the subjects like Hydrology, Transportation, BMC I focused on my handwritten notes only.

Aptitude Section:
I had prepared this section from the MadeEasy Books for Verbal & numerical aptitude. Apart from these, I had worked on my Vocabulary from “Wordpower Made easy” by Norman Lewis.

Mock Tests

I had joined 4 test series, though took only 3 of them. Mock tests are very very important because GATE needs perfection in performance in those 3 hrs. You must attend as much mock as you can. I took test series of MADEEASY, ACE ACADEMY & TESTBOOK.

  • MADEEASY test series is at par with the GATE level. Also, most number of students write this test series, so you come to know that where you actually stand in this competition.
  • ACEACADEMY test series is quite conceptual & questions asked are on the tougher side than GATE level. This test series helps you to gauge your analytical side effectively.
  • TESTBOOK: The quality, as well as the quantity of tests, is quite good. They have each & every part of the syllabus & errors are quite a few.

Examination Day

I had attempted the aptitude section first & had allocated 15-20 minutes for it. Then I moved sequentially in the technical section. In the first round, I solved those questions where I was confident. Then in the second round, I solved the lengthy & tricky ones. In my final round, I tried to solve the marked for review questions where I wasn’t confident, but I didn’t bluff for the MCQ questions to avoid negative marking.


For IIT’s interview, only technical knowledge is needed and no extra knowledge but for PSUs you must be sound in GD, technical and HR questions. One should read his intern report and final year project and be as much honest in the interview as you can, but don’t disclose your negative aspects blatantly in the name of truth. Never try to bluff on any fact & try to give a balanced answer.

Future Plans

As of now, I want to work in any of the major PSUs.

Advice to fellow students

Never get demotivated if you get less marks in any test series. Try to note down your silly mistakes and weak points in a small register. Give regular mock tests and keep revising everything at regular intervals. Plan your preparation well in advance and try to divide it into phases. Do some yoga or meditation to keep yourself focused throughout your preparation. Eat healthy foods & don’t eat anything of outside like junk foods, because what we eat reflects our body & so our mind. Last, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we Think we Become” ~ Gautam Buddha.