Medha Dandu
Medha Dandu

I graduated with B.Tech degree in ECE from NIT Warangal. My father works with A.P COMMERCIAL TAXES department and my mother is a home-maker. I was a research engineer at C-DOT till june-2015. Now I have joined IISc with AIR-14 in GATE-2015.

I had no idea of GATE when I joined NITW. The exposure and education at NITW inculcated interest towards engineering profusely. Somehow I got attracted towards IISc in second year and explored about it. By the end of third year, my goal was clear. I decided to give GATE then. For GATE-2014, I started my preparation from October amidst the semester courses and project work. For GATE-2015, I resumed my preparation from September.

My first reaction


After GATE-2015 exam, I was quite happy and satisfied for doing well. I expected a rank below 50. When I heard my rank, I was overwhelmed with joy not that I got a rank of 14 but because I can get into IISc for sure. I would like to credit my success to my family and friends. My parents supported me as always. If they had not bent for me, I wouldn’t have flew high. My seniors and friends incessantly encouraged me. Some of them were a source of inspiration. My colleagues at office were really helpful with their advices.

Preparation


We can learn a lot from mistakes and failures. Those lessons have played a key role in my success. My experience with GATE-2014 provoked me in making my preparation better and strategic. For GATE-2014, I read the concepts from textbooks thoroughly and followed my class notes for revision. I made short notes for some subjects. I did not miss a single topic of GATE syllabus in preparation. I referred some sites online for tests and practised with ACE academy’s online test series. After completing each subject, I gave tests on the relevant topics. I solved previous year papers. All that I missed was to practise more online mock tests. So in my final exam, I could not manage time properly and left significant number of questions unsolved despite my careful preparation. That mistake invoked a huge loss and resulted in rank of 1494. I was little disappointed but soon regained motivation and determined to crack GATE-2015 with a rank below 50. All that I had in my mind was “IISc”.

Joining a coaching institution is necessary if you are not good at your concepts and need teaching help or do not have enough time to sort out things. Else self-study is a viable option.

Strategies


I joined C-DOT in August-2014 and after a month I started GATE preparation. This time I was confident enough that my concepts were clear and strong. I had to just brush them up. First I made a detailed plan to complete the syllabus within four months, from September to December. I allotted time for each subject as required, one after the other. On an average, each subject got 15 days of time.

After returning from office, I spared three hours of time for study in weekdays. On weekends, I devoted entire time for study, subject and mock tests. I found time for mathematics in between the subjects. Whenever I felt distracted from the current subject, I practiced math or solved the subject tests. I referred my engg. class notes and textbooks for short study. I also used ACE academy’s postal coaching material to solve questions after my preparation of a particular topic or subject. I maintained short notes for every subject and jotted down key concepts, formulae during study. I attempted mock tests in between the preparation on weekend to assess my performance and made corresponding re-study to clarify doubts araised. Attempting mock tests in between helped to know the areas where I had to focus more.

I started my preparation with the subjects where I was comfortable and clear. This will instill confidence as you complete your favourite subjects sooner one by one. I kept the difficult and doubtful topics/subjects to the end. I did electromagnetics in the last month as it involved methodical understanding and solving.

Books and e-sources


Networks-

  • M.E. Van Valkenberg – Network Analysis
  • G.K. Mithal and Ravi Mittal – Network Analysis

Electronic devices-

  • J. Millman and Halkias – Integrated Electronics
  • Ben G.Streetman – Solid State Electronic Devices
  • Design of Analog CMOS Integrated Circuits – Behzad Razavi

Analog circuits-

  • Robert Boylestad – Electronic Devices and Circuit Theory
  • Sedra and Smith – Microelectronic Circuits

Digital circuits-

  • Zvi Kohavi and Niraj K. Jha – Switching and Finite Automata Theory
  • Schilling, Herbert Taub and Donald – Digital Integrated Electronics

Signals and systems-

  • Alan V. Oppenheim, Alan S. Willsky, S. Hamid Nawab – Signals and Systems
  • Simon Haykin – Signals and Systems

Control systems-

  • B.C.Kuo – Control systems

Communications-

  • S.Haykin – Communication Systems
  • S.Haykin – Digital Communications
  • PZ Peebles JR – Probability, Random Variables and Random Signal Principles

Electromagnetics-

  • E.C. Jordan and K.G. Balmain – Electromagnetic Waves and Radiating Systems
  • W H Hayt, J A Buck – Engineering Electromagnetics

Mathematics-

  • B.S.Grewal – Higher Engineering Mathematics

Apart from the textbooks, I also referred to some online resources whenever I had doubts.

  • Tenpointer.com and testbook.com have questions that are worthy solving.
  • Microwaves101.com has some good stuff of electromagnetics and antenna theory.
  • NPTEL videos also have good content.

Aptitude Section:
I used to solve aptitude questions only through the mock tests online. (Testbook.com has decent collection of aptitude questions covering all categories).

Mock tests


Yes, I attended several mock tests. I subscribed to test series from ACE academy and testbook.com. Testbook tests were free of cost except the live test series (4 online mock tests). The mock tests helped me to assess my performance and time management in the exam. They helped me to discover the areas of strength and weakness. When I wrote a mock test, I took care of my surroundings to mimic a real exam atmosphere. By the first week of January I finished all the preparation. I used to give two or three mock tests in a week and solved previous year GATE papers amidst my revision. I used my short notes of each subject for revision. They were handy and saved time in the hour of need.

Taking mock tests may not be a necessity for all. But it’s an advantage to take them as they prepare you for the exam beforehand. They release out all the apprehensions about your performance in the exam. They give an overall assessment of your preparation and guide you to improve your performance. Make sure whatever mock tests you take reciprocate the GATE standard of questions.

Examination day


I tried out different ways of attempting GATE paper during mock tests. Not a strict format is required to attempt the exam but you should be quick enough to adapt to nature of questions in the exam and make a clever move to solve them besides your pre-practised solving format. You should have a rough idea of allotment of time for each question or section. I attempted the questions in series one by one. I marked them for review if I had doubt about the solution. I gave 20 minutes of time for aptitude section and an hour of time for 1 mark question’s section. I was left with 30 minutes by the end of one round of attempt. In the last minutes, I reviewed the marked questions and solved any unsolved ones.

Interviews


I aimed only for IISc from first. So I applied only to IISc initially and not to take a risk, I applied to IITB also. I did not apply for PSUs.

Future Plans


I am selected for M.E program in Microelectronic Systems at IISc. I wish to do Ph.D after my M.E. I want to pursue research and take up career in teaching as well as research.

Advice to fellow students


Confidence, strategic preparation and the zeal to win are necessary to stay ahead in the competition. Standard textbooks make you fathom concepts in depth. Once you have clear concepts, you can handle any problem easily. Analyse the toppers’ marks in previous years and fix a target for your marks to achieve desirable rank. Go ahead with that target while practising mock tests itself. During revision, emphasize on key areas from which questions are asked indefinitely. Plan ahead and practise promptly.

All the best!