Saptarshi Halder - AIR 50 Electronics and Communiation GATE 2016 - Kolkata, West Bengal
Saptarshi Halder

I have been born and brought up in Kolkata, West Bengal. I graduated from Jadavpur University, Kolkata in 2016 and I’m presently working in a company in Delhi.

Since the time I started my B.Tech, I have set my goal to secure a good rank in GATE. But I had no desire in my mind to peruse higher studies because it adds a little value in corporate as well as government sector jobs, obviously apart from teaching profession. My target was to join PSU or state owned research institutes (BARC, DRDO etc) through gatescore. Talking about the time, I started preparation in 3rd year 2nd semester but it was slowly moving at that time. From fourth year onwards I became serious about the preparation.

My first reaction


As the official answer keys are uploaded and the responses of the candidates can be viewed in GATE official website, one can easily calculate the raw score. In my case it was 71.33, but I was worried about the effect of normalization. My apprehension proved true as I lost almost 3 marks in normalization and my actual score dipped to 68.45. Though it was disappointing, I was quite satisfied with my rank and immediately shared the news with my parents and some of my dear friends.

First of all, the credit goes to my parents. My friends have also been constant source of inspiration. Among them, my classmates Raja Majhi and Srirup Bagchi, AIR-7 and 79 respectively, deserve special mention. Last but not the least; I’m grateful to my college faculty for providing immense support.

Preparation


For GATE, first thing you have to know is the syllabus and question pattern. Strictly follow the syllabus and read from one standard book for a particular topic (don’t try out more than one for a particular topic). In GATE, what matters is how strong your basic concepts are, not your vast knowledge and hence going through one standard book is enough to build up robust concepts. After reading and assimilating a topic, try to solve previous years’ questions on the same. If you falter at some place, try to clear your doubts and read more thoroughly and comprehensively. In this manner you prepare the subjects one by one. Never neglect a particular subject, all should be given due importance depending on number of questions usually asked on that subject. Moreover, keep aside some time everyday to revise the previously read topics.

Finally, take mock tests and analyze the errors you have made (This is very important. Taking a great number of tests doesn’t come to aid unless you are well aware of your mistakes and rectifying those). Don’t be scared of the exorbitant syllabus. All you need is an unflinching determination. Try to keep confidence and give efforts persistently.

Coming to coaching centre, it entirely depends on one’s mode of studying. I myself didn’t join any institution for classroom. You’ll as well find many good rankers who were classroom students. So I think it is personal choice and should be determined depending on own needs. But whether or not you join classroom, take online mock tests from a renowned institute.

Strategies


A. Study schedule
Schedule used to depend on college curricula. Before the semester examinations and class tests, the focus was mostly on college studies. But during vacations or when there were no tests in college, the GATE was given top most priority. The outcome does not depend on duration of vacations but does depend on proper planning and understanding.

B. Strong and Weak subjects (How did I prepared them?)
Such demarcation is tough but I would say, I loved communication, signal and electromagnetic theory the most, followed by analog and circuit theory. I did not have much interest in digital and hence it was the subject which I prepared at the end. But, in GATE all the subjects are given nearly equal weightage hence if one neglects a particular subject, it may cost heavy.

Books and e-sources


  • Analog: Sedra Smith, Boylestad, Razavi, A. Rajkumar, Gayakwad (for op-amp)
  • Digital: Salivahanan and college notes
  • Communication: Simon Haykin, B.P. Lathi
  • Control: Nagrath Gopal, NPTEL lecture (Prof. Madan Gopal)
  • Network: D. Roy Choudhary, William Hayt
  • Microprocessor: Gaonkar
  • Signal: Lathi, Oppenheim
  • Electronic device: Streetman

Aptitude Section:
These things are not very difficult and the knowledge in school level suffices. I only revised the formulae from an aptitude book (Many such books are available in the market). I did not prepare separately as such. Whenever I took mock tests, these portions were practiced.

Mock tests


As I have already said, I attended online mock tests and I think these are the key factors to find out your weakness and improve your speed.

Examination day


At first I attempted the aptitude section because it is usually very easy and one can finish it within 15 minutes or at most 20 minutes. Then I went to the 2 marks questions of the EC paper. The logic behind it was that, if I fall in time pressure in the last hour, I shall be left with the least valuable questions. Adding to that, my strategy was never to waste time in a particular question and to leave it marked in case it was complicated or had lengthy calculations.

Interviews


I did not attend the interview for any IIT or IISc. For the PSUs, usually the knowledge acquired in GATE preparation is sufficient for the technical part. For HR, you need to have brief idea about the company profiles and I browsed through their websites for that purpose. I also prepared myself for the typical HR questions (Tell me about yourself, your strengths and weakness, why should we hire you etc). For the GD, the current topics are important and since I am read the newspaper regularly I did not trouble myself with it.

Advice to fellow students


Stick to your task from the very onset and never lose the focus. All the best!!!