With a very low pass percentage of 14 to 17 percent, Graduate Aptitude in Engineering (GATE) is a tough nut to crack. Yet, every year, there are few determined candidates who do qualify it. These are just normal students, who, with their persistent hard work and enthusiasm win against all odds. One such candidate is Shivam Singh, who did not settle for a lesser rank and secured AIR 14 in his second attempt. He shares insight into his journey, preparation, GATE trends and more with Aglasem. Read below.

GATE 2018 Scorecard of Shivam Singh (AIR 14)

About Yourself

First of all, congratulations on your success! Tell us a little about your self and your family?

I am basically from Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. My father is a politician and a social worker and mother is a housewife. I have two sisters. The elder one is doing M.Ed, whereas, the younger sister is in school.

From where have to you persuaded your education and how was your performance in school?

I started my journey from a very small school named Rose Academy Jr. School in which there were total around 120-130 students only. I worked hard by myself and got admission in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Sujanpur. Then I applied for 9th entrance in AMU and got selected in Minto Circle School. In both, class 10 and 12th, I scored above 80% and then went on pursue engineering from Zakir Hussain College of Engineering and Technology (AMU) Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh.

AMU is among the top universities in India. How did you get Admission in Zakir Hussain College of Engineering and Technology (AMU) and how was your experience there?

When in AMU school, I passed 11th entrance and AMUEEE, via engineering entrance exam I got admission in Zakir Husain College. I joined a coaching institute as a part-time Physics teacher for 11th and 12th class. The teaching profession brought an all over change in my personality and I became more serious towards the life events.

As fas experience is concerned, AMU is quite the place for education. There are so many central universities that lack teachers, lab equipment, etc. But at AMU, everything is great from infrastructure to teachers. I come from a lower middle-class family and professional courses like B.E / B.Tech cost a lot of money but AMU helps thousands of students like me to complete this course in just a few thousands without any financial burden. Apart from this, the famous Maulana Azad Library of AMU also help a lot to avail the books.

GATE 2018 Score Reaction

This is not your first attempt and you did well last time, as well. Then why did you appear for the examination again?

Yes, this is my second attempt. I appeared for the GATE 2017. Though I was getting admission in few preferred colleges but I was not satisfied with my performance. So, I opted to re-appear.

How much did you score last time and what is your performance this year?

Last time, I got 488 rank. Whereas, this year I secured 14 All India Rank with 945 GATE normalized score and 86.38 raw score.

What was your reaction to getting such amazing rank? Whom you credit your success?

I always have the urge to give my best. I was very consistent throughout my preparation. After calculating marks, I became sure of getting under 50 rank but after seeing 14 rank, I was very happy and it was unexpected for me. Throughout the preparation, my entire family was very supportive emotionally. My friends also helped me a lot to clear the very basics of some subjects which no teacher can teach any student. Other than this, my college professors and Made Easy teachers also proved to be very helpful and cooperative during the whole time. I owe my success to all these people.

Preparation for GATE

What are the things one should keep in mind while preparing for GATE?

One must realize that GATE checks your perfection. A wrong answer can drop your rank by 50. To achieve perfection, a lot of practice is needed. Try to join two or three test series and see the new concepts in the questions, if there are any. When you analyze your report, try to make a list of all the mistakes and always believe in yourself.

To crack the GATE, how should candidates prepare?

The first step should be to analyze weak and strong areas. Mathematics is an integral part of the exam but usually, candidates neglect it. If during the undergraduate, the student did not do well in maths then they must start working on it as soon as possible. Once the mathematics is done, students can start preparing important chapters like Soil, SOM, fluid, environment, etc. It is important to make sure that you do not leave any topic.

Once a student learns how to tackle a question correctly within 2-3 minutes, GATE becomes very easy but to learn this ability, you have to practice a lot. One should never read whole books for GATE, esp. if a candidate has less than one year because books are very bulky and you can’t complete them twice or thrice. Prefer coachings hand written notes and revise again and again.

What should be the study plan for GATE?

One must try and complete the course by November end. In December and January, just revise and practice. The plan for December should be to complete all part syllabus test. January is the month to focus on full syllabus tests. What I have experienced is that revision should be done at least twice.

Did you take any Coaching or counselling? Is it necessary to join coaching institutes in order to crack GATE exam?

Yes, I joined Made Easy coaching in June. See, one can crack the exam without coaching as well but for that, you need to motivate yourself constantly. For E:G, last year GATE 1st rank in civil engineering was banged by a student of 4th year of college. You can take inspiration from such students. I always inspired myself from such stories.

Which are the best books to prepare for the Aptitude section?

Generally, aptitude is not a problem for engineering graduates but if you are lacking there then you can buy any good book available in the market. I did not use any book for aptitude and English section.

Hard work or smart work? Which one would you choose and why??

It is very true that there is no alternative to hard work but in competitions like GATE where 1.5 lac students (in civil engineering) you can’t survive without smart work. My rank is the result of both hard and smart work. You can’t neglect either as both are equally important.

Any preparation tip of advise that you would like to give the candidate who is preparing for GATE right now?

Make a separate formula copy for all the tough formulae. Also, try to be handy with long calculations till November. If a student like me can do it then anyone can do it.

About GATE

What have you analyzed about the GATE exam?

GATE trend is changing year by year. Since competition is rising exponentially, the examiners are giving questions from untouched sections. Hence, I say, never leave any topic. Try to cover maximum. Likewise this year, the paper was slightly weird. Still, soil, som, environment, fluid, and highway are very important subjects. Try to complete them first.

How is the feel of the exam day? Any tips for the exam day?

Many students get nervous during exam at some point or the other. I also have this habit and to remove this, I joined two test series so that I will be able to reproduce whatever I have learnt during my preparation in the actual exam. GATE calculator also becomes a problem sometimes because it functions slightly different and can’t handle long calculations. When solving NAT, see the units in which the answer is demanded. Also write the NAT answer value at least up to the required decimal place. Do not waste time in one question. If you don’t know it, leave it and move. Be calm even if you dont know some answers. Best of luck !

Future Plans

GATE is a staircase to M.Tech and PSU jobs. Which path are you going to choose?

I have not decided anything yet. Still, I would like to make best out of it.

What Can Future GATE Aspirants Learn from Shivan Singh?

  • Take GATE seriously and try to reduce your errors as much as you can.
  • Make a study plan to crack GATE.
  • Do not leave any chapter because you find it trivial.
  • Revision is the is crucial.
  • The most important lesson is that just believe in yourself and keep on working hard. Nothing came between you and success.
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