Hi! I am Rajat Soni. I belong to district Jabalpur (M.P.). After getting a decent rank of 2474 in JEE (Main)-2014 along with class 12, I decided to join National Institute of Technology, Warangal. I did my B.Tech. in Electronics and Communication Engineering (Batch of 2018).
1) What was your routine study schedule in NITW? How much was your CGPA?
My routine schedule was like most of the students. Bunking classes gave more thrill than anything else. Everyone knows how famous ECE Department of NITW is. Last minute completion of folders and projects was a normal story. Academics seemed to be a long lost friend as we approached the third year. As a result, my CGPA dipped down to 8.54 by the time I graduated.
2) Where you involved in any Club/Society/Organizing Team of College? If yes, did they provide you any edge in preparation or overall?
I was a part of Electronics Amateur and HAM (EA & HAM) Club right from my second year. It was essentially due to my interest in practical applications of electronics. I got the opportunity to serve the club as a General Secretary in the year 2017-18.
3) What was your aim at, and expectations from NITW?
I never knew what I was expecting. Being a top level NIT, the reputations were very good. It was hard to leave home and live in hostels, eat in mess, attend 5:30 AM EAA and what not. But now I miss it the most.
4) When did you first thought of starting preparations for GATE Examinations?
I had it in my mind since the third year. But due to lack of time and motivation, I couldn’t dare to take a step forward for that. I gave GATE 2018 with incomplete preparation. The result was not very satisfactory. I also had many opportunities to meet people who had cleared the prestigious examinations of GATE and ESE. That motivated me each time.
5) What was your initial preparation plan?
I knew it would take extraordinary efforts since I had to start from scratch. I did not continue my preparation after GATE 2018. So I decided to take the help from various institutes. However I relied mostly on self-study as it is the most important aspect of preparation for any competitive examination.
6) Did you appear for campus placements? Were you placed in any company?
I did an Internship in Samsung Semiconductors India R&D (SSIR) Bangalore in summers of 2016-17. Fortunately I got a pre placement offer as well. So I didn’t need to sit for campus placements.
7) How much time did you devote on daily basis for Gate preparations?
Apart from classes I used to devote around 5-6 hours daily for revision and solving previous years’ papers.
8) Did you take any coaching for GATE Examinations? (include Test series).
Yes. As I said earlier, coaching do help to give a proper direction towards the preparation. I joined regular Classroom Course in Made Easy. Along with that, I joined the test series of Ace Academy and Gate Academy.
9) What we’re the study materials/books which you relied upon?
Mostly the classroom notes are self-sufficient. If any doubt’s remained, YouTube was the best source to get my doubts cleared instantly on any topic.
10) Anytime during preparation, did the thought of backing out hit your mind, like you felt that you won’t be able to achieve the set goal?
A couple of times actually. Frustration and demotivation naturally tend to come during preparation. Nothing beats a low test scores and a heavy topic for the day. I used to talk to my parents whenever I felt low. They motivated me to continue my preparation.
11) How many marks/rank were you getting in Test series?(In case you took any)
I started attempting the test series from the month of January. Initially my scores used to be within 60-65. Later they increased till 70-75 and at the end they even touched 80.
12) What was your final preparation plan?
Last one month is very crucial in GATE exam preparation. I used to revise my short notes on regular basis. I used to attempt 2 tests per day. As my actual GATE exam was in forenoon session, I tried my best to give one test daily in that same time slot.
13) How many marks did you expect before paper?
Frankly, I never thought about my marks before the exam. It is actually better not to have any presumptions about the paper. It can jeopardize your performance and your results.
14) Were you having any intuitions of bagging AIR 1?
Well, I used the rank predictors before IIT Madras released its official answer key. They were showing my rank somewhere in between 10-15. After that I didn’t bothered much about the result and left it to the fate.
15) What was your first response when you came to know about topping the GATE 2019?
It was 15th of March when IITM was expected to follow the trend by declaring the result one day prior to official date. I was having my lunch just then I randomly tried to open the GATE website to check the status. I logged in. The results were out. I scrolled down. I saw the digits ‘10’ in the box. I knew that would be the range of AIR I was expecting. To my surprise, when I slid the page to the right, the number turned out to be ‘1000’. Yes that was my GATE score. A perfect ‘1000’. Above that was written AIR 1. I couldn’t believe my eyes for a moment. I allowed that moment to sink in and called my parents to share that precious moment.
16) What are your further goals in life?
I have kept all the fronts open. I don’t want to be too hard on myself. I would keep exploring the different opportunities I can have with this GATE score.
17) Would you like to say anything to GATE Aspirants?
Yes. I would suggest sticking to standard source for preparation. Avoid unnecessary books and material. Concentrate on previous year papers. Do them multiple times. Note down your mistakes. Keep revising even in your free time. Time is a beautiful gift we have. Never under estimate your potential.
Sky is not the limit, your vision is. It does not matter from which college you did your graduation or how good were you in your 10+2. What all matters is how willing are you to give up everything you have right now just to fulfil the dream you had once seen. “To cross the ocean, you must have the courage to leave the sight of the shore.”
Thanks a lot!