Congratulations! How does it feel to have topped the GATE 2012 exam in Civil Engineering scoring AlR 2?
Thank you very much. I am feeling awesome because my parents, friends and teachers happiness matter the most to me. My parents are telling everybody proudly about the result. Everyone who knows me is telling, "I know Rajdip, he is my friend, he is my student etc". So, that feels really good. I have come All India rank 2 for the first time in the history of my department at NIT Durgapur. Consequently, I have drawn a lot of attention in my college.
What plans now? Which institute do you plan to join?
I find Structural Engineering very interesting. So I have planned to join the Structural Engineering Department of IISc Bangalore. However I have applied for the same at IIT Bombay and IIT Kanpur.
How many hours did you put into preparation? Did you solve mock question papers?
Number of hours do not matter to me. It took me two months of serious preparation. What you need is your whole-hearted effort into your study time, be it two hours a day or ten hours a day. The most important ingredient for serious preparation, is a proper mindset and self-belief. If one prepares himself well for the semester examinations and studies the concepts carefully during semesters, one to two months of preparation is sufficient.
Regarding mock test papers, I used to solve chapter wise mock tests first, and then subject wise mock test papers. This not only helped me to grasp concepts more deeply but also helped me to remember them for a long time. Finally the most important thing is solving the last 10 years papers. It gives you an idea of the type and pattern of questions, and helps you to prepare accordingly.
Did you join any particular coaching class? Do you think these classes actually help preparing for competitive exams?
No, I did not join any coaching class. However I took GATEFORUM material for reference. I think classes help to keep you on track with your preparation. As I have already said if you have a proper mindset, you can do it yourself. Apart from this, classes don't help as there are plenty of good books for understanding concepts, unless someone wants everything to be spoon-fed.
According to you, do tests such as JEE and GATE really depict a person's aptitude for engineering programs?
Yes. According to me competitive exams like JEE and GATE covers a vast array of subjects and questions 'not from book', which requires thinking and logical approach. So it tests the intelligence, problem solving approach, speed, dedication (as required to cover the entire syllabus) and performance under stress, and the skills required for such a program.
Is this your first attempt at GATE?
Yes this was my very first attempt.
Apart from GATE did you appear for any other competitive exams?
No, I did not.
What material did you refer to while preparing for GATE?
For GATE preparation what you need is clear understanding of all subjects and a lot of practice. For gathering concepts, I read various books for each subject. One must not skip any topic of the syllabus. After clearing concepts, I solved objective books by G.K publications and books of GATEFORUM to get an idea of various types of questions and the ways to attack them.
What does it take to achieve such a fantastic result? How can others replicate your success?
Lots of inspiration from my parents and my Professor Kamal Bhattacharya, self-belief, dedication, sincere effort and a bit of luck helped me to get such a result. Stay healthy and fit and do not over tire yourself. Brush your concepts once a week by taking mock tests. Take a few breaks in between studies. Don't avoid studying mathematics; that is not a good strategy. Study Hydraulics especially open channel flow. Subjects like Theory of Structures, Strength of Material, Design of RCC and Steel Structures require thorough reading and understanding. Soil Mechanics (Consolidation, Slope Stability, Index properties), Foundation Design require detailed study. For subjects like Water, Waste water and Environmental pollution, you can opt for selective study if covering the entire syllabus is tough. Give your sincere effort without thinking of results, have confidence and believe in God. Success shall be yours.
Tell us something about your family.
I am from Asansol, West Bengal. I am the only child of my parents. Ever since I was a child, I wanted do something unique from other people. Today whatever I have achieved is because of my mom and dad. They always inspired me to be independent. My father is a government employee of Eastern Coalfields Limited. My mother is a home maker. Though my parents are not highly educated, they have always wanted to see me as one. I have always got their moral support in whatever I wanted to do. I am really proud to have them as my parents.
How has the response been like from friends and family since the GATE results?
They can't express their feelings in words. After the announcement of results, they were completely stunned and dumb-struck, because this happened for the first time in our department. They seemed even more excited than I was. Professors of my department were very happy. They hugged me and patted me. My mother felt it hard to believe that I had really come All India Rank 2, until she herself saw the score. My father seemed to be on cloud nine.
What are your future plans? Where would you be after 10 years?
I haven't really framed any future plans. For now, what I want is to gain more knowledge in civil engineering. After completing my M.Tech, I would like to join the industry to get some practical experience or may opt for PhD in foreign universities. I don't know where I would be after 10 years but I would like to see myself as a successful engineering consultant or a good professor.
Any message or tips to GyanCentral readers and future GATE aspirants, for whom you would be a role model now?
Don't panic and get frustrated. Give adequate time to your studies. But that does not mean hamper your other activities. Lead a normal stress free life and of course, there is no substitute for hard work. I believe God helps those who help themselves. But I think, most important is intelligent and sincere studying rather than studying for long hours.
Rajdip, who describes his life as 'very simple, sober and never too exciting', is a final year Civil Engineering student at NIT Durgapur who also holds the position of topper in his department. Rajdip likes spending his free time facebooking, playing badminton and table tennis.