It takes years of hard work and persistent approach to qualify one of the toughest examinations like Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE). But Ravi Shankar Mishra has cracked it twice — in 2015, he scored All India Rank 1 in mechanical engineering while in 2017, he achieved AIR 3 in computer science engineering.
Mishra was a bright student throughout his academic life and got admission in B Tech course in mechanical engineering from IIT Kanpur. He later switched to computer science engineering and at present working as a research engineer in Microsoft India. He shares with the indianexpress.com what made him switch his stream and how he followed a day-wise plan to crack GATE twice:
Did you always want to be an engineer?
Since I scored high in physics, chemistry and maths, engineering was an obvious choice. From class 10 itself, I started preparing for Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) and secured a seat in IIT Kanpur in the mechanical engineering course.
Why did you opt for M Tech course in Computer Science Engineering (CSE)?
There are not much opportunities for mechanical engineers as mostly software or e-commerce companies come for placements. The package offered to mechanical engineers are low.
I spoke to seniors who were working in the United States and they said that after the 9/11 incidence, they don’t encourage the hiring of foreigners in the mechanical sectors (construction of trains etc). Read | GATE 2017 topper Ameya Dravid (AIR 2) says old papers and test series help in preparation
What kind of offers did you get during the end of B Tech?
I was offered job from Porsche in Bengaluru but I was not sure about it. I also had the option to do Ph D from the University of Melbourne and ETH Zurich (Switzerland). However, these countries are expensive and without scholarship, it would have been difficult for me to sustain.
So I thought I should switch to CSE. I cracked GATE 2015 in the first attempt and got admission in the IIT Bombay.
When did you start preparing for GATE 2017?
As it was my second attempt, therefore I was confident to clear it again. I did some research online on what books to follow for the 10 subjects. Some content was available online. I made a day-to-day wise goal. I counted the book pages and planned to finish 60 pages a day. Every day, I devoted not less than 10 hours to studies.
Also if I got stuck somewhere, I watched the Youtube tutorials on GATE preparation. Once I was through with my plan, I started following sample papers and giving mock tests. It helped in calculating my speed and accuracy and made me more confident.
What suggestions would you give to GATE 2018 aspirants?
Regular study is a must as the syllabus is vast. Make small goals and try to achieve it every day.
Since you topped the exam, you could have easily got a job in a PSU.
I find private sector more challenging than government as it gives promotions on the basis of an individual’s performance.
Name some important topics that you feel are a must read for any student attempting GATE exam?
Maths is easy to score and therefore focus on it. Besides questions are relatively straightforward in Programming, Data Structures and Algorithms. Some other important topics are:
(i) Operating System – Scheduling, Deadlock, Memory management
(i1) Theory Of Computation – Finite Automata, Context Free Grammars, Type of language, Undecidable problems of language
(v) Database – Normalisation, SQL query
(vi) Digital logic – K maps
(vii) Computer networking – Application, Transport, Network layers
How did you rejuvenate during GATE preparation?
I listened to music for like five to 10 minutes. It was sufficient for me. I knew I have less time and more syllabus. Therefore, I concentrated on studies only.