GATE 2017 topper Ameya Dravid (AIR 2) says old papers and test series help in preparation

GATE topper shares his exam strategy, preparation tips and why he choose to pursue PhD from IISc instead of joining any PSU

Written by Neeti Nigam | New Delhi | Updated: October 12, 2017 11:39 am
GATE 2018, GATE topper interview, gate login, gate.iitg.ac.in Ameya Dravid is pursuing PhD from IISc

The registration process for Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) 2018 will end today. The candidates can now start preparing for the entrance exam that is scheduled to be held in February. One of the best ways to begin your studies is by taking tips from those who have successfully qualified the exam.

Pune’s Ameya Dravid achieved All India Rank 2 in GATE 2017 and at present, pursuing PhD from his dream college — Indian Institute of Science (IISc). His father is an engineer turn entrepreneur and mother is an advocate. He calls himself a “nerd” as, unlike his peers, he hasn’t join PSUs or corporate world. He shares his preparation strategy and love for science with us:

Tell us about your background. Did you always wish to join IISc?

I did my engineering from VIT University in Biotechnology. I always wanted to study science and therefore kept preparing for GATE simultaneously. While I find the road to pursue B Tech pretty much marked out, in Ph D you have to decide everything yourself. I took time to adjust but now feel confident and more independent. ReadGATE 2017 topper Ravi Shankar Mishra (AIR 3) shares exam tips, says follow day-wise strategy

Why didn’t you take up a job in a PSU or sat for CAT like many aspirants?

Every day when I wake up, I need to read something new. On the job, your learning gets limited. I have a passion for science since class 7. Also, I always knew that engineering is my real calling. This is one reason that holds me from applying in some corporate company or a PSU. Even after finishing B Tech, I didn’t sit for placement.

Since when did you start preparing for GATE?

My informal preparation had begun in the second semester itself. I started devoting few hours every day to revise subjects. However, it was during October — B Tech fourth semester — that I started studying seriously. My faculty prescribed some books and research material that helped me understand various concepts.

How many hours did you give to preparation in the last months?

The last few months were hectic. There were semester exams as well as we needed to finish projects assigned to us. I used to wake up early to study for four to five hours before the class. Once back, I used to give another three hours to my preparation. During weekends too, I devoted seven-eight hours.
I took help of the old GATE papers to understand the pattern and the kind of topics that get repeated.

GATE is conducted every year by any of the old IITs. Did you find any similarities in the pattern? 

I noticed that exam conducting body from IIT focus on certain topics. For instance, IIT Roorkee gives importance to bioprocessing.

Have you taken any coaching? What were the sections you were not confident about?

I followed the test series from some online portals but didn’t find a need to join coaching centres. I was pretty confident on self-study. I found immunology, plant biotechnology and animal technology difficult. 

Name some important topics that you feel are a must read for any student attempting GATE exam?

The following topics are high scoring:
1) Antibodies and cells of immune system 2) Cell growth and reaction kinetics 3) Resistance in plants 4) Basic integration and differentiation 5) Basics of Vectors and Matrices 6) Flatfile formats in Bioinformatics 7) Antibiotic resistance mechanisms

How did you rejuvenate?

I am a nerd, science comes naturally to me and therefore I feel happy studying it. However, in-between, I used to watch Breaking Bad and Friends. They are quite a stress-busters.

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