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GATE 2021 topper: Here’s how civil engineering topper Shashwat Srivastava prepared for exam

In the civil engineering paper, Shashwat Srivastava got all India rank one. He attempted thrice to finally achieve what he wanted. He shares his preparation strategy.

GATE 2021GATE civil engineering topper Shashwat Srivastava

The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) 2021 result was released last month and a total of 38 students secured top rank. In the civil engineering paper, Shashwat Srivastava got all India rank one. He attempted thrice to finally achieve what he wanted. Srivastava shares his preparation strategy:

Where have you done your engineering from and in which branch? How much did you score?

I completed my B Tech degree from Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology, Allahabad, in 2019, from the civil engineering branch. For GATE 2021, I scored 85.64 marks.

Was this your first attempt? 

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This was my third attempt. I appeared for GATE in both 2019 and 2020. In 2019, I took this exam solely to familiarise myself with the exam format. I only received 44.5 marks and AIR 6600 in 2019. Following this, I prepared for a year and reappeared for GATE in 2020, scoring around 68.29 marks with AIR 1025.

I realised where I was lacking in terms of my preparations and was determined to rectify them for my next attempt. This year, after a lot of preparation, I appeared for the exam and received an AIR 13 with a score of 85.64.

Why did you choose civil engineering?

During my JEE preparation, I found this subject to be extremely interesting, so I decided to pursue a career in civil engineering. The part that piqued my interest the most was the section on the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment.

During my second and third years of B Tech, I studied it in depth. My seniors were extremely helpful in resolving any concerns I had. They helped me comprehend the significance of GATE and my chances of landing a good government job.

4. Have you applied to any PSUs recruiting through GATE? 


Yes, this year I intend to apply at PSUs. After my first two attempts, I wasn’t confident about getting through at any of the PSUs but this year I will apply to them on the basis of my rank.

Read | IIT-Bombay MTech student cracks GATE 2021, aims for PSU job

When did you start your preparation? 

When I was in my third year of engineering, I began my preparations. I started with the fundamentals and tried to gain insights into each subject. I began making notes from the study material that I discovered in my college. In addition, I referred to online study material. I used Unacademy’s test series, which proved to be extremely helpful. I also registered for several free courses from them to gain a better understanding of the topics. On an average, I spent nearly 10 hours every day preparing for GATE.


Additionally, I arranged some books from my college library. Reading about the fundamental concepts greatly aided me in clearing by basics and over time, I was able to solidify my understanding of the concepts.

It is really important not to get stressed before the exam. Hence, I made it a point to unwind in between my preparations. When I was bored, I used to watch news or some short films. These breaks refreshed me and helped me renew my preparations with a fresh mind.

How to schedule study time and make timetables?

I believe aspirants should keep the entire syllabus at their fingertips. They should try to concentrate first on developing their fundamental concepts, then focus on previous year papers. There are several tests aspirants can take to assess themselves. Also, keep in mind that consistency is the most important factor. If you are sincere and disciplined from the beginning, you will eventually reach your goals.

Did you appear for mock tests?

I appeared for mock tests from the beginning of my course. Mock tests help us identify our strong areas and weaknesses during the preparation process. It helped me assess myself, leverage my strengths and improve on my weaknesses.

How should you schedule answering the GATE exam – which section to attempt first and which next? Did you have any strategy?


It is really important to stay calm before the exam. Attempt questions that you are confident about in the beginning before moving on to the questions that are longer or more difficult. Manage your time wisely to avoid making silly mistakes, and appear for more tests to achieve accuracy. I also utilised the additional time that I had by focusing on revisions.

First published on: 07-04-2021 at 09:49:44 am
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