IIT Bombay RA Written Test and Interview Experience

So, where were we? Oh Yes ! I had just told you about my BARC Interview. The last one in my long series of interviews was IIT Bombay RA interviews. As my GATE rank was not so good(Below 80),I was not made Mtech offer under TA category at IITB. I am sure you will be wondering what is this TA and RA and what is the difference?For a detailed explanation and differences, you can click here.

 Written Test:

The written test started at about 9:30 am on 5th June. I had applied in three specializations at IITB 1) Microelectronics 2) Communication 3) Electronic Systems.The test was of 120 mins duration and consisted of three sections.

  • Section- A : There were questions on power electronics, machines, maths and 2-3 general aptitude questions.(40 marks)
  • Section – B : It consisted of questions on basic linux commands, communications and signals & systems.( 50 marks )
  • Section – C : It consisted of questions on analog and digital electronics, control systems and 2-3 microprocessor based questions. ( 40 marks )

The pattern of the test was such that it was meant to test the skills of the students for carrying out work in different laboratories of the institute (as part of Institute RA).I don’t remember the exact questions but the questions were pretty good and one needs to be strong in their respective subjects to answer the questions correctly. They were many questions demanding 1-2 line explanations. All of us were properly screwed and we knew about our true potential :P.My advice to all would be that do not try to attempt all  questions of all sections. Concentrate just on one section which you are strong in and try to answer maximum questions of it. If you are not confident enough of your answers, try questions of some other section which would help improve your overall score in the test. Remember in the end,they will select you only for one lab;the questions related to which you have answered the most. Also, they don’t expect you to answer questions related to power electronics and machines ( if you are an EC student). I attempted Section- B fully and 80% of Section-C. I didn’t even touch Section-A as I knew which labs I wanted to work in.

Institute RA vs Project RA:

Institute RA Project RA
You will work in any one of the laboratories (System Admin lab, communications and DSP lab, microelectronics lab, power electronics and machines lab, electronic circuits lab) of the institute. Your work may be heavy or light depending on the lab you get. You will be assigned  a particular project under a particular professor. This may be an institute sponsored project or a project sponsored by some agency (BARC ,ISRO , DST, etc.)You will be assigned a part of the project and have to assist the professor.
You are free to choose your final year project and guide based on your interests. You are not free to choose your final year project and guide. It will be the same as the one which you are assigned.
For shortlisting for interview, 50% weightage is given to GATE score and 50% weightage to your marks in the written test. For shortlisting for interview, 75% weightage is given to GATE score and 25% weightage to your marks in the written test.

Interview:

The results of the written test were out at 9 am on 6th June.There were separate lists for Institute RA and Project RA. My name was there in both the lists.Apart from that my name was also in MTech + PhD dual degree list ( dunno how it landed there since there was a separate test for dual degree students :P)We assembled in the mentioned hall at 1pm on the same day. Before the interview we had to fill a form indicating our preferences for different labs for Institute RA and projects for Project RA( a list of the projects along with their abstracts was uploaded before on the website for our reference).There were around 12 panels and all the interviews were going on in a single room!! I was allotted panel 4 and was called in at about 4 pm. The interview went like this:

  • Prof 1 seeing my test booklet: Would you like to work in this project( I won’t mention the project here 🙂 )? Tell frankly( probably I scored well in that section)
  • Me: Sir, I am not much interested in this field. So, I would rather work in a different project.
  • Prof 1 looking heavily upset by my response: Ok, tell me why you have filled this lab (System Admin) as your first preference?
  • Me: Sir, I have two years work experience related to this. I explained the nature of my work.
  • Prof 2 : And why have you chosen this lab as your second preference (Communications Lab ) ?
  • Me: I have interest in that branch. My briefed about my final year project which was in the field of wireless communication.
  • Prof 3: Tell me what is FM?
  • Me ( stunned over a sec on is he really asking me what is Frequency Modulation ): I answered with definition and equation.
  • Prof 2: How will you do FM?
  • Me: I drew a simple block diagram and was trying to explain when…
  • Prof 1 : Ok, tell me if VCO is not working in the communication lab; how can you generate the same functionality with some other circuit?
  • Me : Using Hartley Oscillator. I started explaining the functioning with a diagram for my own satisfaction when he cut me short..
  • Prof 1: That’s not needed..tell me d difference between Hartley and Colpitts oscillator?
  • Me: I replied in one sentence…was going to further elaborate when..
  • Prof 2 : Thanks, you can go now !!

I was totally stunned after exiting the room wondering if it was an HR interview or a technical one. It was hardly 10 mins long.We were told that we will be interviewed in our first preference.I felt annoyed that why was I not asked even a single question on Microelectronics when the panel had an expert prof in the same field. All other students were properly interviewed (asked good questions in their chosen preferences).When the results came I was not blaming myself for not getting selected as I answered all they asked 😉 .Some people with very bad interviews got selected. So, can’t say what exactly they do look in you. The only reason I could figure out for me not getting selected is that I filled the lab preferences based on my experience and not on the basis of my first preference(microelectronics).So,be careful while filling your lab and project preferences as well.

P.S. I got selected for MTech + PhD dual degree.I didn’t even sit for its interview 😉

Pros:

  • Well I have no doubts saying that IIT Bombay is the best IIT from both placements and research point of view ( esp. Microelectronics ).
  • The hostels were very good and food in the mess was decent.( not as good as IITk though)
  • You will get an extra year to complete your courses as compared to TA guys. So, you will be less stressed out and can focus on other things like your project and/or any hobby.
  • You will get a stipend of Rs. 9000/ 10000/ 11000 during your first,second and third years of MTech as compared to a fixed stipend of Rs. 8000 for TA guys.
  • You will get a chance to be part of and enjoy the fantastic fests of IITB 🙂

Cons:

  • The only con I can find is one extra added year for completion of your MTech.This can be a serious issue for some people ( including me).If you want to do PhD from abroad there will be wastage of 1 year;as you can complete your MTech from any other IIT in 2 years and go.But here you need to spend one extra year to earn the same degree( you can get more time to have more publications though which can prove beneficial while applying to universities). Also, from placement point of view, your TA friend will get one year experience which means promotion and better career scope when at the same time you will be joining as a fresher ( and believe me when I say this;experience counts a lot when you are doing a job).

The one extra day I had before returning home was very well spent on the roads,shopping malls,cinema hall and Hiranandani 🙂

So friends !! This was it as part of my MTech admission journey.In the next post, I will sum up all that I have shared till now and try to provide you with some links which will be helpful to you.Hope u enjoyed reading my experiences.Do not miss the next one as it’s gonna be very useful 🙂

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19 thoughts on “IIT Bombay RA Written Test and Interview Experience

  1. hi,congratulations first of all.Your blog is well written and so much knowledge in it.So finally where you decided to join??

    Like

  2. Pingback: Conclusion | MUSINGS…

  3. Pingback: BARC OCES/DGFS Interview Experience | MUSINGS…

    • Thanks a lot Arghya 🙂 The pleasure is mine in helping others.I liked the “well completed part” of your comment. I found many blogs which were partial and I felt deprived of info after reading them. So, I decided to write a fully detailed blog myself so that the reader doesn’t have to go anywhere else for securing any other info 🙂

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  4. very very very helpful blog…. u explained every point in very well versed manner…. I’ m loving it… God bless u sister…. take care n keep on helping upcoming aspirants…. All d best for ur future …. 🙂

    Like

  5. This post is well written and all the details are provided thanks for the information.Can u name a few projects that the EE RA’s need to work on.There is no information regarding this on the internet.The name of the projects the faculty is conducting research in. So that students can be ready with some subject related knowledge for interview.

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    • Hey Royston !! Hope you are doing great. Thanks a lot for liking my posts 🙂 To answer your question, there is no particular place where the details are put in especially before the interview itself.The best way to find the relevant details is to browse through the Research section of the websites of concerned faculty/labs whom you are interested in working and/or consulting people who are working there.The people working there will have a fair bit of idea about the projects which are currently being handled.You can also mail the concerned professor asking them about their recent works and opportunities available under him/her ( though I am not sure you would receive a response always )

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  6. Hi,

    First of all, thanks for sharing ur interview experience. This was of great help. I have one question though. You said that questions for written test was mainly to test lab skills. Can you share some questions or give us any idea, about those questions.

    Like

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