GATE Preparation

Hi friends!! Hope you must be having a wonderful day. After posting my Post GATE interview experiences (you can check them out here), I got responses from many students requesting me to post some preparation tips for GATE.So on popular demand, here comes my long post recounting my Pre GATE experiences.

Well, I remember my days before GATE as one of the most difficult and challenging times of my life; yet when I look back upon them I wonder how many things they have taught me which helped me consolidate my character and emerge as a stronger person.Nine hours of job followed by 2-3 hours of coaching on weekdays and wait! weekends were no relief. My Sundays were the worst; lasting from 6 am to 9 pm of studying :O ( 15 hours in a row!!). I am amused  how I survived those times.The one thing which kept me going was my firm resolve to prove myself to the world and the ambition to see myself in a top IIT.

I will not define my preparation to be an ideal one. I didn’t study all the available material nor solve most of the practice problems and questions ( some of my coaching material was left untouched); but what I did study and solve was sufficient for my preparation.I am a person who believes in studying on my own without any coaching or tuition.But, things were different this time.Since I had to prepare with job, I decided to join a coaching institute which can keep the spirit of competition alive in me and provide me the required motivation needed for clearing any competitive exam. Also there will be some part of me feeling guilty if I paid a heavy price as coaching institute’s fees and still didn’t study seriously ( just a psychological trick 😉 ) For all those people who fall in the category of job+GATE, I want to say that preparing with job is difficult but not impossible.Try to prioritize your work.Keep some e-books on your office desktop and study them as well as some online resources ( provided links below) whenever you get time.Avoid distractions (I mentioned a few in my Introduction post).Remember if you work hard now, you can enjoy later.There will be many people to discourage you saying that GATE is useless, there is no use of MTech, why bother to leave a current job which is paying well, go abroad for MS, blah blah blah. It’s your ability to discard the noise and improve the quality of positive thoughts entering your mind. As it is truly said half of the battle is mentally won.Always be mentally strong and believe in yourself and what you are aspiring.

Ok, enough of pravachan from my side :P.Let’s be back on track. So, after deciding to join a coaching institute, I began a hunt for the same. Living in Hyderabad, I had lot of options to chose from ; but one of them was a clear winner based both on its past records and its location near to my office and flat.Yes, you guessed it right! I joined evening batch of ACE Academy located at Abids. The classes started from 16th or 17th July which was quite early based on my standards of preparation which I have been following throughout my life ( later I was proved wrong when I saw batches starting from March ).What happened later for the few months till GATE is as I have already mentioned above ( office+classes).After returning from coaching, I somehow had my dinner and dropped straight to my bed. Life was indeed hard but I was happy thinking that each passing day is bringing me close to my goal.I have been a topper throughout my school and college, but I can tell without a pinch of doubt that the hardest I worked and studied in my life was this particular period.

I will provide a subject wise description of my preparation below:( only EC – other strams having some common subjects can also see)

1. Engineering Mathematics: This was the first subject to be started at the coaching institute. I would say that this is one of the easiest and scoring subjects of GATE. It is easy to grasp and questions asked from maths are pretty straightforward. A word of caution: Do not ignore this and leave it till the last month for studying.The things I studied for my Engg. Maths preparation are:

  • Higher Engineering Mathematics – B.S. Grewal ( problems on Stroke’s and Gauss Divergence theorem and some portions of statistics)
  • ACE material and class notes.

Important topics: Stroke’s and Gauss Divergence theorem, probability, complex variables, linear algebra.

2. Network Theory: If you see previous years questions, you will find that this subject carries a lot of weightage. You also need its concepts in other subjects like Analog ( OPAMP based problems ) and Digital. Moral: Be sound in network theory. Practice a lot of questions and try to analyse them before solving.There can be many methods to solve one particular problem; chose the one which is convenient for your use.Before joining ACE, I had a feeling that I am good in network theory. But the classes at coaching helped in clearing my myth and solving some of my perennial doubts in this subject.My prep. included:

  • ACE classroom material and notes ( this is excellent and more than sufficient)

Important topics: Transient and steady state analysis, Thevenin’s & Norton’s Theorems, Nodal and Mesh Analysis, Phasors, Maximum Power transfer theorem.

3.Control Systems: This is one of my favorite subjects. It carries almost 12-13% weightage in GATE. Practice and more practice is the key to success.Try to be fast and accurate while solving problems. Use shortcuts and tricks wherever possible.My preparation included:

  • ACE classroom material and notes ( The teacher provided some amazing shortcuts to solve problems. The variety of questions included in the question booklet are too good not only for GATE but also PSU’s,IES,etc.)
  • Control Systems Engg.- Nagrath & Gopal.( PD,PI,PID controller, lead and lag compensator)

Important topics: Time domain analysis, root locus, bode and nyquist plots, gain and phase margin.

4.Electromagnetic Theory: Well, this is a subject which most of the students of EC find the most difficult and annoying. The same was the case with me. I hated this subject since my college days. The long and complex formulas and equations just blew my mind off. It is only after coming to ACE that I appreciated the true beauty of the subject.The first set of classes laid the foundation for my rising interest in the subject.In my opinion, EMT is the most scoring subject in GATE as well as other exams like ISRO,IES,etc. Most of the questions asked from this are either direct formula based or application of basic concepts. If you are confident in this subject , rest of the subjects will be quite easy for you to prepare.Success Mantra: Revise many times and write down all the formulas as frequently as you can.Never ever take the chance of leaving EMT and writing GATE.You will be the biggest loser.My preparation included:

  • Field & Wave Electromagnetics – David K. Cheng ( all topics esp. waveguides )
  • ACE material and notes.( served mostly as revision of my concepts and formulas)

Important topics: Boundary conditions, transmission lines, maxwell’s equations,Poynting theorem,basic antenna concepts.

5.Communications: I am sure everyone of you knows the importance of this subject.It carries the maximum weightage in GATE and has a wide syllabus to cover. This subject is quite interesting and you need to be good in maths to be good in communications. My preparation of communication included:

  • Communication Systems – Simon Haykins ( Analog Communications )
  • Principles of Communication Systems – Taub & Schilling ( Digital Communications- more questions are asked from digital communication as compared to analog in the past 5-6 years)
  • ACE classroom study material ( only for practicing problems and revision )

Important topics: Random variables ( one question sure), probability of error, FM, Noise, Matched filter, superheterodyne receivers.

6.Signals and systems: I was lucky to get a very good teacher for this subject who taught in a very intriguing way and challenged us to solve problems making us competitive enough. Success Mantra: Write down all important formulas and definitions in a piece of paper. One of the advantages of this approach is that it will help you relate concepts used within the subject making your preparation smooth and easy. My prep. included:

  • ACE study material and notes (excellent material which is more than sufficient for cracking all sorts of competitive exams)

Important topics: All topics are important; questions on sampling and laplace transform are frequent.

7. Analog Electronics & Electronic Devices: These are the two most important subjects for GATE preparation and being an EC student you have to be very good in them not only for GATE but also for your future.I have clubbed them together as both are highly interrelated both content and material wise.You should complete electronic devices before starting your preparation for analog. Success mantra: Clarify your concepts and apply reasoning in every question.The more you read and solve the better you will become in these subjects. My preparation included:

  • Microelectronics Circuits – Sedra Smith ( best book for enhancing your basics; read it only if you have time as everything is explained in very much detail which is not required for GATE exam; but will be helpful for your interview prep.)
  • Electronic Devices & Circuit Theory – Robert L. Boylestad ( topics are explained in a simple and point wise manner)
  • Integrated Electronics- Milliman & Halkias ( called the Bible of Electronics – is the best if you read from the beginning. You can rely on it blindly)
  • ACE material – concepts were explained in a very unique and exam-friendly way( good for revision )

Important topics: OPAMP , BJT amplifiers, Feedback amplifiers, Diode based problems.

8. Digital Electronics: This is one of the most interesting and popular subjects among the students and truly so because it offers a logic based approach to problems and we don’t have to memorize any complex formulas or equations in this ( as opposed to many EC subjects). A word of caution: Don’t be overconfident.Questions asked in GATE may seem quite simple but will be tricky most of the times.My prep included:

  • Digital systems Principles and applications – Ronald J Tocci
  • Digital Design – Morris Mano
  • Microprocessor Architecture Programming and applications with the 8085 – Ramesh Gaonkar ( for microprocessor )
  • Digital Computer Electronics – Malvino ( microprocessor explained in a very short but effective way)
  • ACE practice material

Important topics: Flip-flops, counters, logic families,microprocessor ( one question compulsory)

10. English and Aptitude: Most of us completely ignore this section. But, I tell you this can prove a deciding factor where either you or your competitor can score over and bring a better rank. I referred no material for this section. The practice questions and mock tests were sufficient.

Some Preparation Tips:

  • Practice at least 10 years of previous GATE question papers. This is very important as it not only helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses but also proves critical for your time management skills.
  • 45 days before the exam, solve a mock GATE paper every alternate day ( and it strictly means 3 hours).The environment should be the same as you will face during the actual GATE exam. Club this with revision of all subjects. Remember the last one month is very crucial for your preparation.
  • Prepare subject-wise short notes for quick reference.This will prove very handy during revisions as well as interviews.
  • If possible, enroll for a test series(preferably online as the final exam will be online). This will help you maintain the pace of your preparation and the AIR will give you an idea on where you stand. However, I will advise you not to take this rank too seriously and get disheartened or relaxed.This is only a prep. exam and not the final GATE exam which is your prime focus.
  • Be confident of your preparation and solve questions with a patient head.I will advise you to attempt your GATE paper in three rounds.1st : easy questions which you can solve at one go; 2nd: average questions which require some thinking but can be solved; 3rd: difficult questions which require more time and thinking.This approach will gradually build your confidence in solving questions and bring out the best in you.
  • Don’t take too much stress and worst, don’t get influenced by other’s preparation.Each individual has different levels of understanding and approach. So, never compare yourself with others. Plan your studies carefully keeping adequate time for practice and revision.

This was all I could tell you regarding my GATE preparation.I knew my prayers were not unheard when I saw my result ( to know more about my result read here ) which was just above my expectation :).I would like to thank my parents without support and understanding, it would have never been possible. I am lucky to have such amazing parents who are always ready to help and motivate me.The next token of thanks goes to my friends who always heard my constant whining and how I have studied so less till now ( this is part of my nature 😉 and still made me remember my strengths and how I can rectify my mistakes.I would also like to thank the some wonderful teachers and friends at ACE who helped clear my concepts and booked seats for me in the classroom (respectively );). Last but not the least, I would like to thank God and of course me( who did it finally 🙂 )

Other online resources:

Hope you enjoyed reading this whole series of posts on my Pre and Post GATE experiences and they proved helpful. I will highly appreciate your feedback on the same and will be glad to clear your doubts. All the best for GATE!! 🙂 🙂

Conclusion

Hello everyone !! As you know I had covered my experiences of IISc CEDT , IIT Kanpur, IIT Delhi, BARC OCES/DGFS and IIT Bombay RA  till now.If you are new to this page click on specific names to read the respective posts .Also, I mentioned some important do’s and don’t and addressed some basic doubts as part of my Introduction post. You can have a look at it here ; this will also serve as a reminder to my GATE details and courses I applied to. Finally, after almost two months of incessant travelling covering different directions in the Indian map and giving written tests and interviews to about 20-30 professors, I got the below admission offers :

  1. IIT Delhi – Computer Technology ( EE Dept.)
  2. IIT Delhi – Telecom Technology & Management ( Bharti School of Telecom)
  3. IIT Kanpur – Microelectronics , VLSI and Display Technology ( EE Dept.)
  4. IIT Kharagpur – Visual Information & Embedded Systems Engg.- VIPES ( EC&E Dept.)
  5. IIT Bombay – MTech + PhD dual degree in Microelectronics( EE Dept.)

Some info not shared till now:

  • IIT Kharagpur offered me direct admission based on my GATE score. In the first list which came out on 15th March, I got RF and Microwave (my fourth preference).In the second list (30th May), I was offered VIPES which was my second preference.I immediately locked my choice(without upgradation) as I had heard from seniors that VIPES was better than VLSI ( which was my first choice ) at IITkgp. Also, VIPES matched my interests in image processing,embedded systems and computer networks ; so I felt it very convenient and desirable.
  • I got no admission offer from IIT Madras 😦 The selection was based on direct GATE score. Unfortunately, my score was a little low for my preferences and my category ( people with AIR of 50 also didn’t get their 1st and 2nd choices in general category).I would like to mention here that I didn’t apply for TI sponsored MS program at IIT Madras as I had no idea about it. I came to know later that it is one of the best programs for people interested in Analog. For more details click here.
  • The interview dates for IISc Research Program ( MSc Engg. + PhD ) were clashing with my BARC and IITB interviews ( 4th and 5th June). So, I was not able to attend it.

Phew !! So now was the time to make choices and to take decisions which will alter my future. Where will I spend the next two years of my life?? Well, this decision was not easy as I had thought previously.Dual degree was clearly out of my mind as I was in no mood to risk five years when I was not sure whether I want to do PhD or not.The rest four choices were pretty confusing.I had to burn my grey cells, have long chats with my parents,introspect on what I really want ( that’s pretty hard 🙂 ) and add extra digits to my internet and phone bills to finally arrive at a conclusion.I decided to join Computer Technology at IITD. It provided a perfect combo for my interests and future aspirations. It provided me a unique blend of hardware and software which I have always loved ; which at the same time increased my research as well as placement scope 🙂

So friends !! This was all from my side. I shared my experiences and some tips and tricks to be followed Post GATE. As promised, I am providing you with some links which I referred when I was in the same phase as you are now. Keeping in view the continuous requests pouring from students, I have decided to write a post on GATE preparation as well( click here to read the post on GATE preparation). So, tune your browser’s bookmarks to my blog’s frequency and keep visiting 🙂 Hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts and it was useful to you in one way or the other. Please feel free to share your feedback and ask me any of nanoscale doubts in your mind. I will try my level best to reply to your comments and help you in every possible way. Last but not the least , don’t forget to follow this blog,share with your friends and read other amazing posts present here 😉

Links for Interview Experiences:

http://engistan.com/gate-2013-cutoffs-for-iits-nits-iiits-recs/ ( GATE 2013 cutoff of all institutes )

http://mobileelectron.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/iisc-and-iit-interviews-for-m-tech-admission/

http://sarthakparui.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/iit-interview-experience-part-i/

http://www.gatecounsellor.com/alumni.php#krishnan

Links for Interview Preparation:

http://www.careerlauncher.com/gateday/ecequestions.html

http://iitsinterviewquestions.blogspot.in/2012/01/future-course.html

http://www.gatecounsellor.com/interview_EE.php

http://asic.co.in/Index_files/Digital_interview_questions1.htm ( Some very good questions with explanations for Digital electronics. Will also help you clarify your concepts )

http://asic-soc.blogspot.in/ ( Digital questions )

http://www.allinterview.com/Interview-Questions/Electronics-Communications.html ( Open in Mozilla or IE )

http://www.geekinterview.com/Engineering/Electronics/tab2

Thanks for reading 🙂 Have a nice day and as I always say Live Life King-size  🙂

 

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 🙂

BARC OCES/DGFS Interview Experience

Next in line was the interview for Bhabha Atomic Research Center at Mumbai. I had booked my slot on 4th June at 11 am.Since I had to attend the IIT Bombay RA interviews also on 5th & 6th June, I decided to directly go to IITB Hostel when I landed in Mumbai on 3rd. I boarded a prepaid taxi from IITB Main gate next morning and made my way to BARC Training Schools.Till this time, results of IITk, IITd and IITkgp were out and I had four admission offers in hand. As a result of this, I didn’t write the ISRO exam on 24th May and also was pretty much relaxed in my preparations for BARC interview. I spent many hours on net to find experiences of people having faced interview in the field of Electronics.I found some links describing their respective experiences in Electrical & Mechanical streams; but my search didn’t fetch me even a single result in Electronics.

Interview:

After verification of my documents I was sent to the 11th floor of Student’s Hostel where the interviews were being conducted ( We were also given a tea coupon 🙂 ).There were three panels.My turn came after 2-3 hours of waiting at around 4 pm.My panel consisted of four people.They asked for my documents and one of the panelist started going through my certificates and resume.The other panelist had a little introductory talk with me to make me feel comfortable.He congratulated me on being selected for IITD ( DGFS applicants had to fill this information). After that, he asked me to write five subjects which I would like to be interviewed in.I wrote Networks,Communications,Digital,Analog and Signals & Systems.The questions asked by them were:

  • Design a circuit to measure the frequency of an input wave.
  • I realized it using flip-flops; then they asked me to realize the same functionality using only passive elements.I thought for a while and then used RC low pass filter ( charging and discharging of capacitor concept – time period measurement).
  • They asked to do the same with LC elements only.
  • A BJT circuit was given. Was asked to find its gain.
  • What is Mealy and Moore machine? Which one is used when?
  • Setup time and hold time definitions.What will happen if they are violated in a circuit?
  • What is pitch? How will you define it in terms of frequency?
  • A wave in time domain was given and I was asked to find the frequency components in it. The wave was exhibiting half wave symmetry, so it I replied that it will possess only odd harmonics.Later, they changed the wave shape and asked the same question.
  • They asked about my BE final year project.
  • They asked about my work experience and we had a healthy discussion on spectrum allocation and its future in India.
  • Some basic questions related to Wi-Fi ,4G, bandwidth,white spaces,etc.

The interview lasted for about 40 mins which was obviously less to guarantee my selection (Normally, interviews going above 1 hour are considered good enough to get a white slip ).The panelists were very helpful and knowledgeable. They provided me hints wherever possible and tried to boost my moral by asking me questions in areas I was comfortable in whenever I felt nervous.Most of the questions were practical oriented and were based on design.They will test your concepts very deeply;so you need to be crystal clear in your concepts. I will advice you to prepare 3-4 subjects nicely before facing the interview.

Pros:

  • You will be posted as Scientist “C’ and will be working for DAE ( Department of Atomic Energy) which is one of the most prestigious agencies in India.You will get a Central Govt. job ( which will make your parents very happy 🙂 ) and your life will be settled.
  • You will enjoy all the luxury available to a Sarkari Babu 🙂 (I need not mention the advantages –  adequate pay scales with minimal work load, sufficient time for your family and friends, pension,quarter in the campus,TA’s,conveyance,etc.)
  • If selected in DGFS, you have the opportunity to complete your MTech  from IIT’s (only selected courses) and then join BARC again after completion of MTech.
  • India is one of the very few countries in the world to be a nuclear superpower and you can rejoice on being contributing in its advancement 🙂

Cons:

  • If you want a high paced growth in your career and are willing to exert yourself and take up new challenges , you might not find this job interesting. You will be promoted in a fixed span of time, neither early nor late ; which will have little to do with your performance ( You might lament later on seeing your friend drive a BMW when you own a Wagon R 😛 )
  • The research and projects related to Electronics in BARC are not so good. It is generally considered to an excellent place for Chemical, Mechanical and Electrical people as far as level of work is concerned.
  • You might get your final posting anywhere out of Mumbai, Chennai, Indore and Hyderabad. Only Indore is good for Electronics projects (as heard from employees).Also, there is too much dependency on the team you get to work and your place of posting which may brighten or ruin your chances to do a sponsored MTech later.
  • If you want to switch your job in future, the scope for you will be very limited.You either had to join some PSU ( very difficult chances as they won’t encourage your movement out of BARC) or adopt a different stream altogether like MBA or Civils.

Despite all things being said till now, the prospect of joining BARC is indeed lucrative and I suggest all of you should give it a try once; if not to work there but atleast to have a wonderful interview experience.The satisfaction of working for your nation and contributing in its development is the most important in a person’s life and BARC offers you the perfect platform to make your dreams come true. In the coming post , I will describe my experiences in IIT Bombay.Till then Keep rocking !! Jai Hind !!

IIT Delhi Interview Experience

Within a week of returning from IIT Kanpur (click here to see more), I had to rush to IIT Delhi.I had applied in the below specializations at IITD:

  • MTech in EE Dept – 1) Integrated Electronics & Circuits 2) Communications 3) Computer Technology 4) Control & Automation
  • Interdisciplinary MTech in VDTT ( VLSI Design Tools & Technology )
  • Interdisciplinary MTech in JTM ( Bharti School of Telecom Technology & Management )

I did not get a call from IEC and Communications at IIT Delhi as the cutoff for interviews was very high( 910 & 860 respectively ) compared to previous years.Slightly disappointed by this, I reached IIT Delhi one day before the interviews ( 14th May ).

VDTT (15th May):

After verification of our documents ( the only IIT where our documents were actually verified 😛 ), I was the first one to be called for the interviews.First and last ones to go are always at disadvantage. I had heard this before, but I realized it only after I entered the room.It was a one-to-one interview.The professor asked me what was my GATE score and whether I was a University Topper.Then he started with the questions.Much to my relief, I answered all of them pretty well but luck had just turned its face away from me. Suddenly this prof. had to go in an urgent meeting; he was replaced by two other profs.Unfortunately, the first prof took his laptop and with it the Excel Sheet which recorded my performance till now.This chain of events distracted me a bit. I was not able to answer the remaining questions with confidence and hence failed to satisfy them.The questions asked by them were:

  • A long network of R,L,C elements was given and I was asked to find the voltages at each node and currents in all the branches at steady state and switching instant of a step input.
  • Write a program to find the maximum and second maximum in an array of elements along with their array indices.
  • Realization of given driving point impedance function, Z(s) = (s+3)/(s+2).I realized it using R and L; asked me to do the same with R & C. Then he asked if this function can be realized by L & C elements. If not, why?
  • Draw the basic CE amplifier and explain the role of each capacitance in the circuit. How will you choose a suitable value for the emitter capacitor ( bypass capacitor ) practically? Give a formula.
  • What is a phase locked loop? Draw its circuit.
  • Circuit for CMOS inverter and its VTC.
  • If input and output of a CMOS inverter are shorted what will happen? Show it graphically on the VTC.

My interview lasted for about 1 hour and it was the longest for any candidate.But, I failed to qualify for the next round of sponsor’s interview.

JTM(15th May):

At about 6 pm on the same day, I had my second interview.Each of the candidates was supposed to fill his/her primary and secondary areas of interest in a form before the interview.I filled Wireless Communication as my primary and Computer Networks as my secondary areas of interest.The questions I faced were:

  • What is a fading channel? Explain.
  • What is multiplicative noise ? Explain with the help of equation and diagram. How is it different from additive noise?
  • Draw the constellation diagram of 8-PAM.They gave an alternative diagram to the one I drew and asked me which one is better and why?
  • Draw the constellation diagram of 8- QAM and 16-QAM. What are the merits and demerits of both?
  • Calculate the energy required to transmit for both the constellation diagrams.
  • What is the condition for orthogonality in case of M-FSK? Write mathematical equation and explain.

My interview lasted for about 30 mins.The interviewers were very kind and co-operative.I would also like to appraise the wonderful job done by the coordinators in conducting the interviews in a very systematic and organized manner.I think my experience of working in a telecom company came to my advantage here and I was not surprised when I saw my name in the list of selected candidates 🙂

Computer Technology ( 16th May ):

While applying I haven’t even seen what this course was about and hence hadn’t prepared a least bit related to its interview.So,on the night before the interview, I decided to take a glance at its home page to know about it.The more I learnt about it ; the more I started liking it and the more I repented of not preparing for the interview and missing out such a golden chance.Computer Technology is a specialization which takes 50% of the students from CS and the rest from EC/EE. Being an EC student one tends to get away from coding related questions as much as possible; leaving that front for the CS guys to score.So, the competition was more here and my anxiety was growing with every passing moment.Anyhow,when my turn came, I got up with a positive attitude and decided to give my best shot.

When I entered the room, I was met with a pleasant shock. My panel was the same as the previous interview. The professors identified me immediately and beamed at me. They asked me what will I choose between CTech and JTM. They told me that both the courses are almost the same in content and even most of the faculty members are common for both.The results of JTM were not out yet, so I replied that I would like to be interviewed for CTech also and then decide based on the outcome. They were quite generous to give me a chance and started their questions:

  • What is CSMA-CD and CSMA-CA? Which one is used in GSM?
  • What will the maximum and minimum packet size limit for a CSMA-CA network.Give formula along with proof.
  • What will the maximum length of an IP packet between any two points A and B in the network?
  • What are the different sorting algorithms ? Order of complexity of each.
  • Write a program for merge sort.
  • What is channel coding? Which layer is responsible for that? Justify.

They also asked me the questions which I was not able to answer in the previous interview. Obviously, they figured it out that I was quite lazy to search for the correct answer; that too in a single day and didn’t ask much about them. The interview was good ; but I was skeptical that they would select the same candidate for two courses. I was happily proved wrong when they declared the result 🙂

Control & Automation ( 17th May ):

Well, frankly speaking I went to this interview only to kill my spare time. My flight was in the evening and I had no work to do in the hostel.I was not interested in this course; and so was quite chilled out before the interview.I didn’t even care to do the formality of touching my friend’s book the pages of which she was turning hurriedly.There were four persons in my panel.One of them asked me why I left my job and what will I do if I failed to get admission in an IIT? To this I replied that I am positive that I will do. He was impressed by my determination and started asking questions:

  • What is a homogeneous equation? Questions related to eigen values and eigen vectors.
  • Definition of an LTI system.Give mathematical equations along with examples.How is principle of homogeneity mentioned in my definition related to the homogeneous equation AX=0?
  • Can an LTI system be unstable? If yes , how. If no, how?
  • Draw pole zero plot of lead compensator. what is the difference between lead compensator and PD controller?

The interview was obviously not good, but to my surprise I was placed in the waiting list for admission. 😉

Pros:

  • IIT Delhi is the best for placements along with IIT Bombay.
  • It is the chillest IIT in the sense that professors are quite cool and there is not much load ( compared to iitk,b,m ). So, you can enjoy your two years of college fully.
  • For those of you who are aiming for IAS, IES, PSU’s IITD is just the right place for you. Just outside the IIT gate you will find ample coaching institutes for all types of exams and we all know that Delhi is the best place for preparation of Civils and PSU entrance( Note: I highly discourage leaving an MTech program midway to join in somewhere else which leads to wastage of seats in IIT’s)
  • The research work in some courses of IITD is one of the best in India ( e.g. computer vision , image processing, robotics ).So, for people who want to do PhD in these areas you will get lot of resources and good references. Also, VDTT program conducted by IITD is recognized as one of the best in its kind where you get the chance of getting specialized training by the industry people and sponsorship as well.
  • Location of IIT Delhi offers a huge advantage with all historic places, airport,markets and other places to roam around and eat within few radius of the campus 🙂

Cons:

  • The hostels of IIT Delhi ( talking of the girl’s hostel ) are not so good ( compared to iitk,kgp,b).You will have to share room with two other people ; which might be troublesome if you are not used to living like that.
  • The food in the mess of the girls hostel was not good(everyone seconded this opinion ). Though you always have the option of eating in canteens and having yummy mango shakes 🙂
  • IITD pays more weightage to GATE score for shortlisting candidates for admission.This is what I heard and also observed myself.This doesn’t mean that if your GATE score is less you won’t be selected. It just means that you have to be very good in your interview.People with high GATE score, even if you fail to give your best performance you might still expect an admission call.

Phew!! This was a long post. Hope it helped you in some way.Coming next are my experiences at IIT Bombay and BARC. Till then good luck and have a nice day.Keep visiting 🙂 🙂

 

IIT Kanpur Interview Experience

Soon after returning from IISc (those of you who have missed it can read the experience here), the list of shortlisted candidates for IIT Kanpur MTech interview was put up on the website. I had applied in three specializations at IIT Kanpur : 1) Microelectronics, VLSI & Display Technologies 2) Signal Processing & Communication 3) RF & Microwave in the same order of preference, but my name was appearing in only one list ( VLSI ) though my GATE score was above the cutoff in other two specializations as well. This outcome puzzled me and then I came to know the hard truth which was not revealed to me either by IIT Kanpur or anyone else while applying. At IIT Kanpur, they will shortlist you only for one specialization based on your order of preference and will interview you only in that specialization. You can’t even appear for the interview of other specializations even if your score is higher than its cutoff. So, friends be very careful while applying. Give preferences based both on your interests and the areas which you are strong in so that you can display your worth in the interviews.

I had stayed in IIT Kanpur for two months as part of my summer project after BE 2nd year. So, I was very much aware of the campus and the locations of each department. They had marked two days for the interview (6th – 7th May) which seemed justified when I entered a huge hall packed with students on 6th at 7 am. They had called around 350 students for interview of just one specialization ( VLSI )!! After 2-3 hours of confusion among the co-ordinators and growing impatience of the students, interviews were finally started. We were dispatched from the lecture hall in groups of 10 students to reach the Electrical Engg. Dept where interviews were being held. I learnt from the co-ordinators that there were 3 interview panels for VLSI each consisting of 2-3 professors.There was no fixed sequence of sending students inside. Everyone in the room had to catch a train at night and so order was changed based on their convenience ( Many people creating fake flights and trains). My name was 3rd in the list but thanks to our urgency friends, I was dropped down to 18th spot. In store for me were, yes you guessed it right a decade of waiting hours 😦  To add to my irritation, proffs. were conducting a single interview for 50-55 mins..Being tired both mentally and physically, finally my chance came at 7pm.

Interview:

There were two professors in my Panel. As soon as I entered the room they handled me a chalk and sent me to the blackboard adding to my anxiety. The questions which they asked were as follows:

  • Draw the drain current vs gate-to-source voltage curve for nMOS.
  • Write the equation for drain current ( asked what each parameter is in the equation)
  • What is mobility? Draw its graph showing its variation with temperature. Why does it show such a dependence. Explain.
  • Draw the circuit of a CMOS inverter. Justify the connections (i.e, why nmos substrate is connected to ground,etc.)
  • Draw Voltage Transfer Curve ( VTC ) of CMOS. How will the VTC change if pmos is replaced with a resistance.
  • What is switching threshold voltage? Derive an expression for it. How does it depend on W/L ratio?
  • Draw the VTC if W/L ratio of pmos is increased/decreased.

The interview lasted for about 45 mins. I answered 85% of the questions and they were satisfied with my explanations. Some of the questions were not of undergraduate level and they themselves said that they were not expecting me to answer them. Learning from my earlier mistake, I had studied some analog and devices portion before reaching Kanpur. At the end of the interview, I was quite happy with my performance (especially compared to previous one) and was relieved that now I can go home. I heard that all the interviews after me ( that day and the next day) were just 10-15 mins long ; so luck also favoured me in a way here. The results were out quite late ( May End) and I was selected with 36 other people 🙂 ( Note: The intake at VLSI at iitk is roughly 12-13 ; but since they release only one list, they have to keep margin and thus make offer to more candidates).

Pros:

  • IIT Kanpur is known for its academics and is also quite reputed for being a good research institute (some say it is the 2nd best after IISc in research).
  • IITk mess offers the best food you can have in any of the IIT’s and IISc. The quality and the variety of food is pretty good. The act of hot rotis being served as soon as you finish the one on your plate and drinking water being changed periodically to ensure that it remains cold happens only in Kanpur J
  •  The campus is beautiful and very well maintained (as soon as a leaf falls on the road, it is swept off immediately ); good hostels with 24 hours functioning canteens; amazing playgrounds for almost all sports and dancing peacocks provide irresistible attractions 🙂
  • One thing which I liked very much and which I would like to mention is the attitude of the mess staff and security guards. They take care of you as a child and are always ready to help in a sincere and polite way.

Cons:

  • Apparently, the best specialization for EC at IITk is not Microelectronics & VLSI , its Signal Processing & Communication (I came to know about this later and this was one of the mistakes which I made while applying which was cited in my introduction post). It is good both for research and placements. Surprisingly, the cut-off for Spcom was much lower than VLSI and its intake was also huge (70).
  • The academic system at iitk is quite stringent in the sense that you get only even grades (after 10 comes 8 then 6 ;which means there are no 9’s and 7’s). This affects your CGPA and can be a concerning factor if you are applying for PhD abroad.
  • According to the current batch students studying VLSI there, the faculty members in this course are very less and 90% of the research going on is in the field of Devices (which sadly doesn’t have much scope in India till now; but has wide opportunities abroad).To add to the grievances, were the below average placements in VLSI this year (This doesn’t mean that placements are always like this)

My next post will be covering my interview experiences at IIT Delhi. Thanks for reading and keep visiting 🙂

IISc CEDT(DESE) written test and interview Experience

Hi everyone, This post is a continuation of my Introduction post where I mentioned some preparation techniques and do’s and don’t required before and after GATE. Those of you who missed it,can read it here.In this post, I will share my experiences at IISc,Bangalore. IISc was the first to make a written test/interview offer to me which came as a pleasant surprise as I had no hopes of being shortlisted for the written test. I had heard that they call only top 100 students but luckily the cutoff for general category was 850,so I made through.Around 600 people from four streams( EC,CS,IN,EE) were called for the written test which was scheduled on 21st April, 2014. CEDT(now DESE) was the only course (among the ones I applied) which conducts written test/interview for selection of candidates. All other courses offering ME take admission directly based on GATE score; which meant there was no hope for me( As heard later, admissions were closed up to AIR 50 for General Category 😦 ).Before reaching Bangalore, I had done some homework in gathering some feedback about IISc ; most of which had a negative impact on me.It was suited only for research, there was not much emphasis on placements ( some IISc alumini on Quora even said that there was no T&P Cell ), there was no culture for fests and the interaction among students/faculty was very weak, professors tend to pressurize the students to do PhD,etc.With all these preoccupations in mind, I reached the campus on 21st morning 7 am.The written exam was scheduled to start from 9 am. I had my breakfast in the Institute canteen ( cheapest Idli I had so far in my life 🙂 ) and took a seat in the hall which was the venue for the written test.

Written Test:

The test was of 90 mins duration consisting of 1 mark, 2 marks and 3 marks questions.One mark questions were fill in the blank or one word type questions and the rest were mostly numericals with some questions which required us to draw plots and diagrams.I don’t remember the questions exactly ; but the few I do are presented below:

  1. Draw top view,front view & side view of a cup lying on a table.
  2. A question to calculate force acting on the center of a wheel with spikes.
  3. A C Program to convert 8 bit data to 16 bit using a microcontroller.
  4. Some questions based on Nyquist Sampling and Shannon coding.
  5. Design a constant current circuit using BJT.
  6. Question on calculation of offset voltage of OPAMP given its variation with temperature.
  7. Simple question on CE Amplifier gain calculation.
  8. Some very simple questions on digital circuit design and microprocessors.

My paper was not as bad as I had expected it to be.The results came out in the evening of the same day and guess what I was one of the 150 candidates shortlisted for the interviews !!This was a huge shock for me and I was happy that atleast I will tell my parents that I faced the interview :). Each candidate was allotted a panel and given a slot of 20 mins. My interview was the on 22nd April at 4 pm.

Interview:

I hardly got 4-5 hours to prepare for the interview which I utilized in going through my BE project reports. I had completely forgotten about them in my two years of job.I hadn’t touched a single page of my GATE material or any book and so I was quite nervous to face the interviewers.I heard from my seniors that the interviewers were asking three subjects which we would like to be interviewed in.Clearly,they were all experts in Analog and I was not so confident in it, so I decided to say Communication,Digital and Microprocessor as my subjects. There were three professors in my panel. As soon as I entered one of them shouted to one of the office boys to bring him a cup of tea.They asked about my GATE score,my subjects and a little about my job. The questions were:

  • An OPAMP integrator was given with square wave as input ranging from 0-5 V , asked to draw the output.
  • Input changed to -5V to +5V with the same circuit, output was asked.Later he went deeper into saturation which confused me further on output voltage level values.
  • A circuit with combinational and sequential elements with setup time,hold time,propagation delay of each element given. A input wave was given,asked to plot the output wave.
  • Design of a simple Mod-6 synchronous and asynchronous counter using D and JK F/F.
  • Role of cache.

Quite unexpected,the first question was from OPAMP (analog).Within my mind I thought,”Why did you ask me my three subjects when you had to ask from your’s?”. Anyhow I answered this question correctly but with little confidence ( result of not being in practice after GATE) .The professor saw this and took advantage of my situation to prey a little more on me.He popped up the 2nd question and went to the extreme depths  which was sufficient to confuse me. This professor then left; both annoyed by my answers and not receiving his tea till now. This made me more nervous and I knew this was my end. The other proff. then asked me 3-4 questions on digital which I thought was more of an attempt to boost my confidence rather than judging me for selection.Results were out in about 15 days and clearly I was not selected ( about 26 were selected).

About CEDT: CEDT ( now DESE ) stands for Center for Electronics Design & Technology.Contrary to my notions, after my interaction with the students at IISc who were in this program and others, I came to know how good an opportunity I missed by not taking this interview seriously.For all those who are interested in Electronics Systems Design,this is one of the best courses in the country both from research and placement point of view.You will get an opportunity to learn a lot by doing stuff practically and from one of the best faculty in this field. Among all other ME branches of IISc; this one has the best placement record and MTech passouts from this course have huge demand in the industry.

Pros:

  • If you want to do research, IISc is heaven for you.The peaceful campus, brilliant faculty, excellent labs provide just the right stimulants for your work.
  • For those who are interested in doing PhD from abroad,you will get excellent references as the professors are reputed internationally.
  • The companies coming for placements on-campus are coming only for you ( i.e, there are no BTech students to compete with you).This gives you ample opportunities. Even if you are not placed on-campus, being in Bangalore you can get an off-campus job easily ( especially if you are in CEDT).
  • Hostel rooms are good and food is also convenient.

Cons:

  • There is no internet facility in the rooms 😦 This was a major upset for me as I can’t stay in the lab all day and night and internet is the basic necessity.
  • If you love interacting with people,taking part in fests,participating in extra curricular activities then this is not the best place for you.
  • I found the communication skills of the students and professors a little weak.( This is hardly a con ; more of my observation).
  • You will miss the fun of being an IIT student 🙂

P.S. The observations and views expressed above are solely mine ( OK some of them are borrowed 😛 ).I will be mentioning questions and views related to my field only ( EC) ; though students of other branches are also encouraged to read in order to get a general idea about the interviews and institutes.

You can have a look at the below links for more interview experiences of IISc CEDT:

http://shuva709.blogspot.in/

http://mobileelectron.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/iisc-interview-experience-2012/

http://abhitak.wordpress.com/2009/04/25/iisc-cedt-written-test-interview/

I enjoyed my stay in Bangalore a lot. Thanks to my old friends and some new friends made in the process :).In the next post, I will be discussing about my IIT Kanpur interview.I will be happy to hear from you and clear your doubts as much as possible 🙂