My Examination Centre?
I was in the 7th semester of my B.Tech Biotechnology course at Lovely Professional University, Punjab when I filled the application form for GATE BT 2011 in October 2010. The exam was scheduled for February 13, 2011 (Sunday). No body knew that I was going to apply for GATE BT 2011 (no one actually expected me to do so). Even I wanted it to be a secret, so that I may appear for the exam without any pressure of proving my point to the spectators for the result. And believe me, the fact that I did appear for GATE BT 2011 had been a secret till I started writing for BiotechStudents.com. Not even my family knew that I had appeared for GATE 2011!
In order to keep it a secret affair, I chose New Delhi as a center for my GATE exam (it was far away from Punjab, where most of my class mates were expected to select centres for GATE BT).
The Night of 12th February 2011
Next morning, GATE BT 2011 was scheduled. I got over with my dinner by 8:30 pm. Before going for bed, I decided to discuss the problems of my Junior (Pranjul Mishra, who was also going to appear for GATE). We discussed a lot of problems from previous year question papers. We shared some extremely healthy discussion on a variety of topics (all from previous year question papers) in our 4 hours long Gtalk. I must let you people know the current status of Pranjul. He cleared his GATE BT 2011 and 2012 with over 95 percentile. And, right after completing his B.Tech from Lovely Professional University, he made it to National University of Singapore using his GATE score, for a direct PhD. We have a plan to post his experience here as well. Keep watching this space for updates, and we will very soon come up with Pranjul’s experience as well.
The Day of GATE BT 2011
Exactly one year ago, I was wandering in the streets of Jalandhar to find a conveyance on a chilling Sunday morning, that could drop me to my examination centre for GATE BT 2010; but as fate had set it up, on Feb 13, 2011, I was moving towards my examination centre for GATE BT 2011 using the extremely comfortable ride of Delhi Metro! I reached my destination (Karol Bagh), well in time; 30 minutes prior to the scheduled time for the exam. I occupied my seat, and started waiting for the alarm marking the commencement of the exam. Without much change in the entire scene of the examination hall (compared to my last year’s experience), I saw anxious faces and worried expressions. Students were moving to and fro like a pendulum reading various books to satiate their last minute preparations. Somehow, I’m amongst those pool of students, who believe that you should allow your mind to relax on the day of exam atleast. Take deep breathe and believe in your preparations that you have had been through in the entire year(s) before the “D Day of the Exam”. By scrolling through the books in the last minute, one tends to make his/her mind feel anxious by inducing the subconscious thought of lack of preparation. This, in my opinion, should be avoided.
The bell rang, we got the sealed question papers with the answering OCR sheet. Using my tested strategy of following my instant answering capability, I started answering the 1 mark questions. Within 15 minutes, I had gone through first 25 questions carrying 1 mark each, and had answered 18 out of 25 (this was a nice start!). Then I went on to attempt the 1 mark questions of aptitude section, and answered 4 of them, making my tally to 22 questions out of 30. All this was accomplished in 1st 25 minutes!
Leaving the Common Data Questions and Linked Questions aside for last phase of my attempts, I started with all 2 marks questions. It was while attempting the 2 marks questions that I observed around 5 questions being similar to what I had gone through in previous year papers. It took me around 40 minutes to go through the 2 marks questions, including the aptitude part (excluding the common data and linked questions). I could attempt 18 out of 27 questions. With about 2 hours in hand, I started attempting the 4 common data and linked questions (containing a total of 8 two marks questions). Thanks to my good preparations and exposure to Bioprocess Engineering, I was able to attempt all the 4 common data and linked questions. It took me around 40 minutes to solve these 4 common data and linked questions.
I had over 1 hour in hand to review my attempts and add some more questions to the solved tally (which was 48 as of then). The 7 questions I had left un-attempted in 1 mark question category were those which I had no idea about, so I decided to let them untouched. With some extra thought, I attempted the only 1 mark question I had left in the aptitude section. This took my tally of attempted questions to 49 (out of total 65). Now I shifted the focus to 2 marks questions (I had left 9 questions unattempted out of doubts). With some extra effort through option elimination I took the risk over 4 more questions. My total attempts were really good by now: 53 out of 65. I was quite content with it. I still had 15 minutes in hand. I utilized this time to ascertain that none of my attempts were wrongly marked. As the bell rang, I happily handed over my answer sheet and came out with relief.
My Over-Expectations and The Real Result
I had attempted 53 questions, equal to 83 marks! I was expecting a very good rank (probably top 10!). But when I cross checked my attempts through thorough study of every question at home, I realized that quite a few of my 2 marks attempts went wrong, especially those 4 which I risked in the end. The same was reflected in my result as well:
Marks Obtained: 62 out of 100 (around 20 less than the expected marks).
All India Rank: 143
But this result was good enough to instil the confidence that my achievement in 2010 wasn’t by chance. I was still in the league of genuine competition for a Masters in IITs. Without pondering much over what I could have achieved, had I attempted the paper bit more wisely, I started focussing on applying at various IITs (after all I had waited for one long year to become eligible for applying at IITs as I was in 3rd year while I first cleared GATE BT). And from there started another journey of competition for me….(Keep watching the My Story space for further details).
Topics to follow:
1. My application experience at various IITs
2. My Interview Experience at IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur and IIT Delhi
3. Masters at IIT Delhi
and much more..