The Unnecessary Fear
I have had a good experience of interacting with a lot of GATE aspirants. Well more important than that, I myself have experienced a lot about GATE Biotech (BT), being an aspirant once. And, very frankly (I’m sure, each of you will agree to this), what I once felt, and what I have always observed is that, “ There remains a distinct aggravated fear of the GATE exam in the mind of the students. I won’t say that I was without the fear of GATE when I appeared for it, I also had the same fear which each one of you probably experience today, but what I want to convey here is that, “The fear of GATE exam is absolutely unnecessary.”
Let me share 2 unrealized facts about GATE BT with you which might shun your fears:
a. Your Competitors are as Common and GATE fearing as you
GATE is specially meant for Non-IITians (though a few IITians appear for it too). Aim of every GATE aspirant is to get into an IIT/IISc/NIT for a standard Masters/PhD degree. The aspirants are thus mostly the B.Tech or MSc students from the private/govt institutes/universities of India. Each of the aspirant is highly anxious about his career, had a below par educational exposure (if we compare with the top notch institutes of the country), and the only aim is to get going with the career in Biotech. So, if we compare with the wide variety of the students during admission for B.Tech (exams like AIEEE, IIT-JEE), the spectrum of the students appearing for GATE exam falls more or less into the same band, in terms of their technical and knowledge skills. So, what’s the entire point of discussion here? The point is, please don’t fear the exam, you are going to compete against an equally talented, equally ignorant and equally fearing pool of students who just like you, want to clear GATE exam. But keep a note of one fact,”Only those of you are going to make it, who will be entering the examination room without the fear of this exam.” Fear makes you do all those things, which you never want to do!
b. Number of competitors for GATE Biotech are just “Too Few”
Do you know, how many aspirants appeared for GATE Computer Science in 2010? It was 1,07,086. Number of aspirants for GATE Electronics? It was 1,04,291. Number of aspirants for GATE Electrical Engineering? It was 52,246. And do you know the number of aspirants for GATE Biotechnology in 2010? It was just 11,276! Do I need to say anything else?
The level of competition is well below your anticipated levels of fear, both in terms of the quality and quantity. Once you realize this, your mind would spare some energy for actively thinking about succeeding, rather than actively fearing of the loss.
GATE BT questions greatly depend upon GATE organizer
Every year, a different IIT organizes GATE. My experience says (and believe me I rather know 😉 ) that the kinds of questions you are going to get in the paper, greatly depend upon the research and teaching profile of the faculty in the IIT. So, my tip is, the first thing you should do before starting your preparations is, “make a list of the subjects taught by the faculty in the organizing IIT, and make a note of their research projects”. And make sure that you thoroughly cover all the topics related to their “subjects” and “research”. I’m sure this will help you a lot!
The GATE Redundancy
What I mean here is that the questions often repeat in different sequels of GATE. For e.g: In GATE BT 2011, there were 6 such questions which were asked in the previous years (in Biotech section of GATE XL, before 2010). Mostly, the numericals are repeated with change of parameters. So, my word of advice is, ”Do not ignore previous year papers”.
GATE cut-off has hardly crossed 42 marks since it’s inception (in 2010 it was 35 marks only, in 2011 it was 42!). The total marks for the exam are 100. An aspirant who gets more than 55 marks grabs more than 95 percentile! Anyone above 95 percentile can get a call from an IIT for a masters in Biotechnology. There are 65 questions in GATE BT, out of which 30 questions carry 1 mark each (and are the simplest ones too). If you attempt even 15 out of 30 as correct, you’ll have 15 marks in your kit. Out of the remaining 35 questions, even if you don’t attempt 20 questions and attempt only 15 questions with precision, you will get 30 marks for that. This will make a total of 45 marks in your kit. Which means, you’ll qualify GATE well above the average cut-off (which is mostly 35-40 marks). And these 45 marks will fetch you above 92 percentile, which is good enough for many departments in many IITs (a fact about which many students are ignorant. You don’t need a super high percentile to get into an IIT).
So, by being most conservative, attempting only 30 questions out of 65, you can still crack GATE. Just imagine, how much you would do with a little preparation and smartness! GATE is really not at all a Ghost!
The Departmental Cut-offs:
“Even a 90 percentiler can Enter an IIT”
A really big myth is that only top 50-150 students grab a seat in IIT. It’s a big blunt myth! Even if you qualify GATE at the edge of the cut-off marks, still you can grab a seat in an IIT (even in IITB, IIT D , IIT R or IIT G). GATE BT score is not valid just for Biotech department of IITs. You can apply in different departments like Environmental sciences, Rural Development, Technology Alternatives, Atmosphere Sciences, Chemical Engineering etc with the same GATE BT score. And, most of these departments set a low cut-off across the disciplines to get an interdisciplinary student pool. But, sadly, most of the students are ignorant of these facts. I hope reading this article will help you people in making wise decisions post GATE.
For every other query, I’m always available on this platform. Feel free to share you concerns and queries.