Civil Engineering is one of the core branches of engineering. Every year the civil engineering branches see a considerable amount of GATE aspirants who puts their die hard efforts to crack GATE examination. The overwhelming results by the GATE participants are always a living example for the upcoming GATE aspirants.

GATE 2016 Topper Interview Jaikishan Damani (CE-AIR 18)
Jaikishan Damani AIR-18 (Civil Engineering)

Jaikishan Damani is also one of those bright participants who has shone in the GATE 2016 with flying colors. Jaikishan Damani is a graduate in civil engineering from MANIT, Bhopal, who thinks that smart work is need of the hour and focusing your goal until you achieve is the key to success.

Recently, Explore Civil had an interview session with Jaikishan Damani in which he shared some of his valuable experiences with our readers.  

First of all, a warm welcome and congratulation from the whole team of Explore Civil for the splendid performance in the GATE 2016.

Before moving ahead a very simple question to Jaikishan Damani.

What was the first reaction that came into your mind when you got to know that you ranked 18th in the GATE 2016?

Jaikishan Damani: As soon as I checked my result, I just mumbled to myself, “eighteen”. I was trying to swallow the fact that I had secured an All India Rank of 18.Though I expected a good rank, but watching “18” written in front of “All India Rank” was exceptional. Meanwhile, I carried the laptop in front of my family, and that was obviously a very exciting moment for all of them.

Explore Civil: Please let us know something about yourself and your academic career till now?

Jaikishan Damani: I have completed my B.Tech. in Civil Engineering from NIT Bhopal in 2015. Thereafter I did self study to target the examination.

Explore Civil:  What was your score in the GATE 2016 and did you ever appear for GATE before?

Jaikishan Damani: My score was 939/1000 in GATE 2016. I appeared for GATE 2015 in which I secured an AIR of 654.

Explore Civil:  What was the reason you appeared for GATE? Please elaborate.

Jaikishan Damani: I want to work with a PSU because a job at a PSU ensures you job security, a variety of domains to work in, decent package, etc. The scope and the versatility involve is unmatched.

Explore Civil:  When did you start your preparation for the GATE exams? And what level of preparation you had done for the exams?

Jaikishan Damani: I started preparing in July 2015. I analyzed previous year papers and identified the general trends in questions, which helped me recognize the scoring parts. I planned my studies accordingly. Many people do hard work, so smart work is need of the hour.

Explore Civil:  How did you schedule your daily routine during the early, mid and final days of GATE preparations? (Tell us about how many hours of studies and extra-curriculum activities)

Jaikishan Damani: I never followed any timetable as such. Early period was an intense one, and I studied the syllabus rigorously. Revision is very important for GATE. Increase the number of revisions to the maximum. As GATE approaches, make sure you appear for an ample number of mock tests that confirms the level of your preparations.

A daily study of 4-5 hours is sufficient for a preparation period of 8-9 months. Make sure you spend some time daily in doing something that you like, such as a hobby. Even if you like to listen to music, watch TV, etc. Make sure you reserve some time for that daily. For me, I listened to my favorite tracks on my headphones and watched movies. Once in a while, I spent time doing photography too.

Explore Civil:  How much you were dependent on the studies that were taught in the college?

Jaikishan Damani: College curriculum is actually pretty much in coherence with the syllabus for GATE. If you have strong concepts of the basic subjects, then GATE is not very difficult for you.

Explore Civil: Did you take any kind of special coaching for the preparation of GATE?

Jaikishan Damani: Yes, I studied at Made Easy Bhopal Centre. For freshers who are unaware of the pattern and trends of the exam, coaching provides a direction. Also, they provide the relevant study material for exams, which enhances the process of selective study.

Explore Civil: How was your experience with a virtual calculator? Do you think it is necessary that students should practice with it to get acquainted with its working?

Jaikishan Damani: Unlike the conventional scientific calculator, the virtual calculator is a very weak calculator. That is to say, it can’t perform complex calculations on the go. You have to fragment the calculations by yourself to feed into the calculator. Therefore, it is absolutely essential for any GATE aspirant to get acquainted with the online calculator, as it can be the factor that makes or breaks your GATE score.

Explore Civil: How important is to manage the time during an examination? How did you manage it? What tips would you like to give to our readers?

Jaikishan Damani: As soon as the exam begins, the clock starts ticking. With the amount of competition, every second is important.

To make sure that you attempt the paper without losing accuracy well within the stipulated time, attempting mock tests is necessary. Invest in one or two good test series and make sure that you do attempt a decent number of full-length tests. Also, make sure not to increase the number of silly mistakes while increasing your speed.

Explore Civil: A considerable amount of numerical questions were asked in the GATE 2016. How did you prepare for the numerical questions and how did you manage provided the time period was limited?

Jaikishan Damani: Numerical questions are tricky, you are usually never 100% confident about your answer. To increase your confidence, write the steps on a piece of paper. Verify the answer once on the spot. And most importantly, keep your basics strong. If you have a strong base, numerical type questions will certainly look a lot easier.

Explore Civil: What should be the approach of a student before attempting the GATE question paper? which section should be given the first preference and the sequence of preferences?

Jaikishan Damani: One should always attempt the section which (s) he feels (s) he is strong at. Personally speaking, I feel that the English and Aptitude section consumes comparatively lesser amount of time, and it’s quite scoring too. It’s a kind of which gives you a momentum of confidence that can help you go a long way in the technical section too.

Explore Civil: Which books did you follow during GATE preparation? Please reply in an elaborative way.

Jaikishan Damani: I did not follow books as such because to crack the exam you have to be very objective in the selection of the study matter. Study material of any good coaching is a better approach to prepare for any competitive exam.

Explore Civil: Apart from the books, what are the other sources that you took under consideration during the preparation? What do you think about the importance of the mock test paper and why?

Jaikishan Damani: Make sure you are thorough with the notes or other study material of a good coaching. Studying everything will give you knowledge, studying selectively for the exam will secure a good rank.

Regarding the mock tests, they are absolutely essential for any serious aspirant.  Solving a question at your home is a different thing. Solving it correctly under the pressure of the exam with the clock continuously running out of time is an altogether different thing. Mock tests help you get used to the pressure of the exam. Take them very seriously. They make you recognize your weak areas too. At the same time, they help you practice the online calculator.

Explore Civil: What are the tricks and tips you followed personally during the preparation of different subjects? How did you manage the curriculum of theory and numerical of subjects? Please share with our readers.

Jaikishan Damani: Identify the subjects that carry the maximum weightage. Analyze the previous 4-5 years papers for the recent trends. This will help you channelize your preparation. Start with the theory of the subject, and slowly move on to the numerical portion, while still revising the theory portion in the background.

Explore Civil: According to you where one should place his personal interests and hobbies during the preparation time? What level mental concentration is required and how did you manage it?

Jaikishan Damani: Make sure the preparation doesn’t snatch your hobbies away from you. Everyone has a hobby, make sure you practice it regularly, if not daily. Studying all the day will get you nowhere, as you will get bored easily and your retention power will drop substantially.

For improving concentration, the easiest and the most crucial step is switching off the data connection of your phone while you study. According to my personal experience messengers, social networks are the biggest distractions. If you can put your phone on silent mode, it is even better. You have all the time in the world to check the notifications once you are done with the day’s work.

Explore Civil: What is your future plan and where would you like to see yourself after 5 years?

Jaikishan Damani: I want to work at a PSU where I can actually employ my technical knowledge to get the work done.

Explore Civil: Any special experience that you want to share with our readers and personal advice for the future GATE aspirants?

Jaikishan Damani: Firstly acquaint yourself with the syllabus. Make sure you stay motivated all the while. Trust me, once you get on the right track, the path will surely look more beautiful than the destination itself. Stay focused, study selectively, and practice enough. All the best!

ExploreCivil: Thank you for being with us and wish you all the very best for your forthcoming future.

Jaikishan Damani: Thank you!!