GATE Topper 2014 (Chemical Engineering) Sandeep Kumar shares his success story

Sandeep Kumar, GATE Topper 2014 (1st rank) in an interview with shares his success story.  He gives credit to his parents, God and friends

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Q.1) How do you feel after getting success in GATE exam 2014.

It feels great to have secured the first rank in Gate 2014. To know that I have been able to make my parents, professors, friends and acquaintances proud by my achievement gives me great satisfaction. I have been lucky to be blessed with their support and wishes and above all The Lord’s grace.

Q.2) Please tell me about your educational background and schooling.

I have done my 10th from DAV High School, Gopalganj, Bihar. I secured 3rd rank in my district in 10th Board. I did my 12th from Central Hindu Boys School Varanasi. I am currently pursuing a dual degree course with B.Tech in Chemical Engineering and M.Tech in Hydrocarbon Engg from IIT Roorkee. Here I have topped my branch for the last 4 semesters.

Q.3) When did you plan to prepare for GATE exam and why?

I started thinking about appearing for GATE when I was in 3rd year. At that time I just tried to develop an overview of the different subjects and tried to determine those topics which were more important from GATE point of view and studied them in more detail. I would identify topics which were not being covered in the class and study them on my own during vacations.

GATE extensively covers the most important topics of Chemical Engineering. I felt that preparing for GATE would make my fundamentals better and help me in becoming a good engineer. Besides, the PSUs also have been recruiting on the basis of GATE score and it also gives an opportunity to those interested higher studies to get into the prestigious institutes of India and some foreign institutes like NUS, Singapore.

Q.4) Please elaborate a little about the exam process, its nature and the right strategy to crack it.

GATE exam is online and the questions asked are objective type. There are two types of questions: multiple choice and numerical answer type. There are 3 sections.

1) Chemical Engineering(70%)

2) Aptitude (15%)

3) Engineering Mathematics (15%)

The aptitude problems are based on basic math and English skills and are very easy. They do not require much preparation. The course for the Mathematics portion is vast but the questions asked are relatively easy.  It would be better to cover all the topics as it is high scoring portion. Most questions are short and based on direct application of formulae. The most important part is chemical engineering. This section is comparatively difficult and requires sincere effort.

My strategy was to first concentrate on developing concepts rather than going for solving numerical straightaway. I never tried to mug up the formulae. If any concept was not clear, I used different sources till that concept become very clear to me. I found that making notes is very useful; it helps in sorting out the important formulae and concepts. It increases concentration and clarity in study since in notes making process you have to think what to include in the note and what not. It is also useful for quick revision before tests as the syllabus is vast and revising from books is not convenient.

I tried to cover all the topics. Selective study is not useful for GATE, since you cannot predict which topic may have a substantial number of questions in the paper. In the last 2 months I solved previous years question papers of GATE as it gives an understanding of the question pattern and covers all important concepts asked in GATE examination. I kept the last week before the exam for revising the formulae and the basic concepts.

Q.5) How much time one should give for the preparation of GATE exam?

If one has studied seriously in his B.Tech course then I think 2 month is sufficient for GATE preparation, but if someone has not built basic concepts during college then 6 months of devoted preparation will be sufficient for cracking GATE.

Q.6) Who is your role model? Please tell me about your hobbies and interests.

My role models are Swami Ramsukhdasji and Swami Sharnanandji. Their discourses encourage me to focus on my duties and carry them out sincerely. My hobbies and interests are to read spiritual books, mainly Gita Press and Manav seva sangh’s books.

Q.7) Is it necessary to join a coaching institute or is self-study enough?

No, I did not join any coaching institute. Self study is sufficient. If someone wishes they can join a test series. It would increase speed and accuracy, but for Chemical Engineering it is very difficult to find any quality test series.

Q.8) What are some useful study material/ reference books for GATE?

I used text books and Video lectures to build up concepts. For most of the subjects I used more than one book. Since one book does not covers all topics of that subject. So it is necessary to go through more than one book. My strategy was to take one book as the main book and the topics which were not covered in that book were supplemented by other books. I am giving details of all books and video lectures below.

  • Process Calculations -Himmelblau and GATE subjective questions of 1990-2000.
  • Thermodynamics- K.V.Narayanan (supplemented byNPTEL Prof S.K.Som IIT Kharagpur; selected lecture which is in the syllabus of chemical Engg).(Though in my opinion “Smith J.M., Van Ness H.C. and Abbott M.M.,” is a better book for Thermodynamics.)
  • Fluid mechanics- NPTEL Dr. V. Shankar IIT Kanpur(supplemented by Cengel, Cimbala and Fox, McDonald's )
  • Mechanical Operation-Mccabe, Smith and Harriott (supplemented by Narayanan C.M. and Bhattacharya B.C )
  • Heat transfer- Binay.K.Dutta
  • Mass transfer- Geankoplis, NPTELProf. Nishith Verma IIT Kanpur (supplemented by Treybal)
  • Transport phenomena-NPTEL Prof V.Kumarnan IISC Bangalore (first 9 lecture is most important)
  • Chemical Reaction Engg- Fogler and Octave Levenspiel (Both books are necessary as some portions are given in Levenspiel while other portions are available in Fogler) , RTD theory and Catalysis fromNPTEL Prof. Jayant M Modak IISc Bangalore.
  • Process dynamics and control-Coughanowr and LeBlanc (supplemented by Stephanopoulos and Seborg, Edgar)
  • Plant design and Economics-  Peters M. S. and Timmerhaus K. D.,
  • Chemical Technology- Dryden’s Outlines of Chemical Technology and many other books to cover the syllabus
  • Mathematics-B.S. Grewal (supplemented by Denis Auroux MIT video lecture on Multivariable calculus)

For practice I solved previous year’s papers. I think if anyone has solved previous 12-15 years papers with in-depth understanding of all concepts then he will be certainly able to crack GATE with very good rank. But the problem is there is no book available in market which gives authentic solution. There are a lot of mistakes in the solutions and the students tend to get confused. Most of aspirants waste time in searching for correct solutions. To eliminate this problem I am writing a book where I am trying to give authentic solution of each and every question from the previous years. I will also try to provide reference book for each question.

Q.9) What do you think about  How useful are the Information and updates on this site?

I think is very useful for college students and all those who are looking for jobs or aspirants in various entrance exams. It gives the latest updates about the different entrance exams, Government jobs advertisement etc. I especially like to read the current affairs section.

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