How it all started ??
I am a student of Biotechnology Department NSIT, Delhi. I landed in Biotechnology accidentally, all credit to my not so good preparations for IIT-JEE and AIEEE ( JEE MAINS now). The next problem was I didn't study Biology in my senior secondary schooling. This added to my worries because I wasn't able to generate interest in Biotech.Whenever, I used to see my colleagues from COE/ IT department always enjoying it used to kill me from inside. I always started to curse myself for being in Biotech. There was always doubts in my mind like " What I will do in future??", "What are the opportunities in Biotech??" etc etc. I must have googled questions like these more than 1000 times. And I never got a satisfactory answer probably because internet is filled with negative responses for Indian Biotech students like us. Poor grades followed in academics and this story continued till sixth semester. From seventh semester placements were to begin and as we all are aware that core placements in Biotech are very rare at B.Tech level. So we all started preparing for coding and Non Tech jobs. This was the best opportunity for me to get out of Biotech because placement is almost assured in NSIT, Delhi. But something happened and changed me, probably the internship in CSIR-IGIB, Delhi. I stopped my job preparations and started thinking about a career in Biotechnology.
What will be the next step ??
Starting to plan a career with only two semesters left of engineering is both crazy and dangerous task. My friends thought that I have gone mad. But parents came to rescue and they provided the much needed support. I already knew about Sunil Nagpal Sir because of my googling habits. So, I found out his blog again and then went through his story again and in detail this time. Time was running out for applying forign universities as they demand GRE and IELTS/TOEFL and neither I had the percentage ( mid 60s). So, I decided to focus on GATE and to improve my percentage.
Starting GATE preparation !!
Following the advices from Sunil sir's story and with my past year experience of helping my friend, I quickly finished the portions in which I was good at. Its always advisable to finish the sections in which you have a stronghold as it not only ensures that you don't miss out these topics in the end plus it gives you more time for the sections in which you are weak. As discussed above I hardly was thorough with core subjects like Mol Bio, Biochem, Immuno etc. I searched for lot of books but time was limited so "YOUTUBE" came to rescue. I was able to grasp the topics with the help of youtube because it provided me with the clips that helped me in imagining and memorizing things. I studied books along with youtube as textual knowledge makes the knowledge complete, youtube helped in increasing my grasping speed. I would like to point that every individual has different way of studying and should practice that only because it suits them and one can always try new things in addition to that. I solved many model test papers of gate and previous year exams from 1998 to 2016. From 1998-2009, there used to be a biotech section in life sciences gate exam. This helped me in gaining speed and accuracy plus in developing new tips and tricks . So practicing question papers and simulating exam type environment is a must in preparations. This will help you during exam time a lot. Plus one needs to be consistent, a consistent effort will ultimately bring you success.
THE EXAM DAY !!
After all the hard work, came the exam day. My first impressions was that exam is very tough and nervousness was getting into me but there comes the experience of solving mock question papers handy. I kept telling myself that I will get my scoring options. I was not very sound in theoretical subjects and there were too many questions from them and I kept skipping them as negative marking will be the last thing I wanted
. Luckily I found numericals and I solved almost all of them. I finished with 30 questions out of 65 plus I attempted the non negative questions as well, and I didn't want to take any risk so I submitted my paper after rechecking it. I was lured to take risks but I was determined not to take any as negative marking can have detrimental effects on score and rank. So, its always advisable to trust your preparation and knowledge rather than trying luck. Sunil sir has clearly mentioned how to approach gate question paper. By following that one can easily get the required marks plus minimizing the risk. One does not have to answer all the questions
Period between exam day and results !!
I was very anxious, I knew that I will be a borderline case. I searched for the answers for the question paper but hardly got any
. The level of anxiousness kept increasing as I had skipped placements and all of my friend were now placed in good companies with good packages. I was the only one left in class who hasn't got anything. My mind was clouded with things like "What if I don't get a good rank??", and once again I was not finding any answers. Only one thing I could do was wait
and wait more
. But the days were passing very slowly in fact crawling at snails pace. I then decided to go out with friends and enjoy. I also engaged myself in college activities. I also learnt the most important lesson in my life in this period : " The main thing that stands in front of success is how you take you take your failures
". If you try to learn from failures and determined t be successful no one can stop you from being successful. So, be strong in this peropd and engage yourself in other productive activities.
Challenging a gate question that ultimately resulted in gain of 2.67 marks !!
When the official answers were released by the IISc Bangalore (Gate 2016). I had a doubt in the answer of a question. Although rechecking and reevaluation is a gimmick that is what is feeded in our minds. But looking at the importance of the marks, I opted for challenging the answer after consulting my faculty of college. And after 15 days I got rewarded for that and guess what it turned out to be the game changer for me. So, one should never leave out on opportunities. If one sees any opportunity, just grab it by both hands as you never know that it might turn out to be the life savior.
The Result Day !!
The result was supposed to be declared on 19th March, 2016 but it got declared a day earlier. And after waiting for 5 hours on the official site I was finally able to get a glimpse of my result. I had secured an AIR of 137
and gate score of 602.
I was very happy as now I could at least get a chance to sit for interviews in almost all IITs. But I was very afraid that I will miss out IIT Bombay because of low gate score. I talked to Sunil Sir and he advised me to apply in all IITs and pray to god that IITB becomes linient with cutoffs this year. I did the same and applied in all IITs. The most important thing he told me that once you get a call from any IIT, gate score becomes irrelevant. These words boosted my confidence a lot.
IISc M.tech. in Computational Science Experience !!
I got a call from IISc Bangalore from CDS department for M.Tech. Since I am good in Computational Sciences, I had applied in this branch. On 18th April, I had to report there for MCQ test followed by interview if selected. I reached Bangalore on 17th and then on 18th I reported at the campus. I have only heard that IISc is one of the most difficult institutes to cope up for students (Although this statement might be wrong). I got a glimpse of it as our screening MCQ test was replaced by written subjective test. "Surprise Surprise Surprise" were the words quoted by the examiner there. All the 200 students there were awestruck
by this. Then we all moved to the exam halls waiting for the question papers then other surprise came about the time limit which was 30 minutes. After that papers were distributed in which blank sheets were attached for the rough work and answers. We had to solve five questions out of seven in 30 minutes. Six questions were from maths and one was from computer science. I was able to solve five questions thanks to IIT-JEE preparations and good computer programming skills. After that results were declared in three hours or so. Out of 200 only 40 odd could make it to the interview round of which I was also the part.
My interview was scheduled on the next day afternoon slot. This was going to be my first interview of my life so I prepared hard all night. I prepared notes about what I will tell them and prepared short key points about my projects and internships so that I don't forget them during the interview. Overall I prepared hard and then went to give the interview. The place where I was staying is just 15 kilometers or so far away from IISc Bangalore but on that very day it took me more than 3 hours to reach IISc ( Friends always prefer hostels inside the campus for staying because you never know you might get stuck in traffic like me ) . I reached late but thankfully my name was still not called. I tried to interact with the students to get an idea of what was going inside. Everyone was coming out with sad faces and told me that they are grilling the students inside. I inquired about the topics and they told me that they were asking maths and computer science and since you are from biotechnology they might ask you biotech related questions. I had to wait for two more hours for my turn and finally when it came I got a bit nervous. After entering the room the first thing I did was counter the number of profs , they were 8 of them. They asked me my name and my college and university and my percentage. They asked me about why you want to join CDS department? And then they asked me a programming question to check my programming skills in which I fared well. This was followed by another programming question in which I got stuck. Then they started asking me math questions in which I knew some and rest were bouncers to me. Then they asked me to draw a graph of a function which I drew. Then they started putting more conditions in the equations and in the end they made it so tough that it was beyond my scope to solve that at that point of time. Then they started asking structural Biology questions in which I completely went blank. So I was completely grilled in my very first interview experience which went up
to 45 minutes. I was disappointed as I missed out on a good chance but still I had many chances awaiting. The result was declared on same day on the department 's website around 10:00 Pm. As expected my name wasn't there. I was sad then something happened that filled me with joy.
IIT Bombay's M.Tech. in Biomedical Experience !!
After being rejected by the IISc, the very same day I got unexpected call from IITB Biomedical from BSBE department. It was very surprising as last year the cutoff score for receiving a call was around 625 and I had only 602 score. So, I was very fortunate to get a call this year. This boosted confidence inside me. Sunil Sir's experience plus my friends past year interview experience helped me a lot. I was already aware of the process there but still I had to clear the tests and interview to get an admission. Since Life Sciences and Biotech/Biomedical graduates are asked to give both Maths and Biology test so we have to prepare for both of the streams. Maths always has been my stronghold so it was easy for me but still one needs to go through all the formulas of class XI and XII NCERT level and for biology one needs to memorize physiology section present in class XI NCERT Biology text book. I had booked hostel online for stay in IIT Bombay campus this time. I reached the campus one day before the screening exam ( MCQ test). I revised for the test specially biology part and since we are engineers we have a very good habit of studying one day prior to the exam. I memorized the biology part somehow and I was ready to give the test.
On the test day, the students were separated according to their twelfth subjects and graduation courses. Those who were from medical background were tested for mathematical skills and engineering students were tested for proficiency in biology and those from biomedical/biotech/life sciences were tested for both . The test began around 9:30 in the morning. It was a 45 minute test in which there were 45 questions. 30 questions were from biology ( one mark each ) and 15 questions were from maths (2 marks each). Biology questions were very easy and straight forward. There were some basic biotech questions also present in the biology section. In maths section questions were of different types. Few questions were from computer programming, few were logical reasoning based and others were formula based. Overall this section was easy but tricky. Plus there was one third negative marking as well. So, one should again be very careful while attempting the questions. Also there is individual cutoff system in this test. The student has to qualify in both these sections individually in order to secure a spot in the next round i.e. interview round. Since biology questions are easy one can finish them quickly and can use that time for solving the maths questions. The result is declared in the evening on the same day. I was bit anxious but I qualified for the interview round ( 60 qualified out of 400 students).
Need of Backup !!
Now it was all about the interview, so I wanted to relax myself so I watched IPL match in the mess of IITB at Hostel 16 (Delhi vs Sunrisers Hyderabad) May 12, 2016. Last time in IIsc I had stressed up myself a lot, so this time I didn't want to repeat the same mistake. So after watching the match (Delhi won that) I went to my room and calmed myself up. I closed my eyes for sometime and then I went through my final year project and then I slept. I woke up late, so I rushed to the BSBE building for interview. There I saw students sitting in a hall and waiting for their turn. I was told that my turn will come after lunch so I was relaxed. I talked to few students made few friends and shared few laughs. I came to know that they are asking to plot a graph plus biology related questions. After lunch, I was the second person to be called inside for the interview. I was very happy to see three prof panel. I was asked to sit and Dr. D. Paul asked me about my final year project . Since my final year project was related to biomedical field, they were quite impressed by that. Then I was asked whether you had biology in class 11th and 12th, to which I replied "no". But I added that I will learn the subject, if required in the course. Then I was asked to plot a graph for a equation by Dr. Rohit Srivastava . In this I got stuck initially but in the end with the help of a hint I was able to get the right answer. Then Dr. Neeta Kanekar asked me to design a biosensor for detecting the carbon dioxide levels in the air exhaled by the asthmatic patient. I was somehow able to justify my answer. This concluded my interview and I was once again puzzled that whether my interview went good or bad
Since the result of IIT Bombay was going to be declared at 27th of May. I was unsure about the result. So, I needed a backup desperately. I already had lost an opportunity at IIT Kanpur because it clashed with IIT Bombay. I was left with two options, IIT Delhi and Guwahati which were also clashing. Since, I don’t like biochemical engineering so I gave upon the idea of attending IIT Delhi and IIT Guwahati had direct counselling, based on Gate Scores in which I was sure that I will get a seat in second or third round. So, I opted for M.tech. in Biotech from IIT guwahati
IIT Guwahati M.tech. Biotech Counselling Experience !!
IIt Guwahati process was quite simple. I booked the flight on 18th morning. After reaching there I just had to verify my documents and sign on a document. I left on the next day when the first list released which did not feature my name. But I knew that I will get a call from here in second or third round, which happened eventually. I got a call in third round for admission. It is advisable to have backups because it not only gives you confidence but also helps to reduce the unnecessary stress. I advise that one should opt in all IITs because it gives him/her more number of opportunities to get an admission. So plan accordingly and don't miss out on opportunities.
IIT Bombay Result !!
Surprisingly the results were delayed twice
.Result was supposed to be announced on 27th May but were declared on 31st May at 5:00 PM. It only added to anxiety levels. But in the end I got the mail for which I was waiting for whole day. Thanks to god and my parents for support. And special thanks to Sunil sir. I partied and enjoyed a lot. Thus my target concluded which started last year. Although the journey has just begun
Important Message !!
I have a message for all of you that once you [b]get a call, rank hardly matters. Be clear with this as this happened in my case. My rank was 137 (gate score :- 602) and luckily I got a call from IIT Bombay. I cleared the written(multiple choice questions) test and got selected for the interview round. In the interview round there were many top 50 candidates and I saw many candidates getting anxious as they thought that they wont get selected as the top rankers will grab all the seats. But if you are confident and well prepared for the written test and interview you will definitely get admission in any IIT after you get a call.[/b]