The (GATE)way to The Future: Sitting Down With AIR 8, AIR 13 and AIR 41

The (GATE)way to The Future: Sitting Down With AIR 8, AIR 13 and AIR 41

Shubhra Pujari Afif Janjirkar | Mar 25, 2019

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14th March 2019, 11:59 PM: The scene at NITR is one of luxuriation as the students unwind after a week’s worth of toiling and ready themselves for the weekend. Amidst the backdrop of this laidback environment are three very apprehensive final years. Rooms E-229 (SD), A-205 (HB) and A-138 (SD) are lit and harbour the edgily confident persons of Nihal Chandra Das, Ritesh Kumar and Kapil Kumar Sharma who like thousands of others across the nation, wait for their results of the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE). The clock strikes 12, the web page reloads, and voila. Illuminating brightly on the three screens are the magic words AIR 8, AIR 13 and AIR 41 respectively.

Every student in this institute has faced and triumphed against some exam in his/her journey here. The struggle lasts for months (or sometimes even years). Sleep, social life, any enjoyment whatsoever - Sacrificed. The feeling when you see all your efforts and sacrifices come to fruition - Priceless. The harder the exam, the greater the delight. And there aren’t many exams harder than GATE. Today team Monday Morning brings you a complete analysis of the exam and everything you need to know about it with Nihal Chandra Das (AIR 8), Ritesh Kumar (AIR 13) and Kapil Kumar Sharma (AIR 41) from the Department of Mining Engineering.

Disclaimer: All the resources and books mentioned by Nihal, Ritesh and Kapil are pertaining to the department of Mining engineering.

What is GATE?

The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is an examination that tests the comprehensive understanding of various undergraduate subjects in engineering and science. GATE is conducted jointly by the Indian Institute of Science and seven Indian Institutes of Technologies on behalf of the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), Government of India. The examination is conducted once every year, usually in February.

The examination has a duration of 3 hours and contains a total of 65 questions worth a maximum of 100 marks. The exam is carried out in an online Computer Based Test and consists of multiple choice questions and numerical answer type questions.

Who is eligible for the exam?

Qualifying DegreeCurrent Year/TermYear of Qualification NOT later than

BE / B Tech / B Pharm


In Final Year as on 1st Aug 2018 or already completed



B Arch


In Final Year as on 1st Aug 2018 or already completed



BSc / BS


In 4th Year as on 1st Aug 2018 or already completed



MSc / MA / MCA or equivalent


In Final Year as on 1st Aug 2018 or already completed


Integrated ME / MTech (Post BSc)


In 2nd / 3rd / 4th Year as on 1st Aug 2018 or already completed




Integrated ME / MTech or Dual Degree (after diploma or 10+2)


In 4th / 5th Year as on 1st Aug 2018 or already completed


Integrated MSc / Integrated BS-MS


In Final Year as on 1st Aug 2018 or already completed



Professional Society Exams (equiv. to BE / BTech / BArch)


Completed Section A or equivalent of such professional courses




GATE opens numerous opportunities to choose from, such as a job in PSU, pursuing higher studies, availing PM scholarships and others.

-Nihal Chandra Das

Some of the institutes that students can attend through their GATE scores:

  • National University of Singapore

  • Nanyang Technological University in Singapore

  • Technical universities in Germany

  • NITIE, Mumbai

  • Indian Institute of Science

  • All the IITs

  • All the NITs

  • PEC University of Technology (Chandigarh)

  • Jadavpur University

  • Delhi Technological University

  • Gautam Budh technical university, u.p

  • Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT)

  • Andhra University College of Engineering

  • Osmania University

The Directorate of Technical Education of Maharashtra state has also started conducting CAP round from the year 2013 for GATE and non-GATE candidates in all institutes in Maharashtra that offer M.E./M.Tech. programs.

Not enough good companies come to NITR for recruitment, especially for mining. So I decided to clear GATE so as to secure a job in a suitable PSU or pursue higher studies.

-Ritesh Kumar

From 2012 onwards, the Public sector undertakings (PSUs), have decided that a GATE score shall be the primary criteria for initial shortlisting. Another major reason why lakhs of students from across the nation try their hand at cracking this examination.

The PSUs are:

  • Oil and natural gas corporation

  • Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

  • Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

  • Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.

  • National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd.

  • Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd.

  • Mazagon Dock Ltd.

  • Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Ltd.

  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation

  • Central Electronics Ltd.

  • Coal India Ltd.

  • National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd.

  • Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd.

  • THDC Ltd.

  • Odisha Power Generation Corporation

  • Ircon International Ltd.

  • Bharat Broadband Network Limited

  • Bank Note Paper Mill India Pvt. Ltd.

  • National Highways Authority of India

  • Airport Authority of India

  • Delhi Metro Rail Corporation

  • Bihar State Power Holding Company Limited

Scholarship Opportunities

GATE qualified candidates are also eligible for the award of Junior Research Fellowship in CSIR Laboratories and CSIR sponsored projects. Top rank holders in some GATE papers are entitled to apply for "Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Fellowship" awarded by CSIR. Some government organisations prescribe GATE qualification as a requirement for applying to the post of a Scientist/Engineer.

I'm a dual degree guy in the Mining department, so to be eligible to get a stipend, I had to clear GATE.

-Kapil Kumar Sharma

When to start Studying?

With the exam held usually in February, it is pivotal to start preparing at the right time. Poor time management may (and will) put enormous pressure on the student which will categorically affect his/her performance. Fortunately for GATE aspirants from NITR, our peer group consists of some of the best minds of the nation who have already conquered the notorious exam.

I started preparing for GATE at the beginning of December’18. It took me half of the month to be thorough in the Aptitude section. After the 10th of January, I started preparing for the Mathematics and the Calculation section, because learning to use the GATE calculator and being familiar with it is extremely important. Before a week of the exam, I started appearing for mock tests so as to get familiarised with the question pattern and other things.

-Kapil Kumar Sharma

I started my preparation for GATE right from the 9th of January 2019, which was less than a month for the exam (1st February 2019). I remember this date very well because it was on this day that the results of Aditya Birla recruitment were announced. So I made up my mind to clear GATE and prepare seriously for it. Since my basic concepts were quite clear, I just had to have a thorough revision of all the topics.

-Nihal Chandra Das

I started preparing for GATE when it was around 15th December. I put in great efforts to improve my Aptitude and English related skills. After the 10th of January 2019, I started appearing for numerous mock tests. I used to solve previous years’ papers, learnt about my mistakes and tried to rectify them successively.

-Ritesh Kumar

Pedagogy 101

I prepared for the technical section from a book of Dr A K Gorai, it was apt for GATE preparation for our department. Apart from that, several other books were helpful in clearing concepts related to various topics, such as Rock Mechanics can be studied well from a book by Debasis Deb. In the weekdays I used to prepare for around 4-5 hours, while in the weekends, this would stretch for approximately 12 hours.

-Nihal Chandra Das

I used to have only 3 books viz. book by Dr A K Gorai (for the technical section), book by Made Easy (for aptitude section) and a book by Rupesh Kumar (which had all the previous years questions starting from 2013 to 2018). There is a lecture video channel on YouTube named 'Lecture for Free’ which I found to be best for the Mathematics section, especially for the mining department. I used to devote approximately 2 hours every day for all this.

-Kapil Kumar Sharma

My brother secured AIR - 5, so he had been my guiding light, who used to advise me regarding the sources. I too used to follow the book by Dr A K Gorai for preparation. As far as the schedule is concerned, I used to appear for mock tests from 9 AM to 12 noon, which was the time for our GATE exam. This helped me in getting accustomed to the timing and the question pattern of the exam. Due to this, I got a grade back in 2 subjects.

-Ritesh Kumar

NITR: Help or Hindrance?

MM: How did you manage academics and preparation of GATE side-by-side?

RK: It was a bit hectic when it came to managing academics along with GATE preparation, especially in January, when we were given numerous assignments to submit. Since I had to appear for mock tests in the first half, I suffered grade back in two subjects. 

NCD: In comparison to other departments, mining has a relatively relaxed schedule of classes and complicated subjects. So there is ample amount of time that we get for preparation for all these competitive examinations.

KKS: Since the subjects of our department are not that difficult, and we have a busy lesson schedule in comparison to other branches, so we had a good amount of time for preparation. But the large number of assignments consumed significant amount of time, which could have been utilised for extra preparation. Still, I believe that if one is focused and diligent towards it, cracking GATE would not be too difficult. 

MM: Do you think the NITR curriculum is helpful in the preparation of GATE?

KKS: Yes, in my opinion, the subjects are pretty helpful when it comes to preparation for GATE. The topics were well in line with the subjects that we were taught in the previous semesters.

NCD: The curriculum of NITR, especially for Mining department was fair enough for the preparation of GATE. But we could have performed better had there not been subjects such as Electrical Machines, which we read for two semesters, and which was not included in the GATE syllabus at all.

RK: The NITR curriculum is helpful enough for someone who wants to prepare for GATE. Some professors were supportive and who used to recommend us sources for preparation, while some other professors used to burden us with assignments, even after we requested them not to do so because the GATE exam was approaching.

MM: What are your plans now that you have cracked GATE?

KKS: My aim was just to clear GATE with a decent rank to be eligible to avail stipend, so I have no such plans for the future. Most probably I would go for higher studies, but it all depends on the time and situation.

NCD: I am planning to join either Vedanta or Tata, depending on how the situations work. I am also interested in pursuing a PhD and other research works in ISM Dhanbad.

RK: I did not apply for campus selection as I was inclined towards joining PSUs such as NTPC. I might also go for higher studies in the field of research, preferably in ISM Dhanbad.

Premier Counsel

I am a 7-pointer. People usually think that it is utterly important to have very good CGPA in order to clear such examinations. But this is not so. According to me, a GATE aspirant essentially needs to be thorough in all the topics and concepts. Solving previous years’ question papers would be highly beneficial since they help us get accustomed to the types of questions, the GATE calculator and other things.

-Ritesh Kumar

There are three major things that I want to tell. Firstly, people get placed in companies and they tend to drift away from the preparation of GATE. The seriousness that is required for it gets lost and they start partying and enjoying, as a result of which they get distracted. This deviates focus from our goals, which is scoring well in GATE. So it is extremely essential for GATE aspirants to be focused. Secondly, the revision of topics and important concepts is a must. In the majority of cases, people usually know about those concepts, but they do not hold a grip over it. This is due to a lack of revision and practice. Thirdly, one must prioritise among GATE, academics and all the other kinds of stuff. A person must be clear about what he/she has to achieve in life.

-Nihal Chandra Das

In my opinion, appearing for mock tests is very fruitful. Time-based tests help us to analyse about our level of preparation, and with each successive test the mistakes can be rectified, the new topics and concepts can be known and studied well. It is also necessary to get familiar with the GATE calculator, which plays a crucial role.

-Kapil Kumar Sharma

GATE is a notoriously difficult exam that is designed to test concepts at their essence and to separate the average from the good and the good from the best. Fortunately for us, NITR’s populace comprises of the best. This statement, however, should not breed trivialization of the national exam, but should rather serve as a testament to the fact that cracking GATE is something well within reach given that we put in the required effort and dedicate enough time. The stories of Nihal Chandra Das, Ritesh Kumar and Kapil Kumar Sharma are different and yet similar in so many ways. They are different as they embody and take shape under different circumstances, whereas they are similar as they are all built upon the foundations of hard work, dedication, perseverance and the wills to succeed. Team Monday Morning congratulates the aforementioned three students and all others who have cracked the GATE 2019 examination. 


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