New Paths Through GATE: Subhashree Pagal (AIR 91)

New Paths Through GATE: Subhashree Pagal (AIR 91)

Ajita Shri | Mar 23, 2020

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With clarity in your goals, one should work diligently in that direction to achieve them.

Following this mantra, Subhashree Pagal, a final year student of the Department of Biotechnology has been successful in securing an All India Rank(AIR)  91 in the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering(GATE). Persistently working to secure a position in a reputed institution for higher studies, Subhashree has cleared the exam with flying colours.

Team MM brings its readers the story of Subhashree Pagal in the process of cracking GATE 2020.

 MM: What is the story behind pursuing the Gate exam?

SP: I was always fascinated to learn about Genetic Engineering. I was motivated by the knowledge of our professors on how they know everything. Therefore I have decided to go for higher studies to learn as much as I can. For higher studies GATE qualification is necessary.

MM: When did you start your preparation? 

SP: I started reading textbooks at the beginning of the second year. I started preparing for GATE from September 2019. It was difficult to study for GATE during working days. December was a crucial period for GATE preparation. I stayed back in my hostel and dedicated a whole month solely for GATE preparation.

MM: What study resources do you refer to?

 SP: I referred to the prescribed textbooks that were mentioned in class. Other than that I studied web notes and video lectures from NPTEL. Biotechnology syllabus is vast and many topics were not taught in the class, hence reading everything from the book was difficult. I studied the video lectures from NPTEL first and after that, I used to read books.

MM: How did you manage academics and GATE preparation together?

SP: As the curriculum is aligned with GATE syllabus, studying in class was equivalent to revising the GATE syllabus. In January it was quite difficult as we have to attend classes and work on a research project. There was less time to revise the syllabus.

MM: Did the curriculum of your branch help you in achieving your goal?

SP: The syllabus of GATE was almost on par with NITR syllabus, however many of the topics were not covered in class. The curriculum was helpful but it should be revised to include more GATE topics. It would have been better if some subjects such as Animal Biotechnology and Plant Biotechnology would have been taught in 7th semester.

MM: Can you share your preparation strategies with the readers?

SP: Completing the syllabus in every subject is important. Whatever subject you have picked for preparation, you should complete them. I used to pick one subject, finish it completely, then go for another subject. You have to focus on “Bioprocess Engineering” (most important), Genetic engineering and Molecular Biology.

MM: Who was your constant support or source of motivation during this time?

SP: We used to study in groups. My friends supported me a lot during preparation. We used to motivate each other when we feel distracted from studies. My family has always morally supported in my preparation.

MM: What did you learn from your preparation, and want to tell everyone, to avoid creating these mistakes?

SP: In the fourth year, there is always confusion between choosing a placement or higher studies. It seems like we should have one job for back up. For that one job students used to drift away from GATE preparation. The seriousness and consistency are important for GATE preparation.

MM: How important do you feel mock tests are and why? If yes, what test series would you suggest?

SP: Mock tests are important. But Biotechnology is mostly a theory course. Hence revision is much more important. Problems and concepts from bioprocess engineering should be practised properly. I used to solve MCQs from objective books.

MM: How should you schedule answering the GATE exam – which section to attempt first and which next? Did you have any strategy? Tell us about your examination experience?

SP: Aptitude questions and 1-mark questions in the technical section were easy. Numerical type questions were tricky and the answer should be in a range.

MM: What are your future plans?

 SP: I want to pursue a direct PhD in Genetic Engineering. In the long term aspect, I want to work in the R & D sector of a reputed organisation.

MM: Any advice for the future aspirants?

You must be clear about what you want to do in your life and work according to it. Listen to the class lectures, do the practicals in lab diligently, so that you would be clear with the concepts and read continuously and thoroughly. Being consistent is a necessity.

Team MM wishes Subhashree Pagal all the best for her future endeavours.

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