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Saturday, 13 June 2015

Interviewed: Sharada Prasad Panda

By: Nimisha Acharya
A modest, sweet and ever-smiling guy, and not to forget, he achieved an All India Rank of 6 in GATE in the branch Biotechnology!! An unprecedented feat, one must say!! And the best part is that success hasn't changed him one bit. So here are some words of wisdom from the man himself, Sharada Prasad Panda.



NIMISHA: First of all, congratulations on your superb performance in GATE-2015. It has been an inspiring tale for all your branch juniors, like me and we are very happy to have someone like you in our branch.
SHARADA: Thank you!!

NIMISHA: To begin with, what was the feeling when you got to know that you have secured an All India Rank of 6 in GATE?

SHARADA: After I logged into the gate website ,I saw, it was written 6 under the All India rank box.I just ignored it at first believing it might be some serial number or any other sort of number.Then I looked at it again.I was shocked.I had never expected that.Then it slowly sinked in.I informed my parents and friends.I was very happy and they were too. 

NIMISHA: What was your strategy? How did you prepare for the exam?

SHARADA: I started preparing for GATE seriously from the seventh semester.I bought some study materials-Pathfinder's life science books,GK publishers' Biotechnology book, downloaded previous year's GATE question papers.I solved objective type questions from those books.Tried to see the pattern of the questions. and the subjects from which majority of the questions come from.I focussed on those subjects.I had thought that I will focus on those subjects first,and if I get time then I will focus on those subjects from which less number of questions come in the exam.I enrolled in a test series of GATEFORUM.The test series helped me a lot.The tests improved my speed,and my clarity of the subjects. In the middle of all that,for 10 days,I prepared some aptitude and reasoning for the written round of TCS placements.I did not prepare for gate during that time.After getting a job in TCS, my confidence increased a lot.Also the preparation for the aptitude and reasoning helped me in the general aptitude section of the GATE paper. 

NIMISHA: How did you manage both the preparations for the semesters as well as for GATE?

SHARADA: I attended classed regularly.It helped me in the semesters.Just 15 days before the semesters started,I did not prepare for GATE.For 15 days,I would prepare for the semesters,and after the semesters were over,I would resume the preparation.Attending classes regularly and doing the assignments helped a lot for the sems.

NIMISHA: Who would you attribute your success to, or the people who helped you and inspired you?

SHARADA: My friends and parents inspired me,of course,but one person I would like to thank is Swagat sir.He inspired us a lot,starting from 3rd year.He would talk about giving these exams for higher studies - DBT,GATE,CSIR.He would talk about how much scope is there in our field.He would tell us about our seniors Juhi didi,Jigni didi who did so well in GATE..He would also conduct mock tests for GATE in college,and clear our doubts later. He would say that we are not realizing our potential,and we are capable of great things.He was the one person who would always inspire us and help us in the preparations

NIMISHA: Apart from academics, what are your other hobbies or passions? How did you de-stress yourself?

SHARADA: My hobbies are watching movies,reading comics(I am a DC comics fan),collecting stamps and coins. Everyday in the evening,I would take a stroll in the park,or inside the Vani Vihar university campus.If I get too stressed out, then for 2-3 days in a row,I would not touch any book and just do whatever I want except studying. 

NIMISHA: According to you, what would be the most correct time to start preparing for GATE?

SHARADA: The correct time for starting the preparation would be just after the end of 6th semester.You would have the summer holidays.Start from there. When you are in your 2nd and 3rd year, be clear about your basics of the subjects and follow standard books which the teachers say. Worry about the basics,not preparing for any exam then.After the 3rd year is over,start.

NIMISHA: Which institute will you be joining for your further studies?

SHARADA: I will be joining either IIT Kharagpur, or if I clear the interview,IISc Bangalore.

NIMISHA: Any message or words of advice for your juniors.

SHARADA: Believe in yourself.There will be difficult times when you will be frustrated,but you have to persevere. You are all talented students.you can achieve what you want.Enjoy the B.Tech life while you can,it wont come again.God bless you.
Also I would say a few things to my branch juniors.There is a fear among students who did not take Biology in +2 to take this branch in B.Tech.Also, the non Bio students studying BT feel that they cant make it high in this field because they didn't have Bio. That's not true. I also didnt take bio in +2. It is true that those who had Bio in +2 have an advantage over non Bio guys in the sense that they have read something about this field,but whatever is required to know,is taught from scratch in the curriculum.

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