These Tips Will Make You Crack Any Competitive Exam: By IES Sagar Dodeja | Civil Beings
Below is the full speech transcript of Sagar Dodeja, a former Deputy Superintendent Engineer at Indian Engineering Services (2016-17) at Josh Talks:
“Myself Sagar Dodeja, and I have cleared every engineering examination prestigious ones like GATE, ESE and all other examinations, regional examinations. And from my experience, I am going to share with you some smart tips which you should do while you’re preparing for your examinations.
Everyone is putting in their hard work. But our aim is, turning hard work into success, not just working hard. So turning hard work into success, there is something, we call smart work which you will realize by the end of this. Sometimes, in our home, we are asked to do something affirmatively and you are forced to do it. And to do that we try and find shortcuts some smart ways so that the work is done with minimal effort. I have come to talk to you about that. Right now, through this platform I am going to tell you some important points, especially for GATE and Engineering Service Examinations, which I am going to discuss with you all. For that, that X Factor, that extra something so that when you have it, you definitely achieve success.
Let’s start with it:
The first point, what if I tell you that your efforts are actually 50% of what you’re thinking. Whenever we prepare for an examination the biggest mistake we make is we’re thinking more about the syllabus and not the examination.
We are not thinking about the need of the examination. Syllabus, talking about engineering of any stream….Related to any stream of engineering be it Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics and Communications… whatever it may be, the syllabus will be the same for almost every examination.
The technical syllabus will almost be the same for every examination. But the approach with which you are solving the approach with which you are studying subjects, will be different from one examination to another.
In reality what happens is, if you look closely 70-80 % of the technical questions are from 50% of the syllabus. Whereas our focus is on the syllabus and completing each and every subject.
Sometimes it happens is, we leave certain topics, certain subjects altogether just to make sure that one subject is thoroughly completed. And to do that we spend a lot of time on those extra things which are not coming in the examination, and the trends and past year papers will show that. It is important to analyse past year papers, and figure out trends.
Talking about the GATE exam: it is numerical and concept oriented. Being oriented towards numeric and concepts, it is very essential to practice them hardly and frequently. Rather than focusing on the theory part, you need to focus on the application of the theory part. If we talk about some other exam, maybe there will only be theory, there will be no scope for application. If you know the theory there, then you will score the maximum marks. The theory that you know here, how you should apply it during the GATE, ESE or mains, that is more important. So we need to understand the need of the examination rather than the syllabus of the examination.
Syllabus is more or less the same, but the need is different. The technical questions in GATE for 70 marks. When you analyze the paper, for maybe any subject in Civil Engineering 50% of the syllabus accounts for 70-80% of the questions. First finish those, it’s not like you don’t have to complete the others.
First of all, try and complete that syllabus which is coming very frequently. First complete that, after finishing that what will happen is you will be in touch with every subject. After analyzing that, for the remaining 50% syllabus, focus on it after the completion of the first 50%. What this will ensure is selection. And the extra 50% that you are preparing, will be like a cherry on the top. Your rank will improve with that. This is the first point.
The second point is even more important, and that is intuition is not an option, it doesn’t rank as an option. When I used to give the exam, my personal experience is that while giving the tests my answers would be incorrect, there were so many mistakes I was making… some mathematical, some silly, some conceptual.
At that time I decided and promised myself, I would not use intuition, and would not answer questions on the basis of intuition. It could happen that for questions with 4 options, and I know that 2 of them are surely incorrect and am confused between the other two there is some chance there. But just out of intuition selecting any option at random that should not be done.
I had rote learned a line, and I would suggest that those of you reading this should also memorize that: “whenever I try by fluke, it is assured to be wrong”. This will ensure that you do not make mistakes. If you do not rely on mistakes and flukes, then you will study well also, that I do not have to attempt answers by fluke. I have to study something well. This will give you a clear mindset of what you are studying. You’re not relying on any form of fluke or any kind of arrangement for the examination, just focus on your own concepts. So don’t fall for any answers by chance.
Third point again an important one. You can call whatever I am saying as smart work. This is the way to smart work. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do the hard work. But we just have to perform it in a smart way. The third one is that all of these are stressful examinations. Your year round hard work is dependent on this one exam. Three hours will decide what you have done throughout the year.
The stress level, I can imagine, I have been through that. And I am telling you there’s a mindset required to deal with this stress. Someone who has prepared really well, will also deal with this stress. But if due to this stress, his performance gets affected, his preparations are a waste.
Which is why, there will be stressful situations, but the first thing, easy for all, tough for all. We’re not trying to analyze the paper here, whether it is easy or tough I am not analyzing the paper here, I am in a psychological mindset That If it is easy, it is easy for all.. If it is tough, this is tough for everybody. Nobody has come from mars to give the exam, everyone is here only.
Everybody is attempting the exam from here. And if, let’s say somebody is sweating after seeing the examination paper, then it can to me also. If someone is being able to attempt it easily, even I can. If there is a person who is thinking that maybe I won’t get selected even I am feeling that, so the situation is the same for everyone.
So it is necessary to accept this stress so that we are able to perform better in the exam. Because the case is the same with everybody, so accept this stress, that yes, this is a stressful situation, granted…. But still we are going to give our best. Two things happen here, there is one student who after coming in a stressful situation, let’s go of the preparation completely, don’t be that. Another person, after coming in a stressful situation, puts in more effort, thinking that if doesn’t happen, let’s study more.
What did the first one do, if doesn’t happen, let’s leave it .The second one, if it doesn’t happen, let’s study some more… so that maybe I clear the exam. And that is the approach which very much needs to be followed.
After that, the fourth point is that, at any point we are not running in the race alone… which is why we need to analyze that where we actually lie. Many people, what they are doing is they are ignoring the competition which is going on in the world throughout India, and they are simply ignoring that and remaining in their own zone… thinking that if they see someone else’s performance, they will get scared. But no, you have to learn from someone else. Imagine that it’s a race, and some horses are running. You are running your own race. You are running alone. How will you know whether you’re running slow or fast? You’ll only get to know once you participate in that race.
The best way to participate is to join a test series. So that we are able to analyze our performance and are able to learn from it, very important is to learn. That’s how I learnt, when I was continuously doing mistakes in units. While I was doing the units, I was doing continuous mistakes that we sometimes had to convert grams to milligrams, tonnes to kilograms, we make silly mistakes. And then I pledged that for these mistakes, that I will never ever write any step of the solution without any unit, Unit of the solution will come in every step. Without the unit, you can’t write the step, the final answer is farfetched from that. So from there we are able to learn, such that we don’t make mistakes. Because silly mistakes happen. And everyone’s nature of mistakes are different. It is necessary to analyze them.
The last and very important point is this that at any point, do not follow any person. You follow basic principle. By persons I mean, there are many toppers who have excelled in this examination. While they are telling you that this was our approach or that was our approach, you get inspired by that approach, not simple copy and paste that approach. Remember no plan is perfect. It is the implementation part of that exam which makes it perfect, for any case I have analyzed a lot of toppers and myself. Never have I copied anyone’s approach as it is. Someone said study for 7 hours, someone else for 8 hours. Never have I copied someone that even I’ll study like this. Someone told me study at night, it’s quieter. But my house used to be near the highway and in the night, trucks used to be going on and on continuously and it was very difficult for me. So every situation will vary from one person to another. So you use your brain wisely… decide what is good for you, what is not…
So what I have discussed today are basic principles. I have told you the basic principles of study. Apply those principles. Somehow, never ask what your schedule is. It is your dream, you are the one who are going to get to that dream and nobody should tell you these many hours you should study to achieve your dream. It is your dream. Whatever be the examination especially GATE, ESE, or any exam, It might be… any exam follow the basic principles… you will definitely get success… Work hard and that too smartly, thank you…
– Sagar Dodeja
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