IIT PG Admissions Part 2 – The Interviews

Hi all,

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Interviews are a big bugbear for many, and foremost among them was me! Who’d not get terrified when a gang of senior professors from the most reputed institute in India sit around facing him/her and fire questions on the area to ehose study they’ve dedicated their life to? There’s a lot of confusion and apprehension regarding this, and I thought an article on this would be helpful.

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Typically, MTech programs may or may not have interviews, but MS and PhD programs certainly will, with PhD interviews being tougher than the MS ones, naturally. In addition, some IITs might have a written test (objective or subjective) as a preliminary filter to the interviews. I’ll list the process (as it was in 2008) for some of the programs:

IISc ME CSA – Direct Admission

IISc MSc (Engg) CSA, SERC, EC – Interview (heard there’s a written test this time)

IISc MTech SERC – Written test, interview

IITB MTech TA – Direct admission

IITB MTech RA – Interview (2 rounds – general, then on the area of interest)

IITM MTech – Direct Admission

IITM MS – Written test (mix of objective and subjective), interview

IITK MTech – Written test, Interview

IITD MTech CS – Interview

IITD MTech Computer Technology – Interview

IITD MTech Computer Applications – Interview

IITD MTech Telecom Tech & Mgmt – Interview (I think)

IITD MS – Interview (I think)

IITKGP MTech – Direct Admission

IITG MTech CA/Internet Security – Interview (I think)

Random Notes

  • Interview panels typically let you choose your poison :D (they ask you which area you want to be questioned on, and proceed to screw you in that area)
  • It is good to be prepared in two subjects. It might so happen that no prof in the panel is working in the area you mention. If you have a backup area, they can ask you in that. They’d be impressed too :)
  • It is good to choose two disconnected subjects. One each from Theory, Systems and Intelligent Systems would be fantastic. Being versatile appeal to all profs, and raise their opinion of you.
  • Questions will generally not be from the text book, but a few will be, to test if your basics are strong.
  • Questions will typically test your ability to think on your feet and apply concepts you know.
  • Your approach will turn out to be as important, or more important than the final solution.
  • Interview dates will clash. You’ll have to choose according to your desire to get in, and your chances of getting in.
  • It is better to give a dignified “sorry, but I don’t know” than try to fool the panel. But do not EVER give up without trying. Try for a while, and when you think you’re making too big a fool out of yourself, give up.
  • It is allowed to ask questions back to the panel. In fact, they like it.
  • Don’t feel bad if you’re insulted a lot or ridiculed at. The profs try to distract the students by all these tactics.
  • The longer your interview, the more hopes you should have of getting calls. My interview durations ranged from 5 mins at SERC (no admit) to 1 1/2 hours at IISc (shortlisted). Long interviews simply mean that the profs are impressed with you, and are taking a close look, deciding whether to offer you an admit or not.

Random Notes on Specific Institutes:

  • IISc EC lays great emphasis on maths. Need to be confident in at least two disciplines of maths. Subject-wise interview only if the maths interview is cleared.
  • IISc MSc interviews in general are very tough. Grueling. Tend to go on for a long time as well.
  • IITK test was highly theory-oriented. Not surprising, considering the fact that half the profs are for theory..
  • IITD Computer Technology interview tends to be a stress interview every year.
  • IITD Computer Technology does not prefer CS people, going by the past few years trends. EE seems to be a lot more preferred.

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My rank being barely good enough, I had to depend on interviews to get admits. All this was gleaned during the process.. It is all valid as far as I know. The process would keep changing, but the general intent of the interviews remain the same.

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If possible, try to stay one day extra on compus. Contact profs and students before-hand, and try to meet as many as possible. Orkut has communities for every program, and institute websites have contact info. Meet up with a lot of people to get a good idea of the institute, program, prospects, etc.

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If you’re a fresher, be ready to answer questions on your final year project, especially if its in your area of interest. If expreienced, you might be quizzed upon your work.

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Hostile panels will adopt one of two strategies to catch you – they’ll either cut you off as soon as you’ve said two sentences, or simply stare at you, forcing you to trail away into uncomfortable silence, and then blubber and make a fool out of yourself.One nice way to counter this is to give precise, succint answers. This will be appreciated by all panels, since it shows your command over the subject.

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Most of this information is common sense, or can be obtained from brochures. Still, putting things in one place might help. Do let me know if you had experiences conforming to this, or different from this.

I’m sure I’ve missed many points. I’ll be updating if I think of something I missed out..

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All the best for the interviews! Would love to hear from you on your experiences.

Enjoy :)

karthrags

Updates

1. March 30th: The results of the written test will be out the same day, or the next. The results of the interviews will be  officially out in a couple of weeks to a month, but you can get it unofficially from the office or the profs after a few days.

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61 Responses to IIT PG Admissions Part 2 – The Interviews

  1. pranav says:

    hi
    thanks a lot for suggestions.
    i have iitm ms test/interview within some days.

    • Sushil says:

      Hi Pranav,

      did u get the iitm MS test/intvw call for cse? if so where did u check the shortlist? haven’t been able to find the shortlist on the dept. website

  2. karthrags says:

    Thanks, and all the best :)

  3. kumara raja says:

    thanks al0t
    i g0t 48 th rank
    n…gt call 4 M.Des frm iisc my interview is 0n 23
    i’d greatful 2 u if u c0uld send me inf abt written test n interview prcess

  4. satyaki says:

    Thank you very much
    I got low rank so i think i may have to go for written test as well as interview
    i ll remember your tips

  5. Vikas says:

    Hi,

    I applied for M. Tech Computer Applications (part time) this year. I am working from past 4+ years in the industry and its pretty clear that I am absolutely in no touch with any subject that I will be taking up.

    1. I wanted to know if you have any information about what the Profs look for in a guy like me who most probably will pass all questions related to academics (I have even distributed my old books to juniors).

    2. Can I get more information about the course JCA?

    Any addnl info would be welcome if it helps me resolve my dilemmas.

    Thanks.
    Vikas

    • karthrags says:

      You certainly have to be good with your basics, experience or not. Regarding JCA, visit their course page for course structure, and mail some profs or students there for specific info. I’m not doing JCA and so do not have much specific details..

  6. Shweta says:

    hey,
    i have applied for M tech in Computer Science in IIT Bombay.
    got my written test and interview on 25th May.
    Can anyone please let me know what is the expected format of written test and what preparations do i need to do.
    i also want to know more about the interview

  7. Nivesh says:

    Hello Karthik,
    I got call for interview in EC deptt. from IISc Bangalore for Msc(Engg.) course. Can you please tell me the amount of duration that one may have to stay for interview, though it seems that one day will be sufficient. Your article has helped me a lot.It would really be grateful if you can tell me in detail the interview process as I didn’t get call from any of the IITs but from here,so that in itself was surprising and I want to make out the most of it. Thanks in advance.

    • karthrags says:

      Hi Nivesh,
      Thanks! Glad you found it useful.. Ya, its enough if you stay there for the day of the interview alone.

      In the interviews, they’ll ask maths first. Only if they find you satisfactory in maths, they’ll proceed to the subject of your choice. Be very good at two disciplines in maths, like transforms, linear algebra, calculus etc.

      All the best! Let me know what happens in the interview :)

  8. Abhi says:

    Hi Karthik,
    I had applied for M.Sc in IISc aerospace engg as my 1st preference but I received a call letter in mechanical engg dept. Can you just let me know what are the questions that they are likely to ask?
    Also can we opt for mechanical being done our graduate in aeronautical?
    If yes then in the interview, i’ll be asked questions on which subject, ME or AE?
    please try to give maximum info about this karthik….
    thanks in advance

    • karthrags says:

      Hi Abhi,

      I’m from CS and don’t have ANY idea about AE or ME :D
      Call up IISc and ask them..
      Interviews – you could choose an area common to AE and ME and be good at that.. All the best!

  9. Abhi says:

    Hi Karthik,
    Thanks for your last reply.

    Is the interview based on our subject or it would be general…?

    Also is there any possibility to change my preference from ME to AE at the time of interview..? I done my B.Tech in AE….

    lastly, what’s the pattern of the interview?

    thanks a lot karthik…
    take care

  10. Jay Mahadeokar says:

    I have been called at IISc Bangalore for interview for admission to Phd in Nano Engg for Integrated Circuits. I will be graduating (BE Computer Science) this June.

    Do you have any idea what might be asked for interview?

    I am really confused! But I will surely take some of your tips. Thanks in advance..

  11. Pingback: GATE Experiences « My SmorgasBLOG

  12. Manoj says:

    Hey Raghavan, Thank you for sharing so much dude :)

  13. jagdish says:

    Hi.
    Thanks for sharing u’r experiences.there are some questions as i am preparing for gate-10(EC),those are what are the preferences of written test and interview(IIT)besides a good gate percentile,and what are the type of questions that are supposed to be asked during interviews,are they difficult or linked to fundamentals.And what is the model of written test.please make me described above info. clearly and in brief.
    waiting for u’r early reply.
    Thank U.
    Jagdish.

    • karthrags says:

      Hi Jagdish,

      in interviews, they might ask about your final year project, if you’re a fresher, or about your work if you have work experience. Written test pattern changes from IIT to IIT, every year. One cannot say..

      • jagdish says:

        Hi,
        Thanks for your previous reply.I am in my final year of B.Tech so, there is a question that what is the C.G.P.A that is required to take admissions in most of IIT’s and NIT’s for M.Tech program.

  14. Karthika says:

    hi,
    Right now I am doing TE comp engg.I have decided to do Mtech from IIT by getting good score in GATE.Which book do I refer for Gate prep other than textooks?WHich area of comp science in Mtech prog has great scope in future? Thanku.pl. do reply.

    • karthrags says:

      Hi Karthika,

      Refer only the standard text books and references. NO local authors!! Future scope in CS? Bad question :D too vague.. See which your interest is..

  15. jagdish says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for your previous reply.I am in my final year of B.Tech so, there is a question that what is the C.G.P.A that is required to take admissions in most of IIT’s and NIT’s for M.Tech program.Is a good C.G.P.A plays a vital role in admissions.

  16. Abhiji says:

    Hi Karthik,

    If you do not mind, could you let us know what was your percentile, GATE score and GATE rank??

  17. gayathri says:

    hey karthrags,
    i completed ug last year.planning to attempt gate dis time.frankly speaking gonna start my preps only from now.i am frm eee.i got placed n accenture.stil haven’t got calls.may get calls any momen stil i wanna do good n gate and get a decent percentile.can u plz suggest how can i start wid my preps.t wud b nice f u f u do so.
    thnx n advance

    • karthrags says:

      Hi Gayathri,
      I’m from CS, and have no idea about specific EE prep strategies. Generally, though, I’d recommend that you first choose 4 or 5 subjects that you really like and master them. Take the standard book for each of them, and study in depth. Once you are really good in 5 subjects, learn the basics of the rest of the subjects. You should be able to answer the easy questions from any subject, and any question from some subjects.. All the best!

  18. gayathri says:

    thnx karthrags,
    i jus wanna knw 1 thng.wil i b able to prepare while working.i knw dis depends on ppl,but still jus wanna knw whether u knw any live examples

  19. Hi,

    Thanks for posting the info here. It is helpful. I wrote GATE2010. My exam didn’t go as good as expected so I am trying to apply for MSc or MTech. Regarding Mtech from IIsc, the link

    http://www.iisc.ernet.in/admissions/chapter1.htm#serc

    doesn’t mention a test on computational science for Mtech. Any idea on if there is a test and if so when the test will be?

  20. http://www.serc.iisc.ernet.in/admissions/mtech.htm site says there is a test for Computational Science Mtech but no further info available.

    • karthrags says:

      More info will be available once the shortlist is out. If you’re trying for that, you’ll need to be really really strong in algebra and calculus..

  21. Rahul says:

    Hey i found your blogs helpful. I just want to know about placement statistics(not just percentages but actual companies visiting) in EE at IITD/IITB/IITK. I wrote GATE 2010 and most likely would secure a seat in Power systems/Power Electronics/ Electrical Machines and Drives at IITD. In one website i came across detail placement records of IITK which was truly disappointing. There is almost no placements in the specialisations i am targeting and even some of the students take up jobs at Pvt. Engg. colleges with paltry packages of arnd 4-5lakhs. Please help. I have two good jobs in hand and just cant decide on my course of career.

    • karthrags says:

      There are companies that offer 4 and 5 lakhs, but they come later on. Initial companies offer more. You should be interested more in the profile than the package. Contact someone in the EE / EC department. Look at the IIT placement pages as well

  22. SHiju says:

    hi
    my gate 2010 score on CS is 567
    and AIR 2260

    is there any chance to get into some good college. .if so .. can u suggest a few.

    regards
    Shiju

  23. Dheeraj says:

    hi

    thanx for the post….
    its very useful for me

    i have given gate 2010 and got score 586 and AIR 1918 in CS

    and i have two years of experience in industry

    is there any interview and written test if i will take admission in IITD with three year part time MTech programme and what are the chances of me to get into IITD

    My first preference is to get admission in IITD with full time MTech course
    and what are the other chances for me in other IITs ?

  24. Prabhat says:

    Hi,

    Nice job! I have got nearly 3 yrs of IT experience. Is that a good idea to go for MS/M Tech at this phase? Many people say you would not get much difference in salary and this is not a good step after gaining such experience.

    Can you comment your ideas?? Or any such incidences to help me decide?

    Thanks a lot.

    • karthrags says:

      When you attend the campus recruitment process, you will mostly be considered as a fresher initially. You will have to talk to the interviewers and tell them about your experience and ask for a better profile and package. This will be decided on a case to case basis. It does help, in short.

  25. pooja says:

    Hello Karthik

    i got 1504 rank in GATE-10 with 614 Gate Score in CS.Is there any chance that i would be called up from any IIT`s for admission procedure.

  26. Vivek Shribatri says:

    Hello Karthrags,
    This post is very very useful for me,
    i got 446 AIR in CS,746 Gatescore & 99.58 %tile….
    But unfortunetly i got IInd Class in BE Degree…
    I applied for iits/iisc……in CS with covering letter and hoping for +ve …..
    i need more info on the interviews for my kind of students ……..
    and also i got shortlisted for WT/interview for mtech in Computaional Science in iisc…
    I want to know that am i going to be shortlisted for ME in CSA in iisc…

    • karthrags says:

      Hi Vivek,

      The cutoff for ME in CSA is about AIR 45.. So I don’t think there’s even a remote chance for you. Sorry..
      The written test is maths-oriented. Calculus and stuff..
      You do need to know what area you want to work on when you go to the interview.

    • Nivesh says:

      Hi Vivek,
      I think that you should apply for ME program in SERC department in IISc though I think now it is too late.SERC stands for Supercomputer Educational Research Centre. There are very eminent faculty over there and the courses are also quite intensive computation wise.As far as I have heard,the placement also goes quite well. CSA Dept in IISc is more towards algorithms and extensive theory.You can check out the website of SERC at http://www.serc.iisc.ernet.in/
      All the best for your interviews.And yes, btw be prepared for Set Theory,Linear Algebra etc.

  27. Vivek Shribatri says:

    Continued…
    i also want to know hows is the written test and interviews for Computaional Science

  28. Priyanka says:

    I have AIR 4 but highly confused b/w IITB and IISc.
    Suggestions please (based on research and placements)

    Thanks

  29. Sudha says:

    Hi,

    I have got 89.45 percentile and a score of 369 in GATE 2010-EE. I would like to know whether I will get interview letter for MSC Engg in IISC? (Electrical Stream).If so What abt the pattern of questions?

    Regards,
    Sudha.

  30. pulkit says:

    hello ..can anybody tell me the expected cut off for interview in iitd for JCA??

  31. Bharath Venkatesh says:

    Hi karthrags,

    I got a AIR 708 in GATE 2010 CS (99.3 percentile). I got a M.Sc(Engg) Interview call from SERC@ IISc. I would d like to know how much of a role relevant previous research experience plays in the process, my B.Tech was in Mechanical Engineering and i dont have any real research experience in Computer Science but i am very interested in the Computer Systems profile. Another thing I wanted to know was whether you are required to propose a topic or research idea during the interview.

    Thanks and regards

    Bharath.

    • karthrags says:

      Hi Bharath,

      Research experience is not a prerequisite, but helps if you do have some. You don’t generally need to present a research problem..

  32. sowmya says:

    hi karthrags,
    i got interview call form IISc for MSc(engg) from EC dept…atleast 2 maths topic i have to prepare rite…which two should i choose…?

  33. Nirmal Mundra says:

    Hi!!
    I came to know that in IIT and IISc Spring admissions are also there.
    I want to know whether I can get better oppurtunity then I have this time.
    Presently I have calls for MS (1.Comm. 2. Control Systems) from IITM and
    Mtech IITR (Power system).
    I have the score of 588 and rank 1944 in general and in ECE stream.
    Please clear doubt

  34. rahul.c says:

    hi karthrags,

    i gained very little marks in B.tech(Some 65%).I’m thinking of preparing for gate the next time to get into iisc. So if i get good score , will ma marks affect ma admission in any way?( i’v seen in iisc page that only second class degree is needed…)

  35. rahul.c says:

    i’m a CS guy….

  36. RAJA SHEKAR NALLURI says:

    Hi
    what type of questions are expected from iisc m.sc engg interview?

  37. ishita says:

    Hi karthrags,
    I found the informations provided in this blog very helpful. Thanks for providing such a nice platform for these querries.
    I have done M.Tech in CS with 72% from Bits in 2008 and have applied for PhD, CSA and SCER at IISC. Can u please help me out regarding the PhD interview questions for computer Science dept. Is there any scope of getting admission ?
    How important maths is for this interview ? what r the maths related areas tht i need to prepare?
    Thnks in advance
    Ishita

    • karthrags says:

      You need to prepare for maths and a couple of CS subjects for the interview. You need to choose your area of research beforehand. If you get an admit later, you cannot change it. So choose carefully!

  38. Deepak says:

    Hi karthrags,

    I appeared for the interview for MS@ IITM on June 3 do u have any idea when the results could be published

  39. Niraj says:

    Sir . . .
    I m btech eee student 3rd year student. . .i hav got 98.75 percentile . . . But i m having a gap of two year before btech thus it affect my desire to get admitted in iit . . .

  40. Naveen G says:

    Hi karthik,
    I recently attended PhD admission 2013 at IISc in EE department.

    1) I was surprised to know that only 10 students were selected for interview after shortlisting
    2) My interview lasted for nearly 45 minutes, as soon as I entered the HoD room: there were more than 15 profs sitting in 2-3 rows. A horrible site after entering interview room.
    3) Firstly, they asked about my maths command and they will let you choose a topic like Differential Equations (DE), probability, differentiation etc.
    4) I have chosen DE, they asked to solve a problem and the methods to solve that problem with some basic concepts like order, degree, whether it is homogeneous/non-homogeneous etc.
    5)Then another topic Differentiation: they tested again basic concepts with graphical examples and tested
    validity of the examples.
    6)The questions were bombarded by the profs. U will not know what to do because if u answer, they will ask another question and if you don’t answer, they will go deeper into that particular concept. This took 20 mins
    7)Coming to core topics, they asked about HVDC, FACTS related topics which were straight forward (if the person read textbook).
    8)Then they asked about working of machines, theory and mechanism in great detail.

    Summarize: If a person reads textbook, he will be able to do well in core subject. All the hand work should be done on black board. Then will try to get you nervous and the moment you get nervous they will change the topic. Importantly, they did not ask about my B.Tech thesis as I had some publications.

    My advice for IISC interview: Prepare for MATHS as most students focus mostly on core subjects, thesis and coding, thereby mentally weakening the students as first questions are on MATHS related.

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