Inspiration comes out of the words of success and hard-earned success is always worth sharing!
The CSIR NET exam which is the most sought-after career path for research aimers is not a tough nut to crack. The students who make it to success in CSIR NET are truly the elites and exceptionally skillful.
One of such magnificent personalities who made it to the CSIR NET Qualification is here at Eduncle to share his smashing experiences, outstanding success mantras and strategies with all other aspirants.
So, everybody, let’s meet up with Mr. Vinay Kumar Singh, All India 35th Rank in CSIR NET Dec 2016 Life Sciences Exam.
In this blog, we have put some interview questions from Mr. Vinay and here’s what he has to say about his success journey.
Let’s have a look at the quick points of the blog!
Ques 1: As you’re a CSIR NET Qualifier, I’d like to start my questionnaire session by asking ‘What Inspired you or pushed you to appear in CSIR NET Exam?’
Ans – I was sure about one thing CSIR NET is most important for me because I had a great desire to do research from a well-known university and for that NET JRF is important.
So, it was my ardent desire to do research that made me appear in CSIR NET Life Sciences.
Secondly, the NET qualification is prestigious. It is an all-India examination, so scoring well and having a good rank in NET exam means a lot. It shows what you are!
Being from a weak financial background, I had to face many problems during my studies. So, here I would like to share a piece of advice to all those who face the same problem. Having a JRF means you will get the stipend that is going to help you a lot. It covers all your expenses like Books, Travel, Printing, Electronic goods, and Chemicals etc.
So, there will be no need to take money from your home. You will be able to manage all your needs by yourself that everyone wants. So that was all which inspired me and encouraged me to crack that exam.
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Ques 2: How did you start preparing for the exam? What was your first step when you thought to crack CSIR NET?
Ans – Like every beginner, I also had many questions about what is the CSIR NET Syllabus & Pattern and level of questions they ask, and what books to follow.
I started searching for the best books from authors and publications. As at that time, there was lack of quality resources, I chose to go for Pathfinder Books. However, studying from these books were not enough but my determination to crack the exam was quite enough to make this.
Apart from the books, I also took help from various internet resources and YouTube videos.
I qualified CSIR NET in my 4th attempt. My story from preparation to qualification might interest you and give you a wonderful experience of failure to success journey.
So, the story begins from June 2015, when I was in the second semester of M.Sc. I qualified for lectureship with 48%. But it was my hard luck that I couldn’t qualify it for JRF which was my main motive.
When I embarked with CSIR NET Preparation, the cutoff for JRF was 48% but when I appeared in the exam, it raised to 52%. Despite qualifying for lectureship, I didn’t give up on my dream of becoming a researcher instead.
I tried for the next session i.e. CSIR NET Dec 2015. But once again the unfortunate hit me and my semester exams clashed the NET Exam Dates, therefore, I couldn’t focus much on NET Exam preparation and scored only 50% when the qualifying cutoff marks were 59%.
Even in the June 2016, I was not able to touch the cutoff level. With all the hard work and strong determination, I was quite ready to crack this rising competition in Dec 2016.
So, 75% was my targeted score this time and when the CSIR NET Result declared, I nailed it with 35th All India Rank (66.7%).
This is how I made it to success!
Ques 3: What used to be your daily routine during the CSIR NET Preparation days? How many hours did you use to spend on your study tasks?
Ans – If I talk about my routine, then there was no specific routine. My only aim was to cover everything from the syllabus, then I used to go for practicing various CSIR NET Question Papers.
In my first attempt, I studied only from the local authors and publications books. I knew it’d not be enough, so I went for subject-wise books for CSIR NET Life Sciences such as ‘Cell Biology by Albert’ and ‘Genetics by Snustad and Simmons’.
Thousands of pages were there in these books and I tried almost 18 such books.
However, this was also not enough to crack the exam. In my 4 attempts, I studied only from the books and by the time, I had realized that I need more stuff to learn from. So, I downloaded CSIR NET Free Sample Study Notes from the Internet.
As far as my schedule is concerned, usually, I used to study about 5-6 hours a day and after 8-9 days, I used to take a break from the studies for 2-3 days.
And when the exam was so close that only 1.5 months were remaining, I studied like never before. It was 9-10 hours, I used to spend learning and quite enjoyed it because I had an idea about how science is working.
Setting up a target is crucial for every goal. Mine was 75% as I mentioned in my previous answer.
This target actually helped me to go in the right direction and study with a single focus.
So, I would like to advise all the students to set a target first and step ahead with a clear strategy and a perfect study plan.
Ques 4: Mr. Vinay, we’d be grateful to hear the strategies that worked well for you in achieving the CSIR NET Qualification. Would you like to share your success mantras with other aspirants too?
Ans – Yeah sure! As I previously mentioned if you want to score more, switch to books either in printed format or digital format. CSIR NET Life Sciences Books have depth and enormous knowledge that will boost your understanding.
During my preparation, I found books strongly helpful. Please note that I’m not talking about Pathfinder Publication and other books which are not standard. I’m talking about original books. Because Pathfinder like books are best during your revision but for best knowledge with understanding and for doing all questions, especially that of “Section C” you will surely need books.
Here, I am giving the list of all books that I used to read for Life Sciences:
Cytology & Molecular biology - Albert, Cooper, Lodish, Karp, Lecture Notes for
Methods in Cell Biology by Mark F. Wiser
Biochemistry - Lehninger, Lubert Stryer, Voet & Voet
Genetics - Snustad and Simmons, Robert Schleif
Evolution - Strickberger, The Evolution Handbook by Vance Ferrell
Ecology - Singh Singh Gupta, Odum, Chapman, Miller- Essentials of Ecology
Immunology - Kuby, Lauren Sompayrac
Biostatistics - Dr. Veer Bala Rastogi
Plant Physiology - Taiz and Zeiger, Hopkins
Animal physiology - Guyton
Techniques - Gene Lewin, Wilson Walker, T A Brown, Biochemistry laboratory: modern theory and techniques by Rodney Boyer
Microbiology - Brock, Prescott
Plant Breeding - Acquaah
Plant Pathology - Agrios
Animal taxonomy and all - Any basic book
Plant taxonomy and all - Simpson, Gurcharan Singh
Miscellaneous Question - YouTube, Wikipedia, and other websites that can help you in understanding any topic.
For Revision-Pathfinder- Part I and II, Techniques, Question Bank
So, after having a look at this list you will be thinking that how to go with these large numbers of books. This, you will get through your experience after one or two months of reading.
CSIR NET Preparation Strategies by Mr. Vinay Kumar Singh
Let me tell you my story!
By reading all these books, I slowly came to know that same thing was repeated in every book. I mean the original content that you need from a book is only 30-40%. Let me say 40%.
Now we have 60%, of which 30% are very basic and 30% of the Ph.D. level. This is the story of every book.
Let’s take the example of Developmental Biology Gilbert.
When you will read this book, you will see that some chapters are of the basic type. This is because the author wants you to read the basics first, like general cytology, biochemistry, genetics, etc, those will surely help you in understanding developmental biology further.
Moreover, the book also has some chapters dedicated to the application of developmental biology. Those are not for you. Those chapters help you in your research if you will do your research in that field. Like this book, all book has the same story starting with basics and ending with their future scope.
So, you can read the basics as fast as you can because you know it very well and left those parts which are of Ph.D. level. Read Smartly!
You have your CSIR NET Life Science Syllabus plus you have old question papers, those books, and the strategy that I told you. You will have to qualify once so read much.
Don’t read short notes etc, go for more and make use of time. Believe me, do not go for doing question answers and practice etc, just study and study only in your first 3-4 months, cover the whole syllabus first.
After 3 months, you can go for practice CSIR NET Mock Tests, Previous Years Papers, and Online Test Series.
As you know, there are three sections –
1. Section A which is about CSIR NET General Aptitude, I was not good at aptitude, so I never concentrated on this part. If you are good enough, you can prepare it from any basic book or notes.
2. Section B is of direct question type means if you know the answer just tick it right in the exam. If you don’t know, there is no reasoning to solve that.
3. In Section C which is a major, very important part and my favorite. I will say, if you can score much in Section C, no one can stop you from qualifying CSIR NET.
Because its weightage is 100 marks. If you can score 75-80, then extra 40 marks you can easily get from Section A and B. So, 115-120 are enough to qualify CSIR NET JRF Life Sciences, as your percentage will reach to 57.5-60%.
I didn’t have any timetable for studying. As I have already told you. When you feel to study, study well, when not, leave it and enjoy other things.
How many hours, how many books, etc. is not important. The important thing is how many new things you are learning daily, that will lead you to cover everything in the remaining 5-6 months and please don’t think that qualifying in one attempt is everything.
I was from a very poor background, so I studied everything during my M.Sc. and NET preparation. Even in my first semester of M.Sc., I didn’t know why chromosomes look X-shaped. So just go through reading to know about science.
If you really want to do research or want to become a scientist, no one can stop you from qualifying, and believe me, after preparing not only you will qualify, you will have immense knowledge and the best understanding about science. That’s why I love this exam.
This was the first exam of my life when I seriously studied. In all other examinations, I studied average and scored average.
Ques 5: What are the crucial things that a CSIR NET aspirant must not skip doing during the exam preparation?
Ans – First thing is to stay relax and don’t read beyond your capacity. Read when you like to read.
Second, don’t skip any topic from the CSIR NET Syllabus PDF. I’ve seen many of the students read only according to previous year question papers and solving all the problems which are there in the question banks.
Don’t do this, in the exam, you will get questions from all the topics which are there in your syllabus. I’m not saying to go deep into every topic but don’t leave any topic and study at least general things about that subject.
Don’t go through only important topics. This is an MCQ examination, the first important thing is your understanding and the second thing is the depth of topics you know.
CSIR asks at least 4-5 questions from every major topic, in which you can solve easily at least 2 if you know the basics only. So, if you go through only some important topics, you can solve all questions from that section, but you can’t do well in another reasoning type of questions which are there in Section C.
Moreover, there are miscellaneous questions which are solely based on your understanding of life science and this is only possible when you know everything. So keep it in your mind ‘read everything’.
Ques 6: How did you get your CSIR NET Certificate and how well you could benefit yourself with the same?
Ans – Previous process of getting CSIR NET Certificate was tedious. It was compulsory to send all the required documents to CSIR/UGC and it depended on your luck when you will get your certificates.
It took months for some and years for others. But now at least in UGC (if you get the slot in UGC) everything is online. Your Lectureship certificate will be uploaded to the UGC official website and your JRF award letter will be sent to your residential address.
CSIR is going to do the same thing I think. So hopefully, next awardees will be relaxed.
When we talk about benefits, there are lots of benefits from CSIR Fellowship. Every tour, every seminar, symposium, presenting the poster, buying chemicals, and electrical goods which will be helpful in your research, you can cover all these expenses from this fellowship.
Your hostel charges, traveling and for everything else, you’ll have no need to take financial support from your home. You can choose the best university, institute or CSIR Lab for research.
These are the two basic things every aspirant will benefit from this exam.
Ques 7: How CSIR NET qualification helped you in your career life? What is your current work or designation?
Ans – I’m doing my research in Angiosperm Taxonomy at the University of Calcutta as a Junior Research Scholar. Taxonomy deals with the description, identification, nomenclature, and classification of organisms. You read about class, order, family, genus, and species, this is what I do.
Qualifying CSIR NET JRF helped me a lot. I have everything to conduct my research well. As science is interrelated with other disciplines too, so NET is a complete package of knowledge. I attain Seminars, Symposium, and workshops which help me in meeting and knowing about new people and place. I pay all my expenses, hence, no more ‘Dad where is my pocket money’.
Ques 8: Do you have to say anything to the changes made in the qualifying criteria of Assistant Professor? Is this good or bad for aspirants?
Ans – I won’t say anything about the situation which is there. I think you just ‘accept what is before you’ and try your best to get that. If you believe and have confidence in yourself, then you are going to qualify this exam. Nobody can stop you.
Ques 9: Is there anything that inspired you throughout your career journey?
Ans – If you understand the definition of Research which is “the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions”, then you know what your inspiration is.
I wanted to do research, so this word research, that inspired me a lot. I used to watch movies based on science, read the newspaper, reading books. I always amazed by nature. How a caterpillar turns into the butterfly, moth, and dragonfly; how a tadpole loses its tail; how birds fly; how life originated on earth etc. and as you know biology is the science of living organisms, so you read about yourself too, how human body functions and all that.
All the methodology scientists find out the conclusion. This is the beauty of science that will inspire you if you study well. So, keep thinking and questioning. Search for the facts and sources. Live science!
Ques 10: At last, I’d request you to share your valuable suggestions to CSIR NET Aspirants. Please do the honor, sir!
Ans – As I told you a lot of things about this exam, I think this is enough. I told you How to start, to proceed further, to get inspired always, the benefits of qualifying CSIR NET JRF. So, follow the same.
I was like you. I was average. But reading makes you perfect. Think about your happy future and prepare well for it. Don’t lose hope. Study much, know much and stay motivated. CSIR is yours.
In the end, make friends, communicate to everyone and share your knowledge to others. Stay happy.
Yours Vinay Kumar Singh, Thanks!
We’re highly grateful to Mr. Vinay Kumar Singh who saved some moments from his busy schedule to give this interview. This interview would be greatly helpful to all the aspirants who’re going to appear in CSIR NET Exam.
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