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My interview experience at CESSI, IISER Kolkata (Selected)- Arpita Manju

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I got shortlisted for the interview at CESSI, IISER Kolkata for the MS Program in Space Physics. I attended my interview and got selected for the program. Now I’m currently studying here at CESSI.

Requirements:
Eligibility criteria is to qualify national level entrance exams like GATE (any field not necessarily physics), JEST. There is no such thing as cut off. You need to pass in any one of them with a valid score. Good aggregate in respective Btech curriculum and a good SOP that’s submitted during the application. Basic knowledge of physics in Electromagnetic Theory, Quantum Mechanics, Mathematical Physics, Classical Mechanics and others.

My Interview experience:
This was the first ever interview that I gave.
So the first question they asked me was the reason for my transition from Aerospace Engineering to Physics. Then they asked me which subject I was comfortable with, to which I answered EMT. My first question was on Maxwell’s equations. One of them asked me to write them on the board and describe each and every time. The other asked me the derivation of all the equations. And the other one asked me about the physical significance of each and every term in detail. I could do all these vividly as I had good hold on them. They did ask me a lot of times if I was sure about what I was answering, but I was pretty confident so they liked it. I was asked a few questions on the relationship between light, interaction of magnetic and electric fields. This itself took about 25 minutes as I had to derive all the equations and even derive a few terms that came along with the equations. Second question was to draw the electric field lines of a positive charge inside a sphere when it’s at the center of the sphere and at the off-center. I stumbled a little to be honest because I couldn’t interpret the field lines to their satisfaction. But they were very helpful and patient and so helped me when I got nervous or stuck. So I managed to do them within a few  minutes.
I had completed my Btech project at IIA, Bangalore on Exoplanets. So they asked me to explain it briefly and asked me questions on the conclusions and results drawn at the end of the project for about 10 minutes. I could answer a few questions except the one about the time of the evolution of the star spots.
I was asked to draw the graph of sin(x)/x step by step explaining the graph as I went on. That concluded my interview.

All in all, it was a good first time interview. It went on for about 45 minutes. I wasn’t nervous until I reached the hall the interview was going to be held. But as soon as entered the hall, I felt intimidated by the panel. I learnt that it was bad. Always remember you have worked hard so move with confidence. And also don’t get intimidated by the panel. But the panel was great. When I got stuck in a few parts, they always tried to be patient, very cordial and helpful. So I dint give up either.
I just want to say that hard work always pays off atleast at some point. So till then work hard and study with passion and patience. Love for the subject should never end. And also never give up!
Dream high!

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