IIT Madras MS (Computer Science) Interview Experience

5 minute read


This year cut-off of MS program at IIT Madras, GATE score should be greater than 600 and UG percentage should be greater than 75%. They shortlisted 231 candidates for written test, which was held on 8th may 2018. Around 160 candidates were present out of 231 candidates. The written exam was started around 2 p.m on the same day. There were 2 papers 1) Objective paper 2) Subjective paper. 1) The objective paper contained 30 questions. Each question of 2 marks and negative marking was there -0.25 for each wrong question. A syllabus is same as GATE syllabus. Each subject contained 3 questions. The level of questions was good than GATE questions (More logical and need a little thinking). 5-7 questions were straightforward. Aptitude section had 5 questions and not easy at all like GATE aptitude. 2) The subjective paper had 2 questions. first one was about to build an algorithm to find all local minimum in given complete binary tree. A second was like a Statement of Purpose “Why do you want to pursue MS at IIT Madras”?

The result was declared around 7:30 p.m on the same day. 54 candidates were selected out of 160 for interviews on next day. Hopefully, with hardwork and blessings, my roll no was in the list. I learnt a fruitful lesson about the mistakes, did in GATE exam and it’s all about those 3 hours to convert your potential into achievement.

Next day, we had to report at 8 a.m in morning. After document verification, of the three panel randomly candidates were sent to one of them. My interview was started at 2:30 afternoon. There were 4 professors sitting on my panel. Very friendly, supportive and try to make environment light, so they encouraged to do two side communication rather than one side. One panellist saw my GATE score and academic records and ask for elaborate on my machine learning research and development internship. They were quite impressed by my answer to “Why do you want to pursue MS at IITM?” I know about 2 professors and Lab working in deep learning as I took help from one of their research paper. So, it was plus point for me.

I have to choose one subject from the list which professor has mentioned. Before afternoon, they allow candidates to choose their prefered subject. As I did an internship in Machine Learning and research work in deep learning, mine was completely on pure Linear Algebra and in last they asked one question on binary search tree.

After a healthy introduction, one professor told me to pick up a marker and started questioning, Interviewer 1: Do you know about Linear Algebra well? Me: Yes, sir. Interviewer 1: Suppose, if a 3x3 matrix is given and two eigenvalues are same then it is possible that their eigenvectors are also same? Me: Yes, because the basis is same, we just multiplying eigenvector with scalar so direction is same jut magnitude

Interviewer 1: Construct a 3x3 matrix, where two eigenvectors are same Me: A very good discussion happened between us. Finally constructed the matrix.

Other Interviewer asked me to write 3x3 matrix according to him, which is an upper triangular matrix and asked me to find eigenvalue. I in blinked of eyes (lol) 3 diagonal elements (easy.) Maybe they just wanted to check to give the right answer in pressure or not!!

This question was interesting Interviewer 2: Matrix addition is just addition of the respective values of two matrices, but why multiplication of two matrices is complex? Me: I was just amazed, never thought about why multiplication method is like this!!! Just learnt what book taught. I couldn’t able to give clarification on this.

2-3 more questions on linear algebra(more towards machine learning).

Interviewer 3: Last question of the interview; asked me to draw random binary search tree with five nodes on board. Then she asked, if I gave any 5 random integers then is it possible to fit in this structure? Me: Yes, It can possible. Out of 5! combination anyone would be fit in this structure. (Because in order traversal is same as a sorted sequence of given sequence.)

They seem satisfied with my answer and interview was over. They didn’t know about my research work and paper in deep learning. So, I told them that I want to share one thing and I told about my 1-year research work and about AI lab of IIT Madras and contributions. All 4 professors gave smiles and interview was ended with 5 happy smiles!! :P

Interview want around a half an hour and after I walked in the campus for 3-4 hours in a lush green beautiful campus. It’s a memorable experience. I had just one option and hopefully, I could able to give my best. No regret about the GATE performance!

This journey has taught many life lessons.

The evening of 28th may 2018, around 7:15 I randomly checked IIT M website and my name was in a list under HTRA category. A huge sense of relief !! Hard wor, blessings of family and God, luck all combined pays off. The phase I was striving for is real now. In the end summing up my journey with the famous Batman trilogy dialogue, “‘Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

“Don’t Quit. While there’s a life, there’s a HOPE.”

If you have any doubts regarding GATE exam or how to prepare for Interview, feel free to drop mail or message to me. You can find social media links on left hand side of my main page. :)