While it is not unusual to see senior citizens appearing for the exam, the organising institutes feel the octogenarian engineer from Uttar Pradesh has set a new benchmark. A 75-year-old candidate is known to have taken the exam two years ago. The premier institutes do not impose an age bar on candidates.
With the IITs opening the competitive national test to third-year undergraduate students after a decade, the youngest to apply seems to be a child prodigy. The teenager is in his third-year B Tech instrumentation engineering, said Professor Deepankar Choudhury, organising chairman of GATE 2021, from IIT-Bombay. The student will graduate in 2022 and will appear for GATE in his core subject. Usually, B Tech graduates who are around 21-22 years old take the exam. With the pandemic delaying graduation plans, the organising IIT has allowed students in ‘the third year to apply as well. Over one lakh of the 8.8 lakh total aspirants are in their third year.
GATE is a qualifying exam for those seeking admissions to masters and PhD programmes in science & technology and placements in public sector undertakings.
Director of IIT-Bombay, Subhasis Chaudhuri, said the institute is delighted at the self-confidence and youthful exuberance of the senior citizen. “We support his aspiration and are hopeful to have him as our graduate student also,” he said.
Organising chairman, Choudhury, said, “It is a hallmark exam for people of all ages. While it is difficult to guess the real reason, some may want to crack the test to just check their proficiency. Less than 20% candidates who take the exam qualify. It looks good on the profile to mention one is GATE-qualified. An elderly candidate may want to set an example or motivate his younger colleagues.”
The senior citizen from UP was born in 1932 and graduated in B Tech civil engineering in 1958.