I had applied for both CDS and CSA M. Tech. Research and got called for both. As I could not clear written exams of IITH, IITG, and programming test at IITB, I wasn’t sure about IISc too.

Interviews were conducted over a period of 5 days from 20th May to 24th May. My interview dates were

21st May: CDS (afternoon session)

22nd May: CSA (morning session)

I reached the campus in the morning at 5:30 am. I had to wait up to 1 pm. Till then I roamed the campus 😊

Test started at around 1:30 pm. I shook my head on seeing all the 5 questions. I was able to attempt just 2 with confidence. I had doubts for the 3rd one and other 2 I knew that I did wrong. In all, I totally messed up with the test and as a result, I was shown the exit door. 

Depressed after the CDS test I went to Yeshwantpur to get a room. One of my friends was coming to stay with me. He had his interviews on the next 2 days. Did some rest and then revised my notes to be prepared for the next day. 

CSA had 3 choices of stream – Theory, Systems, and Intelligent Systems. Each stream had some background subjects. I had prepared for Intelligent Systems, which had Linear Algebra and Probability Theory as background subjects. 

The test was scheduled at 9 am. Reached the campus by 7:30 am. Did breakfast at Prakruthi. Entered the exam hall at around 8:20. We had to select a pool before the test. Each pool had particularly designed tests. Test started at 9 am. It contained 10 questions based on probability and linear algebra. All questions were simple. I had doubts about two questions. Results were announced within 20 mins. Two groups of 7 each were selected from 17-18 candidates for intelligent system pool. I was called at 4th in group one. I don’t know why called in two separate groups.

The interview started at around 10 am. I got called at around 11:30 am. Went inside. Initially nervous a bit. The panel consisted of 3 professors. 

Prof 1: Told me to sit down, while he went to erase the whiteboard.

Me: Thank you sir

Prof 2: Why did you give the highest preference to Astronomy and Astrophysics? It’s really interesting!

(meanwhile, prof 1 joining in the conversation)

Me: (In a complete surprise!) What sir? I didn’t. It must be a mistake.

(Both professors laughed and the atmosphere got lighten.)

Prof 2: Okay, so you did your BTech from Panjab Unversity.

Me: Yes sir.

Prof 2: What’s your cgpa?

Me: 7.13 sir.

Prof 2: You gave Gate 3 times (saying this he read out each of my scores), 432, 473, 692. It’s a quadratic function!

Me: Yes sir (In my mind – nice observation!)

(All this took nearly 4-5 mins)

Prof 2: So Ravi shall we start with Linear Algebra?

Me: Sure sir.

Prof 1: (Signaled me to go to the board) Take a matrix A of size m $\times$ n. What will be the size of $A^{T}$

Me: Told him.

Prof 1: What will be the size of $A^{T}A$?

Me: Told.

Prof 1: Will it be a symmetric matrix?

Me: Yes sir

Prof 1: How? Can you prove it?

Me: (I knew this but at that moment I couldn’t recall) Sorry sir I’m not getting there.

Prof 1: (He sensed the difficulty and asked) What’s the property of a symmetric matrix?

Me: This question was enough to remind me of everything. Did the proof.

Prof 1: If A is a real matrix then eigenvalues of $A^{T}A$ will be real or imaginary?

Me: Real

Prof 1: Take $AA^{T}$ and specify its size.

Me: Wrote on board.

Prof 1: If m > n then will the eigenvalues of $AA^{T}$ be a subset of eigenvalues of $A^{T}A$?

Me: (Didn’t know anything about it, Tried something but couldn’t progress.) Sorry sir, I don’t know this.

Prof 2: What is a random variable?

Me: Explained.

Prof 2: Suppose a coin is tossed. How will you use random variable?

Me: (After thinking for a while) Let X be a random variable that takes value head or tail (wrong)

Prof 2: What type of values a random variable can take?

Me: Numerical. (Oh! then I corrected my previous answer) Let X denote no. of heads i.e. either X = 0 or 1

Prof 2: What distribution does it follow?

Me: Bernoulli distribution

Prof 2: If the probability of Head is ‘p’ then what are the probabilities of X=0 and X=1?

Me: Answered.

Prof 2: Now if the coin is tossed twice then what values can X take?

Me: (Struggled a bit but finally got it) 3 values 0, 1, and 2

Prof 2: Write probabilities for each of the values of the random variable.

Me: Wrote.

Prof 2: What distribution does it follow?

Me: N number of bernoulli trials is binomial distribution. Here N = 2.

Prof 2: Okay, you can go now

Me: Ok sir, thank you!

Total time of the interview was around 15-20 mins. I could not answer one question. I had made my mind that here also I may not get selected. But still, I hoped for positive response.

5th June was the happiest day of my life – got the offer letter

Rank – 888

Score – 692

Thank you for your patience! I hope it is helpful for future aspirants

posted in Interview Experience Jul 8, 2019



Congratulations and Cheers for the happiest day in your life:)

You reached the campus at 5:30 a.m.That's good :)
You deserve it !!!

Hope we'll meet next year in IISc.

@Krithiga2101 Thank you.

It was the only suitable time for me 😅

Congrats bro 👍

@Satya618 thanks satyam.. Sure best of luck to both of you! 

What had they asked for cds☺
@kumar anukool

One from programming - complete the code for given problem statement.

One from probability, one from graph theory

And 3 were from aptitude. Each had different weightage of marks
Hey thanks for this information but I wanted to ask were you not asked anything regarding the research sub-areas ?
@riya rawal

No. They generally don't ask you about your research sub-areas as it is not expected from an undergrad fresher. But if you mention some experience then they might ask you about your projects. But overall they want to test the basics of pool you are applying for.
Hi, I need to know one more piece of information. Does IISc allow non-CS background students (degree in Mechanical Engineering, say) to apply for CSA MTech (Research), assuming the candidate appeared in GATE CS?