Saturday, September 01, 2007

ncbs (and dbs) entrance exams

I see from StatCounter that there are few ppl coming to my blog, with 'ncbs' as a search string. I presume its all in the entrance exam preparation fever. I do not want them to go back disappointed. Also, i have also been receiving orkut scraps and emails from my juniors and other ppl asking abt the entrances. So, i thought it would be nice to write a post on it and direct everyone here. I am writing this in a FAQ style (more or less because i can directly flick from some of my mails ;)

Note: All these have been written based on my (and my co-interview-mates') experience of the Integrated PhD selection of the 2006 batch (there could have been changes since then). I faced all the rounds, but did not clear the final round interview. I am currently a Junior Research Fellow at NCBS in Prof. VijayRaghavan's lab, working on developmental neuroscience. Exact project: "Organisation and asssembly of the neuronal network required for walking in Drosophila". Sorry if that sounds neither like greek nor latin

Does ncbs have scope for anything apart from biology? (modified version of the question ppl usually ask me: "I thought u r a physics guy. How come u r in a biology place?") ncbs is a bio institute alright, but biology these days has become interdisciplinary (like almost every other subject). There are interesting fields like Biophysics which need math, computation, physics (of course, the name has it) etc. And stuff like cancer research, cell signalling mechanisms, biological nanotechnology etc require chemistry, biotech and physics knowledge. Neuroscience requires physics and computation. Synthetic systems biology requires biotech, and cell biology knowledge. Population genetics and ecology require biotech, genetics, computation, old style botany-zoology and so on.
So, to put it short...... ncbs is looking for all kinds of ppl from different backgrounds - mathematics, theoretical physics, experimental physicis, biotech, botany, zoology, engineering, computers, chemistry, pharmacy etc. For ppl interested in wildlife conservation, there is a separate entrance for MSc in wildlife. It is an amazing course with field trips to amazing forests throughout India. Almost all students of the last batch won awards in international conferences last year)

What are the different stages in the selection process?
1. Entrance test (usually on the first or second sunday of dec)
2. Write-up submission (jan-feb)
3. First round interview(may-june)
4. Final round interview(usually within 1 or 2 days after first round interview)
Note:Until the final interview, the stages are common for both NCBS and DBS, TIFR. The final interview is held such that the DBS and NCBS interviews dont clash. So u can attempt two institutes in one go.

Entrance test: The test paper has four parts carrying 20 marks: 1)General math/aptitude 2)Physics 3)Chemistry 4)Biology. You do not need to be good at ALL the fields. U can easily clear it even if u r rorrible at one field, average at another and reasonably good in other two. (For eg. I was good in general math and Phy, not so good in bio, and horrible in chemistry (i answered only 1 out of 15 questions in chem).
Each part has 10 one mark questions and 5 two-mark questions. All are objective type questions with negative marking(-1/2 and -1 respectively.) (Obviously, the two mark ones are more tricky and hard)

Write-up round
: Once u clear the entrance, u will recieve a letter and form from ncbs, which u'll have to fill and send back in about a month or two. Apart from boring details like ur score in exams and other similar crap, there is a section which asks you why u want to join ncbs. This part bears quite some weightage in ur selection. So write it wisely. Dont try to show off too much. Be modest, keep it simple. Dont use too much complicated jargon.
The most important bit they ask u to do is to write a short essay within 300-400 words abt any unanswered question or research topic of ur choice, in biology (It can be stuff thats not done in ncbs too. Or even a whacky field u invent on the spot). U have to describe the question, give some background, and state ur approach to solve it. It can be quite hard to tuck everything in 400 words. Also cite references to strengthen ur points if applicable. Note that u don need to get down to excruciating details. Keep it simple, neat and elegant. Remember that this bit is what carries most importance in this round.
Along with this you will have to get 2 recommendation letters. (General hint: If u have a choice between a renowned person who will give u a below-average reco and a not-renowned person(say, a good lecturer) who's known u for a long while, and will give u a good reco, go for the second option)

First round interview: In the first round interview, students are divided into different batches, who will face different interview panels (probably at random). Each interview panel has three interviewer, usually from different backgrounds. During the interview, they first ask u what is the area which u r comfortable with. This could be Physics, biotech, engg, math.... anything. Make sure that u r really strong in the field that u mention (even if it is not ur favorite). They'll bombard u with questions, and try screwin u up in ur own field of choice. The interviewers will be helpful whenever u r stuck somewhere. Its not whether u answer it that counts, its how u answer it...... ur approach. For anything and everything, keep using the board... write down formulae, draw diagrams to explain, even if they dont prompt u to..... And they'll ask u stuff related to ur write-up, to test ur knowledge in that field. So, it is best if the idea is entirely urs. They can easily figure it out if u r fakin it or if u've flicked it from someone. The results are usually announced on the same day as the interview

Final round interview: You will face a 15 member panel now. This is pretty unnerving initially. With different ppl firing different questions from all sides. Make sure that u say that u dont know something, when u are not strong in that particular field. (I screwed up royallly on this aspect. I said, i was ok with genetics and tried attempting a genetics question thrown at me. I had no clue wat to do. I screwed up). And make sure u keep pushing the questions towards wat u r reallly strong at.

How hard are the entrance and interviews?
I felt the entrance to be simple, moderatrely easy and pretty interesting. There were some simple looking tricky ones, some simple straight forward ones and some difficult looking moderate ones.
The first round was fairly easy for me. So was the final one. But dont get stuck in a field which u r not comfy with. Make sure u r perfect in the field u state to be ur strength.(I also screwed up some phy questions, which i shud've answered).

What should i read to prepare for the exam?
Nothing. Last moment preparation does almost no good in such exams. Just strengthen ur basics in whatever u already know. Its ur overall smartness that will help u clear all rounds, more than just plain knowledge.

What are the different topics people are doing research on at ncbs?
Check out the ncbs website's page on it: http://www.ncbs.res.in/researchncbs/groups.htm

As ppl ask me more, i'll add more here too. And if you have any queries, please drop it in the comments page. I'll answer them as and when i can

Suggestions from others (Thanks to Umesh Mohan): In chemistry, strengthen ur reaction kinetics basics

150 comments:

Raghu said...

Oye!!
Did you delibrately wrote the
title name "EBTRANCE"???
check it out

Sudhir P said...

thanks for pointing it out. Corrected it

Anonymous said...

Hi, do you know anything about the msc wildlife bio entrance test?

Sudhir P said...

@anon: I have no idea aboyt the wildlife entrance. Sorry

Justin Kerala said...

Good to see this blog. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness on ur part to find time to help prospective students of NCBS.

Justin
Kerala

Sudhir P said...

@Justin: Thanks man.

ajt said...

Hey Buddy!!
Thanks a tonne for the info! Have fun getting those drosophila to walk! The ent exam's on sunday! Jus finished my semester exams, thought i d prepare for the test! Hope to work with you at NCBS! God Bless!

Sudhir P said...

@ajt: Thanks. All the best for the exams dude. Btw, i feel that the ncbs entrance cant be 'prepared' for. I suggest u just do a simple revision on the last day. The questions usually require more of wisdom than knowledge.

sid said...

IT WAS GUD READING UR MATERIAL SUDHIR, I WANTED 2 ASK WHAT EXACTLY SHOULD I SHOULD WRITE IN MY WRITE-UP ? ALSO SHOULD I GIVE ANY POPULAR TOPIC & IN WHAT MANNER SHOULD I PROCEED ? ? GOODBYE

Sudhir P said...

@Sid: 'Dont' use a broad topic. Narrow it down and be as specific as possible. Or u can have a general question with a specific approach to solve it....

Stick to the word limit.....

Read up on background information regarding ur topic. Use Google Scholar or Hubmed/Pubmed and search for the relevant research papers and read them. Cite the papers in ur write-up if u can,,,,, If u cant access the papers, u can write me the titles and/or authors of what papers u want... I can mail them to you....

If u r comfortable discussing ur topic w me, i can even discuss and help u out.

U can reach me at:
s u d h i r p a l l i y i l at g m a i l dot c o m

shraddha said...

thnx a lot for d info!it was useful. just want to ask u...dbs(tifr) intervw is for 3 dayz...r they goin to interview us for all the 3 dayz? ... whoa!n that facing 15 judges seems scary!

Sudhir P said...

@shraddha: The procedure this time is different from what it was when i attended. But, from what i gather, there will be apreliminary round which will be for the first two days. Half of u will have ur prelim interview on day 1, and the rest on day2. Ppl shortlisted will have a final interview on day 3.

All the best!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sudhir,
Thanks for this info. Good work, man...
I m not having any blogger id, hence i m putting my question as an anonymous. I hope, u don't mind.

I want to ask u something...as u said, the interviewer panel consists of profs frm different fields. I am a M.B.B.S. graduate and interested in Biology (especially, immunology and molecular biology part).
So, will i b facing questions about PHYSICS and MATHS? I haven't touched the books of theses subjects since 7 years due to my MBBS degree...

neuromancer said...

Hey anon,

MBBS ppl are just as welcome to ncbs, and there are a few ppl who are doing research on the clinical side, from ncbs.

U wont be asked questions abt physics or math in the interview, if u specify u r from an mbbs background. But, it will be there in the entrance exam. But, i guess u can clear the entrance if u r good in just one field. But, some overall knowledge will definitely help. They will not ask complicated math or physics even in the entrance, only general aptitude in those areas.

Anonymous said...

Hey sudhir,
Thank you for ur reply…I really appreciate it.
I would like to know one more thing…TIFR is having two campuses for doing Ph.D. in Biology…in Mumbai (DBS) and in Banglore (NCBS)
How the campus is decided? Means, whether Banglore or Mumbai? Are we given a choice? Or it is done according to availability in labs of professors?

neuromancer said...

hi again anon,

There are two different interviews for both institutes, but a common entrance exam, and write up round.

So, if u get thru both interviews, which quite a few do, u can choose. Or else, u'll have to join the institute u got thru for. And sometimes, there are labs that run on collaboration between NCBS and TIFR, where u'll have to shuttle between the two institutes once in a while (at institute's expense though)

Anonymous said...

Hey Sudhir,
Thanks for ur reply about interviews. The APPLICATION SESSION of NCBS/DBS is started now. From this year, they have started a new QUESTION PAPER PATTERN...
I m herewith giving u the lines mentioned in DBS-TIFR website...

"This year the Biology test will consist of the usual 2 hour test, followed by an additional one hour for a 1500 word essay on a general scientific top. Up to three choices will be provided for the essay topic."

what do u think? What can be the topics of essay? 'General' means exactly what? I think, this 'GENERAL' terminology makes u more tense than assigned syllabus...;)

neuromancer said...

hey anon,

General would mean that, there would be some totally random topic. NCBS ppl are very good at randomness. They'll look at how u "approach" a random topic.

And acc to me, its good to have such random stuff instead of a syllabus, as u dont need to prepare for the exam.

khilesh said...

Hey Sudhir,
Thanks a lot for d info.it will really help us alot.Bt could u plz suggest us that which topic particularly in bio section they give stress upon in d entrance exam.

Also m nt that good in phy & maths bt quite gud in chem & bio so could it b sufficient for me to face the entrence test.

khilesh said...

Hey Sudhir,
Thanks a lot for d info.it will really help us alot.Bt could u plz suggest us that which topic particularly in bio section they give stress upon in d entrance exam.

Also m nt that good in phy & maths bt quite gud in chem & bio so could it b sufficient for me to face the entrence test.

pony BN said...

hi....... thank you very much for all the information...

bhardwaj said...

hi,can u give me some clues in mcq,how tough will be those mcq.what will be its level and some essay topics.

neuromancer said...

@khilesh: There was no particular emphasis on any particular subject that i could notice in the entrance. But could just be because my naiveness regarding biology. And i know of ppl who cleared the entrance who were bad at phy and math. so i guess u can too.

@pony: U r awelcome. plz feel free to ask anythin

@bhardwaj: mcq, acc to me was not tough, but smart. as in there are multiple ways u can get the answer. the smarter ones will spend much lesser time on it and thus can finish it in time. Its hard for me to tell what tough is, as its a relative term, but i must tell that i enjoyed the questions. They were witty. Essay topics: no clue. we dint have it this way when we wrote it

Anonymous said...

hey sudhir
thanx for awl the information u provided it was of a lot use.
but wanna ask a que abt the essay topics tel me wat U think shud b the topics or of wat kind jus confussed abt them man.
wat say abt the Edible vaccines or DNA vaccines such type of topics would be included.

neuromancer said...

@anon: Essay topics, i have no clue abt it. When i wrote it, it was totally upto us. But now, i guess u hv to choose from 3 topics they give u.

I have no idea as to what the essay topics can be. But, my gut feel says that the topics will be very broad, so as to include the physics n medicine guys too. So, edible vaccines et al could never be the essay topic given. (again, only by gutfeel)

Anonymous said...

thank u very much for ur advice.u said it rite it wud be of broder aspects.thanx again u r doing a great job.science field guys lyk us needs good guids like u.
best luck for ur life.
bye see ya.

Anonymous said...

hi........at first thanks..i'm tensed about phys& math...i can't say i'm good in bio as it covers a huge area......what types of problem they ask in phys & math?plz suggest at the last days which area of math should i revise?

Anonymous said...

hey buddy.again i'm asking...if at ur time ,u asked to prep for the essay how would u prepare or at lest thought about it

neuromancer said...

(Assuming anon 1,2,3 are diff ppl)

@anon1: Ur welcome! All the best!

@anon2: In math, trigonometry will come in handy in many probs. In phy, i don remember well, but i guess optics (interference, diffraction, refraction et al) would be important

@anon3: First, i'd relax and enjoy lookin at others slog. then, i'd update myself on the latest trends in sci and tech from sciTech news sites (like science.slashdot.org | technologyreview.com wired.com | mindhacks.com | science.digg.com). I would also check out MIT bioBricks and past winners of the MIT iGEM competitions, so that i get to know some cool Bio hacks. And what all this will do is probably give me some points to include in my essay. Something that'll set me apart from the crowd.

NaTRazz said...

Hi Sudhir,
This is great, your blog is the only additional info I found about NCBS exams in the whole wwww. Thanx a lot for putting it up.
Few questions though I have:
1) They say "Candidates who have qualified in CSIR/ICMR/Gate exam are also required to apply for this entrance test if they want to get admission for the PhD program at NCBS.", does that means I have to take GATE too? Or is it optional? (I am a engg. grad)
2) By your entrance experience, can you say the topics covered were of level class XII or Xth of CBSE or ICSE syllabus or beyond?
3) In NCBS website they do not mentions about the essay some comments were mentioning about?
4) Can you also say that the questions a interviewer most likely to ask can be categorized as Graduate level, or below?

Thanx for help.
Regards
Natraz

neuromancer said...

@Natraz:
1) No, it doesnt mean that u need to write GATE. All that statement means is that the ncbs entrance is the only way u can get in, irrespective of whether u've cleared any of those other exams
2) In phy and math, bulk was class XII. A few beyond grad level. Chem was grad level. Bio wass spread through from XII level basics to grad level.
3) The first paragraph of the selection procedure page says abt the essay
http://www.ncbs.res.in/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=330&Itemid=9
The essay round was different for us, when we wrote it
4) The questions that are asked in the exams are ass mentioned in point 2. The questions of the interview will depend on how smart u r. They'll try to push u to the limits, and ask tougher and tougher questions as u answer the easier ones. U dont need to find the right answer. But, they'll look at the way u approach the problem. If the questions they ask u do not reach grad level, it means that u r screwed :)

Anonymous said...

hey!
great job there it's been really informative!
i'll be appearing for the TIFR entrance today in a couple of hours :)..haven't really read up a lot for it, but pushed myself to take it just to get an idea abt the kind of questions.

1)i would like to know abt other related fields too..for example,what is the current status of 'clinical research' in India?

2)what all are the upcoming areas in applied research?

thank you

neuromancer said...

@anon: Hope ur exam went well.

1) I don't have too much idea abt the clinical side of research, except for it being pursued big time by drug companies.
At ncbs, there are a couple of clinical-oriented profs. And my guess would be that that should be the flavour in other institutes as well.

2) I should say that cancer and stem cell research is the most happening area for applied research. But, don't go by my word, as i haven't explored much in this regard.

Anonymous said...

Just dropping some extra stuff from the entrance test :
essays : bacterial antibiotic resistance development and how to overcome it
Human embryonic stem cells and their application in biotechnology(roasted neutron your prophecy came true)
Global warming and its effect on the indian subcontinent

Questions were mostly from 12th standar physics including gravitation and pendulums a little on radiactivity ,x-ray diffraction basic
Chemistry was comparitively simple with questions relating to molarity and osmolarity,phase equilibrium, gibbs energy
Biology was nice with lots of genetics

neuromancer said...

@anon: cool! Thanks for adding the info here man! That'll help others comin here. I appreciate that.

thalia said...

hey
i am thalia. i heard this time ncbs asked more of logical questions?is it true?and also what do u think of putting logical questions as the basis of the entrance tests?

neuromancer said...

@thalia: I have no clue abt how this time's entrance was.

And personally, i feel that logical questions are THE things to be asked in such an entrance. Factual knowledge abt a zillion things is useless in a research place

kingvinod24 said...

hello sir i have cleared written exam.i have chooses neuro science but i have no idea about it.plz help me

neuromancer said...

@kingvinod: Congrats on clearing the entrance. I'd suggest, u read "Fundamentals of Neuroscience" by Eric Kandel. Its an easy read. (U don't need to read the whole fat book, just browse through it, and strengthen ur basics)

Anonymous said...

Is NCBS really worth it? Sorry for sounding rude but just noticed that ncbs is dominated by neurobiologists or motor protein biologists. Not much of genetics actually involved.Also how good is it as compared to other places in INDIA like nccs , ccmb and iisc. How many scientists are actually involved in active research . who are the best guides?

neuromancer said...

@anon: Thanks for asking point blank. It makes it a lot easier.

The drosophila people (6 labs) are big time into genetics, but as a tool rather than a topic. And there is Uma Ramakrishnan's lab which looks at population genetics. And there are ppl looking at quantitative mathematical models of gene/protein networks.

If u want to to do genetics specifically, especially the mol-bio kinda genetics, then ccmb could be better, as they are completely devoted to it. I have no idea abt nccs. Neither have i explored iisc. But for neuro and protein work, ncbs is a real nice place and is definitely worth it.

If u r particular abt genetics, i'm not confident that ncbs will fit ur bill. But ur genetics skills will definitely be utilized if u choose the right labs.

bhardwaj said...

hi urs information help me to clear written test.thanks

neuromancer said...

@Bharadwaj: Glad to hear that. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Sir,
I am a physics student and I was directed to your blog by a google search on TIFR ENTRANCE PHYSICS QUESTION PAPERS. I am very happy that you are guiding other interested studentts about the entrance exam.
Could you please guide me/direct me to a website /blog of a TIFR physics friend of yours who can guide me or post a blog about TIFR entrance exam (Physics)? I shall be highly thankful to you for this kindness.

neuromancer said...

@anon: I had written the TIFR PhD entrance, just after BSc. I couldn't handle the questions well. I could've had i covered enuf of MSc stuff. But i heard from others that the one i wrote was relatively easy compared to other yrs. My friends who actually cleared it haven't blogged abt it. So i am not in a position to help u. Anyway, all the best

Anonymous said...

Hi I need your help urgently. I have cleared the tifr phd entrance and interview .So practically I am in. But i also have a usa admit.What do you think I should do?Stick with TIFR or GO TO USA.How often do students at tifr end up getting publications? how bright is the future after TIFR?
please help.

neuromancer said...

@ anon: I do not have personal experiences w TIFR. Nor do any of my friends. They all chose institutes in Bangalore even though they got through TIFR (main reason being hometown, rather than institute value.)

Again, USA is a big place with lots of vaqriation from crappy colleges to the best ones. So, if u r gettin clatech, MIT et al, why bother abt TIFR? :) But, instead of going to an unheard of univ, i would say TIFR is better. And i've heard the theoretical physics PhDs take longer than the exptl ones..... So, there usually is a tussle b/w interest time and quality. Any place u plan to join, its more important how these conditions r met, not just by the institute, but by the professor u'll be workin with too.

Anonymous said...

hello sudhir
u r really helpng a lot of students like me.
ur comment form ws nt responding bfor so i left a mail on ur gmail account which u hv mentioned above wd d subjct mentined as-need ur help fr ncbs, plz see to it n reply me as soon as possible.
lookng frwrd fr ur help.
thanks anyways.

Anonymous said...

hello sir
thank u so much for ur information

n . ! . k said...

hey m in ma final year BE biotech hee in bangalore BMSCE .. m plannin to apply for the phd both at ncbs and jncasr .. which one do u think is a good option!!?? so dat i can concentarte a bit more on it !!! n yea... iv jus been plannin to revise ma basic phy math chem n bio skills .. bio is not a problem but is it enuf to study the usual aieee syllabus for the math chem n phy sections??

Somak said...

hey
i am final year MSc student and i hav completed the same this year...hav been preparin fr the netrance fr phd programme....my query is that whether the exam on phy chem bio math at an advanced level than 12th std syllabus or is it loosely based on the 12 syll....help me out here cuz am havin a tough tym decidin where to begin my revision...

neuromancer said...

@nik: Acc to certain lab mates who've been at both places.... for biology, ncbs is way better.... But im not sure how biased their opinions are, as they had some trouble w their prof... And i dunno wat the aieee syl is, so cant tell u abt this.... its imp to know 12th std lvl of basics.... knowin even higher will give u an edge in some tricky questions

@somak: as said above: mainly 12th lvl basics.... simple trigonometry especially, comes in handy in many places.... and knowing more will give u an edge in tricky parts

n . ! . k said...

how imp is ya past academic record in the selection procedure?? iv had pretty good scores till ma 12 but in engineerin it wetna bit low :P still managed a first class wid distinction but not good grades though .. so how would it affect ma selection procedure!!!

neuromancer said...

@nik: it wont matter until ur interview... sice diff pl come from diff pllaces w no commmon ground to emasure anyone.... they rely only on the entrance test scores.... and at the interiews, they'll ask u why u scored low... If u can justify it, u r safe afaik

n . ! . k said...

hmm.. that was really helpful.. u doin a great job wid the blog... it really helps many students !! thanks a lot !!!

n . ! . k said...

and yea.. is the selection process different for int phd and phd applicants ?? i mean do dey select 10 ppl for int phd n 10 for phd o somethn like dat o is it general... like 20 ppl for both phd n int phd together??

neuromancer said...

@nik: the selection process is separate for ints and phds... they say they dont have a fixed plan of taking a certain number of students... tey'll stretch or shrink it epending on how good the students are.... i dunno if thats true.... my guess would be its a 10+10

Bhavyashree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bhavyashree said...

hey sudhir,

I read your blog and am surprised with your amount of patience and your willingness to help people. Really nice of you. Do keep up your good work n help all those people like me :) hope you having nice time....
cheers

n . ! . k said...

n ya one last question :) at least for now .. :) well ther are ppl frm different qualifications applying for phd at ncbs.. i mean therl be ppl frm b tech bsc mtech msc and so on.. is ther any bias in selection ?? i mean are the ppl with masters given more preference wen compared to candidates frm bacheloprs who directly apply for phd??

neuromancer said...

@nik: es... there will be ppl from all feilds... but i have no idea abt the bias et al.... One thing though.... i've seen ppl w varied backgrounds getting selected in hte final interviews, which should likely indicate that there isnt much bias

n . ! . k said...

uv been of great help :) thanks a lot for ya patience :) really appreciate it .. !!!

Karamchand said...

hey sudhir went thru ur entire list of comments..really helpful!!
cleared most of my doubts..Now comin to the doubt yet to be cleared..
I wanted to know
1.How good NCBS is with nanotechnology+biology?
2.Any books u can suggest for me to read so i can make a good impression in the interview if i clear the written?( i would be choosing somethin related to nanobio)
3.The professors who are workin on it?
pls do answer them.thanks!!

neuromancer said...

@karamchand: Prof. Yamuna Krishnan works on bionanotech here

http://www.ncbs.res.in/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=60&Itemid=69

A publication in nature neuroscience means that the lab is good

Other professors at ncbs also work on the nanoscale but into cell biology side of stuff

I'm no good at books good for these

Karamchand said...

thanks a lot..!!!

Karamchand said...

Hi sudhir,
I have a very basic doubt.I've just completed my B.E. in Biotechnology.Can i apply for the INT phd program?? the website says only BSc ppl can apply!!!
Also otherwise can i apply for the phd program in biology?? cos it says B.E. in the eligibilty category..or am i misinterpreting it?? How can i get a phd without doin my masters???
I'm really confused as the application deadline is closing in..plss help me out!!

neuromancer said...

@karamchand: u can apply for phd directly :) And thats how it works all over the world too

Karamchand said...

ohhkkk..sorry didnt know that!! got another doubt now..!!
how many years does it normally take to get one??

n . ! . k said...

If im interested in applying for a JRF wat is the procidure? am i supposed to write a entrance exam ?? how is the selection usually done?? are the students provided a stipend or are v supposed to pay??

neuromancer said...

@nik: u need to write the CSIR NET exam..... U'll be paid a stipend

Or there is an alternative path in the case of a few labs (like the one i'm in).... u do a project in the lab, by approaching the prof through ur university (Personally approaching will usually not work).... Then after the proj, the prof offers you a JRF-ship if he/she likes you, funded by some private grant.... And remember, this doesnt work for all labs

n . ! . k said...

do u mean v are allowed to work on projects oly in your lab or u meant the provision for se;ecting a student for JRF?? are we allowed to work on academic projects ?? i mean il have to do a project as a part of ma final year curriculum ??? so will i be permitted??

neuromancer said...

@nik: projects as part of final yr curriculum is the best way.... Make sure u come with a good recommendation

n . ! . k said...

oh.. thats quite a surprise coz i neve thought we were allowed to do dat in ncbs... :) can u jus teme how do i go about to approach for a project?? i mean is ther any particular person i need to contact.. am i supposed to come wid an idea bout which i wanna work o somethn like dat??? am i supposed to work single or in a goup?? n stuff like that plzz...

neuromancer said...

u should be recommended by one of ur profs at ur univ..... Then u just mail the prof u r interested to work with, or ur univ prof mails the prof at ncbs.... And u can come over and meet the prof n ask him/her...... U usually get to work in a group, and on a pre-existing project... u dont need to come up w anythin new.... U should know what u r interested in though :)

n . ! . k said...

hmm.. suppose il b working on ma project in next sem that is 3 months from now.. when should i approach the prof at ncbs??

neuromancer said...

now would be the best time to approach

n . ! . k said...

can i jus approach initially n if i get a reply from the prof frm ncbs may be then get a roccomendation from ma clg so dat if i don get a reply frm one lab may b i can try any oder lab of ma interest??

neuromancer said...

@nik: U can try that.... But i've seen it not work for many students..... This is cos, they are flooded with such requests, and they dont have patience to hear everyone out, so they simply say they have no vacancy

n . ! . k said...

hmm.. yea.. thats there:) same thing happend when i had to approach a professor at the IISC ..so wat do u think i should do to increase ma chances of getting a positive reply?? :)

neuromancer said...

@nik: One thing - keep asking many profs. Another thing, go with a recommendation. Just ask ur prof to mail the ncbs prof, asking whether he/she is willing to take a bright student for any project.

nikhil said...

back wid couple of more doubts.. :) one of ya commens said u wrote the tifr exam right after ya bsc and you couoldn handle the questions!!! m also a bachelors student attendin the examm.. so basically il b competein against many masters students n may b even ppl wid couple of years of experience after master.. going by ya experience of exam after bsc.. wat do u think were ya weak point that made u find the paper tough .. i mean as a bachelor student wat extra must i be doin to get in par wid the masters sudents attendin the paper?? :)

n . ! . k said...

i am prety much confortable wid biology phy and chem .. even though iv lost touch of ma physics i guess i can make it up by the time of exam..but math is one section i really am uncomfortable with.. and moreover i also have my semester exams starting two days right after tifr exam . so im kinda runnin short of enough timeto prepare...il probably b studyn biology chemistry n selected topics in phy n probably very few selected topics in math.. can u just help me out wid the topics u think in math n phy to come in handy for ma entrance exam!!! and one more request.. do you know of anyone fm ncbs who was selected previous year so that i can contact him/her regardin the updates that might have happened in exam patern since your time... thank you!! :)

n . ! . k said...

sorry about the spelln mistakes.. its 4 am n ma brains half dead !! :P

Nikhila said...

Hey thanks a lot for all the info! I'm a B.Sc. student and ur comment that u dint clear TIFR after ur B.Sc. has got my nerves going hayware! I have left math after my 10th and have lil to no knowledge in physics. I'm ok with my chem and bio...u think its still fine to crack the exam? i.e. If I go thru the basics in all the subjects now as I dont see much time around...

Bhavyashree said...

hi, I am writing this entrance exam on 13th. I donno wher to start from to prepare coz everything seems to be basics. Cud you please help me with this.

n . ! . k said...

The Infosys Prize in Life Sciences goes to Professor K. VijayRaghavan in recognition of his many contributions as a developmental geneticist and neurobiologist.
u work in Prof.Vijayraghavan's lab right!! congrats to ya team :):)
N good luck to all you ppl for sundays exam !!!

sujata said...

THANKS for all the info.i will be giving the exam tomorrow.going through ur blog post and comments cleared a lot of my doubts and dispelled many myths.
i found ur blog today only.wish i could have seen it earlier..
thanks a ton !!!

uzma said...

hey!!!

m having my NCBS exam tomorrow...all d information provided by you has been an immense support for me..esp those lines in which u have mentioned that one doesnt need to be gud in all d four parts of the paper..coz i m gud in gen maths,aptitude, biology..ok in chem and HORRIBLE in physics...(as u were in chem,probably ;-))..infact i dont think that i d be able to attempt atleast 1 question 2mrrw..:-p

thanks a lot!!!

saur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
saur said...

Hi,
I saw your blog in a hurry yesterday and echoing all the above comments I must say, it was indeed a great relief.

I appeared for the exam yesterday and I was disappointed by the change the exam has underwent. Pardon me for using up so much space on your blog, but I think that the following might be useful for future aspirants.

Almost all questions were typical medical entrance questions with fair share of cheap trick questions(the nail in the tree, pendulum with water leaking slowly etc.).

Anyone who knew basic formulae in Phy could have solved Phy questions. For me Chem was horrible because of bias towards organic chem (~10 questions out of 15), but even these were based on typical 12th level reactions and a revision could have been useful. Biology was too easy and I think everyone would score a perfect (making selection dependent on Phy/Chem). There was no maths at all. Instead there was a general paper (combining Phy, Chem, Bio again) which was at best, general...

The most significant thing that I want to point out is that it would be difficult to get selected if you screw up in either of the subjects (as it seems was not the case a few years back).

I was actually disappointed because there was no rigorous testing of ones analytical and critical reasoning skills.

Overall, the experience was best summed up by one of my friends- "I should have brought my younger brother as a dummy"...

n . ! . k said...

hmm..testing was not as rigorous as its supposed to be.. especially when its about a good institution like TIFR..i bliv this years xam favoured phy n chem students and pure bio students had no advantage over others inspite of this being a biology entrance xam
1. No math at all
2. Chem was biased too much toward organic
3.phy ..hardly needed a formula n that too very basic stuff like resistance, time period of pendulum and stuff like that
4.considering it to b a biology entrance,questions on biology too were not as good as i expected it to b..except for 2 o 3 degree level stuff others were carbon emission, photosynthesis and related stuf v study in our high school..

i think anyone wid common sense ( id prefer calling it common sense than basic knowledge ) and analytical skills couldv easily crack at least 30 to 35 questions.. general section and bio was very disappointing and was as easy to a phy o chem student as it was to a bio guy.. sad for phd or int phd biology entrance!! ..phy n chem play an imp role in selection..due to very easy scoring in general n bio sections.. i was forced to take a couple o chances in phy and chem inspite of negative marking!! :) hope it doesn end up in a mess!! :)

Anonymous said...

Agree with nik and saur. I'm glad I didn't spend more than 2 days poring over my books. Honestly I don't think it would have helped, except in Chemistry with the organic stuff. It's going to be interesting to see how the selection proceeds. My gut feeling is that phy and chem will be the deciding factor - disappointing since this is essentially a Ph.D. Biological Sciences program.

Umesh Mohan said...

A little knowledge about basic reaction kinetics will help a LOT.

Thanks Sudhir for the article. Also to all the people who left constructive comments. :-)

abhinandan said...

the results of ncbs are out....and I don't know what to do next..please help me

Uzma Din said...

hey!!!
thanks a ton again, for ur suggestions.i dunno if i had really gvn my best or not in d paper..but ur Blog had been an immense mental support for me throughout my preparation and during the exam as well!!!

U will be glad to know that i have been selected in NCBS and TIFR both!!!

i wud like to hear frm u soon, regarding how exactly to go about the next levels of selection...

somesh said...

hey!!!
thanks a ton again, for ur suggestions.i dunno if i had really gvn my best or not in d paper..but ur Blog had been an immense mental support for me throughout my preparation and during the exam as well!!!

U will be glad to know that i have been selected in NCBS and TIFR both!!!

i wud like to hear frm u soon, regarding how exactly to go about the next levels of selection...

EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED TO SAY!!

Vaishnavi said...

Hey all,

Firstly, a huge thank you to Sudhir for all the info about the entrance exam.

I have been short-listed for the next round for NCBS(write-up + reco) and TIFR (interview).

I was wondering if it's just me or if everybody has trouble downloading the "application form and reference letters" after logging in to the NCBS account.
I have received the formal mail from NCBS ("Qualified in the Entrance Test for PhD/Int.PhD program at NCBS blah") but haven't been able to access the downloads.

Does this sound familiar to anybody else?

Thanks,
Vaishnavi

neuromancer said...

Regarding others' view on the entrance tests...... they are indeedc looking for 'common sense' rather than a lot of factual knowledge.... But, if it is really easy, then there is a higher probability that a smart guy accidentally loses out.... SO... anyway.... its all done now, congrats to all those who cleared it.... i'm glad i was of help

And yes... i've heard others complain about the download thingy

And for the folks who asked abt 'what next' the answers are actually in the post itself.... If some doubts still remain, leave a comment... all the best

somesh said...

yes...the problem was there as the link was not active even after 3 days of recievin the mail...but now its working!

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neha said...

hi,
i'm an IT Engineer and want to study genetics.Am i'm eligible for NCBS entrance exam?

neuromancer said...

@Neha: yes u r definitely eligible.... but u'll need to have strong enough reasons and strengths to convince the interview panel later.... If not genetics, there are a coupla labs that do computational stuff (simulations etc)

neha said...

hi,
thnks for help.I have a few more question.What is the student intake per yr from these exms nd what kinda prepration is required for the entrance test plus interviews coz it has been 4 yrs since i have touched bio/chem/phy books? Are 12th standard books fine for prep or there z sm bsc stff in exams?

Anup B Prakash said...

Hi Sudhir,

I gave the M Sc Wildlife Conservation Biology exam and cleared the written round. Awaiting my interview. Lets see what happens, hoping for the best.

You can guide people who wish to know more about the Wildlife exam to me at anup.bp@gmail.com

Great work, especially with the comments!!

vanju said...

hi...'m totally intrstd in wildlife.. i gave d entrnc xm n cleared it. too nervous aft findin out abt d 15 member panel intrvw.. gosh.. i am a forestry grad., and if i tel them tat wildlife is my field or entomology rather, would it b helpful.,,or can it turn out to b rather painful?

Chetan Sunil Joshi said...

i want to crack the exam. now i am doing B.Sc Bioinformatics TY & like to join Integrated PhD of Bioinformatics.
But don't no the exact question paper & which type of question are come in exam. I mail to the students which are in NCBS for above course but No reply from anyone. Only one girl reply to my friend saying "Don't mail me." So still confusing what to do? How to study? Is questions of bioinformatics are come in Interview?

please reply on chetan1991@gmail.com

Thank You
-Chetan S. Joshi

whitestag said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hi am writing ncbs entrance phd this year and i have qualified gate too. Just want to know where can we get previous years question papers of ncbs exams. Also please do let me know which one is easier wildlife biology or biology?

neuromancer said...

@ all ppl wanting prev year question papers: You wont get it.... Its ncbs policy that no one gets it. And we are requested not to disclose any questions either....

somesh said...

Hey!
The question paper was there on the website of TIFR!!

somesh said...

http://univ.tifr.res.in/gs2011/GS2010_QP/GS2010_QP.htm

This is the link for the Question Paper

BTW, I m Somesh, MSc student at TIFR DBS

neuromancer said...

@somesh: interesting... We were asked not to disclose any questions in particular... At least that was the case a few years back

And thanks for putting up the link here for the benefit of others

Reshmi said...

I am a graduate in biotechnology(B.Tech).i saw in the eligibility criteria for the TIFR exam that a B.Tech graduate can also apply.so i got a lot of doubts regarding this test.insitute is giving intgrated Ph.d in biology.so can anyone tell me will i get any benefit if i joined this course. i am right now preparing for my GATE biotechnology to do M.tech.also i would like to know the syllabus taught under Ms there.plz someone help me
Reshmi

reshma said...

hi...
i have applied for ncbs Msc+int.PhD program and i am studying Bsc Microbiology.i really find ur page informative and helpful.is there anything u can advice me which will help me in my prep??i really look forward to ur reply

Essay Topics said...

Thank you for sharing this information. The information was very helpful and saved a lot of my time.

Good Essay Topics.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Somesh ty for the QP link. I already have it. Neuromancer, Ur blog helped me to get an idea about essay topics n what topics to brush upon. I am gonnna write the exam tomorrow. All the best for all those who are gonna write ncbs exam!
Once again thanks a lot neuromancer for ur effort IN CONTINUING THIS BLOG!

rohit gupta said...

hi

can we earn aparet of stipend,,,at ncbs/dbs

plz reply,,,

ryu said...

hello sir,
thanks a lot for the really helpful guidelines about the ncbs ent.
i hv qualified the written part where further i am required to submit the project in ncbs and face the direct interview at dbs,mumbai

May you kindly take pain to inform me if there is research available under the ecology portion of the biology in the INTEGRATED P.hd prog

thanking you,
Nishant

ryu said...

one more question sir
i hv done quite a bit of internships in the wildlife sector and also a vulture conservation project ongoing with the chief vulture scientist .
Shall i mention those things as training or internships (asking des so as to know if dey will carry any negative impact)
and our new from updation(post selection in written) wants us to mention the EXPERIMENT DESIGN.
CAN I GIVE THERE A SMALL PARASITIC WASP CULTURE I DIS DURING MY FINAL YEAR ENTOMOLOGICAL PRACTS.?

I AM BASICALLY INTERESTED IN THE ECOLOGY SECTOR.
kindly help

thanks

MOHAMMED said...

Hello sir,
I have just cleared tifr exam.since i am from rural side i could not get much information and support for SOI and interviews is it really too tough that for ordinary student like me?

Anonymous said...

hello sir, i ve cleared the written test and also submitted the proposal,are all people who have done these procedures called for interview?my question may sound funny but sorry,

Anonymous said...

hello sir,
i ve cleared the written test and also submitted by write up.....are everyone who has send their write up called for interview?

Anonymous said...

sir, i have been called for the interviews on 25th may 2011, at NCBS for int Ph.d, i want to work on regulation of gene expression, regulate the genes of a cell to give me desired product like induction of pluripotency etc, do u think NCBS will accept me. and sir i m not very fond of genetics (post mendelian, quantiative or population) is that goin 2 hamper my interview ?

Anonymous said...

hi sir
i have secured a second class in MSc, please let me know if that will be a hindrance to getting admission in NCBS, if only first class MSc students are eligible. Please reply, as this will help me quiet a much.
Thankyou

deepti said...

hi guys!!
ive done my bds n i really want to do msc in wildlife biology..can anybody tell me what do i have to study for the enterance xam?? like till what level in all the subjects..
please reply...

Dr. Rohit kundu said...

hi deepti...
M doing internship in MBBS and will be finishing next year april , m going to write this year msc. Wildlife ncbs exam.
Hi sudhir , thanx a ton for this platform you gave, please guide and give some tips for new essay system in writing exam.
The level of questions is quite unpredictable as it became quite obvious from last exam, but v shud stick to 10 to 12 syllabus, that would do i hope.
Secondly, essay writing that too about some random topic, most probably some environment and conservation conflicts....I just dn knw...
Thirdly, the interview....Where we need to convince them that we have some reasons to take this oppurtunity and why we left our quite good proffesional careers.

So get back to me plz ,if possible soon, so we mite find a way out of this, shooting without proper guidance and aim is really hell...
Rohit. be finishing next year april , m going to write this year msc. Wildlife ncbs exam.
Hi sudhir , thanx a ton for this platform you gave, please guide and give some tips for new essay system in writing exam.
The level of questions is quite unpredictable as it became quite obvious from last exam, but v shud stick to 10 to 12 syllabus, that would do i hope.
Secondly, essay writing that too about some random topic, most probably some environment and conservation conflicts....I just dn knw...
Thirdly, the interview....Where we need to convince them that we have some reasons to take this oppurtunity and why we left our quite good proffesional careers.

So get back to me plz ,if possible soon, so we mite find a way out of this, shooting without proper guidance and aim is really hell...
Rohit.

Madhuri Mondal said...

Hi guys, I am taking the Msc in Wildlife Biology and Conservation entrance this year. Can u pls let me know about the syllabus. It will be great if somebody can share some previous year question papers.
madhuri.jj@gmail.com

srikanth chowdary said...

thanks for giving information, will u give me guidlines for preparing entrance xam.

Dr. Rohit kundu said...

@srikanth There is a separate written test for the MSc Wildlife Biology and Conservation covering topics on general knowledge, analytical and quantitative skills, wildlife biology and an essay on a conservation issue.
for more please visit
http://www.ncbs.res.in/admissions2012/selection-procedure-biology.html

hope it will clarify.
the questions are just basic and general aptitude.

Deepika said...

Hello Sir,
I would like to know that the subject of interest we have to fill up in the application form is just for the interview or any other further reference too ??
I am totally Confused in filling that. Please help !!

Anonymous said...

I am a BSc.zoology student from Kerala.On 11th of this month i am going to appear ncbs entrance ex.I am worried about the questions from physics&math.which topics I have to revise from these two subjects?

rohit gupta said...

there is no such pattern they follow ,,,but you can certainly follow NCERT summary part,,,thaT too only if you was good enough in physics at the time of intermediation,,,,

but maths you can do probably good if your I.Q level is good enough to solve quantitaive aptitude,,,,,

ALL THE BEST,,,BEST WISHES TO ALL TEH CANDIDATEs,,,
NOTE:- 1)i felt time [problem]
2)try to score just 30-50%
3) seriously dont try much with risk,,,,

Anonymous said...

hi.. Basically im from science background so no problem in science but bit worried abt other part.... So can we read our XI and XII state board book for physics and Chemistry... Do it work for Ncbs entrance...

rohit gupta said...

yes ofcourse it do work alot,go for it,,,,all the best...

Tushar said...

Hello.
My name is Tushar. I've got a call for tifr(DBS) interviews.
Please tell me how should I prepare for the interviews.
I know one thing that they don't ask anything advanced in a particular field. They dig out for basics instead. But still how should I prepare my basics?
P.S. One idea is to read lower standard books (7th, 8th, 9th, 10th grade). Plz tell me if you can think of any other way of preparing basics.

Anonymous said...

Hi......I have plans of taking up MSc in wildlife in NCBS. Any tips to clear the entrance and interview in this field??? Is there any alternative if I don't get selected in NCBS for wildlife???

sunny kataria said...

This was really helpful info sir, I was nervous about my interview at DBS next week. But having a idea now makes me feel a lil comfy.

Anonymous said...

When will ncbs publish the list of candidates called for interview 2012??please tell me..

Anonymous said...

4 days to go for the interview, n m stuck with my statement of interest :-/

haripriya said...

hello..i got my call letter for the interview..i really dont know much about physics and chemistry..what should i do if they ask me phy and chem question...

Anonymous said...

can you please tell me about interview in NCBS? how to prepare for that? are they ask questions from statement of Interest or any thing basis

Anonymous said...

please tell me how to prepare for the ncbs interviews. I have heard that they ask questions regarding your basics and general aptitude. Please tell me where should I prepare from

Anonymous said...

i have been selected for integrated phd in biological science at some prestigious institutes of india.
How do you compare IISc and NCBS

1. world ranking
2. reputation
3. quality of publications
4. time taken to complete int. phd
5. scope of getting exit after M.S. in case a person dosen't like to continue
6. what is the meaning of escapee convicts.

nikhl said...

i m selected in ncbs.. can anybody tell me how to write a statement of interest..show me small sample..
basically i want to knw abt he 3rd question(experiment to be addressed )
in sop.

Anonymous said...

Where did Sudhir gone?

Anonymous said...

Thank a lot for the info. I have cleared the first round. I am from electrical engg background. I wanted to know 2 things...
1) how likely is it to admit an engg student? Coz, the college site doesn't particularly mention "electrical engg" as preferred background
2) what is the yearly intake in NCBS?

THANKS in advance😊

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Unknown said...

Hi neuromancer, you have been a great help, I am doing mbbs in Delhi
I wanted to know if there is stipend for the bio phd course and if it will be able to cover all the expenses of the course and living cost in Mumbai or bangalore as I don't want my parents to be paying for me the whole life, and it's time to stand on your
own
2.what are the prospects of a bio phd afterwards, I mean what we do after this

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