I participated in “The IET India Scholarship Award 2015” and was Runner-Up at Regional Level (South-2 Region). I have documented my experience here which may be useful to future participants.

IET India Scholarship is a Prestige Award that has been designed to reward and celebrate creativity, excellence, innovation and leadership among undergraduate engineering students.

This scholarship is divided into four stages with elimination in each stage. You can read more about the specifics of each stage on their website here. I will discuss about the process and components I feel are necessary to do well in each stage.

Online Application

Well, this is the first step. They have weightage for Academics, Extra Curricular, Outreach and Professional Membership/Contribution.

It will be really in your favour if you are a 9 pointer and have good performance in your secondary and higher secondary examination as their major weightage is on academics. Apart from that, attach certificates of merit and participation if you have taken part in some extra-curricular activities. Being part of a chapter or a professional body can be very helpful because they are looking for qualities like ability to work in team and leadership.

Submitting a complete application with accurate details is very important, as the documents are verified in the Regional Round. There is not much that you can do in this round, as they determine their cut-off based on the applications they receive. Make sure your application is complete in all respect and includes all relevant details.

In year 2015, there were nearly 7000 applications, out of which 1300 qualified for the next round.

Online Test

Second Step! Only thing I can say about the online test is that one cannot prepare for it!

The online test is to assess the applicants’ knowledge in engineering subjects: Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Electrical, Electronics, Civil, Mechanical, and Computer Science. The total number of questions will be approximately 50 with multiple choice options.

Some important points to keep in mind are:

  • The IET online test will consonance with the GATE syllabus.
  • The online test is divided into 8 sections. Candidate must attempt at least one question from each section. If any of the sections are left unattempted, the candidate will be disqualified.
  • Mark Distribution: Questions will be of 1, 3, and 5 marks. Unattempted question will carry zero marks. There is no negative marking for wrong answers.

Keeping all those points in mind, one needs to figure out a strategy and attempt most questions (no negative marking!) to qualify for the next round. In year 2015, 168 students were selected among these 1300 students and were divided into 5 regions, with each region having approximately 35 students.

Regional Level Assessment

Until now everything was online, from application to the test, but here you are expected to present a “technical solution to a current societal challenge” in front of judges. The guidelines for this round are:

  • Solution Based: Your presentation must be a ‘technological solution’ to the problem posed and not a managerial or administrative solution.
  • Holistic Thinking on the subject- Ability to describe the subject from whole to part
  • Original thinking or cerebral thinking of the solution, than just a review of the existing literature and solutions on the subject. A pragmatic approach to the solution.
  • Scope the technology clearly indicating what is being presented and what is excluded.
  • Time allotted for each participant is 10 minutes for the presentation, followed by 5 minutes of Q&A session with the jury.
  • Presentation should not exceed 12 slides.

Based on these guidelines, I was really confused on how I should go about the presentation and what do they mean when they say “__technological solution”. So I asked this question on Quora, and I am grateful to everyone who responded with answers or personally messaged me. Based on their suggestions and my personal experience I would recommend the following points to keep in mind:

  • The main objective of this presentation round at the regional level round is to check the clarity of your idea, its relevance to the society and to check the amount of thought that you have put into formulating the idea.
  • Originality matters! Since the topic is same for a particular region, you would not want to bore the judges by repeating the same solution that you got on the internet from your Google search, because the possibility is that he has already heard it a couple of times.
  • Apart from the technicality and the usefulness of the solution you present, they also look for your presentation skills. The general presentation skills such as confidence, modulation of voice and stuff like that actually matters because you need to make an impression that lasts and you are given quite a short amount of time to do that.
  • Break your problem statement into pieces. Identify the problem that exists in each of those pieces. Generally they give problems which have societal relevance and in which some social problems exist which might prevent the idea from being implemented. You have to identify those problems and come up with a solution for those. You must be able to demonstrate that you are able to anticipate the possible roadblocks and that your idea has been designed to overcome those roadblocks.
  • Use statistics to your advantage. Some concrete data always helps them understand your problem faster.
  • Make sure that your solution isn’t a managerial or an administrative solution. This is not allowed. Try to keep it as technical as possible.
  • Try to connect it to the branch of engineering that you are studying now. Borrow concepts from what you have read and use them to construct a solution.
  • Search on the Internet if any solutions for your problem exist. You can maybe include them in an intelligent way.
  • Don’t delve too much into the explanation of the problem because everyone in the regional round will have the same topic and they are easily bored by the same explanations.
  • It will be a closed door presentation, so prepare accordingly.

After the presentations for all candidates are over, it is followed by the Prize Ceremony. There are two winners (one from General category and another from Women category) and two runner-ups (General and Women category). The Winner’s qualify for the final stage of the Scholarship that is “The National Finals”.

Note: Most of these points were suggested to me by Pratik Nayak and I am grateful to him for taking out time and helping me with such detailed analysis.