All About GATE

Everything you want to know about GATE exam - right from the basics of GATE to Preparation from a students' words to Exam Structure, Paper Pattern and Syllabus. 

What is GATE

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is an All-India examination that primarily tests a comprehensive understanding of various undergraduate subjects in Engineering and Technology.

Engineering students generally appear for GATE because the score is used for:

  1. Admissions in ME/M.Tech Colleges
  2. Job screening in Public Sector Units (PSU)


  • Type of Exam: Multiple Choice Questions
  • Validitiy: 2 years
  • Scheduled (tentatively): February
  • Pattern: Computer Based Test


GATE is conducted through the constitution of eight zones. The zones and the corresponding administrative institutes are:

  1. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  2. Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
  3. Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
  4. Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
  5. Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
  6. Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
  7. Indian Institute of Technology Madras
  8. Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee


Syllabus & Paper Codes

Candidates have to appear for only ONE of the 22 papers mentioned below depending on which course they wish to pursue in their postgraduation. All the exams are Computer Based Tests.

We've mentioned the GATE Paper Codes below. Click on any of the courses to check the complete GATE syllabus.


GATE Paper Code GATE Paper Code
Aerospace Engineering  AE Geology and Geophysics GG
Agricultural Engineering AG Instrumentation Engineering GG
Architecture and Planning AR Mathematics MA
Biotechnology BT Mechanical Engineering ME
Civil Engineering CE Mining Engineering MN
Chemical Engineering CH Metallurgical Engineering MT
Computer Science and Information CS Physics PH
Chemistry CY Production and Industrial PI
Electronics and Communication EC

Textile Engineering and Fibre

Electrical Engineering EE Engineering Sciences XE
Ecology and Evolution EY Life Sciences XL

*Till GATE 2013, CS, EC, EE, IN, ME and PI were conducted as pen-paper based test.

*Also, from GATE 2014, a new paper - Ecology and Evolution (EY) - is added.


Exam Pattern & Structure


Test pattern for the three hour GATE exam is - 65 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) aggregating to a total of 100 marks:

  • 10 Questions based on General Aptitude questions carry a total of 15 marks (5 Qs of 1mark each + 5 Qs of 2 marks each)
  • Remaining 55 questions are based on the syllabus mentioned in the respective paper codes. Each question carries either 1 mark or 2 marks

Given below is a detailed and systematic description of the GATE question paper for all paper codes except GG, XE and XL which have minor changes in the paper pattern.


Flow Of Questions Negative Marks for Wrong Answer
Q.1 to Q.25: Will carry one mark each 
(sub-total 25 marks)
1/3  mark will be deducted for each wrong answer.
Q.26 to Q.55: Will carry two marks each 
(sub-total 60 marks)

2/3  mark will be deducted for each wrong answer.

Q.48, Q.49 and Q.50, Q.51 (2 pairs) will be based on some common data provided. Each question will carry two marks 2/3  mark will be deducted for each wrong answer.

Question pairs (Q.52, Q.53) and (Q.54, Q.55) will be linked answer questions. The answer to the second question of the pair will depend on the answer to the first question. If the first question in the linked pair is wrongly answered or is un-attempted, then the answer to the second question will not be evaluated. Each question will carry two marks.

There will be negative marks only for the wrong answer to the first question in the linked pair i.e. for Q.52 and Q.54, 2/ 3 mark will be deducted for each wrong answer. There is no negative marking for Q.53 and Q.55.
Q.56 to Q. 60 : General Aptitude (GA) questions. Will carry one mark each
(sub-total 5 marks).
1/3  mark will be deducted for each wrong answer.

Q.61 to Q.65 : General Aptitude (GA) questions. Will carry two marks each
(sub-total 10 marks)

2/3  mark will be deducted for each wrong answer.

All the papers bearing the codes AE, AG, BT, CE, CH, CS, EC, EE, IN, ME, MN, MT, PI and TF will contain few questions on Engineering Mathematics carrying 15 marks.



Preparing for any entrance exam is supposedly the most taxing and cumbersome period for any student during his/her academic life and GATE is no different. Preparation for GATE begins right when you step into engineering as the entire syllabus of the entrance exam is concentrated towards the concepts of your undergraduate course. So, if you've been serious about engineering and have done justice to the course (not just by scoring high marks but actually understanding the crux of the subject), then getting a sky-rocketing score in GATE is just a step away. However, not many of us really do that, right? So here's what you'll need...

Initial Days...

Get ready for a 7-10 month long preparation starting from the second half of your third year into engineering, i.e., the 6th Semester. First, get well versed with the entire syllabus of your respective GATE paper. Questions will primarily be based on the subjects that you've studied from first year engg. to third year. Once the syllabus is etched in your mind, start preparing on the topics that entice you. Your college library should probably be helpful (for the first time ever, yes!). Get into the basics of the topic, understand every nuance and have a mastery over it. Similarly and gradually, do that for the other topics and have a strong hold in a particular subject.


While reading the reference books, start making notes on every topic (around 2-3 pages). So, by the end of all the topics, you'll have a notebook of around 30 pages. This will help you a lot in the last few days before the exam.



Hopefully, by now you should have learnt enough to start solving previous years GATE Question Papers . Very much like the CAT (the entrance exam for IIMs and other B-schools), students, generally, opt for GATE coaching classes; and nothing wrong with that. With so much laziness around and habituated with the last minute work, a good GATE coaching class will certainly ensure that you're serious towards the exam. Moreover, the competition to score higher than your peers is what pumps up the entire mood for GATE. So, if you're amongst those who need a push to get going for whatever in life, it is highly recommended that you join a coaching class. But if you represent the headstrong group, then you can definitely manage it yourself.

A Couple of Months Left...

Post September, you can start roping for online GATE tests and/or join some popular test series. Joining a test series has a primary advantage that your mock test scores are always compared to all the students appearing for that particular exam and thus, you always get to know your standing. Just like CAT and GRE, GATE too demands a self evaluation. If you're looking to crack the GATE, analyse every test properly and make sure the incorrect questions are corrected next time. Ask your colleagues/friends about their scores, share your weaknesses with them and ask for a recommendation/guidance regarding the loopholes in your paper solving. Do not ever feel shy because that's the last thing you would want to repent in future. So, always open up and face your drawbacks boldly. Overcoming them will certainly get your a high score in GATE.

Even though preparation varies with the individuals, the general structure regarding the online test is that you should practice atleast 20 tests before you appear for the exam. Start taking tests from September because November to December end will be eaten by preparing for your semester exams and related stuffs. You can start taking two tests a week for a month and then switch to 3 to 4 tests a week in the last one month (October to November). As mentioned earlier, taking a test is not very important. Analysing it is the key. So, even if you do not follow the test schedule properly or solve a couple of tests lesser than your friend/s, it is absolutely okay as long as you're analysing your performance regularly.

Last few days...

A month from the scheduled date, start taking tests once in every 2 days. Also revise the notebook that you had made at the start of the preparation. In the last 10 days, go through your notebook and solve questions related to General Aptitude (10 questions worth 15 marks will be asked in GATE).

Useful GATE Tips:
1. There are negative marks; so if you don't know any question/s, skip.
2. See all the questions. There are chances that the last ones would be easier.
3. Skimp through the paper first and solve the questions that you're more familiar with.
4. Just like any other exam, it is a test of nerves. So, the calmer you're, the better you perform.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. For how many GATE papers can I apply?

A. A candidate can apply for only ONE of the 22 papers listed in the Syllabus & Paper Codes section or GATE 2013 Brochure or GATE website. The choice of the appropriate paper is the responsibility of the candidate. Some guidelines in this respect are suggested below:
1. The candidate is expected to appear in a paper appropriate to the discipline of his/her qualifying degree.
2. The candidate is, however, free to choose any paper according to his/her admission plan, keeping in mind the eligibility criteria of the institutions in which he/she wishes to seek admission.

Q. After submission of application, am I permitted to change my GATE Examination Paper and Examination City? 

A. Requests for change of GATE Examination paper after the submission of Application Form will not be considered. However, requests for change of examination city will be accepted till a prescribed date mentioned on the GATE website with an additional fee (around Rs. 400/-) to be paid in the form of a demand draft in favour of “Chairman GATE 2013″, payable at Mumbai. Please send this DD to the Zonal office where you sent the application form.

Q. Why should I choose two examination cities?

A. Generally, you will be allotted a centre in the examination city of your first choice. Only in cases where it becomes difficult to accommodate you in the examination city of your first choice, your second choice will be considered.

Q. How do I make the fee payment for GATE 2013 examination?

A. You can make the payment during the Online application process by choosing one of the following options:
1. Online Payment: Netbanking through the payment gateway.
2. Challan Payment: Payment by cash at any branch of Canara Bank or State Bank of India.

Q. Do I have to send the printout of the application form?

A. Yes. At the end of the Application process a PDF file of the application is generated. You have to affix your photograph, signature and enclose other documents along with this print out and send to the concerned GATE office. This is required in addition to the uploading of the image files.

Q. When will I receive my admit card?

A. Admit card can only be downloaded from the GATE Online Applicant Interface from 5 pm on 10th December 2012. Sending Admit cards by post has been discontinued.

Q. Is the Admit card alone sufficient to gain entry to the exam?

A. No. Bring the admit card at the test center along with at least one original (not photocopied/scanned copy) and valid (not expired) photo identification. Only one of the following photo identifications is permitted:

  • Driving license
  • Passport
  • PAN Card
  • Voter ID
  • College ID
  • Employee Identification Card or a notarized Affidavit with Photo, Signature, Date of Birth and Residential Address.

Photocopies of the original identification document are not acceptable. Candidates will not be permitted to take the test if original and valid photo identification is not presented.

Q. Will I be provided with any white paper for rough work and calculations during the test?

A. For Offline Examination, the question paper itself contains some blank sheets on which you can do the rough work. Rough work cannot be done on any other paper/sheet as no additional paper will be provided during the test. For Online Examination, a notepad provided to the candidate can be used to do the rough work.

Q. Am I allowed to leave the examination hall during the test?

A. No. Candidates will NOT be allowed to leave the examination hall for any reason during the test. For Offline exam, candidates are allowed to leave the hall only after the Optical Response Sheet (ORS) from all the candidates in the examination hall have been collected and accounted for. For Online examination, candidates are allowed to leave the lab only after the closure of the test at the scheduled end of examination in a session.

Q. What items are not permitted to be brought with me inside the examination venue?

A. Electronic diary, mobile phone, andany such electronic gadgets, blank papers, clip boards and log-tables will not be allowed in the examination venue.

Q. Can I use a calculator during the exam?

A. Yes. You are permitted to use a scientific calculator without data connectivity. If you bring any item that is not permissible inside the examination venue, you will have to keep it at the test center at your own risk.

Q. Will there be any arrangement at the test center for the safe keeping of my personal items such as my mobile phone?

A. No such arrangements will be possible at the test center.

Q. Is the use of pencils to darken the bubbles in the answer sheet permitted?

A. No. The use of pencils to darken the bubbles in the answer sheet has been discontinued. Candidates should use only black ink ball point pen for darkening of the bubbles in the answer sheet. Since bubbles darkened by the black ink ball point pen cannot be erased, candidates should darken the bubbles in the answer sheet very carefully.