Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE)

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is a National Level Examination for admission to postgraduation programs in Engineering. The GATE examination is conducted online jointly by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and all the seven Indian Institute of Technology every year, normally the examination is conducted in the month of February of every year.

GATE is an online computer-based examination and the scores of GATE are considered for admission to Masters in Engineering, Masters in technology, Integrated Ph.D., and Ph.D. programs in the top Universities in the country. A student in the pre-final year or final year of a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering or Technology can appear for this examination. In addition to those from the Engineering/Technology background, students who are in the final year of MSc. or have completed a Master’s in Science in the relevant subjects of GATE can also apply for the examination. Many of the Public Sector Units in the country like BHEL, ONGC, HPCL, NTPC, etc. also consider the GATE score for Graduate Engineering Trainer (GET) recruitments.

As per the guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Human Resources, GATE is mandatory for admission to M.Tech / M.E programs in India. In case of an institution conducting an interview or a separate test for admission to its courses, still, GATE score should form a minimum of 70% weightage in the selection process. The candidates who qualify the GATE exam are given a scorecard which is valid for three years from the date of announcement of results. 

GATE | Sections in the Examination

The GATE examination has three different sections in all subjects, the General Aptitude Section is common for all subjects, apart from that there is also a compulsory subject, which is Engineering Mathematics for all the Engineering Subjects, Chemistry for Life Sciences and Reasoning and Comprehension for Humanities and Social Sciences. The third section is the subject questions related to the subject of the candidate’s preference.

The General aptitude paper is a common paper for all subjects and carries 15 marks out of the total 65 questions asked in the GATE examination. The total time allocated for the entire examination is 180 minutes (3 hours).

GATE | Subjects

The GATE exam is conducted for 27 papers. Humanities and Social Sciences (XH) and Environmental Science and Engineering (ES) are two new papers introduced in GATE-2021. Out of the total 100 marks, 15 marks are allocated for General Aptitude, which is a part of all papers and 85 marks is for Subject Papers. Given below are the subjects included in GATE 2021 notification.

 Subject Code
1Aerospace EngineeringAE
2Agriculture EngineeringAG
3Architecture and PlanningAR
5Civil EngineeringCE
6Chemical EngineeringCH
9Instrumentation IN
12Minning EngineeringMN
16Ecology and EvolutionEY
17Geology & GeophysicsCG
19Textile EngineeringTF
20Petroleum EngineeringPE
22Production and Industrial EngineeringPI
23Metallurgical EngineeringMT
24Environment Science and EngineeringES
25Humanities & Social SciencesXH
26Life SciencesXE
27Engineering SciencesXE

Engineering Science (XE):  The GATE Engineering Sciences subject has a compulsory subject, which is Engineering Mathematics. Apart from Engineering Mathematics, a student needs to opt for TWO out of the SEVEN optional subjects available as below.

Engineering Sciences (XE)Code
Engineering Maths (Compulsory) 15 marksA
Any two optional sections from below (35 x 2 = 70 marks)
Fluid mechanicsB
Material scienceC
Solid mechanicsD
Polymer scienceF
Foood technologyG
Atmospheric & Oceanic ScienceH
Total Subject Marks85
Total Marks including General Aptitude100

Life Sciences (XL): The GATE Life Sciences subject has a compulsory subject, which is Chemistry. Apart from Chemistry, a student needs to opt for TWO out of the FIVE optional subjects available as below.

Life Sciences (XL)Code
Chemistry (Compulsory) (25 marks)P
Any two optional sections (2 x 30 = 60 marks)
Food TechnologyU
Total Subject Marks85
Total Marks including General Aptitude100

Humanities and Social Sciences (XH): The GATE Humanities and Social Sciences subject have a compulsory subject, which is Reasoning and Comprehension. Apart from Reasoning and Comprehension, a student needs to opt for ONE out of the SIX optional subjects available as below.

Humanities and Social Sciences (XH)Code
Reasoning and Comprehension (Compulsory) (25 marks)B1
Any one optional sections (60 marks)
Total Subject Marks85
Total Marks including General Aptitude100

A candidate can appear either in ONE or TWO subject papers. In case a candidate is choosing two papers, then this combination must be from the approved list of combinations as mentioned below.

Primary SubjectAllowed Subject
PHGG / EC / MA / IN / ST / MT
XETF / AE / ME / CH / MN / PE / MT / PI

Candidates who are opting for TWO subject papers must have a primary choice of paper, which is their default choice. The second paper is chosen from the above combination.

GATE | Examination Pattern

The GATE exam is an online computer-based test. The candidates are given 180 minutes to attempt the entire test. There are 3 sections in the question paper but the sections depend on the subjects selected by the candidate. There is no separate timing for each section.

A total of 65 questions are asked. The questions are both MCQ and numerical type in nature. Some MCQ questions carry 2 marks and some are of 1 mark each. There is a penalty for every wrong answer. In MCQ questions, there is a negative marking of -1/3 marks for each wrong answer. There is no negative marking in Numerical type questions. The total marks of the GATE paper is 100.  70% of the total marks questions are from the subject paper opted by the candidate. Questions of General aptitude carry 15% of total marks and the Engineering mathematics section carries 15% of total marks.

Exam modeOnline
Total time180 minutes
Total marks100 marks
Total Questions65
Sections3 (depends on the selected subject)
Question typeMCQ questions
Numerical type questions
Marking schemeMCQs – 2 marks or 1 mark
Negative marking-1/3 for 1 mark question
-2/3 for 2 marks question
No negative marking for Numerical type questions

GATE exam Result Announcement

Every year the GATE exam results are announced on the official website. The result is in the form of a scorecard released for every candidate. This score is valid for 3 years from the date of release of results. On the scorecard, the All India Rank of the candidate is also mentioned. Candidates can log in using the username and password to check their scores and qualifying marks released by the conducting authority. Candidates will have to pay Rs. 500 to download their GATE scorecard.

The GATE exam scorecard contains the following details:

The exam authority follows a normalization process to calculate the final marks of the GATE exam. The final scores are calculated using the raw marks scored by the candidate. The raw marks along with the qualifying marks are considered in the normalization process. Standardization of the GATE should be provided for the exams which have been carried out in several sessions. It takes into account the variability in the question paper difficulty levels across several sessions.

GATE Examination | How to Apply?

For the convenience of aspirants, a guide for successful submission of the GATE Application Form has been released by the exam authority. The GATE application process includes the following steps:

GATE Examination | Who can Apply?

Also with the release of the GATE Exam Dates IIT Bombay introduced some of the major changes in the examination. The authorities also adopted new subjects with the relaxation of training. Candidates should review all the major changes in GATE Eligibility Requirements made by the authorities.

Bachelor’s degree in Engineering / Technology (4 years from B.Sc./Diploma in Engineering / Technology 10 + 2 or 3 years)

Architecture Bachelor’s degree (5-year course) / Naval Architecture (4-year course) / Planning (4-year course)

Degree in Science (post-Diploma/4 years from 10 + 2)

Six-year graduation program consisting of internship or residency training for the third year.

Degree holders of M.B.B.S. and others who are in this program’s 5th/6th/7th semester or higher.

Master’s degree in any Arts / Science / Math / Statistics / Computer Applications branch or equivalent

Post-B.Sc Integrated Masters of Engineering / Technology (4-year program)

Integrated Master’s or Dual Degree in Engineering / Technology (5-year program)

GATE Examination is written by more than 10 Lakh students in most of the years and it is considered to be a highly competitive examination. Unlike a lot of other examinations, the GATE examination lays emphasis on the fundamental grounding of the students in their respective subjects and hence this is a highly technical examination.

A student who is writing GATE should keep in mind, that this examination requires a good amount of fundamental understanding of his/her undergraduate subjects. This also means that GATE is an examination for those who are really interested in their Technical subjects and would like to do either higher studies or would like to take up a Graduate Engineering Trainee role in PSU’s in India.

Qualifying in GATE is compulsory for seeking admission and/or financial assistance to (i) Direct Doctoral and Master’s programs in Technology/Engineering/Architecture and (ii) Arts and Science Doctoral programs in relevant branches, in the institutions supported by the MoE and other Government agencies. Even in some colleges and institutions, which admit students without MoE scholarship/assistantship, the GATE qualification is mandatory. Further, many Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) have been using the GATE score in their recruitment.


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