What is GATE?

What is GATE?

GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering)

is an entrance examination conducted jointly by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and the seven Indian Institutes of Technology (at Bombay, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras and Roorkee) on behalf of the National Coordination Board (NCB)-GATE, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India. GATE is one of the most competitive examinations in India. It basically tests the comprehensive understanding of the candidates in various undergraduate subjects in Engineering/Science/Architecture subjects.

The GATE score reflects the relative performance level of the candidate in a particular branch.GATE score is valid for 3 years from the date of announcement of the results.


Qualifying in GATE is a mandatory requirement for seeking admission and/or financial assistance to :

Master’s programs and direct Doctoral programs in Engineering/Technology/Architecture Doctoral programs in relevant branches of Science in IISc, IITs and other prestigious Institutes / Universities in India and other Government agencies, with financial assistance provided by MHRD.


GATE qualification is mandatory even in certain colleges and institutions, which admit students without MHRD scholarship/assistantship.

Many Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) have been using the GATE score in their recruitment process for prominent job positions offering attractve salary packages.

GATE qualification and Master’s degree is mandatory for the posts of Professor, Asst. Professor at IITs, NITs and reputed professional educational institutes. The same applies to other positions such as Junior Research Fellow, Senior Research Fellow, Research Associates in esteemed organisations like ISRO, DRDO, CSIR etc.

GATE is a stepping stone for those who wish to build their career in scientific Research & Development

GATE is also recognized by various institutes outside India, such as Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and few universities in Germany.

GATE qualified Master’s students will get a monthly scholarship/stipend of ₹12,400 (US$190) per month throughout their course of program.

To avail the financial assistance (scholarship), the candidate must first secure admission to a program in these Institutes, by a procedure that could vary from institute to institute. Qualification in GATE is also a minimum requirement to apply for various fellowships awarded by many Government organizations.

Admissions for M. Tech/MS programs in IISc / IITs / NITs and other Universities is given on the basis of GATE score. Also, this would be a second chance for those who cherish the goal of studying in IITs or IISc, but were unable to get an admission for gradutaion courses.

Preparation for GATE would be very useful for the university examinations as well. Further it would prepare the students for the technical interviews at campus placement programs since usually the subject domain knowledge would also be tested in such interviews.

Some of the top Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) hire candidates based on their GATE Score. Hence a high GATE score translates to securing lucrative jobs in prestigious organisations. A few such organizations are:

1. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL)

2. Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)

3. Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL)

4. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)

5. Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL)

6. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC)

7. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)

8. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC)

9. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL)

10. NHPC Limited

11. Power Grid Corporation of India

Direct recruitment to several Group A level posts in Central government such as Senior Field Officer (Tele), Senior Research Officer (S&T) in Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India etc. is now being carried out on the basis of GATE score.

Who can appear for GATE ?

For Bachelor's engineering students, those who are currently in the final year or already completed the course can appear for GATE exam.

Those who have completed MSc/MA/MCA can also apply.

There is no upper age limit for the candidates.

Candidates are advised to refer the GATE brochure released by the governing institue for the particular year.

A candidate can appear only in any one paper of his choice. Candidates are expected to appear in a paper appropriate to the discipline of their qualifying degree. However, candidates are free to choose any one of the GATE papers as per their admission or employment plan, while keeping in mind the eligibility criteria for the institutions in which they wish to seek admission/employment.

When is GATE conducted ?

GATE is conducted usually in the month of February with different dates/slots for different branches. Each year, one of the administering institutes is designated as the Organizing Institute and it would be responsible for the end-to-end process, as well as, the overall coordination amongst the administering institutes for conducting GATE. Every year, the corrseponding organizing institute will publish the exact dates of the examination for that year.

GATE is conducted for more than 20 papers (23 papers). It would purely be a Computer Based Test (CBT) and the examination centres are spread in different cities across India, as well as, at six cities abroad. The result would be usually published by March and the candidates would be able to download their score card by May.

Paper Code Paper Code
Aerospace Engineering AE Instrumentation Engineering IN
Agricultural Engineering AG Mathematics MA
Architecture and Planning AR Mechanical Engineering ME
Biotechnology BT Mining Engineering MN
Civil Engineering CE Metallurgical Engineering MT
Chemical Engineering CH Petroleum Engineering PE
Computer Science and Information Technology CS Physics PH
Chemistry CY Production and Industrial Engineering PI
Electronics and Communication Engineering EC Textile Engineering and Fibre Science TF
Electrical Engineering EE Engineering Sciences XE
Ecology and Evolution EY Life Sciences XL
Geology and Geophysics GG    

Pattern of Examination:

All the papers of GATE will be conducted by an ONLINE Computer Based Test (CBT). The GATE examination consists of a single paper of 3 hour duration that contains 65 questions carrying a maximum of 100 marks. The syllabus for each of the papers would given on GATE website for that year. For engineering streams, there would be a general aptitude section, mathematics section (both sections for around 25 marks) in addition to the main subject (technical) section for around 75 marks.

Two types of questions asked :

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) – correct option has to be chosen

Numerical Answer Type (NAT) - numerical answers must be keyed in by the candidate using the virtual keypad. The candidates are not allowed to carry any calculators with them to the exam hall, but will use ONLY an on-screen virtual calculator provided in the online examination portal.

Each question carries 1 or 2 marks.

There would be negative marking for wrong answers in the case of MCQs. For 1 mark MCQs, 1/3 mark will be deducted for a wrong answer and in the case of 2 mark MCQs, 2/3 mark will be deducted. For unattempted questions, zero marks are awarded. There is no negative marking in the case of NAT questions.

Application for GATE Exam

Candidates have to register and apply online for the exam using the online facility called GATE Online Application Processing System (GOAPS). Registration usually starts from September and end by October.

The fee structure is as follows:

Female candidates - ₹750

SC/ST/PwD category candidates - ₹750

All other candidates - ₹1500

What should be the strategy for the preparation for GATE ?

1. One should dedicate at least 5 to 8 months for intensive preparation for GATE. Know about the pattern of the question paper, the syllabus and weightage of each subject.

2. Devise a preparation plan, allotting required times for covering the syllabus of each subject considering its weightage, including the times required for revision and practice tests. Also set some weekly or monthly goals to ensure that the preparation will be on track.

3. Begin by selecting good study materials including comprehensive subject books for each subject and previous question papers with detailed solutions. Also, one can make use of coaching class notes, online video lectures etc.

4. A good approach would be to begin with a relatively easier albeit an important subject to gain confidence. Then proceed to more difficult subjects.

5. Recognize the most important topics of each subject and devote more time and effort for such topics.

6. Once the concept of a topic is understood, practice as many types of problems related to that particular topic. Then try solving the questions on this topic from the previous papers. Always try to improve solving ability and time management, both very crucial aspects of achieving a good score in GATE.

7. Always clear the doubts regarding a topic immediately while the preparation for that particular topic is going on. Never procrastinate.

8. Identify the weak areas and work on them by dedicating sufficient time and effort, practicing more questions on such areas.

9. Maintain a revision note for each subject with all the most important points and formulae. This would help vastly during the last days of preparation especially just before the exam. Also, revising these notes on a regular basis would improve the memory.

10. Once all the subjects are completed, start attempting mock tests to gauge your performance keeping an strict eye on time management. In case of any shortcomings, go back to the problem area and revise adequately.

11. Practice as many mock tests as possible and also practice all previous year question papers on a daily basis to boost confidence.

12. During the last 2 or 3 days before the exam, it is not advisable to study any new topic, instead revise the already practiced topics and make good use of the revision notes.

13. On the day of examination, be ready with a clear and focused mind to give your best performance.

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