Importance of Qualifying GATE | How Long & How Much It Takes to Crack it

Importance of Qualifying GATE | How Long & How Much It Takes to Crack it


In the current competitive scenario where there is an expansion of the universities and engineering colleges, the only process to measure and test the stature of engineering students is GATE. It is one of the toughest examinations in India where the competition level is sky high and therefore, requires focused study in a planned manner.

The exam aims at rigorous testing of the aspirant’s capability in the engineering concepts along with the managerial skills. Engineering subjects cover 70% weightage while General Aptitude and Engineering Mathematics cover 15% respectively.

GATE comprises 65 questions, out of which 30 questions are of 1 mark each and 35 are of two marks each. To secure a good percentile, one must remember that an examinee is judged relatively and not absolutely as the overall rank depends upon the preparation level of your competitors.

Most of the undergraduates get confused about the ideal time to start preparing for GATE because the syllabus is vast and it takes time and efforts to get a grip on all the topics whilekeeping in mind the accuracy and time.

Here in this article, we will discuss the merits of clearing GATE and the ideal time to start with GATE preparation.

Why is clearing GATE a must for Engineers?

 GATE is the most prominent exam for those who want to add some value to their Engineering degree. It’s not like if you don’t clear GATE then it’s the end of the world, but qualifying it will open up a pathway to success. GATE not only helps secure admission in MTech program but it provides other opportunities too. We’ve mentioned a few highlights that mark the importance of clearing GATE:

1. Admission to PG Programs:

Cracking GATE with good score opens the path to pursue PG Programs at various institutions which include top IIT’s and IISc’s. Some management institutes like NITIE, Mumbai, offer admission to PGD in Industrial Engineering on the basis of GATE score. With a good score in GATE, you can get admission in colleges like:
1. IIT’s
2. IIM’s (their fellow program)
4. REC’s
5. IISc’s

2. PSU Jobs through GATE

PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings) in India faced a lot of problems in conducting their recruitment processes before the year 2012 because more than 1,00,000 candidates were taking the exams for less than 1000 jobs, which means a selection rate of less than 1%.

After sensing the exponential rise in the number of engineering graduates in India who wish to get a PSU job, the PSUs decided that a GATE score shall be the primary criteria for shortlisting the aspirants. This modification was the primary cause for the rapid increase in applicants for GATE 2012.

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) was the first PSU which successfully tested out this system. Later, National Thermal Power Corporation, Bharat Heavy Electricals, Bharat Electronics and Power Grid Corporation of India implemented this procedure.

Usually, these companies release their recruitment notifications right after GATE notification, indicating that the candidates have to take GATE to apply for a job in these organizations.

3. Fellowship Programs

Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) was introduced by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in the year 2002 to allow GATE-qualified Engineering graduates and GPAT-qualified Pharmaceutical graduates to pursue research through suitable PhD programs at CSIR laboratories.

Stipend and Tenure:

The fellowship amount of INR 25,000 per month plus HRA (House Rent Allowance) is provided to every candidate. In addition, a contingency grant of INR 20,000 per annum is also provided. On completion of 2 years as JRF, GATE is upgraded to SRF (Senior Research Fellowship) which increases the stipend to INR 28,000/month in the later years, on the basis of assessment of CSIR JRF-NET guidelines.

4. Scholarships in ME/M. Tech

To enhance/promote the master education in India, the Scholarship of INR 12,400 per month is paid to GATE qualified students from MHRD. It is to financially support the students so that they can afford the basic needs during their course and thesis work.

5. Integrated Ph.D.

Some colleges allow you to do an integrated Masters + Doctoral program directly after the graduation and you also get a stipend of INR 28,000.

6. Foreign Study

Some non-Indian universities like National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and some technical universities in Germany also measure GATE score as a criterion for judging the candidates for admission into their Masters and Ph.D. programs.

7. DRDO Research:

From this year onwards, DRDO is also considering GATE score to provide jobs.


What is the ideal time to begin with GATE preparation?

GATE aspirants follow different strategies for success, but there is no formula guaranteeing success in GATE exam. Experts agree that only hard work, planning and starting at the right time will maximize the chances of triumph.

The most frequently asked question by a GATE aspirant is what is the right time for GATE preparation and when should one begin with it.
Starting with GATE preparation very early and very late can both be wrong, so choosing the right time is very essential. Beginning too early might lead to forgetting the basics, while starting late will not allow you to complete the syllabus in a proper way and will also leave little or no time for revision. So, the question arises that what’s the ideal time for GATE preparation?

A recognizable score in GATE offers a kick start to the career of the student. GATE exam takes place in the month of February, i.e. during the last semester of Engineering. Hence, a student will have only six months if he starts with the preparation in the 4th year. Most students are baffled as to when they should start preparing for GATE exam.

According to the Experts “3rd year is the best time to start GATE preparation because then, it is neither too early nor too late.”

Here are some reasons why you should start your GATE preparation in your 3rd year of Engineering-

  • Focus on the Basic Concepts– In first two years of engineering, you are new to the subjects and require time to cope with the new concepts. In third year, you become familiar with the concepts and it becomes easy for you to understand and grasp new concepts.
  • Most of the Questions are asked from the 3rd and 4th year– Most of the high scoring subjects in GATE are from 3rd and 4th year of Engineering. So, if you start preparing from the 3rd year, it serves as a cherry on the cake.
  • Cope up easily with the concepts–  Preparing in advance will help you cope with the concepts you will be studying in your final year easily. The advanced preparation will prevent you from entering a phase of struggle. You will be confident enough to solve problems related to the new subjects while other students will be grappling to learn those concepts.
  • Enough time to gather the best resources/ Institutes–  If you start preparing from the 3rd year you will get enough time to gather the best resources to study. You will be able to search for the best institute, best books and will help you to make the proper notes. You will not have to take any decision in a rush.
  • Abundant time for revision–  Most importantly, starting early will give you enough time for revision. In your final year where you also have other important things going on in your head, you will not have to spend your entire time on GATE preparation. You can spare out time from your time table for revision. All concepts & tricks will be at your fingertips.

So, in a nutshell, it can be said that the third year is the ideal time to start with GATE preparation because if you initiate this way, you’ll find yourself in a better position in the final year. But if you have enough free time in the final year, you can start in June also. While preparing for the exam, the students must stay calm, focused and must not worry about the outcome, but just try to perform their best.


Eligibility Criteria for GATE 2018

Eligibility Criteria for GATE 2018


No age limit.

Qualifying Degree Qualifying Degree/ Examination (Descriptive) Degree Status Year of qualification not later than
B.E./ B.Tech./ B.Pharm. Bachelor’s degree in Engineering/ Technology (4 years after 10+2 or 3 years after B.Sc./ Diploma in Engineering/ Technology) and those who are in the final year of such programs Currently in the final year or already completed 2018
B. Arch. Bachelor’s degree in Architecture (Five years course) Currently in the final year or already completed 2018
B.Sc. (Research)/ B.S. Bachelor’s degree in Science (Post-Diploma/ 4 years after 10+2) Currently in the 4th year or already completed 2018
M. Sc./ M.A./ MCA or equivalent Master’s degree in any branch of Science/ Mathematics / Statistics/ Computer Applications or equivalent Currently in the final year or already completed 2018
Int. M.E/ M.Tech (Post-B.Sc.) Post-BSc Integrated Master’s degree programs in Engineering / Technology (Four year program) Currently in the 2nd/ 3rd/ 4th year or already completed 2020
Int. M.E./ M.Tech or Dual Degree (after Diploma or 10+2) Integrated Master’s degree program or Dual Degree program in Engineering / Technology (Five year program) Currently in the 4th/5th year or already completed 2019
Int. M.Sc/ Int. B.S.-M.S. Integrated M.Sc. or Five year integrated B. S./ M. S. program Currently in the final year or already completed 2018
Professional Society Examination (equivalent to B.E./ B.Tech./ B.Arch.) B.E./ B.Tech./ B.Arch. equivalent examinations of Professional Societies, recognized by MHRD/ UPSC/ AICTE (e.g., AMIE by Institution of Engineers-India, AMICE by the Institute of Civil Engineers-India) Completed Section A or equivalent of such professional courses NA


Candidates from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates must have completed or are in the final year of their Bachelor’s degree in Engineering/Technology or Post-graduate (M.Sc.) degree in any relevant science subject.
How to start preparing for GATE

How to start preparing for GATE


GATE Preparation Tips for GATE 2018.

  1. The first thing is selecting your GATE Paper. You can appear in only ONE paper. Make sure you fulfill the eligibility criteria before you start preparations.
  2. Know the syllabus of the exam.
  3. Get as many previous year papers as possible. The solved GATE papers are available online as well as offline. You can refer to the GATE Solved Papers for practice and also to understand the exam pattern.
  4. Do you know much about GATE? If not, first of all check out about exam pattern, marking scheme and related details.
  5. Open the syllabus and see what all topics are to be studied. Compare it to past year papers. You need to analyze importance of topics. Divide the syllabus into three parts – (1) Most important topics in the GATE Syllabus; (2) Less Important Topics; (3) Least important topics.
  6. Once you know which subjects are to be studied first, then the next, and so on; chart a schedule. Allot realistic and achievable targets. Mark in your calendar, days when a certain subject should be completed.
  7. Simultaneously practice from objective question banks of GATE.
  8. Each time you finish a chapter, find out questions of that chapter from GATE previous year papers. Solve them. If you are able to do them well, move ahead to the next chapter. If you face difficulty, revise immediately.

GATE Preparation Guidelines.

  1. While studying, try to make notes of important formula, theorems.
  2. You must finish the syllabus by November mid.
  3. About one and half months time is required for GATE revision.
  4. Understanding theory is not enough. You need to be able to solve questions and problems too. So keep practicing GATE questions alongside.
  5. Refer to the appropriate GATE study material only for preparation.
  6. The last two weeks should be allotted to quick revision. Refer to your notes in this duration.
  7. Take online GATE Mock Tests to get hands on experience of the GATE online computer based tests pattern.

Importance of Self Analysis in GATE Preparation.

  1. No one will know your strengths and weaknesses better than yourself. Keep a check on the topics you are weak in. If required, refer to more reference books to understand the topics you have difficulty solving problems in.
  2. The best way to analyze your preparation is solving mock tests, GATE sample papers and objective questions.
  3. There will be numerical answer type questions too in the GATE exam. So your calculations should be absolutely accurate. If you spend 2 minutes in arriving at an answer, take half minute more to check your calculations.


Year and Organizing Institute

Year and Organizing Institute


Each year’s GATE is organised by any one of 8 institutes: IISc and 7 IITs. The overall co-ordination and responsibility of conducting GATE lies with this institute, which is designated as the Organizing Institute (OI) for GATE of that year. GATE coaching institutes often make speculations regarding the topics to focus upon depending upon the institute that is the OI of that year.

Institute GATE editions organized
Indian Institute of Science 1984, 1990, 1996, 2002, 2008, 2016.
Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee                                             2009, 2017
Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati                                             2010.
Indian Institute of Technology, Madras 1985, 1991, 1997, 2003, 2011.
Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi 1986, 1992, 1998, 2004, 2012.
Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay 1987, 1993, 1999, 2005, 2013.
Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur 1988, 1994, 2000, 2006, 2014.
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur 1989, 1995, 2001, 2007, 2015.
Financial assistance in post-graduate programs

Financial assistance in post-graduate programs


A valid GATE score is essential for obtaining financial assistance during Master’s programs and direct Doctoral programs in Engineering/Technology/Architecture, and Doctoral programs in relevant branches of Science in Institutes supported by the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) or other Government agencies. As per the directives of MHRD, the following procedure is to be adopted for admission to the post-graduate programs (Master’s and Doctoral) with MHRD scholarship/assistant-ship: Depending upon the norms adopted by a specific institute or department of the Institute, a candidate may be admitted directly into a course based on his/her performance in GATE only or based on his/her performance in GATE and an admission test / interview conducted by the department to which he/she has applied and/or the candidate’s academic record. If the candidate is to be selected through test/interview for post-graduate programs, the minimum of 70% weightage is given to the performance in GATE and the remaining 30% weight age can be given to the candidate’s performance in test/interview and/or academic record. The admitting institutes can, however, prescribe a minimum passing percentage of marks in the test/interview. Some colleges/institutes specify GATE qualification as the mandatory requirement even for admission without MHRD scholarship/assistant-ship.

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. The criteria for postgraduate admission with scholarship/assistant-ship could be different for different institutions.

In December 2014, the University Grants Commission and Ministry of Human Resources Development announced that the scholarship for GATE-qualified postgraduate students is increased by 55%, from ₹8,000 (US$120) per month to ₹12,400 (US$180) per month.

Changes in GATE (recent years)

Changes in GATE (recent years)


2017The syllabus has been revised for some subjects.

The XE paper now has a new section on Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (section H). With this the number of sections in the XE paper has increased to eight (A-H).

GATE 2017 examination shall be held for international candidates in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates (U.A.E).
2016Candidates are not permitted to bring their own calculators. An online virtual (i.e. on-screen) calculator will be available during the examination.

The syllabus has been revised for some subjects.

A new subject of Petroleum Engineering (code "PE") has been introduced.

After completion of all test sessions, an Answer Key will be provided for candidates to check. Candidates can challenge the GATE 2016 Answer Key on a nominal fee for a specified time period.
2015The entire application process is made online. All required documents have to be scanned and uploaded on the online application system. Candidates no longer have to send anything by post.

GATE score's validity is increased from 2 years to 3 years.

Printed (i.e. hard-copy) score cards are no longer sent to candidates. Only a digital (i.e. soft-copy) score card can be downloaded by qualified candidates from the official GATE website.
2014A new subject of Ecology and Evolution (code "EY") was introduced.

Examinations for all the 22 subjects was conducted by an online Computer-Based Test (CBT). The online examination contained some questions for which numerical answers must be keyed in by the candidate using the "virtual" (i.e. on-screen) keypad. Rest of the questions were of Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) type.

Female candidates were required to pay some fee for application, a change introduced due to many raising complaints about a large portion of female candidates who registered but did not appear for the exam in 2013.

Application fee was increased from ₹ 1200 to ₹ 1500 for general category, OBC male/other candidates, and ₹ 750 for all female candidates and SC, ST male/other candidates.

Examinations were held during forenoon and afternoon sessions on alternate weekends (Saturday and Sunday) between 1 February 2014 and 2 March 2014. Examination for the subjects ME, EE, EC, and CS was held in multiple sessions due to the large numbers of registered candidates.
2013Female candidates were exempted from paying the application fee.

Candidates were required to upload scanned copy of photograph and signature. Print-out of the completed application form was to be mailed to the institute by post.

The Application fee was increased from ₹ 1000 to ₹ 1200.

The GATE score formula was changed. Scores calculated using the old formula were effective during the year 2013-14. Scores calculated using the new formula were effective during the year 2014-15.
2012Only final year students and passed-out candidates were declared eligible to take GATE. Pre-final year B.E./B.Tech students, who were eligible till 2011, were no longer eligible.

The application process was made completely online. Candidates could view their responses of the ORS and also GATE Office released official solutions for GATE papers.

The admit card was made downloadable from the application website. Sending admit cards by post was discontinued.

The exam mode was changed from paper-based to "online" (i.e. computer-based) for 2 additional subjects: Agricultural Engineering (code "AG") and Architecture and Planning (code "AR").

The use of pencils to darken the bubbles in the answer sheet was discontinued. Candidates could use only black ink ball point pens for darkening of the bubbles in the answer sheet.
2011Based on a trouble-free pilot project in 2010, four of the GATE papers in GATE 2011 were run using computer based online mode. The four online papers for 2011 were Aerospace Engineering (code "AE"), Geology and Geophysics (code "GG"), Mining Engineering (code "MN") and Textile Engineering and Fiber Science (code "TF").

GATE was held in morning (9:00 to 12:00) session for some papers and afternoon (14:00 to 17:00) session for others. Also, the computer based tests was held on a different date.

2010Pharmacy is no longer a GATE subject, with the Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test (conducted by the All India Council for Technical Education) as the replacement.

The Biotechnology section of the Engineering Sciences GATE paper had been removed and a separate Biotechnology test (code "BT") was started.

An additional section of General Aptitude was introduced in GATE. Ten questions carrying 15 marks makes up this section of GATE.
2009The Information Technology and Computer Science tests were merged into a single Computer Science and Information Technology test (code "CS").

The GATE score was valid only for one year but later the GATE committee made it valid for two years in 2010.

Admission to post-graduate programs

Admission to post-graduate programs


Unlike undergraduate admissions in India, candidates must apply individually to each institute after the institute has published its M.Tech notification (usually in the month of March). There is no separate counselling held.

Some institutions specify GATE qualification as mandatory even for admission of self-financing students to postgraduate programs. GATE qualified candidates are also eligible for the award of Junior Research Fellowship in CSIR Laboratories and CSIR sponsored projects. Top rank holders in some GATE papers are entitled to apply for “Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Fellowship” awarded by CSIR. Some government organizations prescribe GATE qualification as a requirement for applying to the post of a Scientist/Engineer.

In recent years, various academicians have recognized GATE as being one of the toughest exams in its category. Some non-Indian universities like the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and some technical universities in Germany also identify GATE score as a parameter for judging the quality of the candidates for admission into their Masters and Ph.D. programs.

Some management institutes like NITIE, Mumbai offer admission to Post Graduate Diploma in Industrial Engineering on the basis of GATE score.

Most Indian institutes do not specify cut-off marks for previous years. So there is a general confusion in terms of selecting institutes and specializations. But in the recent years IIT Kharagpur and IIT Guwahati have been specifying last year cut-off mark list. Indian Institute of Technology Delhi has a very detailed website on Post Graduate (PG) activities and admissions where students can find the relevant information on cut-off marks etc. Typically the Indian Institute of Science and Indian Institutes of Technology are the most selective followed by National Institutes of Technology and others. Also there are some state universities in India, whose standards and facilities are very much comparable to top IITs and NITs. Some of them are PEC University of Technology (Chandigarh), Bengal Engineering and Science University (recently converted to IIEST), Jadavpur University, Delhi Technological University, Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), Andhra University College of Engineering, Osmania University etc. Even within the top institutes, the selection criteria varies widely across departments and programs depending on expertise areas. The Directorate of Technical Education of Maharashtra state has also started conducting CAP round from the year 2013 for GATE and non-GATE candidates in all institutes in Maharashtra that offer M.E./M.Tech. programs.

Qualifying marks

Qualifying marks


The rules for qualifying marks have varied from year to year. The qualifying marks (out of 100) are different for different subjects as well as categories.

Category Qualifying mark (out of 100)
General (GN) 25 or μ + σ, whichever is higher.
Other backward classes (OBC) 90% of general category’s qualifying mark.
Scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST) 2/3 (i.e., 66.67%) of general category’s qualifying mark.

Here μ is the average (i.e., arithmetic mean) of marks of all candidates in the subject (with negative marks converted to zero) and σ is the standard deviation of all marks in that subject.

Usually, the general category’s qualifying mark is in the 25 to 40 range depends on discipline.

What is GATE

What is GATE


The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is an all-India examination that primarily tests the comprehensive understanding of various graduate level subjects in engineering and science. GATE is conducted jointly by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras and IIT Roorkee) on behalf of Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), Government of India.

The GATE score of a candidate reflects the relative performance level of a candidate. The score is used for admissions to various post-graduate programs (e.g. Master of Engineering, Master of Technology, Doctor of Philosophy) at leading higher education institutes, like IISc, IITs and NITs. Recently, GATE scores are also being used by several Indian public sector undertakings (i.e., government-owned companies) for recruiting graduate engineers in entry-level positions. It is one of the most competitive examinations in India.

GATE is a computer based test conducted in Feb/March every year and engineering graduates or final year engineering students can appear for the exam. There is NO minimum percentage in engineering required for appearing for GATE exam.