What is GATE Exam?

The full name of the exam is Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering. GATE is an entrance examination for admission that allows candidates to get admission into postgraduate engineering programs offered by the IITs, NITs, and other renowned institutions. This is an examination that primarily tests the comprehensive understanding of various undergraduate subjects in engineering and science for admission into the Master’s Program and job in Public Sector Companies. Gate is a computer-based standardized test and conducted jointly by the Indian Institute of Science and seven Indian Institute of Technologies at Roorkee, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Chennai, and Mumbai on behalf of the National Coordination Board – GATE, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Government of India.


  • Bachelor’s degree holders in Engineering / Technology / Architecture (3 years after 10+2 /10+2+3 (ongoing)/post-Diploma) and those who are in the final year of such programs (Also the prefinal year of B. tech).
  • Master’s degree holders in any branch of Science/Mathematics/Statistics/Computer Applications or equivalent and those who are in the final year of such programs.
  • Candidates in the second or higher year of Four-year integrated master’s degree programs (Post-B.sc.) in Engineering /. Technology.
  • Candidates in the fourth or higher year of Five-year integrated master’s degree programs or Dual Degree programs in Engineering / Technology.
  • Candidates with qualifications obtained through examinations conducted by professional societies recognized by UGC/AICTE (e.g., AMIE by IE(India), AMICE by the Institute of Civil Engineers (India)-ICE(I), AMIETE by IETE(India) as equivalent to B.E./B.Tech.

Those who have completed section A or equivalent or such professional courses are also eligible. There are no age limit criteria defined by the exam conducting authority to appear in GATE.


  • Verbal Ability: English grammar, sentence completion, verbal analogies, word groups, instructions, critical reasoning, and verbal deduction.
  • Numerical Ability: Numerical computation, numerical estimation, numerical reasoning, and data interpretation.
  • Engineering Mathematics (not for all Papers)
  • Technical Ability: Technical questions related to the Paper chosen.

Duration and Examination type:

The examination is of 3 hours duration and contains a total of 65 questions worth a maximum of 100 marks. The examination for all the papers is carried out in an online Computer Based Test (CBT) mode where the candidates are shown the questions in a random sequence on a computer screen. The questions consist of some Multiple-Choice Questions or MCQs (four answer options out of which only ONE is correct, which ONE or MORE than ONE is/are correct, hence correct options need to be chosen) and/or Numerical Answer Type questions or NATs (the answer is a real number, to be entered via an on-screen keypad and computer mouse).

Questions and marking scheme:

The examination will consist of a total of 65 questions, segregated as One-mark and two-mark questions. Out of 65 questions, 10 questions will be from General Aptitude (Verbal and Numerical ability) and 55 questions will be Technical, based on the Paper chosen. The General Aptitude section will have 5 One-mark questions and 5 Two-mark questions, accounting for about 15% of total marks. The Technical section and Engineering Mathematics section will combinedly have 25 One-mark questions and 30 Two-mark questions, accounting for about 85% of total marks. Further, all the sections may have some Multiple-Choice Questions or MCQs, while remaining questions may be Multiple Choice Questions or MCQs, while remaining questions may be Multiple Select Questions or MCQs and/or Numerical Answer Type questions or NATs. The examination awards negative marks for wrong MCQ answers. Usually, 1/3rd of original marks will be deducted for wrong MCQ answers (i.e.-0.33 for wrong One-mark answers and -0.66 for wrong Two-mark answers) while there are no negative marks for MCQs and NATs. Also, there is NO partial credit for MCQs and NATs.

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. Usually, the general category’s qualifying mark is in the 25 to 50 range. The Government of India implemented reservations for other backward classes in college admissions and public sector job recruitment in the year 2008. Before that, all OBC candidates were included in the “general” category. There was no separate OBC category then.

Result and test score:

GATE results are usually declared about one month after the examinations are over. The results show the total marks scored by a candidate, the GATE score, the all-India rank (AIR), and cut-off marks for various categories in the candidate’s paper. The score is valid for 3 years from the date of announcement of the GATE results. The scorecards are issued only to qualified candidates.

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