GATE 2018 Life Sciences (XL) Question Paper, Answer Key & Analysis

Last Updated - February 03 2018

GATE 2018 Life Sciences (XL) Paper was successfully held on February 3, 2018. Here is a brief look at some of the important takeaways for GATE 2018. The paper consisted of general aptitude and conceptual domain knowledge in about 65 questions carrying 100 marks, of which 10 questions will be based on general aptitude and the remaining questions would be based on the subject.

  • GATE Result will be declared on March 17, 2018.
  • XL-P (Mandatory for all XL aspirants) Chemistry based on questions from Ionic and covalent bonding, s, p and d Block Elements.
  • In XL - T Zoology, questions were asked from evolution, Cell Biology, Ecology, Gene expression in Eukaryotes. 
  • In Sections – XL-Q Biochemistry, XL-R Botany and XL - U Food Technology, questions were of easy to moderate level. Check GATE Cut off 2018 
  • XL - S Microbiology was moderate in nature with questions based on Microbial interactions, Molecular approaches to microbial taxonomy.Check GATE XL Paper Analysis

Post declaration of results, GATE Participating Institutes will release their separate GATE Cut-Offs. On the basis of GATE cutoffs, the participating institutes (other than IITs, NITs, CFTIs) will announce their merit lists for admission via GATE. 

Response Key for GATE 2018 Life Sciences (XL)

GATE response keys with accurate solutions to the Life Sciences (XL) question paper, among other papers will be published on the official website, by the examination authority soon after the scheduled exam date. Aspirants can reach their personal answer sheets via aspirant login on the GOAPS (GATE Online Application Processing System), to check the responses that they submitted in the exam, against the official response keys.

Aspirants can reach, download and check their GATE answer sheet, question papers and response keys for each paper/subject, session-wise, estimate scores and also file objections to the response key via their personal login in GOAPS.

GATE 2018 Life Sciences (XL) Answer Sheet 

GATE Answer Sheets are the personal aspirants’ responses to the questions in the GATE papers. Aspirants can reach their personal answer sheet in the following steps:

  • Click the "View Answer" tab.
  • Enter aspirant’s login credentials to the GOAPS.
  • Download, save and obtain print of the answer sheet
  • Aspirant’s Answer to the GATE Question Paper would appear on-screen in pdf pattern.
  • Visit Official website of GATE i.e.

GATE 2018 Life Sciences (XL) Response Keys 

GATE Response Keys will contain the accurate solutions/responses to the questions asked in the GATE Papers. Aspirants can reach their subject-specific Response Keys in the following steps: Please note that the Response Keys will be announced provisionally in the first place, and later announced with changes incorporated (if any) on the basis of valid challenges from the aspirants.

  • Download, save and obtain prints of the response key.
  • The response key is displayed on-screen
  • Select the Life Sciences (XL) paper and the relevant response key.
  • Click on the ‘Response Key’ link tab on the aspirant dashboard.

Aspirants have the option of raising objections to the response keys announced provisionally. The steps involved in doing so are listed below:

  • Click ‘Contest Response Key’ tab to cautiously read the ‘Guidelines’ for challenging the Response Key.
  • Check the declaration stating that guidelines for challenging the GATE Response Key have been understood and agreed to.
  • Enter aspirant’s login credentials to the COAP.
  • Click the “Contest Response Key" tab to proceed to payment option. For each question challenged, a fee of INR 500 (USD 10 for NRI aspirants) has to be paid using either Net Banking or Credit/Debit Cards via the integrated payment gateway.
  • Use the exact question number mentioned in the question paper to submit the challenge. Upload suitable justification to the challenge and hit submit.
  • Visit Official website of GATE.

How to calculate GATE score using the Response Key?

Aspirants can estimate their GATE Score using the Response Key in the following attitude:

  • Add the scores of the accurate responses and deduct the scores lost for inaccurate responses.
  • Please note that the NAT questions will not have negative marking.
  • The exhibit below tabulates the scoring system for GATE. Aspirants can follow the rule said below to estimate their scores using the Response Key.
 1 Mark Question2 Mark Question
MCQ+1 for Accurate Response -1/3 for Inaccurate Response+2 for Accurate Response -2/3 for Inaccurate Response
NAT+1 for Accurate Response+2 for Accurate Response
GATE ScoreMCQ Score+ NAT Score

GATE 2018 Life Sciences (XL) Paper Analysis

Section P: Chemistry (Mandatory)

Atomic structure and periodicity: Planck’s quantum theory, wave-particle duality, uncertainty principle, the quantum mechanical model of the hydrogen atom, electronic configuration of atoms and ions. The periodic table and periodic properties: ionization energy, electron affinity, electronegativity and atomic size.

s.p. General characteristics of 3d elements. and d Block Elements: Oxides, halides and hydrides of alkali, alkaline earth metals, B, Al, Si, N, P, and S. Coordination complexes: valence bond and crystal field theory, color, geometry, magnetic properties, and isomerism.

Section Q: Biochemistry

Biochemical separation techniques: ion exchange, size exclusion and affinity chromatography, Characterization of biomolecules by electrophoresis, UV-visible and fluorescence spectroscopy and Mass spectrometry.

Cell structure and organelles; Biological membranes; Transport across membranes; Signal transduction; Hormones and neurotransmitters.

Section R: Botany

Plant Systematics: Major systems of classification, plant groups, phylogenetic relationships and molecular systematics.

Economic Botany: A general account of economically and medicinally important plants- cereals, pulses, plants yielding fibers, timber, sugar, beverages, oils, rubber, pigments, dyes, gums, drugs and narcotics. Economic importance of algae, fungi, lichen, and bacteria.

Section S: Microbiology

Historical Perspective: Discovery of microbial world; Landmark discoveries relevant to the field of microbiology; Controversy over spontaneous generation; Role of microorganisms in transformation of organic matter and in the causation of diseases.

Control of Micro-organisms: Effect of physical and chemical agents; Evaluation of effectiveness of antimicrobial agents.

Section T: Zoology

Animal world: Animal diversity, distribution, systematics and classification of animals, phylogenetic relationships.

Evolution: Origin and history of life on earth, theories of evolution, natural selection, adaptation, speciation.

Section U: Food Technology

Food Products Technology: Processing principles: thermal processing, chilling, freezing, dehydration, the addition of preservatives and food additives, irradiation, fermentation, hurdle technology, intermediate moisture foods. 

Qualifying Marks for GATE 2018 Life Sciences (XL)

GATE 2018 Cut off score is the at least score that aspirants obligatory to secure in order to qualify the entrance test. The admissions cut-off will vary for each participating institute as it is dependent on the number of seats available at a particular institute as well as the number of participants therein. Note that GATE Cut Offs will be separate for qualifying the exam and for admissions.

Here we have tabulated the qualifying marks for the Life Sciences paper from the last three years. Aspirants should bear this in mind that the Qualifying Cut-off will vary on the basis of the difficulty level of exam and the total number of participants.


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