GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering) Exam Pattern 2018

Last Updated - March 06 2018

With the announce of official notification, IIT Guwahati, the organising institute of GATE 2018, has also announced GATE Exam Format. Depending on the GATE Paper, the exam format is set. There is no change in exam format as per GATE Information Brochure. The exam comprises 2 types of Questions - Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) & Numerical Response Type (NAT).

GATE is scheduled in February 2018. Listed below are some quick facts concerned to GATE Exam Format 2018: 

  • There is no negative marking for NAT questions.
  • The period of the exam is 3 hours.
  • Some questions in GATE carry 1 mark each and some are of 2 marks each. 
  • The maximum number of questions in GATE 2018 are from the core subject.
  • There is a total of 65 questions of total 100 marks.
  • GATE exam is held in online mode. The exam is held for 23 papers.
  • The exam carries 3 sections- General Aptitude, Engineering Mathematics and specific subject of the paper.
  • GATE Syllabus is based on the selection of branch of undergraduate level.
  • Questions are of 2 types- Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) and Numerical Response Type (NAT).

One must note that GATE papers will have General Aptitude as a mandatory section. Also, Engineering Mathematics sections are common to most of the papers.

GATE 2018 will be organizeed across India and in 6 international cities. In order to score well, we suggest you be thorough with your GATE Preparation. Dedicate quality time to each of the sections. Read on to know all key details of GATE Exam Format.


Highlights of GATE Exam Format 2018

Highlights of GATE Exam Format 2018
GATE 2018 Exam DateFebruary 2018 (3, 4, 10, 11)
Timings of Exam9:00 – 12:00 Hrs 14:00 – 17:00 Hrs
Exam ModeOnline
Number of Questions65
Total Marks100
Type of QuestionsMCQs and NAT
Number of Sections

3 (General Aptitude, Engineering Mathematics* and Subject Specification Section)

*In place of Engineering Mathematics, Chemistry will be mandatory for Life Science (XL) Paper

Time Duration3 Hours
Sectional Time-LimitNo

Exam Paper with Codes of GATE 2018

At current GATE is held in 23 branches/subjects. An aspirant can appear only in any one paper of the following branches.  

CE, CS, EC, EE and ME Papers: Examination may be organizeed in multiple sessions due to increase in the number of participants.

Engineering Sciences (XE) and Life Science (XL) papers are of general nature. These two papers include the following sections. For XE Paper, Engineering Mathematics is the mandatory section while for XL, Chemistry is the mandatory section.  

GATE Exam Papers (AE, AG, BT, CE, CH, CS, EC, EE, IN, ME, MN, MT, PE, PI, TF, and XE)

  • The remaining part of GATE Question Paper comprises General Aptitude questions (15% of the total weightage – 15 Marks).
  • The questions based on the subject of the exam have 70% of the total weightage (70 Marks).
  • Engineering Mathematics questions are mandatory and carry 15% of the total weightage (15 Marks).

GATE Exam Papers (AR, CY, EY, GG, MA, PH and XL )

  • There is no question from Engineering Mathematics in these papers.
  • General Aptitude section will carry 15% of the total marks (15 Marks).
  • Remaining 85% of the total marks will be based on the subject of the paper (85 Marks).

Marking Scheme of GATE 2018

For each of the 23 subjects, the paper covers a total of 65 questions of 100 marks. Each paper is divided into subsections and on the basis of it, marking scheme is defined. 

  • Engineering Mathematics- 5 Questions of 2 Marks each and 5 Questions of 1 Marks each.
  • Remaining 70% weightage of total marks is earned by the subject of the paper.
  • Engineering Mathematics will cover approximately 15% weightage out of 100 marks for the paper bearing codes AE, AG, BT, CE, CH, CS, EC, EE, IN, ME, MN, MT, PE, PI, TF and XE.
  • From the total of 100 marks, there will be 10 questions of 15 marks covering the entire General Aptitude section (Language and Analytical Skills).
  • General Aptitude- 5 Questions of 2 Marks each and 5 Questions of 1 Marks each.
  • Subject Knowledge- 25 Questions of 2 Marks each and 20 Questions of 1 Marks each.
  • For the paper codes –  AR, CY, EY, GG, MA, PH  and XL, the General Aptitude will cover 15% out of 100 marks, and other 85% of the total question paper will be covered by the subject of the paper.

Negative Marking in GATE Exam Format

  • For questions carrying 2 marks, 2/3 marks would be deducted for marking an inaccurate response.
  • MCQs carrying 1 marks each, 1/3 marks would be deducted as a penalty for marking the wrong response.
  • There is no provision of negative marking in NAT questions.

GATE Exam Format for GG, XE and XL

GATE exam format for GG, XE and XL papers is somewhat similar to other branches of GATE subjects. The question paper will consist of MCQs and NAT questions. 

  • The response to NAT may be a real number, signed or unsigned, e.g., 25.06, -25.06, 25, -25 etc.
  • Forgiving the response of numerical response questions, choices will not be given. You have to enter the response by using the virtual keyboard.
  • There will be four options for MCQs type questions; aspirants must select the most suitable option.
  • NAT questions will be mentioned with, up to which decimal places, the aspirants required to make a response.
  • A suitable range will be considered while evaluating the numerical response type questions so that the aspirant is not penalized due to the usual round-off mistakes.

The distribution of the questions and marks is described below:

  • 30 questions for total 60 marks (2 marks for each question)
  • 25 questions for total 25 marks (1 mark for each question)

GATE Exam Format for GG (Geology and Geophysics) Paper

Apart from the General Aptitude (GA) section, the Geology and Geophysics (GG) question paper consist of two parts: Part A and Part B.

  • The distribution of the questions and marks is described below:
    1. Part A consist of 25 questions (MCQs) and carry 1 mark for each question so the total 25 marks (Some questions may be numerical response type questions)
    2. Part B (Section 1 and Section 2) consists of 30 questions (MCQs Type) 2 mark for each question so the total 60 marks (Some questions may be numerical response type questions)
  • Part B consists of two sections: Section 1 (Geology) and Section 2 (Geo-Physics).
  • Part A is common for all aspirants.
  • Aspirants will have to attempt questions in Part A and in Part B attempt either Section 1 or Section 2.

GATE Exam Format for XE (Engineering Sciences) Paper

There are the following sections which have to be responded to GATE XE paper:

  • GA – General Aptitude (Mandatory)
  • Any two of XE section from B to G (as given in the paper code table)
  • Section A – Engineering Mathematics (Mandatory)

Aspirants can select two sections from B to G during the examination after viewing the questions. Aspirants can also change the subject in the midway of examination to another optional section, but for this, first of all, deselect one of the earlier selected optional subjects from B to G. Only two optional sections can be responses at a time.

Marking Scheme for GATE XE Paper

This section contains total 33 questions of total 50 marks. This section contains 11 questions of total 15 marks. In GATE XE paper, the Section - A (Engineering Mathematics) is mandatory. The distribution of the questions and marks is described below: Some questions may be of numerical response type questions.

  • 7 questions for total 7 marks (1 mark for each question)
  • 4 questions for total 8 marks (2 marks for each question)

Each of the other sections of XE paper from section B to G contains 22 questions carrying a total of 35 marks. Some questions may be of numerical response type questions. The distribution of the questions and marks is described below:

  • 9 questions for total 7 marks (1 mark for each question)
  • 13 questions for total 26 marks (2 marks for each question)

GATE Exam Format for XL (Life Sciences) Paper

There are the following sections which have to be responded by the aspirants in GATE XL paper as given in the below:

  • Section H – Chemistry (Mandatory)
  • Any two of XL sections from Q to U
  • GA – General Aptitude (Mandatory)

Aspirants can select two sections from Q to U during the examination after viewing the questions. Only two optional sections can be a response at a time. Aspirants can also change the subject in the midway of examination to another optional section, but for this, the aspirants will have to deselect one of the earlier selected optional subjects from Q to U initially.

Marking Scheme for GATE XL Paper

This section contains total 35 questions of total 55 marks. In GATE XL paper, the Section - P Chemistry (mandatory). This section contains 15 questions of total 25 marks. Some questions may be of numerical response type questions. The distribution of the questions and marks is described below:

  • 10 questions for total 20 marks (2 marks for each question)
  • 5 questions for total 5 marks (1 mark for each question)

Each of the other sections of the XL paper from section Q to U contains 20 questions carrying a total of 30 marks. Some questions may be of numerical response type questions. The distribution of the questions and marks is described below:

  • 10 questions for total 10 marks (1 mark for each question)
  • 10 questions for total 20 marks (2 marks for each question)

Types of Questions in GATE

Questions in GATE are broadly divided into Objective Type (MCQ) and Numerical Response Type (NAT). In MCQs, aspirants are offered with 4 choices out of which one response is correct. An aspirant has to mark the accurate choice by clicking on the radio button against the option.

Numerical Response Type (NAT) Questions

  • NAT comprises questions with a value or a real number as their response.
  • Using the keyboard must be avoided as it will lock your response panel.
  • NAT questions will be mentioned with, up to which decimal places, the aspirants required to make a response.
  • There will be no negative marking for NAT questions.
  • The response has to be entered using the mouse. 
  • There won’t be any choices for these questions.

Questions Based on General Aptitude 

Apart from questions based on the subjects, the paper will also contain the questions to test the ability of your General Ability like- Language and Analytical Skills. The distribution of the questions and marks is described below: 15% weightage of total marks is devoted to General Aptitude section in all the papers.

  • 5 questions for total 10 marks (2 marks for each question)
  • 5 questions for total 5 marks (1 mark for each question)

The format of questions in GATE exam are explained below:

  1. Recall: This comprises questions based on facts, principles, formulae and laws of the branch. The aspirant has to mark a response either straight from a memory or from one line computation.
  2. Comprehension: These type of questions test the aspirant’s basic understanding of the field they belong to. The aspirants have to draw simple conclusions from fundamental ideas in these type of questions.
  3. Application: These are the logical reasoning based questions wherein the aspirants have to respond according to their knowledge via computation.
  4. Analysis and Synthesis: In these questions, the aspirant is presented with data, diagrams, images etc. that require analysis before a question can be responded. A Synthesis question might require the aspirant to compare two or more pieces of information. Questions in this category could, for example, involve aspirants in recognizing unsaid assumptions or separating useful information from irrelevant information.

Important Topics for GATE (Subject-wise)

Since GATE is a national level entrance examination, aspirants must prepare well for it for admissions to the desired college or for appointment to the desired PSU. Don’t forget to check GATE Paper Analysis for boosting up your GATE Preparation.

Check out the list of important topics from each paper code to aid preparations for GATE:

Important Topics for GATE Civil Engineering (CE)

The aspirants must concentrate more on the topics given below while preparing for GATE Exam for Civil Engineering (CE):

  • Highway and Surveying
  • Strength of Materials
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Irrigation and Hydrology
  • Geo-Technical

Important Topics for GATE CSE (Computer Science and Information Technology)

The aspirants are asked the maximum number of questions from the topics given below in the GATE Exam for Computer Science and Information Technology (CS):

  • Algorithms
  • Computer Organization and Architecture
  • Theory of Computation
  • Operating Systems
  • Computer Networks
  • Database
  • Programming and Data Structures

Important Topics for GATE EE (Electrical Engineering)

There are questions from engineering mathematics and aptitude in this paper code as well while there are few topics from the subject that carry higher weightage in the GATE Exam. The important topics from Electrical Engineering are given below:

  • Control Systems
  • Signal and System
  • Network Theory
  • Power Systems
  • Analog & Digital Electronics

Important Topics for GATE ECE (Electronics and Communication Engineering)

This paper code has the maximum weight age of questions based on the subject. There are questions based on aptitude and engineering mathematics as well. The important topics for the preparation of technical questions asked in GATE EC Exam are given below:

  • Analog Circuits
  • Network Theory
  • Electromagnetic Theory
  • Signal and Systems
  • Control Systems
  • Communication Systems

Important Topics for GATE Mechanical Engineering (ME)

The aspirants can check the important topics from the mechanical engineering syllabus for GATE below:

  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Theory of Mechanics
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering

Important Topics for GATE Instrumentation Engineering (IN)

There are questions from different topics of instrumentation engineering studied during the Bachelor programme in GATE. Aspirants can revise the following topics thoroughly to crack the GATE Exam for Instrumentation Engineering:

  • Digital Circuits
  • Analog Circuits
  • Transducers
  • Control Systems
  • Circuit and Networks

Sample Papers of GATE 2018 

Solving GATE sample papers are really helpful in enhancing the preparation for the exam. In the table given below, we have offered you a list of paper along with codes and also the available link to sample paper for each subject.

CodePaper/ Subject NamePaper LinkCodePaper/ Subject NamePaper Link
AEAerospace EngineeringGet HereGGGeology and GeophysicsGet Here
AGAgricultural EngineeringGet HereINInstrumentation EngineeringGet Here
ARArchitecture and PlanningGet HereMAMathematicsGet Here
BTBiotechnologyGet HereMEMechanical EngineeringME 01ME 02ME 03 
CECivil EngineeringCE 01CE 02 MNMining EngineeringGet Here
CHChemical EngineeringGet HereMTMetallurgical EngineeringGet Here
CSComputer Sc. and Information TechnologyCS 01, CS 02CS 03PHPhysicsGet Here
CYChemistryGet HerePIProduction and Industrial EngineeringGet Here
ECElectronics and Communication Engg.EC 01EC 02EC 03TFTextile Engineering and Fibre ScienceGet Here
EEElectrical EngineeringEE01EE02XEEngineering SciencesXE- AXE-BXE- CXE-DXE- EXE-FXE- G 
EYEcology and EvolutionGet HereXLLife SciencesXL- HXL-IXL- JXL-KXL- LXL-M

Preparation Books for GATE

There are plenty of GATE preparation books available but the major problem comes in selecting the best ones for MCQs. An aspirant has to refer many subject books to crack the GATE code. Though there is not a single book for preparation of all the subjects of a particular discipline. Here we have enlisted the best book for boosting your GATE preparation. 

The table below displays name of some of the best-selling books along with their subject and their ISBN number. The ISBN number for each book is said alongside the name of the books for the convenience of candidates to buy books.

Name of the SubjectName of the BookISBN Number
Computer Science and Information TechnologyGATE Guide Computer Science and Information Technology9789386309747
Civil EngineeringGATE Guide Civil Engineering9789386309730
Mechanical EngineeringGATE Guide Mechanic Engineering 20189789386309778
Electronics and Communication EngineeringGATE Guide Electronics and Communication Engineering 20189789386309761
Civil EngineeringGATE Civil Engineer (22 year’s Chapter-wise Solved Paper)9789386309785
Electrical EngineeringGATE Guide Electrical Engineering 20189789386309754

GATE Exam Format – FAQs

Ques. What is the period of GATE exam?

Ans. The period of GATE exam is 3 hours. On logging off, the responses will be saved automatically.  As the timer reaches zero, the computer screen will log off on its own. There will be a countdown timer on the top right corner of the screen which will display the time left to clear the exam.

Ques. What is the Question Palette in the GATE Exam?

Ans. The aspirants can hide the question palette and move to full screen by clicking on the arrow marks given. The aspirants can navigate to various questions by clicking on the respective question number given on the Question Palette. The symbols with their meanings are given below: There is a various symbol to describe the status of questions. The question palette given on the right side of the computer screen displays the status of the questions.

Ques. How can we respond and save the questions (both MCQ and NAT)?

Ans. To response MCQs, click on the radio button before the choice. To deselect the response click again on the same radio button or click on Complete Answer button. Click on the button for another option to change the chosen response.

To response, NAT, enter the response using the numerical keypad of the virtual calculator. A decimal answer can be entered without mentioning 0 before the decimal point. To change the response to any particular question, select the question and then enter the need answer using the numerical keypad.

To save the responses, click on Save and Next button. All the responses will, however, be submitted automatically after time is over. To mark a response for review, click Mark for Review and Next button.

Note: Read the question cautiously, if there is any useful data given on the question paper, the aspirant must use it to response the question. If the aspirants is unable to find any such data in any question and they required it, they can click on Useful Data option given the top-right side of the screen.



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