GATE-way to success

GATE exam
19 October 2011, Wednesday

With the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) exam just a few months away, aspirants are busy with last-minute preparations to make it to top engineering and science institutes. There are a million applications for this exam in 2012, says Sangeeta Yadav

There is an increased scope in job prospects for those who have pursued engineering and other allied subjects. “We have already witnessed a record number of applicants who have applied for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) this year. Last year, around six lakh people appeared for the exam but this year, more than a million people have registered themselves so far. One of the possible reasons for this upcoming trend this year is due to the decision taken by many Public Sector Units (PSU’S) of recruiting directly through GATE results. Moreover, it is found that after clearing MTech, students are well-placed,” Professor Jagdish Kumar, organising chairman for GATE, tells you.

The exam is all India and conducted jointly by the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) and eight Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) on behalf of the National Coordination Board — GATE, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. The main aim of this test is to identify suitable candidates for engineering and research purposes.
IITs and IISc always try to innovate and introduce new systems to test the basic knowledge of candidates in various fields. As a part of that innovation, this year many new changes have been made in Gate 2012. “In GATE 2012, there are 21 papers out of that six papers will be online. Last year, we had four online papers — Geology and Geo-Physics (GG), Aerospace Engineering (AE), Textile Engineering and Fabric Science (TF) and Mining Engineering (MN). For the test this year we have introduced two additional papers which will be conducted online — Architecture and Planning (AR) and Agricultural Engineering (AG). Scholarship is available for the needy students. Last year more than 15,000 students availed the scholarship,” says Professor Jagdish.
In the new format, online papers will have questions of multiple choice type and numerical answer type. For multiple choice type questions, each question will have four choices for the answer. For numerical answer type questions, each question will have a number as the answer and choices will not be given. Moreover, the sale of application forms through banks and GATE office counters and sending admit cards by post to the candidates have been discontinued in this new format. The candidates need to register and fill the application online only by accessing the GATE websites of IISc and eight IITs. Also the admit card can only be downloaded from the zonal GATE websites from 2nd January 2012 onwards. The pre-final year students are not eligible to write GATE 2012.
According to experts it is not easy test to crack. “The exam, is very tricky. Although three to four months of dedicated preparation will lead the students to a good rank. The concept matters a lot and the basic should be clear. One should solve mock papers. Numericals are very difficult and for every wrong answer there is negative marking. Questions are inter-related and if your answer is incorrect the other will automatically gets wrong,” says Sakshi Kohli, one of the top rank holders of exam and a PhD student at IIT, Delhi.

Qualified students get opportunities such as attractive scholarships, assistantship for postgraduate courses at some of the best engineering institutes in India. There are several engineering colleges and institutes that specify GATE as an obligatory qualification even for admission of students into post-graduation programmes. In addition to options waiting such as M.Tech, M.Sc. and M.E, GATE qualified candidates also become eligible for the award of junior research fellowship in Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Laboratories.

After qualifying GATE, candidates will get to explore more education avenues for further evaluation.M.Tech degree is mandatory to apply for faculty or research positions in educational Institutes or research and development centers. One can also work as plant engineers, manufacturing engineers, quality engineers, process engineers and industrial managers in different industries, management and service sector in the middle management cadre. PSU’s like BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre), Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) etc. give importance to GATE scores for various job positions in their organisations.


  • Bachelor’s degree or post-graduate diploma holders in BSc, engineering or technology or architecture and those who are in the final year of such programmes.
  • 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 programmes.
  • Candidates with qualifications obtained through exam conducted by professional societies recognised by UPSC/AICTE (AMIE by Institute of Engineers; AMICE by Institute of Civil Engineers) as equivalent to BE/BTech are eligible to apply for GATE 2012.

The exam consists of a single paper of 3 hours duration which contains 65 questions carrying a maximum of 100 marks. The question paper will consist of only objective questions. The pattern of question papers is given in Section 4. Each paper shall have a General Aptitude component carrying 15 marks.


  • Last date for submission of online application — October 21 2011
  • Last date for receipt of printed version of online application — October 28, 2011
  • Online exam — January 29, 2012 (9 am–12 pm & 2 pm –5pm)
  • Offline exam — February 12 2012 (9 am–12 pm & 2pm–5pm)

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