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GATE: get set for the toughest test

R. RAVIKANTH REDDY

GATE qualified candidates are eligible for the award of Junior Research Fellowship in CSIR Laboratories and CSIR sponsored projects.


One of the toughest examinations with intense competition is the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), administered by the IITs and IISc. for admission to all the postgraduate courses in engineering in the country.

These courses are offered as M.E., M.Tech. and M.S. courses depending on the university and the institutions that design the courses.

Though in some States a separate entrance is held for M.Tech. and ME courses and those qualifying in that are given a seat after the GATE qualifiers are exhausted.

Some institutions specify GATE qualification as mandatory even for admission of self-financing students to postgraduate programmes.

The 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”, which is awarded by the CSIR.

Also some government organisations prescribe GATE qualification as a requirement for applying to the post of a Scientist or Engineer.

Before applying candidates must ensure that they have chosen the right paper, which qualifies them to become eligible to seek admission to the specific programmes they are interested in.

Offline test

The test will be held in the normal mode for all the streams except Textile Engineering and Mining Engineering for which an online test is held.

The offline test will be held on February 14 while the online test on February 7, 2010. The results would be announced on March 15.

There are 21 different papers (one for each stream) in GATE including engineering streams such as ECE, CSE, EE and pure sciences such as mathematics, physics and chemistry.

For each of the streams, the syllabus is different and therefore the question paper is different as well. The syllabus for engineering streams includes four years of engineering syllabus and general aptitude.

GATE is an objective type test with multiple choice questions with total time duration of three hours. There are 65 questions for a total of 100 marks.

There is a 33 per cent negative marking for every wrong answer. The question wise distribution is as follows—one-mark technical questions (Q. No. 1 to 25), two-mark technical questions (Q. No. 26 to 55), one-mark aptitude questions (Q.No. 56 to 60) and two-mark aptitude questions (Q.No. 61 to 65).

“The surprise factor is the addition of the aptitude section in GATE'10. With 10 questions, contributing to 15 marks, this section could well be the deciding factor this time,” says Aditya Reddy of Gateforum that trains GATE aspirants.

The verbal aptitude part includes questions on English grammar, sentence completion, verbal analogies, word groups, instructions, critical reasoning and verbal deduction.

The numerical aptitude part includes questions on numerical computation, numerical estimation, numerical reasoning and data interpretation.

Initial hurdle

Once the initial hurdle (GATE) is cleared, an aspirant is faced with another – that of the admission process of various colleges.

Each department of each college has a different selection procedure which often creates confusion and indecisiveness in the mind of the aspirant.

“For example, the ME program at the IISc. has direct admission whereas the M.Tech program has a written test followed by an interview and the MS program has only an interview.

Hence a candidate has to prepare for all processes thoroughly,” says Mr. Aditya Reddy.

Also, one has to apply to each of the departments separately since there is no common counselling procedure. Hence each candidate has to judiciously select departments where getting admission is easy based on the GATE rank.

A rank of below 100 would guarantee a seat in either the IISc or top IITs, but those securing a rank above 100, the options get confusing, especially while choosing the combination of institute and specialisation and also in cases of inter disciplinary admissions.

Top institutes

The top institutes which offer admission based on GATE score are IISc Bangalore and seven IITs.

There are several other good colleges that take students for masters program through GATE -

The 20 NITs located across the country, the university colleges such as Jadhavpur University, Anna University, IT BHU and Osmania University.

All the private colleges offering M.Tech. course in India admit students in their college based on the GATE score.

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