Cracking GATE 2012

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A close look at the changing pattern of the exam over the years is the key ingredient for success in GATE, finds R.RAVIKANTH REDDY

In demand: Number of applicants for GATE has increased.
In demand: Number of applicants for GATE has increased.

The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) opens the gates of opportunities in higher education. A test that sees intense competition for seats in post-graduate courses in engineering and sciences in top institutes in the country is administered by the IITs and Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc). Though a separate test is conducted in Andhra Pradesh for admission into M.Tech and ME courses first preference for filling up the seats is given to candidates who qualify in GATE. Some institutions specify GATE qualification as mandatory even for admission of self-financing students to postgraduate programmes.

Over the past few years, the number of applicants for GATE has increased for various reasons like changes in pattern, Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) considering GATE scores for recruitments, attractive career options for post-graduates and the urge to stand out among the increasing number of engineering graduates among others.

“GATE 2012 scores would be considered as the merit criterion by organisations such as Powergrid, BHEL, IOCL and NTPC, for recruitment to the posts of Executive Trainees and Management Trainees next year. Preparation for GATE comes handy for other PSU exams like CIL, SAIL, GAIL etc and also campus recruitment interviews,” says Prudhvi Reddy, Course Director, TIME Pvt. Ltd.

Things to know

Pre-final year students are not be eligible for GATE 2012. “But this should not affect preparation of pre-final year students who plan to appear for GATE when eligible, as it is always better to start early and revise towards the end. Out of the 21 optionals in GATE, only one can be taken in a particular year. There is no restriction on which optional you can take in GATE. But, candidates wishing to attempt an optional not related to their qualifying degree, must check the admission rules of the institutes of interest carefully,” Mr. Reddy says.

Mr. Reddy points out that a close look at the changing pattern of the exam over the years indicates that precision is the key ingredient for success in GATE. The three-hour GATE 2012 paper will have a total of 65 questions. General Aptitude plays a significant role in maximising the score, with as much as 15 per cent weightage. Engineering maths also enjoys a weightage of 15 per cent.

Practice will help candidates sharpen their basic skills so as to derive the maximum benefit from these sections. Engineering subjects, where the fundamentals are tested, enjoy 70 per cent weightage. Question types would fall into three broad categories – memory, application of knowledge and conceptual understanding. Answers once marked cannot be changed. So, be careful. Only black ink ball pen are to be used for marking the answers. Pencils are not allowed.

With just 15 weeks left for the exam, candidates should plan their preparation strategically, by attempting previous papers and analysing the weightages for various topics. “Concepts should be revised, practice papers and previous/mock GATE papers should be solved, and the most should be made of the next four months,” Mr. Reddy points out.


This year candidates need to register and fill the application Online only as the sale of application forms through banks and GATE office counters has been discontinued. The filled-in form has to be sent to the GATE offices before October 24. The admit cards for GATE will not be sent by post. They are to be downloaded from the respective IIT websites.

In GATE 2012, a total of six papers (AR, GG, TF, AE, AG and MN) will be conducted completely online. This indicates that there is a good chance of GATE becoming completely online in coming years.

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. Academics say students getting ranks below 100 can be assured of a seat in either the IISc or top IITs. Several other good colleges that take students for master's programme through GATE include the NITs located across the country and the university colleges.



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