What is GATE?

For those of you who don’t know, the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering is a national level examination conducted by the IISc and seven Indian Institutes of Technologies on behalf of NBC-GATE, DHE, MHRD and Government of India. The purpose of this exam is for admission into post-graduate courses, screening for entry-level jobs and enrolling into PhD. programs. 

When is it conducted?

The applications for the examination are open during the 1st or 2nd week of September. The admit cards will then be issued in January which is followed by the exam in February. The results are often expected in March.

Check your eligibility

Candidates who are in their final year of Bachelor’s or Master’s courses or those who have completed their graduation are eligible to apply for the examination. Detailed information about the same is available on the official website. 

Documents required supporting your eligibility

  • In case a candidate has already passed out (2019 or earlier), it is required of them to upload their degree/provisional/course completion/professional/membership certificate.
  • In case a candidate is expected to complete, it is required of them to upload a certificate from the Head of the Department/Institute for which the format is available at the official website.

Documents required for applying

  • Scanned photograph and signature
  • Valid ID (Aadhar/passport/driving license/ college ID/ Employee ID card/notarized affidavit etc)
  • For foreign students – passport/govt. issued ID/ College ID/Employee ID
  • Degree certificate/provisional certificate/course completion certificate
  • Caste certificate if applicable
  • Disability certificate if applicable
  • Students with backlogs are required to upload a copy of their marks sheet of the final year issued by the institute.

GATE 2020

It is conducted in 25 papers/subjects covering physical and life sciences. It is a 3-hour Computer Based Test, where there will be a total of 65 questions of 100 marks. 10 questions of 15 marks will be based on General Aptitude (GA) in order to test language and analytical skills and 85% of the total marks are based on the subject of the paper.

To attempt a paper in Life Sciences (XL), you will need to choose an option with your main subject where Chemistry (P) is the mandatory unit in the paper.

For example, I have a Master’s degree in Microbiology (S); since chemistry is the mandatory unit it is required of me to choose an optional form Biochemistry (Q), Botany (R), Zoology (T) and Food Technology (U).

Here is it very important for you to choose the subject that is more relevant to your field as they may be a few topics that are related/overlapping and thereby will make it easy for your preparation.

However, it is important to know that a candidate is allowed to appear for ONLY ONE of the 25 papers of GATE.

Marking scheme for Life Sciences

  • The GA section includes 5 questions carrying 1 mark each and 5 questions carrying 2 marks each (15 marks).
  • Section P (Compulsory) – it contains 15 questions of 25 marks out of which 5 questions carry 1 mark each and 10 questions carry 2 marks each.
  • Any two XL sections from Q to U can be made during the examination after viewing the questions. This section carries a total of 30 marks out of which 10 questions carry 1 mark each and 10 questions carry 2 marks each.

There is negative marking for wrong answers. For 1 mark MCQs, one-third mark will be deducted and for 2 marks MCQs, the two-third mark will be deducted. There is no negative marking for numerical questions so you can be free to guess and attempt.

Procedure for applying

Applications can be made at GOAPS (GATE Online Application Processing System) at the official website only which will be made available from the 3rd of September, 2019 till the 24th of September, 2019.

Application process


  • Name
  • Email address
  • Country of Residence
  • Mobile Number
  • Password
  • Captcha and submit
  • If the details are correct you will receive an SMS and an email that must be verified.

2.Filling the application form

  • Select the paper, examination country and pick 3 choices of exam centers.
  • Enter personal details and qualifying degree details.

3.Upload Documents

  • Passport size photograph in white background (2kb-200kb)
  • Signature (2kb-150kb)
  • Eligibility certificates
  • Category certificate if applicable (10kb-300kb)
  • PwD certificate if applicable (10kb-300kb)

4.Fee payment

  • The payment can be made online only via net banking/credit card/debit card.
  • The application fee is neither refundable nor transferable.
  • Additional online transaction charges will be applicable during the time of payment.
  • Candidates who belong to SC/ST/PwD should upload valid documents for proof in order to receive a concession in fees.
  • If the payment is not reflected, you are advised to not make another payment immediately. In such cases, you are required to wait for two days and check for the application status. In case of an unsuccessful payment, you are required to make another payment. If extra payments are received, it will automatically be refunded into the candidate’s account.

5.Application status

  • Candidates whose applications are at fault regarding photo/signature/documents are contacted via email or SMS. In the meanwhile, if the status of your application says ‘Under Scrutiny’ the team processes your application.

6.Admit Card

  • The Admit Cards are said to be released on the 3rd of January, 2020.


Use of GATE score for employment

A few organizations that consider GATE scores to shortlist their candidates are BHEL, GAIL, HAL, IOCL, NTPC, NPCIL, ONGC, and PGCI.

Direct recruitment is also done to Group A level posts in the Central government which is based on the GATE score.

Use of GATE score for PhD

A few Life Science organizations like IISc, IIT, JNTU, NIT, and many more institutes accept GATE scores for enrolment into PhD programs.