GATE 2017: Preparation Strategy with 30 Days in Hand

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), which started more than 30 years ago, has today emerged as one of the bench mark tests for engineering and science aptitude in facilitating admissions for higher education (M.Tech./Ph.D.) in IITs, IISc and various other Institutes/Universities/Laboratories in India.
EngineeringDuring the last few years, GATE score has been used as one of the criteria for recruitment in some Public Sector Undertakings in India. GATE exams are conducted by the IITs and IISc as a computer based test having multiple choice questions and numerical answer type questions.

Organizing institute for GATE 2017 is IIT Roorkee. GATE examination provides with a GATE score to all qualified candidates, which is valid for three years. GATE is one of the opportunities to make career advancement and to improve core competencies.

Important Dates:
  • GATE 2017 online examination: February 4-5, 2017 and February 11-12, 2017
  • GATE 2017 results announcement: March 27th, 2017

GATE 2017 Question Paper Pattern:
  • In all the papers, there will be a total of 65 questions carrying 100 marks and duration is 3 hrs, out of which 10 questions carrying a total of 15 marks will be on General Aptitude.
  • The questions will be of Multiple Choice and Numerical Answer Type questions.
  • General Aptitude: There will be 10 questions (both MCQ and NAT). 1 – 5 questions will carry one mark and 6 – 10 will carry two marks.
  • Engineering Discipline: There will be 55 questions (both MCQ and NAT) from respective specialized subjects. 1 – 25 questions will carry one mark and 26 – 55 questions will carry two marks.
  • Negative Marking: There will be 1/3rd negative for one mark MCQ and 2/3rd negative for two marks MCQ. No negative marks for NAT questions.
  • Design of Questions:
    • Recall: These are based on facts, principles, formulae or laws of the discipline of the paper. The candidate is expected to answer to able to obtain the answer either from his/her memory of the subject or at most a one line computation.
    • Comprehension: These questions will test the candidates understanding of the basics of his/her field, by requiring him/her to draw simple conclusions from fundamental ideas.
    • Application: In these questions, the candidate is expected to apply his/her knowledge either through computation and logical reasoning. The questions may be a mix of single standalone statement/phrase/data type questions, combination of option codes type questions or match items type questions.
    • Analysis and Synthesis: In these questions, the candidate is presented with data, diagrams, images etc. that require analysis before a question can be answered. A synthesis question might require the candidate to compare two or more pieces of information. Questions in this category could, for example, involve candidates in recognizing unstated assumptions, or separating useful information from irrelevant information.

GATE 2017: Important points to remember
  • GATE 2017 examination will be conducted in 23 papers and candidate is allowed to choose ONLY ONE paper. Candidate should choose the paper carefully.
  • GATE 2017 score will be considered for 3 years for PG admissions and 1 or 2 years for PSUs recruitment process.
  • Most of the students will give lot of importance for their specialized subjects only and will neglect English, Mathematics and Aptitude. Candidate should remember that these topics are good scoring with little efforts (upto 30 marks) and will be the deciding factor for best rank/score.

Virtual Calculator:


  • GATE 2017 paper will have Numerical Answer Type (NAT) questions and will be given for marks around 40 to 45 out of 100. There will not be any multiple choices for NAT questions. Candidate should enter the numerical answer through virtual key board after performing some calculations. Answer will be considered correct if it is in the accepted range. In the recent past, it has been observed that students are struggling a lot to answer NAT type questions even though they are not difficult.
  • For example: If the question is power delivered to some load in kW is ______. If candidate get answer as 5268 W, then answer will be any number between 5.1 to 5.3. Units are very important and more chances to do mistake in the calculations.
  • Another important point to be remembering is Physical calculator is not allowed in the exam hall. There will be online calculator and candidate should use it for calculations.
  • Conversion from polar to rectangular, complex numbers, Matrix operations, quadratic, cubic or simultaneous equations cannot be solved in this calculator. Method of substitution/elimination can be used for certain questions. Some examples are given below:
  • It is highly recommended to use this calculator by downloading (from GATE website) into their mobiles/tabs/laptops during the preparation itself. Otherwise, it will give great trouble during exam.
  • It is analyzed from the previous year’s papers that, paper setters are giving importance for fast growing/changing subjects and concepts related to those topics. For example, in EE paper applications of power electronics in power systems and in regulated power supplies used in house hold systems. In EC paper, digital communication, VLSI technologies are fast evolving. Hence, deep understanding with strong fundamentals is very much essential to score more in these subjects. Take expert’s guidance.
  • In every paper, there will be 10 – 15 subjects and number of questions is only 55 in engineering discipline. Paper setting and giving equal weightage for all subjects is really challenging. Hence, IIT professors will make innovative and unique questions by combining two or three subjects and sometimes engineering questions will be combined with mathematics as well. Such questions are very different and candidate need in depth understanding and broader picture on the concepts.
  • Some of the conventional problems solving from previous ESE papers will give additional advantage. Practicing previous papers are just to know the pattern of questions only. Same questions will not repeat and untapped questions are giving in GATE exam.
  • Simply mugging up the formulae will not help. Understanding on concepts and solving problems from standard text books will gain more advantage. It is highly recommended to write the formulae instead of only reading.

Short term preparation tips for GATE 2017
The effective preparation and mental attitude of the student in the last month before the final exam will play a key role in the success of the candidate in any examination in general and GATE 2017 in particular. In this regard, some of the useful tips are given below to help the students to mould their last month preparation in a proper way.
  1. Avoid studying new topics:
    It is not advisable to start studying new topics before two weeks of time. It may require some additional time which may not be possible. Moreover, you may not be able to grasp it 100% and it may result in some pressure on you. Therefore, utilize this time for effective revision instead of going to new topics. Be strong in fundamental concepts.

  2. Strengthen the key concepts and formulae of each subject:
    Recall and revise all the formulae and main concepts which you have already studied so far and consolidate it. If you have prepared any short notes/micro notes containing all the important formulae and key concepts of each subject, it may be referred to. It is also useful if you can write a couple of times the formulae on a rough paper for effective revision.

  3. Finalize your strategy to be followed in the exam:
    If you have already tried the previous year’s question papers or taken the full length mock test papers, you would have come to know about the importance of time in exam. In GATE 2017, answering all the questions within the scheduled time is difficult unless you are very good in subject and had a thorough practice of the similar kind of question papers earlier. If you have not done it so far, don’t worry. At least now solve four to five sets of previous year’s papers/full length mock papers to learn about the time management in the exam. Accordingly you need to evolve a strategy to be followed in the exam to answer as many questions as possible and maximize your marks.

  4. Strategy in the exam:
    Your examination strategy should include the following.
    • Solve the easy and well known questions, in the first round.
    • If you don’t know any question or if any question is time consuming, leave it in the first round and mark it suitably so that you can come back later to it.
    • If you find time after first round then attempt the left over questions in the second round. Like that, you can follow.
    • Please remember that GATE exam is to test the engineering aptitude of the candidate but not the research exam. Most of the calculations does not require calculator in GATE exam but they are tricky. Try to do with hand and at last you can depend on the virtual calculator as all the features are not available.
    • Get familiarity with color coding of questions in GATE online paper.
  5. Have a positive mental attitude:
    You need to have a burning desire and optimism which give you the required energy and enthusiasm to prepare rigorously and do well in the exam. Never get discouraged seeing your marks in the mock exams or the left over syllabus to be revised. Though you prepared well, you may feel that something is still left over. There is no end for it. Try to put your best efforts and work hard in a smart manner till the last minute within the resources available. Never lose hope. Be optimistic. Don’t allow any distraction come in your way in the crucial stage of preparation. Be focused on the preparation only.
    • Try to maintain good health. Light exercise/walking will keep you fit physically.
    • Listen to light music or do meditation after long hours of preparation to have stress relief.
    • Try to utilize the entire day for your preparation and avoid late night studies.
    • Eat properly and avoid oily food. Don’t neglect your sleep.
    • The most important thing is to have a good sleep (6 – 7 hours per day).
    • Away from time wasting things like excess chatting, facebook, whatsapp and social media.
  6. Plan of schedule: Keeping in view all the above points, prepare a plan of schedule on how to spend and how to prepare in the last month. Try to implement sincerely the schedule.
Published on 1/4/2017 1:52:00 PM


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