The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering is considered one of the toughest all-India examinations. A computer-based standardised procedure organised by the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, and seven Indian Institutes of Technology, it gauges students’ knowledge of undergraduate subjects related to engineering and science. A good score is vital for aspirants as this helps getting admission into postgraduate courses in engineering and technology, etc. A good Gate score is also a prerequisite for applying to most of the major Public Sector Undertakings. It is a difficult exam to crack but with persistent hard work and determination, many ace the exam every year to get seats in the best colleges and PSUs.

The exam involves papers of three hours’ duration each and consists of 65 questions with a score of 100 marks. The questions comprise both multiple choice and numerical answer types and currently 23 streams feature, some of which involve mechanical, electronics and communication, electrical, computer science and Information Technology, et al.

The syllabus for 2016 has been revised and many topics have been added. For mechanical engineering, five add-ons include strength of materials, theory of machines, machine design, heat transfer and thermodynamics. In electrical engineering, two topics, namely drives and servo and stepper motors, have been removed from power electronics and electrical machines, respectively. In subjects like measurements, potentio metric recorder, serial and parallel communication have been taken out.

In electronics and communication engineering, interpolation of discrete time signals and digital filer design technique are add-ons to signal systems, as are voltage reference circuits in analog electronics, with analog CMOS circuit removed. Such changes have also been made in other subjects that include digital circuit, EDC, EMT, communications and mathematics.

Changes have also been made in computer science, Information Technology, civil engineering and instrumentation engineering. In a nutshell, Gate 2016 will check the basic knowledge of students so the questions can be expected to be more conceptual. Also, they may be more twisted and research-oriented this time. Students can use online calculators for solving questions during the exam and will make it easier for them to complete papers on time.

To be able to appear for the Gate exam, it is crucial that aspirants meet the eligibility criteria. They must have a Bachelor&’s degree in engineering or a related field, with final year students being eligible. Students who have completed their Master&’s in any such field or are final year students at the time of exams can also sit for Gate.

In order to nail this competitive examination, it is important that students follow these tips that will help them immensely in their preparation:

First and foremost, start preparing for Gate from the early years of college. This will give ample time to be slow and steady in preparation and not rush and succumb to last minute distractions.

Since Gate scores are important to gain admission into postgraduate programmes of the best colleges in the country, aspirants need to be very meticulous about how they prepare. A proper timetable in hand will guide them on how to move forward, which subject to study first and many allied issues.

Revising the entire syllabus at least two or three times before the final exam is the best way to score well. Revision clears each and every concept and helps students in gaining a better understanding of the subject. Once one is good with the basics, it becomes easy.

Since the 2016 syllabus has been changed, students are advised not to skip any subject just because they don’t like it or because of paucity of time. They should be thorough with the basics and can seek help from friends for clearing doubts. They should also get used to online calculators and practice sample papers from Gate 2008, 2002 and 1996, as these exams were also organised by the IISc.

Here are some tips for repeaters:

Students sitting for the exam for the second or third time must assess the mistakes they made in their previous appearance and prepare accordingly. They should try to identify their weak as well as strong areas so as to get a good understanding of how they can crack Gate.

These days the online test series offered by many portals can be of immense help. The series will help them solve a variety of questions and will prepare them holistically for the final exam. They can calculate the average marks they get in these series and then analyse the areas in which they can increase their scores in order to get a better ranking.

Most students are not able to clear Gate due to slow speed or because they don’t know how to manage time effectively. Repeaters should carefully examine the time they take while solving a particular paper and come up with solutions that can help them in managing available time optimally.

Short notes have always been the best way to learn. While studying for the exam, students can make such notes by writing a summary of each topic they learn. At the time of revision, they can just go through these notes and, voila, they will be ready to crack Gate!

Held once a year, Gate is the benchmark for various colleges and PSUs accepting students for postgraduate programmes. Aspirants need to note the many changes made in the 2016 syllabus and persist with proper preparation, for this is the only tool with which they can sail through the exam easily and score well.


The writer is co-founder, the Gate Academy