GATE 2018 Exam Pattern & Marking Scheme

The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) examination is a pan-India entrance examination cum scholarship test for postgraduate education like the Masters degree program, both Master of Technology (M.Tech) and Master of Engineering (M.E.), or a direct doctoral degree PhD program.

This year, IIT Guwahati will set the paper for the GATE examination. The entrance exam will be conducted on 3, 4, 10 and 11 February, 2018.

GATE 2018: Exam Pattern



Exam Duration

3 hours (180 minutes)

Number of Questions Asked


Total Marks


Question Types

Two types of questions asked:

·         Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)

·         Numerical Answer Type (NAT) Questions

Marking Scheme

·         For 1-mark MCQs, 1/3 mark will be deducted for every incorrect attempt.

·         In case of 2-mark MCQs, the candidate will be penalised 2/3 mark for wrong attempt

·         For questions that aren’t attempted, zero marks will be awarded.

·         There is no negative marking for numerical answer type (NAT) questions.


The question paper of GATE 2018 will consist of three sections:

·         General Aptitude*

·         Engineering Mathematics (for XL papers it is Chemistry)*

·         Subject-specific section

The question paper for all 23 branches will consist of a single paper of three hours duration, and contains 65 questions carrying a maximum of 100 marks, out of which ten questions, carrying a total of 15 marks, are in General Aptitude (GA). It will consist of questions which will be both multiple choice questions, and numerical answer type.

The examination is not pen-and-paper based, but is online in the Online Computer Based Test (CBT) model where questions will be shown in no particular order on the monitor of the computer. If it is a multiple choice question, the test-taker is requested to select the answer. If it is a numerical analysis type question the answer should be entered on screen using a mouse on the virtual keyboard which will be shown on-screen, as the computer's keyboard will be disabled.

Read: GATE 2018 Exam Dates

After the three hour examination window, the screen will automatically close, thus preventing further action. Test-takers will be provided with blank sheets for rough work and the same must be returned after the examination, and should not leave the exam hall.

A candidate can appear for any paper he/she wishes to continue their education in, but it is advisable to appear for the paper which corresponds with the discipline of his/her qualifying degree.

Apart from GATE, every institution will have its own guidelines and criteria, so please check before applying.

GATE 2018: Exam Disciplines/Subjects

There are 23 subject streams candidates can apply for the GATE exam and are listed below:

  1. Aerospace Engineering: AE
  2. Agricultural Engineering: AG
  3. Architecture and Planning: AR
  4. Biotechnology: BT
  5. Civil Engineering: CE
  6. Chemical Engineering: CH
  7. Computer Science and Information Technology: CS
  8. Chemistry: CY
  9. Electronics and Communication Engineering: EC
  10. Electrical Engineering: EE
  11. Ecology and Evolution: EY
  12. Geology and Geophysics: GG
  13. Instrumentation Engineering: IN
  14. Mathematics: MA
  15. Mechanical Engineering: ME
  16. Mining Engineering: MN
  17. Metallurgical Engineering: MT
  18. Petroleum Engineering: PE
  19. Physics: PH
  20. Production and Industrial Engineering: PI
  21. Textile Engineering and Fibre Science: TF
  22. Engineering Sciences: XE*
  23. Life Sciences: XL**

*Paper Sections & Codes in Engineering Sciences (XE):

  • Engineering Mathematics (Compulsory) (A)   
  • Fluid Mechanics (B) 
  • Materials Science (C)
  • Solid Mechanics (D)
  • Thermodynamics (E)
  • Polymer Science and Engineering (F)
  • Food Technology (G)
  • Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (H)

**Paper Sections & Codes in Life Sciences (XL):

  • Chemistry (Compulsory) (P)
  • Biochemistry (Q)
  • Botany (R)
  • Microbiology (S)
  • Zoology (T)
  • Food Technology (U)

    Apart from questions in the core subject of the paper, the paper will also contain questions to test your general aptitude (like language and analytical skills.)

    15% of the examination will be devoted to the General Aptitude section while the remaining 85 % will carry questions from the core subject for papers in the disciplines of Architecture and Planning, Chemistry, Ecology and Evolution, Geology and Geophysics, Mathematics, Physics and Life Sciences.

    15% of the total marks is allotted to the General Aptitude and another 15% to the Engineering Mathematics sections for all the other subject streams. Questions from the core subject will make up the remaining 70% of the paper.

    Read: GATE 2018

    GATE 2018: Pattern of Questions

    GATE 2018 will have two types of questions, as discussed earlier:

    (i) Multiple choice questions which will carry one or two marks each. These will be objective questions in all papers and sections will four options, out of which the candidate will mark the correct answer(s), as per question.

    (ii) Numerical answer questions which will carry one or two marks each. The answers to these questions are real numbers and are to be entered by the candidate using the mouse and a virtual keypad that will be provided on the screen. No choices are shown for questions of this type.

    Questions in GATE are designed to test four abilities:

    • Recall
    • Comprehension
    • Application
    • Analysis and Synthesis

    Questions on Recall require the candidate to obtain the answer by using a simple formula or by prior knowledge.

    Questions on Comprehension test the candidate's ability to understand the basics of the core subject. Conclusions are to be drawn from fundamental concepts.

    In the Application type questions, the test-taker must use logical reasoning or implement a formula and compute it to arrive at the answer.

    For questions which test the candidate's skill set in Analysis and Synthesis, the candidate will be given data, images, diagrams, charts, a form of pictorial representation, a tabular column which, or a mix of these which needs to be analyzed first, and then have to answer the questions which follow it. A question on Synthesis may require a comparison between two or more pieces of information, diagrams, tables, quantities or charts.

    GATE Marking Scheme

    For one mark multiple choice questions, one-third mark will be deducted for a wrong answer. Likewise, for multiple choice questions which are each of two marks, two-third mark will be deducted for a wrong answer.

    There is no negative marking for numerical answer type questions.

    GATE Exam Pattern

    In all GATE papers, irrespective of the core subject, General Aptitude questions carry a total of 15 marks, and there will be five one-mark questions, and five two-mark questions each, thus adding up to the total of fifteen marks for this section.


    For questions papers other than Geology and Geophysics, Engineering Sciences and Life Sciences, there will be 25 one-mark questions (adding to a sub-total of 25 marks) and 30 two-mark questions (adding to a sub-total of 60 marks). It will have Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and numerical answer questions. For the latter type, answers will have to be entered using the mouse on a virtual keyboard which will be shown on screen in the form of real numbers, signed or unsigned, like 64.46, -64.46, -64, and 46. To avoid penalization due to approximation errors, an appropriate range will be considered while evaluating the answers to the numerical answer type questions.


    The Geology and Geophysics paper consists of two parts, namely Part A and Part B. Part B will contain two subsections: Section 1 (Geology) and Section 2 (Geo-physics). Part A is common and is compulsory. Candidates will have to choose to attempt one of the two subsections of Part B, and Part A.

    Part A consists of 25 multiple choice questions which are one-mark questions each. Each section in Part B consists of thirty multiple choice questions of two marks each.



    Type of Question

    Number of Questions

    Sub-total (marks)

    Section A (Compulsory)

    1-mark questions



    2-mark questions



    Sections B to H

    1-mark questions



    2-mark questions



    This paper is also split into seven sections, Section A to Section G. Section A, the Engineering Mathematics section is compulsory and contains 11 questions and has a total of 15 marks. There are seven one-mark questions and four two-mark questions.

    The other six sections from Section B to Section G comprise of 22 questions and have a total of 35 marks. It is divided into nine one-mark questions and 13 two-mark questions. Sections B through G correspond to subjects like Fluid Mechanics, Materials Science, Solid Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Polymer Science and Engineering, and Food Technology respectively.



    Type of Question

    Number of Questions

    Sub-total (marks)

    Chemistry Section or Section P (Compulsory)

    1-mark questions



    2-mark questions



    Sections Q to U

    1-mark questions



    2-mark questions



    In this paper, the section on Chemistry is compulsory. It contains five one-mark questions and ten two-mark questions. The other sections total up to 30 marks and contain 20 questions. There are ten one-mark questions and ten two-mark questions. Section H is on Chemistry, and the other five sections with codes from I through M correspond to the subjects Biochemistry, Botany, Microbiology, Zoology and Food Technology respectively.

    For both the papers on Engineering Sciences and Life Sciences, candidates can view the questions for making the choice of two Engineering Sciences sections from those between sections B through G during the examination and only two can be chosen. Midway in the examination, if the candidate wishes to change the selection, the previous choices have to be deselected in order to attempt a new one.

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