How To Help Your Teen Prepare For GATE

Is your teen about to finish his engineering and is confused about what to do next? Why not encourage him to crack GATE? Here’s how to go about it.

By Rohan George Philip

How To Help Your Teen Prepare For GATE

GATE or the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering is a nation-wide examination that is conducted in eight zones by the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru and seven of the Indian Institutes of Technology. They are located at Roorkee, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Chennai and Mumbai, on behalf of sectors of the Government of India. A good score in this examination gives your child access to a variety of post-graduate programmes and even attracts the attention of certain prominent private sector undertakings (PSU) to recruit graduate engineers for entry level positions.

To begin with, your child should know that cracking GATE is no simple feat. The number of aspirants was 9,22,167 in 2017, out of which only 16 per cent qualified. So, make sure he is ready to put in dedicated work and study hard for the test, which is sure to reap rewards in the long run. One of the most attractive incentives received by a student who cracks GATE is the financial aid that is offered to him once he qualifies. The selected candidates are given a stipend of Rs 12,400 per month in the form of the UGC Scholarship.

If your child has decided to appear for GATE, she will have to attempt any one of the 23 papers prescribed. The decision on which paper to attempt has to be taken on two grounds:

  • The field of interest of your child
  • The admission requirements of the institution to which your child is applying

Several universities, which take GATE scores into consideration for their admission procedure, have very specific requirements when it comes to which paper is to be attempted. So, make sure your child does his research beforehand, to be able to make an informed decision. The various papers that a student can attempt are given below:

Courses and their codes 

  • Aerospace Engineering (AE)
  • Geology and Geophysics (GG)
  • Agricultural Engineering (AG)
  • Instrumentation Engineering (IN)
  • Architecture and Planning (AR)
  • Life Sciences (XL)
  • Biotechnology (BT)
  • Mathematics (MA)
  • Civil Engineering (CE)
  • Mechanical Engineering (ME)
  • Chemical Engineering (CH)
  • Mining Engineering (MN)
  • Computer Science & IT (CS)
  • Metallurgical Engineering (MT)
  • Chemistry (CY)
  • Physics (PH)
  • Electronics and Communication (EC)
  • Production and Industrial Engineering (PI)
  • Electrical Engineering (EE)
  • Textile Engineering & Fibre Science (TF)
  • Engineering Sciences (XE)
  • Ecology and Evolution (EY)
  • Petroleum Engineering (PE)

Criteria to appear for GATE

There is no age limit to be eligible to write GATE. But, a candidate must meet certain criteria to be eligible to appear for the examination. These criteria are given as follows (as per the GATE website (

  • Bachelor’s degree holders in Engineering/Technology (4 years after 10+2 or 3 years after B.Sc/Diploma in Engineering/ Technology) and those who are in the final year of such programmes
  • Bachelor’s degree holders in Architecture (five years course) and those who are in the final year of such programmes
  • Bachelor’s degree holders of four-year programme in Science (B.S) and those who are in the final year of such programmes
  • Master’s degree holders in any branch of Science/ Mathematics/ Statistics/Computer Applications or equivalent and those who are in the final year of such programmes


Details such as the last date for registration, the date on which the admit card will be released and the dates of the exams are updated on the GATE website ( Check this section regularly for updates on the upcoming examination.

Your child can register for GATE through the GOAPS (GATE Online Application Processing System) portal, which is the online registration gateway for the examination. The offline mode of registration is no longer an option. Fill in the details as required. You will also need scanned copies of the eligibility certificate, category certificate, PwD (Person With Disabilities) certificate and details of a valid Identity document.

How to prepare for GATE

Here are some tips on how to crack GATE:

Start early: Make sure your child starts preparing for the exam at least a year before she sits for it. She should begin by solving the GATE question papers of previous years to evaluate where she stands.

Make a study timetable and stick to it: A little organisation and hard work go a long way. Perhaps, the most important tip to crack GATE is to practice. Several online portals such as offer mock tests on a regular basis on all 23 of the offered papers. When your child begins to solve papers, his confidence and, very crucially, his speed will increase.

Revise, revise: As the exam date approaches, your child should spend her time revising concepts that she has had problems with earlier. This way she will be prepared and confident about cracking GATE.

Record formulae: Another very important tip is to maintain a book of all the formulae that your child comes across over the months of his studies. This will make it easier for him to revise them at a moment’s notice in the days leading up to the exam.

The duration of the GATE examination is for three hours and has a total of 65 questions amounting to 100 marks. The questions asked are of two types:

  • Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
  • Numerical Answer Type

The MCQ questions carry negative marks for wrong answers. The Numerical Answer Questions do not carry negative marks. The question paper consists of three sections.

  • General Aptitude (Mandatory for a total of 15 marks)
  • Engineering Mathematics or Chemistry for Life Sciences papers
  • Subject-Specific Section

While GATE is a brilliant platform to help your child do well in his higher studies, it is not the only way to do so. Pay attention to him, listen to what he wants and if he does not want to appear for GATE, investigate other options on how to proceed. 

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