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GATE Exam Pattern

GATE is one of the most important exams for graduating engineers. Not only does it allow you to enter universities for Masters, such as GATE Application to IIT but you can also get to apply to PSUs through GATE. Hence, appropriate knowledge of all these facts about the GATE Paper Pattern is very important. Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT, Delhi) has released the official GATE exam pattern for the GATE 2021 exam. The GATE Exam pattern consists of all the important information regarding the exam such as –

  • Total number of questions in GATE 2021
  • Total number of sections in the GATE Exam
  • Types of questions in GATE Exam
  • Marking scheme of the GATE Exam

This GATE exam pattern will help you to understand the nature of the exam and to strategize to crack GATE Examination. Knowing the GATE Exam Pattern beforehand will benefit you in your preparation.

GATE Exam Pattern – GATE 2021 Exam

GATE 2021 will be conducting 25 papers from which the candidate can choose one according to his\her wish. This exam will be conducted in an online mode. The duration of the exam will be 3 hours and the maximum marks will be 100.

About GATE – GATE has been conducting exams since 1984 to help engineers get better jobs. GATE organizes its exam in different states every year. GATE 2021 will be organized by IIT Bombay. Score from GATE is accepted by PSUs of the Indian government.

GATE 2021 examination to be held in February 2021 shall be a Computer Based Test (CBT) for a duration of 3 hours (180 min) of 100 marks for each of the disciplines stated above. The exam shall consist of 65 questions in the format stated as under:

  • Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs): Only one out of four given options is correct.
  • Numerical Answer Type (NAT): Numerical answer must be keyed in by the candidate using a virtual keypad.

Here is the complete list of GATE 2021 Exam Pattern

Mode of Exam Online (Computer – based mode)
Sections Three
Time Duration 3 hours
Total Questions 65
Question types MCQ and NAT (Numerical Answer Type)
Negative marking Only for MCQ’s: 1/3rd for 1 – mark questions, 2/3rd for 2 marks questions
Total marks 100


  1. General Aptitude acts as a compulsory section for all papers and it carries 15% weightage of the total marks.
  2. A scribble pad will be provided to the test takers for rough work.
  3. A virtual calculator will be provided to candidates for calculation

Types of questions in GATE Exam

The syllabus is generally divided on the basis of questions as below:

(for CE, CS, EC, AE, AG, BT, CH, ME, MN, MT, EE, IN, TF, XE, PE, ST, and PI)

Topic Number of Questions Marks
General Aptitude 10 15 out of 100
Technical (respective discipline)

Engineering Mathematics

55 70 out of 100
15 out of 100

For AR, CY, GG, EY, XL, PH and MA: 

Topic Number of Questions Marks
General Aptitude 10 15 out of 100
Technical (respective discipline) 55 85 out of 100

 General Aptitude includes 5 out of 10 carrying 1 mark each and the remaining 5 carrying 2 marks each. Remaining 55 questions are divided into 25 questions carrying 1 mark each and 30 questions carrying 2 marks each on the respective discipline.

 The marking scheme and weightage for MCQs is common for all papers as given below:

Number of Questions Marks Negative Marks
30 1 mark each 1/3 marks
25 2 marks each 2/3 marks

GATE Exam Marking Scheme

The marking scheme will be varying from one code to another. Given below is a table for the marking scheme:

Paper code General Aptitude Marks Subject Marks Total Marks
CS, CY, EC, EE, CE, CH, AR, AE, AG, EY, BT, GG, IN, ME, MA, PH, PI, TF, MN, MT, PE, ST 15  85 100
XE (Section A +any two sections) 15 15+2*35 100
XL (Section P + any two sections) 15 25+2*30 100


The paper codes AE, AG, BT, CE, CH, CS, EC, EE, IN ME, MN, MT, PE, PI, TF, and XE  will have Engineering Mathematics (15%) & General Aptitude (15%) as compulsory sections. The rest of the sections will be based on the subject selected by the candidate. The paper codes AR, CY, EY, GG, MA, PH, ST, and XL will have only 2 sections – 15% will be based on General Aptitude and the remaining 85% of the question paper will be based on the subject which candidate has selected.

Negative Marking for GATE Exam

  • 1/3 marks for 1 mark questions
  • 2/3 marks for 2 mark questions
  • No negative marking for numerical answer type NAT questions.

General Aptitude common for all branches would test the students on Verbal Ability: English grammar, sentence completion, verbal analogies, word groups, instructions, critical reasoning, and verbal deduction and Numerical Ability: Numerical computation, numerical estimation, numerical reasoning, and data interpretation.

GATE authorities shall be announcing the results on 16th March 2021 (tentative) available on the GOAPS website with respective cut-offs for each discipline. The candidate can download his/her GATE scorecard from the GOAPS website which shall have a validity of three years from the date of announcement of the results.

We hope this article about GATE Exam pattern has helped you in having a clear understanding of pattern for the GATE Exam. If you have any doubts regarding changes in GATE 2021 syllabus, ask the experts at SuperProfs for help.

All the Best!

In case you need further help, you may contact our GATE expert at

Benefits of GATE Exam GATE Exam Procedure GATE Exam Details 2021
GATE syllabus 2021 Reference Books For Gate 2021 Exam How to Prepare for GATE 2020 – 2021 Exam?
GATE Question Papers GATE Prep Strategy & Study Tips GATE Results

Also Read:

GATE Application Form 2021 – Important Details

GATE Preparation Tips | Exam Strategy

Benefits of GATE Exam | GATE 2021

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