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Gauri Kohli, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 18, 2012
This is a good time to be an engineering graduate. With many public sector undertakings now recruiting through the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), science and engineering graduates in the country can look forward to secure and lucrative jobs. GATE is conducted for admission to postgraduate programmes in engineering and science at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, Indian Institutes of Technology, National Institutes of Technology and other engineering colleges in the country.

The all-India examination conducted jointly by the IISc and seven IITs, including IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras and IIT Roorkee. It primarily tests the comprehensive understanding of various undergraduate subjects in engineering and technology.
 
All about GATE 2013
GATE 2013 will be a three-hour exam with 65 questions (30 one-mark questions and 35 two-mark questions) totalling up to 100 marks with questions from core subjects, engineering maths and general aptitude. “Questions from the core engineering subjects far outweigh the other two areas with 70% weightage. General aptitude and engineering maths with 15 marks each, however, play a vital role in maximising the score. A good performance in aptitude and maths ensures the minimum qualification marks in GATE,” says Prudhvi Reddy, course director of GATE at TIME. IIT Bombay is the organising institute for GATE 2013. One-third of the marks allotted to each question are deducted in case of a wrong answer.

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How GATE can help you
Along with a chance to pursue higher education, GATE  comes with multiple benefits. With the introduction of the aptitude section from 2010, focused preparation for GATE comes handy for other PSU exams such as Coal India Limited, Steel Authority of India Limited, GAIL India Ltd etc and also campus recruitment interviews. GATE scores are considered as the merit criterion by organisations such as Powergrid, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, IndianOil Corporation Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, HECL and National Thermal Power Corporation, for recruitment to the posts of executive trainees and management trainees. “In the last five years, it has more than quadrupled from 1.8 lakh applicants in 2008 to 7.7 lakh applicants in 2012. Out of the total applicants, only 15-20% of the applicants manage to qualify in GATE. This means that it is highly competitive,” says Reddy. The GATE score is valid for two years. Since GATE is also the entrance test for MTech/ME/direct PhD courses in India, it has other advantages too.

“It gives great research and development opportunities. All GATE qualified students pursuing a masters programme at any college are eligible for a financial assistance of Rs. 8000 per month from the ministry of human resource development,” says Abhijit Chaudhury, director, GATE Forum.

Tips for preparation
GATE tests a persons grasp over his or her undergraduate studies - right from the first year to the final year. It checks concepts as well as their application. In most cases, the one-mark questions usually check for concepts while the two-mark questions (usually numerical) check for application. “Candidates should plan their preparation strategically, by attempting previous papers and analysing the weightage for various topics,” says Reddy.

“There are two stages in the preparation — concept building and assessment. For concept building, it is advisable to start early and pay a lot of attention to what is taught in the class. Engineering mathematics and general aptitude constitute more than 30% of the marks and have to be given due importance. A good mock test series is an ideal assessment platform,” says Chaudhury.

Kind of questions asked?
Questions can be categorised as - recall, comprehension, application and analysis & synthesis. Most of the recall-based questions will be in the one-mark category.
Offline mode exams have only multiple-choice type questions. Online mode exams will have numerical answer type questions in addition to multiple choice type questions.

Changes in GATE 2013
For GATE 2013, 15 papers would be conducted online, including civil engineering, chemical engineering and biotechnology, while the remaining six papers (electronics, computer science, electrical, mechanical, instrumentation and production engineering) are offline. “Another change is in the formula used in calculating the GATE score. While historical data will be used for arriving at the qualifying score, the performance of the top 0.1% of the test takers in each stream will play a significant role,” adds Chaudhury.

Institutes accepting GATE scores
Institutes such as IISc, IITs, NITs, few IIITs, and state-level institutes such as Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, Osmania University and Jadhavpur University accept GATE scores. It is also considered by institutions such as the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre to select students with a penchant towards research.


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