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Expect tricky questions in this year’s GATE

GATE 2016 has gone through a few of changes from the previous edition.

education Updated: Jan 28, 2016 16:45 IST
Gauri Kohli
Graduate Aptitute Test in Engineering

GATE 2016 has gone through a few of changes from the previous edition. (Shutterstock)

The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), an all-India entrance test to screen candidates for their comprehensive understanding of various undergraduate subjects in engineering, technology, architecture and postgraduate level subjects in science, will be conducted between January 30, 2016 and February 7.

All that’s new in GATE 2016

GATE 2016 has gone through a few of changes from the previous edition. Announced by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, these changes will be incorporated from now on. An online virtual calculator will be available to candidates and no physical calculator will be allowed. The tool has been uploaded on the GATE 2016 website for practice before the test. In another first, all answer keys will be made available for dispute within a short time after the test. Every answer key can be challenged.

“GATE 2016 will check the basic knowledge of students, hence more conceptual questions are expected. Also, the questions may be more twisted and research-oriented this time. Students can use online calculators for solving questions, which will make it easy for them to complete the paper on time. Candidates should know the test syllabus and pattern and the answering methods for two different forms of questions. Prepare five technical subjects in addition to math and general aptitude. Start your preparation with the subject which is your strength. Concentrate on the subjects which involve mathematics, formulae or logic,” says Nitin Rakesh Prasad, co-founder, GATE Academy, a test preparation institute.

Read more: Planning to apply for GATE 2016? Check your eligibility here

The three-hour single paper contains 65 questions carrying 100 marks out of which 10 questions carrying a total of 15 marks will be on general aptitude. For one-mark multiple-choice questions, 1/3 mark will be deducted for a wrong answer. Likewise, for two-mark multiple-choice questions, 2/3 mark will be deducted for a wrong answer. There is no negative marking for numerical answer type questions.

Experts say that in these last few days, it is best to choose any five subjects of your interest. “You should be able to answer any question from these five subjects. Ensure that your selection of these five subjects is such that they all are numerical subjects and together they have a weightage of 45-55 marks. However, you shouldn’t be ignoring other subjects. Avoid negative marks or deductions from your positive score as it will hamper your overall score. Few questions will have confusing options or wrong answers deliberately included as options. These wrong answers are results of some common mistakes and/or misappropriate selection or conversion of units. Some examiners solve questions with mistakes and/or wrong selection of units and keep the results in options. Be very careful with the units and review your solution at least once. If you are unsure about correct option of a theoretical question, just skip it,” advises Prasad.

It is also important to prepare a proper plan and stick to that. “Traditional methods to solve numerical problems are time-consuing processes. Try to use short techniques to save time. Prepare a list of important definitions, equations, derivations, theorems, laws in every subject and try to prepare notes after studying a particular topic. Analyse previous years’ GATE papers and see the weightage each topic has, and then start preparing for topics that have higher weightage. Based on your experiments in the mock test series, you can fine tune your own exam strategy. Some people like to start solving a paper from the first question, while some people like to glance through the entire paper and start answering questions from their areas of strength, says JK Sinha, director, Gateforum. GATE 2016 results will be announced on March 19, 2016.

About GATE

It is a test for admissions to the MTech, ME courses and direct PhD at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), other government-funded technical institutions and many private universities and institutes across the country. This year’s GATE is being jointly conducted by the IISc and seven IITs on behalf of the National Coordination Board - GATE, department of higher education, ministry of human resource development.

Admission to postgraduate courses (master’s and doctoral) in the country, with MHRD and other government scholarships/assistantships in engineering, technology, architecture and science is open to those who qualify GATE. The GATE score is also used by some PSUs for their recruitment.

The GATE score is valid for three years. There is no restriction in the number of attempts for taking the test. The online paper will contain some questions for which numerical answers need to be keyed in by the candidate using a virtual keypad. The remaining questions will be multiple choice type. A candidate is expected to appear in a paper appropriate to the discipline of his/her qualifying degree. However, the candidate can choose any paper according to his/her admission plan, keeping in mind the eligibility criteria of the institutions in which he/she wishes to seek admission.

Topper talk

Deepak R, all-India rank 2, GATE 2015

Nearly half of the questions in GATE 2015 were easy. Some questions required a bit of thinking. I completed the general aptitude section in the first 10 minutes and started answering the two-mark questions in the subject section. I did not spend too much time on any one question. I skipped those which would required more time. Then I attempted one-mark questions. Finally, there was about half-an-hour left to go through the remaining unanswered questions (some 8-10 of them). In the end, I had attempted all 55 questions in the subject section and nine out of 10 in general aptitude. I attribute my rank to sound conceptual understanding, consistent preparation and self-assessment through mock tests.

Shubham Neema, all-India rank 4 GATE 2015

My analysis of GATE 2015 tells me that a score of 65 marks or more will fetch a rank below 100. I was more focused on problem solving and practising mock tests and that had helped me identify my problem areas. My advice to candidates would be that they should attempt the one-mark questions first and then move on to the other questions. My aim in GATE 2015 was to answer 50 questions accurately. The target simply can be answer 20 questions of one mark each and 20 questions of two marks and others.