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GATE Exam Pattern 2021: Marking Scheme, Type of Questions, Negative Marking

It is important for the candidates to know the GATE exam pattern 2021 in order to prepare better for the exam. GATE exam will be conducted online and will be consisting of MCQ and numerical types of Questions. As the GATE exam is conducted by IISc and seven different IITs on the rational basis, there may be some minor changes in the syllabus of the exam but the exam pattern generally remains the same.

In this article, we will provide exam pattern for GATE exam 2021 for all the aspiring candidates.

Avialable Application Form 2020

Papers in GATE Exam 2021

The exam will be conducted for 25 subjects (papers) as follows.

GATE Paper Paper Code
Aerospace Engineering AE
Agricultural Engineering AG
Architecture and Planning AR
Chemical Engineering CH
Civil Engineering CE
Chemistry CY
Computer Science and Information Technology CS
Biotechnology BT
Bio-medical Engineering BM
Electrical Engineering EE
Electronics and Communication Engineering EC
Ecology and Evolution EY
Geology and Geophysics GG
Instrumentation Engineering IN
Mathematics MA
Metallurgical Engineering MT
Mining Engineering MN
Mechanical Engineering ME
Petroleum Engineering PE
Textile Engineering and Fibre Science TF
Production and Industrial Engineering PI
Physics PH
Statistics ST
Life Sciences XL
Engineering Sciences XE

Type of Question

Two types of questions will be asked in the GATE exam i.e. objective type MCQ and Numerical Answer Types.

Multiple Choice Questions

  • These types of Questions will be carrying 1 or 2 marks each in all the papers.
  • There will be four options given and the candidates have to select the correct one.

Numerical Answer Type

  • Numerical Answer type (NAT) questions will also carry 1 or 2 marks each in all the papers
  • No options will be provided in such questions
  • The answer will always be a signed real number. The authorities will consider the answer correct even if the candidates’ answer deviates from the exact answer up to a limit. Candidates are advised to answer up to three decimal places for NAT Questions.

Marking Scheme

  • In all the paper there will be 65 Question asked carrying 100 marks. 10 questions out of total 65 questions carrying 15 marks will be asked from General Aptitude (GA) in order to determine candidates Aptitude and Language skill.

For paper codes AE, AG, BT, CE, CH, CS, EC, EE, IN, ME, MN, MT, PE, PI, TF and XF the distribution of marks will be as follows

Subject Percentage of Total Marks
Engineering Mathematics 15%
General Aptitude 15 %
Main Subject of the Paper 70 %

For paper codes AR, CY, EY, GG, MA, PH and XL, the distribution of marks is given in the table below

Subject Percentage of Total Marks
General Aptitude 15%
Main Subject of the Paper 85 %

Negative Marking

For MCQs

  • There will be a negative marking of 1/3 marks in the questions carrying 1 marks.
  • 2/3 marks will be deducted for the question carrying 2 marks in case of a wrong answer.


There will be no negative marking for NAT questions.

Exam Pattern for GG (Geology and Geophysics)

The exam pattern of GG will be a little different from rest of the papers as given below

  • The exam will be divided into two parts i.e. Part A and Part B.
  • Part A will be compulsory for all the candidates.
  • Part B will be further divided into two sections i.e. section 1 and section 2 for geology and geophysics. The candidate will be required to attempt any one.
Part A (Compulsory for all candidates)
No. of Questions Marks per question Total
25 1 marks each 25 Marks
Part B (Attempt only section A or B)
No. of Questions Marks per question Total
30 (For both section A or B) 2 marks each 60 Marks

Note: Apart from part A and part B the candidates will have to attempt 10 GA questions as well which are common for all the papers

Exam Pattern for XE Paper (Engineering Science) and XL (Life Science)

Similarly to GG, the exam pattern for XE and XL paper will also be different from rest of the papers

For XE (Engineering Science)

Section A- Engineering Mathematics (Compulsory for all candidates)
No. of Questions Marks per question Total
11 7 one marks questions and 4 two marks Question 15 Marks
Section B to H (Attempt only two sections)
No. of Questions Marks per question Total
22 Question for each section = 44 Question 18 one mark Questions and 26  two mark questions 70 Marks

For XL (Life Science)

Section P – Chemistry (Compulsory for all candidates)
No. of Questions Marks per question Total
15 5 one marks questions and 10 two marks Question 25 Marks
Section Q to U (Attempt only two sections)
No. of Questions Marks per question Total
20 Question for each section = 40 Question 20 one mark Questions and 20  two mark questions 60 Marks

GATE Exam Important Points

  • A virtual scientific calculator will be provided to candidates on their computer screen.
  • Use of Personal Calculators, mobile phones and other electronic gadgets will not be permitted
  • Candidate will not be allowed to bring any type of table, chart or paper into the exam hall.
  • Scribble pads will be given to all the candidates for the rough works. The scribble pads will be returned to the invigilators after the exam.
  • No applicant will be allowed to leave before as long as the duration of the exam ends
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  1. Gayatri says:

    This is very useful for aspirants.

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