GATE Chemical Engineering Exam

gate chemical engineeringGraduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is a kind of examination that basically tests the thorough understanding and the calibre of students of various subjects that are taught to undergraduates in engineering. GATE is conducted jointly by the Indian Institute of Science and seven Indian Institutes of Technologies on behalf of the National Coordination Board – GATE, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resources Development , Government of India.

Eligibility for GATE Chemical Engineering Exam 

  • gate eligibility criteriaIndian Nationals having valid proof can apply online for the exam.
  • Candidates from Nepal, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka can apply for the exam.
  • Candidates who have Bachelor’s degree 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 programs.
  • There is no age limit for appearing in GATE Examination.

Cut-Off for GATE Chemical Engineering Exam

Year General OBC SC/ST/PH
2017 44.3 39.8 29.5
2016 29.7 33.1 22
2015 27.5 24.77 18.34
2014 35.14 23.43 31.62

Syllabus for GATE Chemical Engineering Exam

Engineering Mathematics

Linear Algebra: Vector algebra, Matrix algebra, systems of linear equations, a rank of a matrix, eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

Calculus: Functions of single variable, limits, continuity and differentiability, mean value theorem, chain rule, partial derivatives, maxima and minima, gradient, divergence and curl, directional derivatives. Integration, Line, surface and volume integrals. Theorems of Stokes, Gauss, and Green.

Differential Equations: First order linear and nonlinear differential equations, higher order linear ODEs with constant coefficients. Partial differential equations and separation of variables methods.

Special Topics: Fourier Series, Laplace Transforms, Numerical methods for linear and nonlinear algebraic equations, Numerical integration and differentiation.

Complex variables: Complex number, polar form of a complex number, triangle inequality.

Probability and Statistics: Definitions of probability and sampling theorems, Conditional probability, Mean, median, mode and standard deviation, Random variables, Poisson, Normal and Binomial distributions, Linear regression analysis. 

Process Calculations and Thermodynamics: Laws of conservation of mass and energy, recycle, bypass and purge calculations, laws of thermodynamics, laws of application to close and open systems, Thermodynamic properties of pure substances, phase equilibria.
Heat Transfer: Conduction, convection, and radiation, heat transfer coefficients, steady and unsteady heat conduction, boiling, condensation, evaporation, types of heat exchangers
Fluid Mechanics and Mechanical Operations: Fluid statics, Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids, Bernoulli equation, dimensional analysis, shell balances, flow through pipe, elementary boundary layer theory, size reduction, size separation, hindered settling, centrifuge, and cyclones, conveying of solids
Mass Transfer:  Fick’s laws, mass transfer coefficients, penetration, momentum, heat & mass transfer, HTU & NTU concepts design, absorption, leaching, liquid-liquid extraction, drying, humidification, dehumidification.
Chemical reactions

Chemical Technology: Inorganic chemical industries, natural products industries (Sugar, Oil, and Fats), petroleum refining. Polymerization industries, PVC and polyester synthetic fibers, sulphuric acid, NaOH, fertilizers (Ammonia, Urea) 

Instrumentation and process control

Plant design and Economics

Apart from domain knowledge, the questions are asked from Engineering Mathematics & Quantitative Aptitude. The Mathematics section will include the questions from – Complex Variables, Probability, and Statistics. Also from, Differential Equations, Functions, Integrals, Surface and volumes, Stokes, Gauss Theorem. 

GENERAL APTITUDE-   Verbal Ability and Numerical Ability

GATE Chemical Engineering Exam Pattern

Feature Description
Exam Duration 3 hours (180 minutes)
Number of Questions Asked 65
Total Marks 100
Question Types Two types of questions asked:

1. Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)

2. Numerical Answer Type (NAT) Questions 

Marking Scheme For 1-mark MCQs, 1/3 mark will be deducted for every incorrect attempt.

In case of 2-mark MCQs, the candidate will be penalised 2/3 mark for wrong attempt

For questions that aren’t attempted, zero marks will be awarded.

There is no negative marking for numerical answer type (NAT) questions.

Sections The question paper of GATE  will consist of three sections:

General Aptitude*

Engineering Mathematics (for XL papers it is Chemistry)*

Subject-specific section

General Aptitude: Each paper will include a mandatory General Aptitude (GA) section comprising 10 questions. 5 of these questions will carry 1-mark each, while the remaining 5 will each carry 2 marks, for a total of 15 marks.

GATE chemical engineering Exam Pattern: Key Highlights

  • GATE  has become a computer-based test that will be conducted in online mode
  • gate exam patternGATE question paper will consist of two question types: multiple choice questions (MCQs) and Numerical Answer Type (NAT) questions
  • The questions will be displayed on a computer screen randomly
  • In case of MCQs, the candidate needs to select the correct answer, while for numerical answer type, the candidate must enter the numerical answer using a mouse and virtual keyboard ( the keyboard attached to the computer will be disabled)
  • The candidate will have to complete the test in 3 hours. After the allotted three hours, the screen will automatically close down and no further action will be possible.
  • During the exam, each candidate will be provided with a scribble pad where the candidate can do all his rough work.
  • Each question paper will contain questions related to General Aptitude (GA) in addition to subject-specific questions.

The questions that will be asked may be designed to test the following abilities of the candidate:

  • Recall: Questions in this category are related to facts, principles, formulae or laws of the discipline of the paper. The aim is to test the memory and computation skills of the candidate.
  • Comprehension: These questions test the candidate’s basic understanding of his/her chosen field. The candidate is required to draw simple conclusions from fundamental ideas.
  • Application: To answer questions in this category, the candidate has to rely on his/her computational and logical reasoning skills.
  • Analysis and synthesis: These questions are accompanied by data, diagrams, and images. The candidate has to analyse the information contained in them to find the answers.


1. To start with, candidates must be aware of the GATE exam pattern for chemical engineering completely

  • gate tipsIt consists of 65 questions out of which 35 questions are of 2 marks and 30 questions are of 1 mark with a total of 100 marks. Candidates must know that there are only two types of questions, multiple choice questions and numerical answer type.
  • They should be aware that there will be 2/3rd negative marking in 2 markers and 1/3rd negative marking in 1 markers whereas there is no negative marking in Numerical answer type questions hence only they can get the maximum numbers in the test.

2. Know the syllabus of chemical engineering and the weightage

  • It is suggested that the candidate goes through the complete syllabusbefore starting the preparation. Match your knowledge with the exam syllabus and plan your preparation with known subjects.
  • Highlight the important topics in the syllabus based upon the previous year papers and focus more on these topics during the course of your preparation. 

3. Choose good books& study materials related to chemical engineering for the preparation

  • Selection of appropriate and concise study material is very important before starting the preparation.
  • Read at one book apart from the study material which is provided by your institution and your class notes.
  • Nowadays the whole package is available online in the form of video lectures, course materials PDF, so you can pursue best study material.

4. Study smartly during the preparation     

  • Analyse important topics and pattern of questions from the previous year papers which have been provided with for reference.
  • Prepare each topic in three steps. Understand the concept, practice related questions and revise regularly. This will help you to analyse your preparation and also boost your confidence.
  • Most of the questions are conceptual & numerical, so you must try to improve your solving ability and time management to score a good rank.

5. Prepare the study plan to complete the syllabus

  • The first step in the preparation is to start with easy subject and important one that has been mentioned below. Segregate whole subject into smaller topics and prepare topic wise
  • After completing the subject, make short notes for that subject which should include definitions, important formulas etc. This will help during the time of revision.
  • Clearing all the doubts during the preparation is essential.
  • Identify weak areas while practising tests and try to revise and practice those topics.

6. Proper revision plan

  • It is not just sufficient enough to prepare revision notes, but also to revise them regularly.
  • Read the revision notes on a weekly basis to recall the concepts of prepared subjects.
  • Each time you revise the same topic/ subject, your revision time will reduce to recall the concepts.

7. Mock tests and practice papers

  • Mock tests play an important role.
  • Firstly, it gives you an exam like interface. This is very important for any aspirant, to have idea and thorough practice on exam like interface.
  • They provide All India ranking, so you know where you stand.
  • Test analysis about how you performed in exam and how toppers have performed, which helps you to analyse and understand how much more preparation is required and on which area.
  • You also get to keep a check on which question was easy and you couldn’t attempt, but attempted a tough question which was expected to be left. And how much extra time have you given to that particular question.
  • Comprehensive explanation to every single question coupled with smart tricks/intuitive approach in the form of text, Images or both.
  • From mock tests, you get to know your strength and weaknesses in a well-defined manner.
  • Tests in general are important. They help not only in the assessment of your preparation for exams, but also regular test attempts help you memorize better. 

Important Topics and Books for GATE Chemical Engineering

S.No Sections Important Topics Books and Authors
1. Engineering Mathematics Eigen Values & Eigenvectors

Rank of Matrix

Limit Continuity

Maxima & Minima

Differential Equations

Laplace Equation

Probability, Mean, Median

Numerical Solution of Differential Equations

B.S. Grewal
2. Chemical Engineering for GATE Classifications of Chemical Reactions

Design of Isothermal IDEAL reactors

Design of Non-Isothermal IDEAL reactors

Modelling of Non-IDEAL reactors

Introductions to Heterogenous Reactions System

Solid Catalysed Reactions 

Ram Prasad
3. Basic Principles and Calculations in Chemical Engineering David. M. Himmelblau
  Thermodynamics First law of Thermodynamics

Second law of Thermodynamics

Principle of Entropy

Properties of Pure Substances

Chemical Reaction Equilibrium

Solutions Thermodynamics 

A Textbook of Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics – K. V. Narayanan.

An Introduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics-J. M. Smith, H. C. Van Ness, M. M. Abbott


4. Fluid Mechanics Properties of Fluid

Fluid Kinematics & Fluid Dynamics

Application of Bernoulli’s Equations

Flow Meters

Flow through Pipes

Fluid Machinery

Characterization of Particulates

Screen Analysis


Introduction To Fluid Mechanics (English) 7th Edition (paperback) … by Yunus A. Cengel, John M. Cimbala

Introduction to Fluid Mechanics- Fox and Mc donald


5. Mechanical Operation Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering -Warren McCabe, Julian Smith, Peter Harriott

Mechanical Operation For Chemical Engineering by Narayanan C. M. & Bhattacharyya B. C 

6. Heat Transfer Modes of Heat Transfer

Conduction & Convection in Fins

Temperature Distribution in Slab/ Cylinder/ Sphere

Convective Heat Transfer & Application of Newton’s Cooling Law

Radiation Heat Transfer

Boiling & Condensation

Design of Heat Exchanging Equipment 

Heat Transfer- Binay. K. Dutta

Heat Transfer – Jack Philip Holman


7. Mass Transfer Types of Mass Transfer

Inter-phase Mass Transfer

Mass Transfer Equipments

Mass Transfer Operations

Design of Mass Transfer Equipments

HTU & NTU Concepts

Mass Transport Phenomena- Christie J. Geankoplis

Mass Transfer Operations-Robert E. Treybal

8. Chemical Reaction Engineering ·         – Fogler & Gurmen

Chemical Reaction Engineering- Octave Levenspiel

9. Process Dynamics and Control Introduction to Laplace to Solve Differential Equations

Types of System

Transfer Functions

Responses of Systems for Different Type of Input Functions

Open Loop and Closed Loop System

Servo and Regulator Problems

Types of Feedback Controller

Design of Feedback & Feed Forward Control System

Process Systems Analysis and Control – Donald R. Coughanowr & Steven E. LeBlanc
10. Chemical Process Control Basic Chemical Calculations

Material Balance with and without Chemical Reaction

Recycle and Bypass Operations

Energy Balance

Combustions Calculation

An Introduction To Theory And Practice- Stephanopoulos.G

Process dynamics and control – Seborg, D.E., Edgar, T.F. and Mellichamp, D.A

Plant design and Economics- Peters M. S. and Timmerhaus K. D

11. Chemical Technology Fertilizer Industries

Sugar Industries

Paper & Pulp Industries



Dryden’s Outlines of Chemical Technology by Gopala Rao M. and Marshall S
12. Transport Phenomena R. Byron Bird, Warren E. Stewart, Edwin N. Lightfoot


GATE Chemical Engineering Exam 2013

GATE Chemical Engineering Exam 2014

GATE Chemical Engineering Exam 2015

GATE Chemical Engineering Exam 2016

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