GATE Computer Science Engineering Exam

GATE computer Science Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is a kind of examination that basically tests the thorough understanding and the caliber 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 Computer Science Engineering Exam

  • Indian national candidates were eligible to appear in GATE 2018.
  • Candidates from Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Ethiopia and United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) were also eligible to appear in GATE 2018. They must have completed or must be in their final year of Bachelor’s degree in Engineering/ Technology or Post-graduate (M.Sc.) degree in any relevant science subject.
  • Candidates who were applying must have completed their Bachelor’s degree in Engineering/ Technology or Master’s degree (M.Sc.) in any relevant science subject or must be in the final year of the programme.
  • There was no minimum pass percentage in the qualifying degree while applying for GATE 2018 and no age limit for GATE applicants. 

Cut-Off for GATE Computer Science Engineering Exam

It is to be noted that there is not much difference in the cut off in the consecutive year, hence the cut off for the upcoming exam can be easily predicted

Year General OBC SC/ST/PH
2017 25 22.5 16.60
2016 25.21 22.5 16.60
2015 25 22.5 16.67
2014 25 22.5 16.67


Section 1: Engineering Mathematics

Discrete Mathematics: Propositional and first order logic. Sets, relations, functions, partial orders and lattices. Groups. Graphs: connectivity, matching, colouring. Combinatory: counting, recurrence relations, generating functions.

Linear Algebra: Matrices, determinants, system of linear equations, eigenvalues and Eigenvectors, LU decomposition.

Calculus: Limits, continuity and differentiability. Maxima and minima. Mean value theorem. Integration.

Probability: Random variables. Uniform, normal, exponential, Poisson and binomial distributions. Mean, median, mode and standard deviation. Conditional probability and Bayes theorem. 

Section 2: Digital Logic

Boolean algebra. Combinational and sequential circuits. Minimization. Number representations and computer arithmetic (fixed and floating point).

Section 3: Computer Organization and Architecture

Machine instructions and addressing modes. ALU, data‐path and control unit. Instruction pipelining. Memory hierarchy: cache, main memory and secondary storage; I/O interface (interrupt and DMA mode). 

Section 4: Programming and Data Structures

Programming in C. Recursion. Arrays, stacks, queues, linked lists, trees, binary search trees, binary heaps, graphs. 

Section 5: Algorithms

Searching, sorting, hashing. Asymptotic worst case time and space complexity. Algorithm design techniques: greedy, dynamic programming and divide‐and‐conquer. Graph search, minimum spanning trees, and shortest paths. 

Section 6: Theory of Computation

Regular expressions and finite automata. Context-free grammars and push-down automata. Regular and contex-free languages, pumping lemma. Turing machines and undecidability. 

Section 7: Compiler Design

Lexical analysis, parsing, syntax-directed translation. Runtime environments. Intermediate code generation. 

Section 8: Operating System

Processes, threads, inter‐process communication, concurrency and synchronization.

Deadlock. CPU scheduling. Memory management and virtual memory. File systems. 

Section 9: Databases

ER‐model. Relational model: relational algebra, tuple calculus, SQL. Integrity constraints, normal forms. File organization, indexing (e.g., B and B+ trees). Transactions and concurrency control

Section 10: Computer Networks

Concept of layering. LAN technologies (Ethernet). Flow and error control techniques, switching. IPv4/IPv6, routers and routing algorithms (distance vector, link state). TCP/UDP and sockets, congestion control. Application layer protocols (DNS, SMTP, POP, FTP, HTTP). Basics of Wi-Fi. Network security: authentication, basics of public key and private key cryptography, digital signatures and certificates, firewalls.

Computer Science Engineering Exam Pattern for GATE

Engineering Mathematics Engineering Mathematics will have 13% of total marks weightage
General Aptitude General Aptitude will have 15% of total marks weightage
Subject questions Subject questions will have rest 72% of total marks weightage

General Aptitude (GA): 10 questions of 15 Marksgate exam pattern

Engineering Mathematics: 15 Marks

Technical Questions (subject of the paper): 70 Marks

Types of Questions in GATE Computer Science Engineering 2018

  • Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ): These questions will have 4 choices and would comprise of 1 or 2 marks. Candidate has to choose one answer that is correct and mark it.
  • Numerical Answer Questions: For these Questions, the answer is a real number which is to be entered by the candidate using a virtual keypad. No choices will be shown for this answer. It will comprise of 1 or 2 marks. 


1. gate tipsTo start with, candidates must be aware of the GATE exam pattern for computer science engineering completely

  • It 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 CS 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 CS 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 For GATE CSE 

Data Structures

  •  Recursion, Trees and Graphs.
  • Maximum weightage is given to the topic of trees.
  • Questions from all the levels can come from the topics Recursive functions and pointers.
  • Easy Questions can be expected from the topics- Stacks, Queues and Linked Lists.


  • Algorithm Analysis, Sorting Algorithms, Graph Algorithms and Heap Trees.
  • Maximum weightage is given to the topic of Sorting Algorithms and Dynamic Programming.
  • Questions from all the levels can come from the topics Divide and Conquer Algorithms & Greedy algorithms.
  • Easy Questions can be expected from the topics- Divide and Conquer Algorithms.

Operating Systems

  • CPU Scheduling Algos, Semaphores, Paging and Page replacement algorithms.
  • Maximum weightage is given to the topic of Paging and Page replacement algorithms.
  • Questions from all the levels can come from the topics Semaphores and Segmentation.
  • Easy Questions can be expected from the topics- Disk Scheduling Algorithms and Deadlock.

Engineering Mathematics

  •  Matrix Determinant, Propositional Logic and Predicate Logic.
  • Maximum weightage is given to the topic of Mathematical Logic and Linear Algebra.
  • Questions from all the levels can come from the topics Probability and Predicate Logic.
  • Easy Questions can be expected from the topics- Groups, Functions and Lattice Theory.

Digital Logic

  • Combinational Circuits and Minimization and Couters.
  • Maximum weightage is given to the topic of Combinational Circuits.
  • Questions from all the levels can come from the topics Sequential Circuits.
  • Easy Questions can be expected from the topics- Number system, fixed and floating point registers.

Computer Architecture and Organization

  • Pipelining and Cache Organization.
  • Maximum weightage is given to the topic of Cache Organisation.
  • Questions from all the levels can come from the topics Pipelining and I/O Data transfer.
  • Easy Questions can be expected from the topics- Machine Cycles and Addressing modes.

Database Management

  • Relational Alegbra, SQL and Serializability.
  • Maximum weightage is given to the topic of Relational Algebra and Tuple Queries.
  • Questions from all the levels can come from the topics Normalization and ER Diagrams.
  • Easy Questions can be expected from the topics- Transactions and SQL.

Computer Networks

  • TCP, UDP, IP Addressing, Congestion Control and Application Protocols.
  • Maximum weightage is given to the topic of IP addressing and TCP.
  • Questions from all the levels can come from the topics
  • Easy Questions can be expected from the topics-

Theory of Computation

  • DFA, Regular Expressions and Closure Properties.
  • Maximum weightage is given to the topic of Regular Languages and Undecidability.
  • Questions from all the levels can come from the topic Undecidability.
  • Easy Questions can be expected from the topics- CFL, DCFL, Formal Grammars and CNF.

Compiler Design

  • LL(1) & LR Parsers.
  • Maximum weightage is given to the topic of Parsing.
  • Questions from all the levels can come from the topics Run time environments.
  • Easy Questions can be expected from the topics- Lexical Analysis, Intermediate Code Generation, Syntax Analysis, SDTs.


1. Mathematics Advanced Engineering Mathematics

Higher Engineering Mathematics

2. Digital Logic Digital Logic and Computer Design
3. Computer Organization and Architecture Computer Organization and Architecture: Designing for Performance-   William Stallings

Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface-        John L. Hennessy, David A. Patterson

4. Programming and Data Structure Data Structures Through C in Depth          -S. K. Srivastava
5. Algorithms Introduction to Algorithms- Thomas H. Cormen

Data Structures and Algorithms Made Easy : Second Edition: Data Structure and Algorithmic Puzzles -Narasimha Karumanchi

6. Theory of Computation Introduction to the Theory of Computation Michael Sipser

Theory of Computation Vivek Kulkarni

7. Compiler Design Principles Of Compiler -Design Alfred V Aho

Compiler Design-Chattopadhyay Santanu

8. Operating System Operating System Concepts            Silberschatz, Galvin, Gagne

Modern Operating Systems            Tanenbaum, Andrew S

9. Database Database Systems Concepts            Silberschatz A

Database Systems: Models,Languages,Design and Application Programming   Ramez Elmasri

10. Information Systems and Software Engineering Software Engineering: A Practitioner’s Approach Roger S Pressman

Fundamentals of Software Engineering     Rajib Mall

11. Computer Networks Data Communications and Networking     -Behrouz A Forouzan

Computer Networks- Andrew S. Tanenbaum

GATE  CSE Solved Papers Books

Books Name Author
GATE: Computer Science & IT Made Easy Publications
Gate Paper Computer Science & Information Technology: Solved Papers 2000 – 2015 G K Publications
Chapter wise Previous Years’ Solved Papers (2015-2000) GATE Computer Science and Information Technology Arihant Publications
GATE – 15 Computer Science & Information Technology Previous Questions with Solutions Subject wise & Chapter wise (1987-2014) ACE Engineering Publications

Important Points

  • Computer Science Engineers must know how to write code properly. You should know the syntax and basics about at least one programming language. C++ and Java are the most popular choices.
  • They should have very good knowledge of the working of computers and hence, the subject on /computing /theory must be studies with proper understanding.
  • CSE students should know the basics of operating systems and data structures as they are more important in both the market and the question paper.
  • You should know all the basic and popular algorithms very well.
  • The popular algorithms about Stacks, Queues, Trees and Graphs should be studied properly.


GATE Computer Science Engineering Exam 2013

GATE Computer Science Engineering Exam 2014

GATE Computer Science Engineering Exam 2015

GATE Computer Science Engineering Exam 2016

GATE Computer Science Engineering Exam 2017


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