GATE Instrumentation Engineering Exam

GATE Instrumentation Engineering ExamGraduate 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.

Instrumentation is a multi-disciplinary stream and covers subjects from various branches such as chemical, mechanical, electrical, electronics and computers. Instrumentation engineering is a specialized branch of electrical and electronic engineering and it deals with measurement, control and automation of processes. So let us discuss the things that will ease your search process and help you prepare well.

Eligibility for GATE Instrumentation Engineering Exam

  • Qualifying Degree of the applicant – B.Tech
  • Applicant Type– An applicant who has completed B.E or B. Tech in Engineering and those who are in the final year of such programs with no backlog are eligible to apply for this exam.
  • There is No Age limit.

Cut-Off for GATE Instrumentation Engineering Exam

Year General OBC SC/ST/PH
2017 34.60 31.10 23.0
2016 31.6 28.4 21
2015 25.45 22.9 16.96
2014 25 22.5 16.67

Syllabus for Gate instrumentation Engineering Exam

Section 1: Engineering Mathematics

Linear Algebra: Matrix algebra, systems of linear equations, Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors.

Calculus: Mean value theorems, theorems of integral calculus, partial derivatives, maxima and minima, multiple integrals, Fourier series, vector identities, line, surface and volume integrals, Stokes, Gauss and Green’s theorems.

Differential equations: First order equation (linear and nonlinear), higher order linear differential equations with constant coefficients, the method of variation of parameters, Cauchy’s and Euler’s equations, initial and boundary value problems, and solution of partial differential equations: variable separable method.

Analysis of complex variables: Analytic functions, Cauchy’s integral theorem, and integral formula, Taylor’s and Laurent’s series, residue theorem, the solution of integrals. Probability and Statistics: Sampling theorems, conditional probability, mean, median, mode and standard deviation, random variables, discrete and continuous distributions: normal, Poisson and binomial distributions.

Numerical Methods: Matrix inversion, solutions of non-linear algebraic equations, iterative methods for solving differential equations, numerical integration, regression and correlation analysis. 

Section 2: Electrical Circuits

Voltage and current sources: independent, dependent, ideal and practical; v-I relationships of resistor, inductor, mutual inductor, and the capacitor; transient analysis of RLC circuits with dc excitation.

Kirchoff’s laws, mesh and nodal analysis, superposition, Thevenin, Norton, maximum power transfer and reciprocity theorems.

Peak-, average- and RMS values of ac quantities; apparent-, active- and reactive powers; phasor analysis, impedance, and admittance; series and parallel resonance, locus diagrams, the realization of basic filters with R, L and C elements.

One-port and two-port networks, driving point impedance and admittance, open-, and short circuit parameters. 

Section 3: Signals and Systems

Periodic, aperiodic and impulse signals; Laplace, Fourier, and z-transforms; transfer function, the frequency response of first and second order linear time-invariant systems, an impulse response of systems; convolution, correlation. Discrete time system: impulse response, frequency response, pulse transfer function; DFT and FFT; basics of IIR and FIR filters. 

Section 4: Control Systems

Feedback principles, signal flow graphs, transient response, steady-state-errors, Bode plot, phase and gain margins, Routh and Nyquist criteria, root loci, design of lead, lag and lead-lag compensators, state-space representation of systems; time-delay systems; mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic system components, synchro pair, servo and stepper motors, servo valves; on-off, P, P-I, P-I-D, cascade, feed forward, and ratio controllers. 

Section 5: Analog Electronics

Characteristics and applications of a diode, Zener diode, BJT, and MOSFET; small signal analysis of transistor circuits, feedback amplifiers. Characteristics of operational amplifiers; applications of opamps: difference amplifier, adder, subtractor, integrator, differentiator, instrumentation amplifier, precision rectifier, active filters and other circuits. Oscillators, signal generators, voltage controlled oscillators and phase locked loop. 

Section 6: Digital Electronics

Combinational logic circuits, minimization of Boolean functions. IC families: TTL and CMOS.

Arithmetic circuits, comparators, Schmitt trigger, multi-vibrators, sequential circuits, flip-flops, shift registers, timers, and counters; sample-and-hold circuit, multiplexer, analog-to-digital (successive approximation, integrating, flash and sigma-delta) and digital-to-analog converters (weighted R, R-2R ladder, and current steering logic). Characteristics of ADC and DAC (resolution, quantization, significant bits, conversion/settling time); basics of number systems, 8-bit microprocessor, and microcontroller: applications, memory, and input-output interfacing; basics of data acquisition systems. 

Section 7: Measurements

SI units, systematic and random errors in measurement, expression of uncertainty – accuracy and precision index, propagation of errors. PMMC, MI and dynamometer type instruments; dc potentiometer; bridges for measurement of R, L, and C, Q-meter. Measurement of voltage, current and power in single and three phase circuits; ac and dc current probes; true RMS meters, voltage, and current scaling, instrument transformers, timer/counter, time, phase and frequency measurements, digital voltmeter, digital multimeter; oscilloscope, shielding, and grounding. 

Section 8: Sensors and Industrial Instrumentation

Resistive-, capacitive-, inductive-, piezoelectric-, Hall effect sensors and associated signal conditioning circuits; transducers for industrial instrumentation: displacement (linear and angular), velocity, acceleration, force, torque, vibration, shock, pressure (including low pressure), flow (differential pressure, variable area, electromagnetic, ultrasonic, turbine and open channel flow meters) temperature (thermocouple, bolometer, RTD (3/4 wire),thermistor, pyrometer and semiconductor); liquid level, pH, conductivity and viscosity measurement. 

Section 9: Communication and Optical Instrumentation

Amplitude- and frequency modulation and demodulation; Shannon’s sampling theorem, pulse code modulation; frequency and time division multiplexing, amplitude-, phase-, frequency-, pulse shift keying for digital modulation; optical sources and detectors: LED, laser, photo-diode, light dependent resistor and their characteristics; interferometer: applications in metrology; basics of fiber optic sensing.

GATE instrumentation 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:

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)

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

GATE Instrumentation exam paper analysis – Topics

General Aptitude 15%
Engineering Mathematics 15%
Network Theory 9%
Signals & Systems 8%
Control Systems 8%
Analog Circuits 12%
Digital Circuits 9%
Measurement 10%
Transducers 8%
Optical Instrumentation 6%

Now that there is a clear picture of the syllabus, weightage and the question pattern let us discuss about some ways that could really be helpful for you to prepare for the exam.


1.gate tips To start with, candidates must be aware of the GATE exam pattern for instrumentation 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 instrumentation 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 instrumentation 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.

For effective preparation you need good books which cover all the topics you need to prepare for the exam and are prepared according to the GATE exam pattern. So here is a list of the books of the respective topics.


Engineering Mathematics   Textbook of Engineering Mathematics by Dutta Debashis

  Advanced Engineering Mathematics by Kreyzig E

  Advanced Engineering Mathematics by Potter M.C, Goldberg J.L and Aboufadel E.F

  Higher Engineering Mathematics by Ramana B.V

  Higher Engineering Mathematics by Grewal B S

  Advanced Modern Engineering Mathematics by James G

Industrial Instrumentation   Instrumentation Reference book by B.E. Noltingk

  Process/Industrial Instruments and control handbook by C.M. Douglas

  Principle of Industrial Measurement by D. Patranabis,

Circuits and Measurement Systems Measurement Systems: Application and design by E.O. Doebin
Analog Electronics   Microelectronic Circuits by Sedra and Smith

  Electronic Circuits by Nilsson and Riedel

  Microwave Engineering by Pozar

  Design with Operational Amplifiers by Franco

  CMOS Analog Circuit Design by Allen and Holberg

  Circuit Design, Layout, and Simulation

  Analog Integrated Circuit Design (Johns & Martin)

  Analog Design for CMOS VLSI Systems – Franco Maloberti

Digital Electronics   Digital Principles & Application, by Leach & Malvino

  Fundamental of Digital Circuits by A. Anand Kumar

  Digital Fundamental, by Floyd & Jain

  Digital Electronics by James W. Bignell & Robert Donovan

  Digital Integrated Electronics by H. Taub & D. Shilling

  Fundamental of logic Design by Charles H. Roth

  Digital Logic Design by Morries Mano

Signals, Systems and Communications   Voice and data communications handbook by Bates, Regis J

 Signal processing handbook by Chen, C. H.

  Handbook of digital signal processing by Elliott, Douglas

  Reference Manual for telecommunications engineering by Freeman, Roger L

Electrical and Electronic Measurements   Solutions of Network Analysis by GK Publications

  Network Analysis by Soni and Gupta

  Electronic Devices Circuits by Millman and Halkias

  Switching and Finite Automatic Theory by Kohavi

Control Systems and Process Control   Control Systems Engineering by Madan Gopal and I.J. Nagrath

  Technology & Engineering by Butterworth-Heinemann

  Control Engineering Theory & Practice by Bandyopadhyaya

  Modeling & Control of dynamic system by Macia & Thaler

Biomedical Instrumentation   Biomedical Instrumentation: Technology and Applications by R Khandpur

  Biomedical Instrumentation and measurement by Leslie Cromwell Fred.J. Weibell

  Medical Electronics by Kumara doss


GATE Instrumentation Engineering Exam 2013

GATE Instrumentation Engineering Exam 2014

GATE Instrumentation Engineering Exam 2015

GATE Instrumentation Engineering Exam 2016

GATE Instrumentation Engineering Exam 2017


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