Previous years cut offs and paper analysis for GATE exam

The Graduate aptitude test in engineering or commonly termed as GATE is the most sought after and coveted technical PG entrance examination that allows admissions into India’s premier technical institutes, namely the IITs and the NITs. On an average, more than 8 lakh candidates have appeared for the examination every year. Though the exam is competitive and challenging, however, obtaining a high GATE score assures admission into the IITs and the NITs thereby promising a secured, stable and successful future.

Most often than not, candidates planning to or appearing for GATE are often in a dilemma as to the trends of the questions that appear every year. Confusions often arise as to the questions structure and which subjects hold more importance than others and what should be the general way for preparation. This article is aimed at offering insights and clarity over the issue by analysing the general trends and patterns of GATE examination questions that have appeared in the last 10 years.

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General Question paper structure of GATE:

  1. There are a total of 65 questions in the examination.
  2. The examination is conducted for a total of 100 marks in a duration of 3 hours.
  3. The questions are divided into ‘Objective Types’ and ‘Numerical Types’ (Numerical ability)
  4. Of the 65 questions, 30 questions are of 1 mark each and the remaining 35 questions are of 2 marks each.
  5. There is negative marking of -0.33 for objective type questions carrying 1 mark and -0.66 for questions carrying 2 marks where as the Numerical type questions do not contain any negative marking.
  6. The numerical type questions do not have multiple choice answers under them. A whole number needs to be entered as the answer using mouse and virtual keyboard.
  7. Around 25-40 marks are allotted to the Numerical type questions and 60-75 marks are allotted to the Objective type questions.
  8. Around 30-35 score can be obtained through the subjective questions and the remaining 65-70 score can be obtained through the objective type questions.
  9. The category division of marks are: 15 marks for General Aptitude (Verbal & Numerical ability). 15 marks for Engineering Mathematics and 70 marks for Technical subjects.
  10. The General Aptitude (Verbal & Numerical ability) has 10 questions under them. 5 questions of 1 mark each and 5 questions of 2 marks each.
  11. Engineering Mathematics and the Technical subjects contain a total of 55 questions. 25 questions of 1 mark each and 30 questions of 2 marks each.

Going by the GATE exam trend of the last 10 years, it has been found that certain subjects for each engineering stream holds greater importance as many of the questions that appear pertain to these subjects. The below table lists the important subjects that needs more preparation compared to others for each engineering stream:

        Engineering Stream Important Subjects
Mechanical Thermodynamics & Applications, Manufacturing Technology, Heat Transfer, Strength of Materials and Theory of Machines & Vibrations
Electronics & Communication Analog Electronics, Networks, Signals & Systems, Control Systems and Electromagnetic Theory
Computer Science & Information Technology Data Structures & Algorithms, Digital Logic, Operating System, Theory of Computation and DBMS
Electrical Networks, Power Systems, Electrical Machines and Power Electronics
Civil Structure Engineering, Construction engineering & Management, Construction Technology & Management

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GATE cut-off Score:

The GATE cut-off score is the most important parameter that aspirants look forward to, since the cut-off marks defines the minimum GATE score required to get admission into the premier IITs. Each IIT conducts its own M.Tech exam, hence the GATE cut-off score varies with individual IITs. The GATE cut-off score also takes into account the number of applicants appearing for the exam, the number of seats that are available and the previous years cut-off scores. The below information lists the top 5 IITs and the average GATE cut-off score for the respective stream. Note that this is an average approximation taking into account the cut-off marks of previous years.

IIT Bombay

  • Mechanical Engineering- GN: 600, OBC: 540, SC/ST: 400
  • Electrical Engineering- GN: 510, OBC: 459, SC/ST: 340
  • Computer Science &Engineering- GN: 750, OBC: 675, SC/ST: 500
  • Civil Engineering: GN: 550, OBC: 495, SC/ST: 367

IIT Kharagpur

  • Mechanical Engineering- GN: 800, OBC: 740, SC/ST: 600
  • Electrical Engineering- GN: 762, OBC: 630, SC/ST: 500
  • Electronics & Communication Engineering- GN: 733, OBC: 645, SC/ST: 463
  • Computer Science: GN: 791, OBC: 681, SC/ST: 590
  • Civil Engineering: GN: 749, OBC: 666, SC/ST: 578

IIT Delhi

  • Mechanical Engineering: GN: 725, OBC: 650, SC/ST: 500
  • Electrical Engineering: GN: 760, OBC: 680, SC/ST: 530
  • Electronics & Communication Engineering- GN: 770, OBC: 700, SC/ST: 550
  • Computer Science: GN: 745, OBC: 670, SC/ST: 505
  • Civil Engineering: GN: 780, OBC: 700, SC/ST: 590

IIT Kanpur

  • Mechanical Engineering: GN: 800, OB: 750, SC/ST: 600
  • Electrical Engineering: GN: 770, OBC: 697, SC/ST: 535
  • Computer Science Engineering: GN: 730, OBC: 660, SC/ST: 560
  • Civil Engineering: GN: 710, OBC: 634, SC/ST: 557

IIT Madras

  • Mechanical Engineering: GN: 779, OBC: 776, SC/ST: 615
  • Electrical Engineering: GN: 800, OBC: 760, SC/ST: 560
  • Computer Science Engineering: GN: 800, OBC: 720, SC/ST: 530
  • Chemical Engineering: GN: 540, OBC: 435, SC/ST: 348

The NITs generalised average GATE cut-off score for admission into the M.Tech programs can be categorised as given below:

  • GN: 550 and above for most M.Tech programs
  • OBC: 480 and above for most M.Tech programs
  • SC/ST: 390 and above for most M.Tech programs

Again, each NIT decides the cut-off marks based on the number of applicants, number of seats availability and the previous years cut-off trends.


Other points to note and remember for GATE:

  • For questions between 1 to 52 negative markings takes place.
  • There is no negative marking for questions between 53 and 55.
  • An online scientific calculator is available for students during the exam.
  • The GATE score is valid for 3 years.
  • Do visit the institutes’ respective websites for the latest details and announcements towards the exam, results and the cut-off marks.

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