GATE Preparation Tips: The Topper's Way to Excel

By Sanjeet Nayak

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is conducted by the 7 IIT's (Indian Institutes of Technologies) in rotation as a gateway for various Postgraduate and Ph.D. degrees. Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, IIT Bombay (conducting authority) has issued new eligibility guidelines and exam dates for GATE 2021. Many reputed engineering colleges or institutions like IISC, IITDIITKGP, etc accept GATE Scorecard, which makes it one of the most popular and competitive entrances. Therefore proper dedication and a well-planned preparation strategy are needed to score good marks in the exam. 

Click Here, to Know details about GATE-2021

GATE 2021 Exam Schedule:

The important dates of the GATE 2021 Entrance Exam have been announced by the conducting authorities on their official website. According to the notification, the registration process is scheduled to start on 14th September 2020 and will conclude on 7th October 2020. However, entrance will be conducted in the month of February 2021 and the result is decided to be released in the month of March 2021. The complete schedule of GATE 2021 has been mentioned below:

Events Date
GATE Online application process starts  14th September 2020
Last date of registration 30th September 2020
Last date of registration (with late fee) 7th October 2020
Last date to change the category, paper and exam center 13th November 2020
Availability of Admit Card 8th January 2021
GATE 2021 Examination 5th February 2021
6th February 2021
7th February 2021
12th February 2021
13th February 2021
14th February 2021
Result Declaration 22nd March 2021

Read Here: Reasons to Appear GATE 2021

GATE 2021 New Eligibility Guidelines:

New Guidelines:

  • The students appearing their 3rd year of graduation can register themselves for the GATE 2021 Exam.
  • Interested candidates can now appear a maximum of 2 papers out of the listed 27 papers. This has been done to encourage interdisciplinary studies.
  • The students from Commerce and Arts background can now apply for the examination.
  • GATE 2021 Scorecard will be valid for at least 3 years from the date of declaration of the result.

New GATE 2021 Syllabus

As per the notification of GATE 2021 two new papers or subjects namely Environmental Science & Engineering (ES) and Humanities and Social Sciences (XH) have been added. This upgrade has allowed the students from Commerce and Arts to appear the exam for higher degrees. The complete syllabus of GATE 2021 has been mentioned below:

Syllabus of New Subjects/Papers

Paper Code: Subject Name Paper Code: Subject Name
XH-B1: Reasoning and Comprehension ES: Environmental Science and Engineering
XH-C1: Economics XH-C4: Philosophy
XH-C2: English XH-C5: Psychology
XH-C3: Linguistics XH-C6: Sociology

Syllabus of Old Subjects/Papers

Paper Code: Subject Name Paper Code: Subject Name
AE: Aerospace Engineering TF: Textile Engineering and Fibre Science
AG: Agricultural Engineering XE-A: Engineering Mathematics
AR: Architecture and Planning XE-B: Fluid Mechanics
BM: Biomedical Engineering XE-C: Materials Science
BT: Biotechnology XE-D: Solid Mechanics
CE: Civil Engineering XE-E: Thermodynamics
CH: Chemical Engineering XE-F: Polymer Science and Engineering
CS: Computer Sc. and Information Technology XE-G: Food Technology
CY: Chemistry XE-H: Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
EC: Electronics and Communication Engg. EE: Electrical Engineering
EY: Ecology and Evolution GG: Geology and Geophysics
IN: Instrumentation Engineering MA: Mathematics
ME: Mechanical Engineering XL-P: Chemistry
MN: Mining Engineering XL-Q: Biochemistry
MT: Metallurgical Engineering XL-R: Botany
PE: Petroleum Engineering XL-S: Microbiology
PH: Physics XL-T: Zoology
PI: Production and Industrial Engineering XL-U: Food Technology
ST: Statistics  

GATE 2021 New Exam Pattern:

The exam pattern has been officially declared by the concerned authority of the exam (IIT Bombay). GATE 2021 Exam pattern consists of the number of questions, types of questions, and marking scheme for all the 27 subjects/papers. 

Examination Mode CBT (Computer Based Test)
Duration of the Exam 3 Hrs
Number of Papers 27
Exam Sections General Aptitude (GA) and Candidate’s Selected Subject
Type of Questions

MCQ: Multiple Choice Questions

MSQ: Multiple Select Questions

NAT: Numerical Answer Type

Questions test these abilities
  • Recall
  • Comprehension
  • Application
  • Analysis and Synthesis
Number of Questions 10 (GA) + 55 (subject) = 65 Questions
Marks Distribution in all Papers EXCEPT papers AR, CY, EY, GG, MA, PH, XH and XL General Aptitude: 15 Marks + Engineering Mathematics: 13 Marks + Subject Questions: 72 Marks = Total: 100 Marks
Marks Distribution in papers AR, CY, EY, GG, MA, PH, XH, and XL General Aptitude: 15 Marks + Subject Questions: 85 Marks = Total: 100 Marks
Marking Scheme Both one and two marks 

GATE 2021 New Marking Scheme:

Subeject/Paper Code General Aptitude (GA) Marks Subject Marks Total Marks Total Time (Minutes)
AE, AR, AG, BT, CE, CH, CS, CY, EC, EE, ES, EY, IN, MA, ME, MN, MT, PE, PH, PI, TF, ST and BM 15 85 100 180
GG [Part A + Part B (Section 1 Geology OR Section 2 Geophysics)] 15 85 = (25 + 60) 100 180
XE (Section A + Any TWO Sections) 15 85 = [(15 + (2 x 35)] 100 180
XH (Section B1 + Any ONE Section) 15 85 = [(25 + {1 x 60})] 100 180
XL (Section P + Any TWO Sections) 15 85 = [(25 + {2 x 30})] 100 180

GATE 2021 Preparation Tips:

Preparing a good plan is enough rather, the student has to be dedicated towards the preparation process and stick to the strategy that he/she has prepared. Many GATE toppers have said that a good preparation strategy, hard work, and dedicated practice is ideal for good marks in the exam. Here are some of the best preparation tips followed by toppers:

Official Syllabus to be followed:

The students should focus on completely revising the official syllabus released by the authorities of GATE 2021. It is always better to follow the official syllabus as it contains all the subjects that will be asked in the questionnaire.

Knowledge of the Exam pattern:

This is one of the foremost requisite of the preparation process. It is important for the students to have the knowledge of question type, the total number of questions, difficulty level of the questionnaire, etc. 

Practicing previous year question papers:

Practicing the previous year's questions can provide a general idea to the students about that exam pattern and the important topics asked in the particular subject. This can help the student to analyze the recent trend and the important topics to focus on.

Stick to the study plan:

A perfect study plan is important, but sticking to the study plan is necessary for a good result. The study plan should be as such that each subject gets the proper time of study and practice as well. Students should focus on the difficult ones and revise them again and again. Proper planning of the study and its implementation can boost the aspirants' confidence and performance in the exam

Appear the Mock Tests:

Mock tests are like practice sessions of the entrance examination. Repetitive practice can help the students in analyzing the performance in the exam. This can help the students in discovering their weak areas and can get them accustomed to the time management in the exam. This practice can boost the morale of the student and develop confidence before the exam.

Proper Time Management:

GATE 2021 Exam duration is of 3 hours, therefore its important for the students to learn time management so that they can cover all the questions. The knowledge of the lengthy sections of the exam can come handy as students can focus on the questions that should be attended first can save some time in the exam. This is only possible through the proper practice of time management.

Avoid last-minute preparation of new topics:

It is advised that students should not opt for new topics during the last phase of the revision as this can nervousness and confusion. So, rather than going for new topics students can revise the topics which they have already prepared.

Important Note:

According to last year's GATE Result, 26 students have scored more than 70 and only 3 have scored above 90 in the whole of India. Indeed it's very tough to score above 90 in GATE. Students should have a planned approach towards developing their strategy for the preparation with proper time management and regular practice.

Also Read

GATE 2021: Best Books to Follow 

Tips for Selecting a Good Book:

  • Understandability should not be compromised, therefore students should choose from the ones that are easy to understand and also covers the entire syllabus.
  • Books of the latest edition and with all the new updates are always a better option.
  •  A good book has the GATE sample paper with the solutions.
  • Following the renowned publications can be a hassle-free option because they are generally written by well-renowned authors.

Some of the Best Books to Follow for GATE 2021:

GATE 2021- CE (Civil Engineering)

Subjects Name of the Book

Engineering Mathematics

  • Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications by Kenneth Rosen
  • Higher Engineering mathematics by B.S. Grewal
  • Advanced Engineering Mathematics by Erwin Kreyszig
Structural Engineering
  • Theory of Structure by CK Wang, S. Rammamrutham, L.S. Negi & Jangit
  • Theory of Elasticity by Timoshenko & Gere
  • Theory of Structure by Wilbur & Norris
  • Strength of Materials/Mechanics of Structure by Gare & Timoshenko,
  • E. Popove, L. Singer,
  • B.C. Punamia, Rammamrutham
Geotechnical Engineering
  • Soil Mechanics by Gopal Ranjan & Rao, Venkat Ramaiha, S. K. Garg,
  • B.C. Punamia, V N S Murthy
Water Resources Engineering
  • Water Resources by S K Garg
  • Water and Waste Water by SK Garg 1 and 2
  • Fluid Mechanics- RK Bansal and Fox and Richard
Transportation Engineering Transportation by Justo Khanna
  • Environmental Engineering by S. K. Garg Part I & Part II
  • Waste Water Engineering by B. C. Punamia Part I & Part II
Geomatics Engineering Surveying (vol. 1,2,3)  by B.C.Punia, Ashok Jain, Arun Jain

GATE 2021 - ME (Mechanical Engineering)

Subjects Name of the Book
Design of Machine Elements Machine design - V.B. Bhandari
Engineering Mechanics
  • Engineering Mechanics by Bhavikatti
  • Engineering Mechanics by Beer and Johnston,
  • Engineering Mechanics by R K Rajput
Fluid Mechanics
  • Fluid Mechanics by R K Bansal
  • Fluid & Hydraulics- Modi and seth
Heat Transfer
  • Heat and Mass Transfer by J P Hollman and R C Sachdeva
  • Heat Transfer by Cengel and Holman
Industrial Engineering Industrial Engineering by O P Khanna, Buffa and Sarin
Manufacturing Engineering Production Technology: Manufacturing Processes, Technology and Automation by R.K. Jain
Strength of Materials Strength of Materials - Gere & Timoshenko, B C Unamia, Sadhu Singh, Ramamrutham
Thermal Science Engineering Thermodynamics by P.K. Nag
Thermo Dynamics
  • Engineering Thermodynamics by P K Nag and Rajput
  • Thermodynamics by Cengel.
Theory of Machines Theory of machines by Ratan
Vibrations Mechanical Vibration by Grover

GATE 2021- EE (Electrical Engineering)

Subjects Name of the Book
Engineering Mathematics Advanced Engineering Mathematics by E.Kreyszig
Electric Circuits
  • Transient Analysis Of Electric Power Circuits by Arieh L Shenkmann
  • Circuit Theory: Analysis & Synthesis by Abhijit Chakrabarti
Electromagnetic Fields
  • Elements of Electromagnetics by Mathew N. O. SADIKU
  • Engineering Electromagnetics by William H. Hayt
Signals and Systems
  • Signals and Systems by Oppenheim and Wilsky
  • Signals and Systems by Nagoor Kani
Electrical Machines Electrical Machinery by P.S Bimbhra
Power Systems
  • Power Systems Engineering by Nagrath and Kothari
  • Power Systems by JB Guptha & CL Wadhwa
Control Systems Control Systems Engineering by Nagrath and Gopal
Electrical and Electronic Measurements Electrical and Electronic Measurement and Instrumentation by AK Sawhney
Analog and Digital Electronics
  • Electronic Devices and Circuit Theory by Boylestad
  • Digital Design by M.Morris Mano
  • Integrated Electronics : Analog And Digital Circuits And Systems by Christos C. Halkias, Chetan D. Parikh Jacob Millman
Power Electronics
  • Power Electronics by MH Rashid
  • Power Electronics by P.S.Bimbhra

GATE 2021 -EC (Electronics & Communication)

Subjects Name of the Book
Engineering Mathematics
  • Higher Engineering Mathematics – Dr. BS Grewal
  • Engineering Mathematics – Erwin Kreyszig­
  • Advanced Engineering Mathematics – Dr. HK Dass
  • Advanced Engineering Mathematics by R. K. Jain, S. R. K. Iyengar
General Aptitude
  • Quantitative Aptitude – R. S. Agarwal
  • Logical Reasoning – R. S. Agarwal
  • Objective English – Hari Mohan Prasad
  • Quantitative Aptitude by CAT by Arun Sharma
Network Theory
  • Network Theory by Alexander Sadiku
  • Circuit Theory by A.Chakraborty
  • Network Analysis by Van Valkenburg
  • Engineering Circuit Analysis – Hayt & Kammerly
  • Linear Circuit Analysis- De Carlo/Lin
Electronic Devices
  • Integrated Electronics:- Jacob Millman & Christos C. Halkias
  • Solid State electronic Devices- Ben Streetman and Sanjay Banerjee
  • Semiconductor devices – David Neamen
  • Semiconductor devices-S. M. Sze
  • DC Analysis of MOS Transistor-Tsivid
Analog Circuits
  • Micro Electronics circuit – Sedra & Smith
  • Linear ICs – Gaekwad
  • Analog Electronics,  Electronics devices, and circuits – Donald A Neaman
  • Electronic Devices and Circuit   Theory by Robert L Boylestad & Nashelsky      
  • Pulse and Digital Electronics by Millman and Taub
Digital Circuits
  • Digital Electronics – Morris Mano
  • Microprocessor Architecture, Programming and Application with the 8085 – Ramesh Gaonker
  • Digital Electronic Principles and applications by Ronald J. Toccii, Pearson Publications
  • Digital circuits and design by Salivahanan
  • Fundamentals of digital systems by Anandkumar
  • Digital Logic and Computer Design by M.Morris Mano
System & Signal
  • Signals & Systems By Alan V. Oppenheim
  • Modern digital and analog Communications system by BP Lathi
  • Digital Signal Processing by S.K Mitra
  • Signals & System – Oppenheim & Schafer
  • Signals & System – Proakis
  • Signals & System – Schaum Series-H.P. Hsu
Control System
  • Automatic Control Systems – Benjamin C Kuo
  • Modern Control System – Katsuhiko Ogata
  • Control Systems Engineering by Norman Nise
  • Control Systems by Nagarath and Gopal
  • NPTEL Video lectures by M. Gopal
  • Analog and Digital Communication System by Simon Haykin
  • Principle of Communication System by Taub& Schillings
  • Modern digital and analog Communications system by BP Lathi
  • Electronic Communication Systems by Kennedy and Davis 
  • Elements of Electromagnetics by Matthew N.O. Sadiku
  • Network lines and fields by J.D Ryder (Transmission lines part)
  • Electromagnetic waves and Radiating Systems by Jordon and Balmain
  • Antenna Theory by Balanis
  • NPTEL Lectures by Prof. R. Shevgaonkar
  • Engineering Electromagnetics-William Hayt
  • Schaum’s Outline of Electromagnetics -Joseph A Edminister
  • Antenna And Wave Propagation-KD Prasad

GATE 2021 – CS (Computer Science)

Subjects Name of the Book
Computer Science
  • Operating System by Galvin
  • Algorithm by Cormen
  • Architecture by Hamacher
  • TOC- Theory of Computation by Ullman

GATE 2021 – AG (Agricultural Engineering)

Subjects Name of the Book
Agricultural Engineering
  • Concept of Agricultural Engineering by Mohanty Das
  • Soil & Water Conservation by VVN Murty
  • Farm Machinery by Three Authors

GATE 2021 – CH (Chemical Engineering)

Subjects Name of the Book
Chemical Engineering
  • JP Holman by Heat Transfer
  • Mc Cabe -FPM and MO by Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering
  • BK Dutta by Principles of Mass Transfer and Separation Processes
  • Fogler by Essentials of Chemical Reaction Engineering
  • JM Smith by Introduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
  • Ram Prasad by Chemical Engineering For Gate Principles Solved Problems & Objective Type Questions
  • M.Subbu by An Insight into Chemical Engineering

GATE 2021 – GG (Geology and Geophysics)

Subjects Name of the Book
Geology and Geophysics
  • Complete Master Guide GATE by Amresh Singh
  • Geophysics by Telford

GATE 2021 – PI (Production and Industrial)

Subjects Name of the Book
Production and Industrial
  • Thermodynamics by P.K Nag
  • Heat Transfer by Made Easy Class Notes
  • Production by Swadesh Sing, S K Mondal Notes
  • Material Science by Made Easy Class Notes & Swadesh Singh
  • Fluid Mechanics and Machinery by Modi & Seth
  • Machine Design by VB Bhandari
  • Strength of Material by Sadhu Singh
  • Refrigeration by Made Easy Class Notes
  • IC engine by Mathur Sharma
  • Theory of Machine by SS Rattan

The above article is about GATE 2021 new exam pattern and new guidelines notified by the conducting authority i.e. IIT Bombay. It also informs about how students can get the best books for preparation and the current top selling books for the entrance. Students can follow the preparation tips provided here to ensure good marks in the exam. It has been notified by the authorities that the examination can be canceled or postponed if the COVID-19 Pandemic situation does not favor or turns worse. Therefore aspirants are requested to keep regular updates with the official website for not to miss any kind of notification. Students can also check future notifications regarding GATE 2021 over here. 

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