Information about the GATE exam by Career Avenues

What is GATE?

GATE is an examination conducted by the Indian Institute of Science and several IITs for admission into their Master’s program. You can also apply through GATE for jobs in public sector companies (PSUs). GATE is a Computer Based Test. It is conducted in the last week of January and the first couple of weeks of February. GATE is not a single examination. It is a multitude of exams in different branches of engineering, science, and other fields. Over 8 lakh students answer the GATE exam each year.

Mis-information amongst the student community about the GATE examination 

1) It is a tough exam:

We believe that GATE is not a tough exam. The cut-off in GATE is typically between 25% to 40%. You require a score higher than the cut-off to qualify for the GATE examination. A few major subjects plus mathematics and aptitude weigh over 40 to 45% of the examination for most of the GATE Branches.

A student has a good chance to qualify if he is a master in just a few of the major subjects and Maths. Yet only 15 to 20% of the students qualify.

The reason is two-fold: – (1) negative marking and (2) lack of understanding amongst students on how to answer a competitive examination. You will find more details on how to smartly prepare for GATE on the Career Avenues website and blogs.

2) GATE is a highly competitive examination:

(a) Overall: In our opinion, GATE is not a highly competitive exam. The number of students taking GATE is divided amongst 25 GATE branches. So, in some of the branches like Civil or Mechanical or Electronics, etc, you have more than 100000 students answering the GATE. In most other branches you have between 10000 to 15000 students taking the GATE examination. In fact, in some of the branches, the number of students is less than 5000. So your competition is not with 8 lakhs. It is with the students attempting the GATE in your branch.

(b) Not for IITians: Students from the top most colleges like IITs, NITs, BITS, etc do not answer the GATE in large numbers. They already have very good placements in top companies through their college.

(c) Special cases: Students attempting GATE in the branches such as chemical, biotechnology, metallurgy, etc are from top colleges like NITs, IIT-BHU, etc. But the number of students overall attempting GATE in these branches is limited. Competition is between people who run the race.

Only students who are strong in concepts and who have prepared seriously for GATE are the real competition. In our opinion, in most branches, this number is not more than 30-35% of GATE takers.

3) GATE should be only answered by those interested in higher education or PSU jobs:

According to an IIT professor, “One beautiful thing about the GATE examination is that it tests both concepts as well as applications.” Any student would love to know where he stands not in his class, not in his college, not his university; but across colleges and across universities spread across the entire country.

GATE is one examination that gives you an understanding of how well you have utilized 4-5 years of graduation, This becomes a benchmark for you to know your strengths and weaknesses. Only for that reason, we believe that every student eligible to answer the GATE examination should prepare seriously and attempt GATE.

The second aspect, of course, is preparation for GATE would assist in entrance of any company or any other examination. According to Sridhar Krishnan, a faculty of Career Avenues and an IIT-Madras grad, “GATE strengthens your concepts of what you have learned in your entire graduate degree. So you must prepare and answer GATE, whether M.Tech and PSU is an option or not.”


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