GATE Negative Marking – Learn All About the GATE Negative Marking Scheme Here

21 January, 2024
parthiva mewawala

The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is the modern-era gateway for having a flourishing career in the different fields of Engineering. The GATE exam not only evaluates a candidate’s understanding of engineering and science but also opens doors to prestigious postgraduate programs and research opportunities. So, if a candidate plans to appear for GATE, they should have a clear idea about the type of questions, GATE negative marking, and overall marking scheme. Knowing the details always helps the candidate to plan more efficiently. 

GATE exam – Types of questions:

In the GATE exam, 65 questions are asked for 100 marks. These 65 questions are broadly divided into two segments. The first segment is on general aptitude and verbal reasoning, consisting of 10 questions, whereas the second consists of 55 questions on engineering maths and technical subjects. 

These questions can either be of 1 mark or 2 marks. In the first segment, 5 questions are worth 1 mark, and the other 5 questions are worth 2 marks, totalling 15 marks. In the second segment, 25 questions are worth 1 mark, and 30 questions are worth 2 marks each, totalling 85 marks in this segment.

SegmentsNo. of questions of 1 marksNo. of questions of 2 marksTotal
Aptitude and Verbal5510
Technical and Maths302555


Types of Questions

The GATE exam asks three varieties of questions: MCQ, MSQ and NAT. 

  1. Multiple-choice Questions (MCQ) – Only one option is correct out of four options provided. These questions contain a negative marking of 33%. For 1 mark question, 0.33 marks will be deducted for every wrong answer, and for 2 mark questions, 0.66 marks will be deducted. In general, out of 65 questions, 32 to 35 multiple-choice questions are asked in the examination.
  2. Multiple-select Questions (MSQ) – More than one option can be correct from the four options provided. These questions do not have any negative marking. Out of 65 questions, 8 to 10 multiple-select questions are asked in the examination.
  3. Numerical Answer Type (NAT) – This variety of questions can be related to conventional questions. No options are provided for these questions. The candidate must calculate the answer in real numbers and then enter this numeral value in the space provided using a virtual keyboard. These questions do not contain negative marking. In general, out of 65 questions, 22 to 25 numerical answer-type questions are asked in the examination.
Type of QuestionsMCQMSQNAT
No. of Questions32 to 358 to 1022 to 25
GATE Negative MarkingApplicableNot ApplicableNot Applicable


GATE exam – Difficulty level:

GATE is a scientifically designed exam in which every aspect of fair competition is handled. Out of 65 questions asked in the exam, 20 to 25% of the questions are of an easy to moderate level, 45 to 55% of the questions are moderate to hard level, and 15 to 25 % of the questions are hard to very hard level.

For general category students, GATE cut-off marks are between 27 and 30 for all the streams. So, while planning, the candidate should always cover all the topics from which easy to moderate and moderate to hard-level questions are regularly framed. 

How to manage GATE negative marking – Experience-based suggestions:

GATE negative marking is a part of the marking scheme for multiple-choice questions, so you should avoid making random guesses when choosing your answer. Our mentors advise that only if a candidate is fully satisfied with the response should they mark the option. Especially in cases of numerical questions wherein tricky options are given.

For instance, let’s look at a question with four options – 45, 63, 68 and 70. Upon calculation, your answer comes as 50. Instead of marking 63, the nearest possible option, you should cross-check the math again.

On the other hand, multiple-select questions and numerical Answer-type questions do not contain negative marking, making guessing much more suitable. It is advised to fill these questions in.



If a candidate wants to get into IIT or NIT for M.Tech., then the candidate can target only easy to moderate and moderate to hard-level questions.  But, if you want a coveted PSU job or a seat in IISc for M.Tech., then you’ll have to target all the varieties of questions across all the difficulty levels.

In conclusion, the marking system in the GATE exam is the unseen arbiter, the silent companion in the aspirant’s journey. It is a puzzle that demands intellect and strategy, where success hinges not only on the correctness of answers but also on navigating the GATE negative marking scheme. As candidates embark on their GATE preparation journey, mastering the GATE marking scheme becomes a crucial step towards conquering the challenges that lie ahead.

If you need help preparing for GATE while mastering all the skills, tips, and nuances, you should consider signing up for the IMS GATE Academy Classroom or IMS GATE Academy Live Online programs. Apart from 750+ hours of classes, 350+ hours of recorded lectures, and 127+ sectional, subject-wise, and full-length mock tests, you also get 12 one-to-one mentoring sessions to plan out the perfect exam strategy customised to your strengths and weaknesses. These sessions are taken by our most experienced mentors and are geared towards helping you improve your GATE scores.