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GATE Exam Pattern 2024 – Subject-wise Question Paper Pattern

14 September, 2023 By Parthiva Mewawala, IMS India

GATE, or the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering, is a premier exam conducted yearly for admissions to some of the most prestigious master’s, M.Phil, and Ph.D. programs at elite IITs. GATE scores are also used to secure jobs at leading PSUs and different research roles in the Indian nuclear and space programs. This year, it is being conducted by IISc Bangalore. They recently released the official exam notification detailing the GATE exam pattern, exam details, dates, subject combinations, and syllabi.


Keeping in mind how competitive scoring a high rank on the GATE exam can be, students must start their prep well in time and in the right direction. The first step towards building the right study strategy is understanding the GATE exam pattern 2024. Looking at the updated exam pattern is necessary even for those who have already started their prep.


GATE 2024 is a 100-mark online test with 65 questions divided between general aptitude (10) and subject-specific (55). The pattern generally consists of three different types of questions – MCQs, MSQs, and NAT. Only MCQs have negative marking. Keep reading for more details on the exam pattern pertaining to different subjects and their combinations.


What are the changes to the GATE exam pattern in 2024?


There have been no significant changes to the exam pattern in 2024. This computer-based test will be held only in English and will have 65 questions worth 100 marks. The only palpable change that has been introduced is the addition of a new subject paper – Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (DA). This new subject has been added keeping in mind the unique requirements of the industry complex.


What are the highlights of the GATE paper pattern 2024?

The GATE 2024 exam is a 3-hour test with 65 questions – 55 subject-specific ones and ten general aptitude ones. After the addition of the new subject, a total of 30 papers are being offered to students. Many students also opt to give two papers to demonstrate their skills adequately. The questions are primarily designed to test students on how well they can recall information such as formulas and theories, how easily and quickly they can apply them to get the correct answers, and how clearly they can analyse presented data and synthesise solutions based on the data. Most subject papers have Engineering Mathematics as a compulsory section, while a few don’t. There is some negative marking in the MCQs but none in the other sections. You can refer to the table below for the exact details.


Glossary of paper codes and syllabus PDFs


GATE Test Paper Code GATE Test Paper Code
Aerospace Engineering AE Geology & Geophysics GG
Agricultural Engineering AG Instrumentation Engineering IN
Architecture and Planning AR Mathematics MA
Biomedical Engineering BM Mechanical Engineering ME
Biotechnology BT Mining Engineering MN
Civil Engineering CE Metallurgical Engineering MT
Chemical Engineering CH Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering NM
Computer Science & Information Technology CS Petroleum Engineering PE
Chemistry CY Physics PH
Data Science & Artificial Intelligence (NEW) DA Production & Industrial Engineering PI
Electronics & Communication Engineering EC Statistics ST
Electrical Engineering EE Textile Engineering & Fibre Science TF
Environmental Science & Engineering ES Engineering Sciences XE
Ecology and Evolution EY Humanities & Social Sciences XH
Geomatics Engineering GE Life Sciences XL


Particulars Details
Examination Mode Computer Based Test (Online)
Duration 3 Hours
Number of Papers in GATE 2024 30 Papers
  • General Aptitude (GA)
  • Candidate Selected Subject
Type of Questions
  • Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Multiple Select Questions (MSQs)
  • Numerical Answer Type (NAT) Questions
Design of Questions The questions are designed to test the listed abilities

  • Application
  • Analysis
  • Comprehension
  • Recall
  • Synthesis
Number of Questions 65 Questions (including 10 questions from General Aptitude)
Distribution of Questions in all Papers except AR, CY, DA, EY, GG, MA, PH, ST, XH and XL
  • Engineering Mathematics – 13 Marks
  • Subject Questions – 72 Marks
  • General Aptitude – 15 Marks
Distribution of Questions in AR, CY, DA, EY, GG, MA, PH, ST, XH and XL
  • Questions from Subject Concerned – 85 Marks
  • General Aptitude – 15 Marks
Total Marks 100 Marks
Marking Scheme All of the questions will be worth 1 or 2 marks
GATE Negative Marking Two types of MCQs:

  • MCQs – 1 mark for each correct answer; 1/3 mark will be deducted for every wrong answer.
  • MCQs – 2 marks for each correct answer; 2/3 marks will be deducted for every incorrect response. There are no negative marks for Numerical Answer Type (NAT) questions
  • NO negative marks for MSQ & NAT.


What are the types of questions and marking scheme according to the updated GATE exam pattern for 2024?


GATE 2024 will have three types of questions. The questions will either be worth one or two marks depending on the difficulty level.


Multiple Choice Questions or MCQs


You’ll be presented with four choices, of which only one is correct. Ticking the correct option will bring you 1 or 2 marks based on the marks distribution. 


For incorrect answers, you’ll receive a negative marking of -0.34 for one mark questions and -0.67 for two mark questions.


Numerical  Answer Type Questions or NATs


These are the questions which require you to input a numerical value into the answer box. There will be no choices provided. You must solve the question on your rough paper and use your mouse to input the answer up to the decimal point required. Remember, do not type the answer using your keyboard, or your answer box will get locked. Depending on the marking scheme, you’ll be awarded 1 or 2 marks if you type in the correct value. Since there is no negative marking, an incorrect answer will net you zero.\


Multiple Select Questions or MSQs


Much like the MCQs, you’ll be presented with four choices. But instead of choosing just one correct answer, you’ll have to choose multiple. The questions can have one to four correct answers, and you must choose them all. Your answer will be deemed incorrect if you miss out on even one. You’ll be given 1 or 2 marks if correct, depending on the difficulty level. If incorrect, you’ll be awarded zero marks.

What is the general marks distribution according to the new GATE exam pattern 2024?


Here’s how you can expect the total of 100 marks to be divided:


  1. For papers that have Engineering Mathematics as a compulsory component, it will hold 15% of the weightage and a total of 10 questions with 5 having two marks and 5 having one mark. For the same subjects, another 10 questions will be from the General Aptitude part – 5 for two marks and 5 for one mark. The remaining 70% of marks will be allotted to subject-specific questions.
  2. For the papers that don’t have Engineering Mathematics, 15% of the paper will be dedicated to General Aptitude and 85% to subject-specific questions.
  3. Subject-specific questions will have 25 questions for 2 marks and 20 questions for 1 mark in papers with Engineering Mathematics. For the papers without, there will be 30 questions for 2 marks and 25 questions for 1 mark each.


Refer to the table below for a clearer picture:


Paper Code GA Marks Compulsory Section Subject Marks Total Marks Total Time* (Minutes)
AE, AG, BM, BT, CE, CH, CS, EC, EE, ES, IN, ME, MN, MT, NM, PE, PI, TF; Subject marks in these papers include questions on Engineering Mathematics (13 marks), which are paper-specific. 15 85 100 180
CY, DA, EY, MA, PH, ST 15 85 100 180
AR [Part A is Common and Compulsory for all; Part B1 or Part B2 can be selected during Exam. B1: Architecture or B2: Planning] 15 60 25 100 180
GE [Part A is Common and Compulsory for all; Part B1 or B2 can be selected during the Exam.

B1 – Surveying and Mapping or B2 -Image Processing and Analysis.]

15 55 30 100 180
GG [Part A is Common and Compulsory for all; Part B can either be Geology (B1) or Geophysics (B2) — which must be chosen at the time of Application.] 15 25 60 100 180
XE [Section A (Engineering Mathematics) is Common and Compulsory for all; Applicants must select any TWO additional Sections during the Exam] 15 15 2 x 35 100 180
XH [Section B1 (Reasoning and Comprehension) is Common and Compulsory for all; Applicants must select any ONE additional Section at the time of Application] 15 25 60 100 180
XL [Section P (Chemistry) is Common and Compulsory for all; Applicants must select any TWO additional Sections during the Exam] 15 25 2 x 30 100 180


What kinds of questions will be asked in GATE exam 2024?


According to the GATE exam pattern 2024 released by IISc Bangalore, the questions will be framed in a way to test the following skills of the candidates:


  • Recall – Students will be expected to remember extensive formulae, facts, principles, laws, and all theoretical knowledge. They’ll also be expected to be able to recall them from memory within a fixed timeframe.
  • Comprehension – How well do candidates understand the concepts? How in-depth is their knowledge of the basic concepts? Can they draw conclusions from their conceptual knowledge?
  • Application – Apart from theoretical grasp, students are also expected to have mastery over the application of it all. They should be able to link everything taught in the classroom to real-world practical problems.
  • Analysis and Synthesis – Being able to decipher data presented in different formats, translating them into insights, and using those insights to come to the correct answer are crucial skills that top colleges and PSUs are looking for.

With the official GATE exam pattern out, you can focus your preparation on the essential areas. With only a few months remaining in the GATE 2024 exam, you must define exactly where to use your time – on what subjects, topics, and questions. If you need help creating a proper strategy, fill out the form here, and our mentors will contact you.