GATE Exam Pattern 2018 - IIT Guwahati has announced the GATE 2018 exam pattern in the information brochure. The exam pattern of GATE 2018 contains details like the type of questions asked, total marks, marking scheme, and the number of question papers. Being familiar with GATE exam pattern 2018 will enable the candidate to prepare better as the candidate can then formulate separate strategies to tackle different question types. Two types of questions are asked in GATE - multiple choice questions (MCQs) and numerical answer type (NAT) questions. As per the exam pattern of GATE 2018, the exam would be computer-based of three hours duration, comprising 65 questions. Graduate Apptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is held for 23 papers. Candidates can sit for only one paper. During the online exam, the candidate must select the right answer for the questions for MCQs, while for the numerical type of questions, the candidate has to enter the numerical answer by using the mouse on a virtual keyboard. The GATE Online Application Processing System (GOAPS) website opened on August 31 for candidates to enrol, fill, and submit their applications. The last date to submit the online application was October 9, 2017 (8:00 p.m). Keep reading to learn in detail the exam pattern of GATE 2018




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General Aptitude: Each paper will include a mandatory General Aptitude (GA) section comprising 10 questions. 5 of these questions will carry 1-mark each, while the remaining 5 will each carry 2 marks, for a total of 15 marks.


GATE Exam Pattern 2018: Key Highlights

  • GATE 2018is a computer-based test that will be conducted in online mode

  • GATE question paper will consist of two question types: multiple choice questions (MCQs) and Numerical Answer Type (NAT) questions

  • The questions will be displayed on a computer screen randomly

  • In case of MCQs, the candidate needs to select the correct answer, while for numerical answer type, the candidate must enter the numerical answer using a mouse and virtual keyboard ( the keyboard attached to the computer will be disabled)

  • The candidate will have to complete the test in 3 hours. After the allotted three hours, the screen will automatically close down and no further action will be possible.

  • During the exam, each candidate will be provided with a scribble pad where the candidate can do all his rough work. 

  • Each question paper will contain questions related to General Aptitude (GA) in addition to subject-specific questions.

Types of Questions Asked in GATE 2018


This year, like last year, candidates can expect two types of questions in GATE: multiple choice questions (MCQs) and numerical answer type (NAT) questions. Both the types are explained separately below.


Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

  • These questions may carry 1 or 2 marks in all papers and sections

  • Questions are objective type with each having a set of four options, out of which one is the correct answer

Numerical Answer Type (NAT)

  • Each question carries either 1 or 2 marks in all papers and section

  • These are termed numerical questions because the answer to the questions is a real number which the candidate has to enter using a mouse and virtual keyboard.

  • The answer can be either an integer (3, 7, 21, etc) or a number with decimals (for example 10.1) or even a decimal number.

  • The candidate will not be given any choices for these questions.

Marking Scheme of GATE 2018: Additional Details

  • Each of the 23 GATE papers will be of 100 marks and include a total of 65 questions. Of these 10 questions will be from General Aptitude carrying 15 marks. 

  • Papers with the codes AE, AG, BT, CE, CH, CS, EC, EE, IN, ME, MN, MT, PE, PI, TF and XE, will include a compulsory Engineering Mathematics section carrying around 15% of the total marks, and General Aptiude section carrying 15% of total marks. The remaining 70% is reserved for the subject of the paper.

  • In case of papers with codes AR, CY, EY, GG, MA, PH and XL, 85% of the total marks will be devoted to the subject of the paper and 15% to General Aptitude. 

Question Papers other than GG, XE and XL

  • These papers comprise 25 questions of 1-mark each(sub-total 25 marks) and 30 questions that each carry 2 marks (sub-total 60 marks)

  • Each paper will include both MCQs and numerical answer type

GG (Geology and Geophysics) Paper:


General Aptitude (GA) section aside, the GG question paper is further divided into two parts: Part A and Part B. Some of the important highlights of the paper are:

  • Part A must be attempted by all candidates

  • Part B is made up of two sections: Geology (Section 1) and Geophysics (Section 2)

  • Candidates may choose between Section 1 and Section 2 depending on the subject they want to appear

  • Part A comprises of 25 questions of 1-mark each (sub-total 25 marks). Numerical answer type questions are also asked in this part.

  • Meanwhile, both Section 1 and Section 2 of Part B has 30 questions each of 2-marks (sub-total 60 marks). Both the sections may include numerical answer type questions.

XE Paper (Engineering Sciences)

  • The XE Paper comprises one compulsory section, viz., Engineering Mathematics

  • Section A has 11 questions carrying 15 marks in total. Candidates can expect some numerical answer type questions in this section

  • Apart from Section A, the candidate has to pick any other section from Section B through H

  • Each of these sections (B through H) comprises 22 questions carrying a total of 35 marks.

  • General Aptitude consisting of 15 marks will also have to be attempted. 


XL Paper (Life Sciences)

  • This paper consists of the Chemistry section (Section P), which is compulsory. General Aptitude of 15 marks has to be solved. 

  • Chemistry section comprises 15 questions carrying a total of 25 marks. Numerical answer type is among the questions types asked in this section.

  • Apart from Chemistry, the candidate has to answer any of sections from section Q through U

  • Each of the sections includes 20 questions carrying a total of 30 marks.

The paper codes of GATE 2018 are listed below for your benefit.


*XE (Engineering Sciences) and **XL (Life Sciences) papers will consist of sections listed in the table above.


Design of Questions in GATE 2018


The questions that will be asked in GATE 2018 may be designed to test the following abilities of the candidate:

  • Recall: Questions in this category are related to facts, principles, formulae or laws of the discipline of the paper. The aim is to test the memory and computation skills of the candidate.

  • Comprehension: These questions test the candidate’s basic understanding of his/her chosen field. The candidate is required to draw simple conclusions from fundamental ideas.

  • Application: To answer questions in this category, the candidate has to rely on his/her computational and logical reasoning skills.  

  • Analysis and synthesis: These questions are accompanied by data, diagrams, and images. The candidate has to analyse the information contained in them to find the answers.

General Instructions for GATE 2018


The instructions listed are to be followed by the candidate after he/she enters the examination centre:

  1. Physical calculators, mobile phones, and wrist watches with calculation facility are not allowed inside the exam hall.

  2. The candidate, however, will be able to use a virtual calculator provided by GATE. It will be available on the screen. To view full screen, the candidate will have to hide the answer palette by clicking on the arrow signs

How to answer questions in GATE 2018?


The computer screen will have a clock that will be set on the server. At the top right corner of the screen, there will be a countdown timer which will inform you about time available for you to complete the exam. The computer will close automatically once the timer touches zero and the exam will end.


On the right side of the screen, a Question Palette will be displayed showing the status of each question using one of the following symbols:




Navigating to a Question:

  1. To go directly to a question, the candidate has to click on question number given on the Question Palette

  2. By clicking on the Question Paper button, the candidate can view all questions simultaneously. However, the options for multiple choice type questions will not be displayed.

Answering a Question:

1. Procedure to answer multiple choice type questions:

  • To select the correct option, the candidate has to click on the button given against that option

  • To deselect a chosen option, click on the option again. Or else, the candidate may click on the Clear Response button

  • To change an option, the candidate may click on any of the other available options

2. Procedure to answer numerical answer type questions:

  • The candidate has to use the virtual keyboard to enter the answer (a number)

  • If the answer is a number in decimal notation (eg. -0.3 or -.3), it can be entered with or without ‘0’ before the decimal point.

  • To clear a response, the candidate has to click on the Clear Response button

3. To change the answer to a question that the candidate has already answered, first select need to select that question for answering and then follow the steps for answering such type of question


Saving Answers

  1. To save an answer, the candidate has to click on the Save & Next button. For marking a question for review, the candidate must click on Mark for Review & Next button

  2. Once the allotted 180 minutes is over, the all the answers attempted by the candidate will be automatically submitted

Additional Instructions:

  • Before sitting in GATE 2018, the candidate is urged to go through and understand the various symbols that will be used in the test

  • Once the exam commences, the candidate can view the entire list of questions in the question paper by clicking on the Question Paper button

  • If there is any useful data given in the question paper of GATE 2018, the candidate will have to use it to answer a question. If such data is missing but the candidate it to answer a question, the data can be accessed by clicking on Useful Data at top, right side of the computer screen.

  • MCQs will have four choices A, B, C, D, out of which only one answer is correct. To choose the correct answer, the candidate will have to click on the radio button placed before the choice. I case of NAT questions, a numerical answer must be entered using the virtual numeric key pad.


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