How to Prepare for GATE 2020 exam?


IIT Delhi has released the exam schedule for GATE 2020. As per released schedule, GATE exam is just six months away. Have you made your plan or still wondering “How to prepare for GATE 2020 exam?” GATE preparation is slightly on the tougher side and so the preparation strategy should be planned accordingly. 

GATE 2020 is scheduled to be conducted on February 1, 2, 8 & 9 by IIT Delhi. Candidates eyeing for GATE must be preparing for the exam in full swing. At this stage in your GATE preparation, a fixed plan and schedule is a must as there is no scope to go wrong anywhere. The below article is aimed to address all your concerns regarding GATE preparation 2020. 

GATE (Graduate aptitude test in engineering) is conducted by seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) on rotational basis. Qualifying in GATE is important for candidates seeking admission or financial assistance in MTech, MArch, MSc and PhD courses offered at IITs, NITs, IIITs and CFTIs. GATE score are also used for recruitment of engineering in PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings). 

GATE 2020 exam highlights 

  • GATE is an online computer based test
  • The general aptitude section will be common for all GATE papers however, the other sections will vary basis the choice of engineering branch
  • Time management if the key to perform well in GATE exam 
  • GATE exam has negative marking for solving questions that you are not sure of is crucial

GATE 2020 exam preparation will broadly involve three steps – knowing the exam pattern and syllabus, making the right choice of books and practicing question papers. Read below for details: 

  1. Know the GATE syllabus and exam pattern 

GATE exam is conducted in online mode and the duration is of 3 hours. Questions asked in GATE question paper will be a mix of multiple choice and numerical. Get a brief overview of GATE exam pattern below: 

Exam Structure Details
Sections General Aptitude and the choice of engineering branch 
Exam duration 180 minutes (60 minutes per section)
Questions  General Aptitude (GA) – 10 questions (5 of 1 mark & 5 for 2 marks)

Paper excluding GG, XE, XL – 55 questions (25 of 1 mark & 30 of 2 marks)

Geology & Geophysics (GG) – 55 questions (25 of 1 mark & 30 of 2 marks)

Engineering Sciences (XE) – 11 questions (7 of 1 mark & 4 of 2 marks)/ optional subject – 22 questions of 35 marks (9 of 1 mark & 13 of 2 marks)

Life Sciences (XL) – 15 questions (5 of 1 mark & 10 of 2 marks)/ optional subject – 20 questions of 30 marks (10 questions of 1 mark & 10 questions of 2 marks)

Language  English
Answer choices 4 in MCQ

No choices in NAT

Exam mode Online
Marking scheme Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) – +1 & 2 marks for the correct answer; 1/3 mark will be deducted for 1 mark questions and 2/3 mark will be deducted for 2 marks questions

Numeric Answer Type (NAT) – +1 & 2 marks for the correct answer; no negative marking


GATE syllabus 2020 

GATE syllabus as released by IIT Delhi will include topics for various engineering branches. The section of general aptitude will be common but other sections will vary basis the choice of paper out of 25 GATE papers. 

  1. Choose the best GATE books 

Candidates preparing for GATE 2020 must refer to the right set of books/ study material. They can also additionally refer to secondary study material available online. However, given below is a table of GATE books 2020 for a few popular engineering branches including civil engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science engineering, chemical engineering and electronics and communication engineering.

Civil engineering
Book Author
Soil mechanics and foundation engineering Gopal and Ranjan
Highway engineering Khanna and Justo
Open channel flow and engineering hydrology K Subramanya
Mechanical engineering
Book Author
Production Engineering Swadesh Singh
Fluid Mechanics R.K. Bansal, Frank M.White 
Thermodynamics P.K.Nag
Computer science engineering
Book Author
Algorithm Cormen
Operating System Galvin
TOC- Theory of Computation Ullman
Chemical engineering
Book Author 
Heat Transfer JP Holman
Principles of Mass Transfer and Separation Processes BK Dutta
Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering Mc Cabe -FPM and MO
Electronics and Communication engineering
Books  Author
Solutions of Network Analysis GK Publications
Network Analysis Van Valken Burg
Network Analysis Soni and Gupta

Additional Read: HSS Live

  1. Solve GATE question papers and mock test

Besides making the choice of right set of GATE bool, best source of GATE preparation is practicing previous papers. It is advisable for aspirants top pay equal attention to each of the section in the question paper to ace in the exam. 

Candidates should practice as many GATE question papers and mock as they can. Take a look at the few pointers viz practice tests. 

Previous year GATE question papers will give candidates an idea about the type of questions and number of questions asked

Do not start solving GATE question papers if you have not completed the GATE exam syllabus 

Ensure that you analyze you performance after taking every mock test or solving question paper. This will give you an idea about your strengths and weaknesses 

Try solving as many as 25 to 30 previous year GATE question papers and mock tests 

Focus on variety over quantity as this will give you an exposure to multiple type of questions. You will also get to know the question trend over the years – tough, easy, or moderate