On the day of the GATE exam

Ideally, you should be reading this blog at least a fort-night before your GATE exam so that you’re mentally prepared about what you should be doing on your final day by prior planning. This is the time to roll your sleeves and get going. To get you better prepared, let us divide this write-up in two parts, first, how you should prepare yourself for the final day from at least a week before till a day before of your GATE exam and second, what you should be doing on the day of the GATE exam.

What you should be doing a week before the GATE exam:

The GATE exam is scheduled in two sessions, forenoon, from 9 a.m. till 12 noon and afternoon, from 2 p.m. till 5 p.m. You cannot choose either session since it is randomly allotted, however, you can train your brain in this week to perform to its fullest in the session allotted to you. You are also expected to arrive at your exam center at least one hour before the scheduled time.

Forenoon Session: If you have been scheduled for the forenoon session, you should be sleeping by 10 p.m. the night before, waking up by 6 a.m., doing your chores, having your breakfast that is not too heavy or too light and being ready by 7:30 a.m. to get into exam mode by 8 a.m. This also depends on analyzing commute time from your house to the exam center. You should be solving at least one mock test daily between 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Afternoon session: If you have been allotted the afternoon session, you could wake up as per your routine or comfort; have regular breakfast or light lunch in between 11 a.m. to 12 noon, depending upon the commute time to the center, since you are required to be there, at least, by 1 p.m. Then, you could take a mock-test in between your scheduled time from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. This should train your mind to not feel drowsy or tired during this time.

Strictly avoid sleep during the period of your session to train your biological clock. The first day might be a little challenging, but, you’ll get used to it during subsequent days. Make a habit of solving previous years’ GATE question papers during your scheduled session timing as if you are attempting your GATE exam. This would train the brain to remain alert during you session slot. Rest of the day, you can utilize to study or revise as per your current level preparation and analysis. Also, stop checking with peers about their prep status as this might increase your anxiety level.  

GATE 2018 examination for 23 papers is being conducted across eight sessions by IIT Guwahati.

One could take the mock-tests that have been made available on this link


By clicking on your core branch of engineering, you are directed to a dummy login page with pre-loaded login ID and password. You just have to click on sign-in that leads you to a general instructions page with a dummy profile on your right hand top corner.

Read this page carefully since it mentions the location of the timer on your question paper page, instructions on maximizing/minimizing page alignments, instructions on viewing entire question paper or single question and symbols. Memorize these symbols for two reasons:

  1. Time is crucial and you cannot waste it on viewing the entire question paper and choosing which question to solve first. You need to solve a single question at a time, mark it accordingly and come back to the unanswered/ unattempted /marked for review/ answered and marked for review if time permits.
  2. The first three codes, as shown below, are distinguishable, but, the last two marked in purple can get you confused. Remember the difference.

About the Exam Interface for candidate:

    1. You have an option of viewing the entire question paper on the upper right hand corner. You could get a hang of the entire paper and make a note on your scribble pad about which questions have to be solved first. However, our faculty suggests otherwise. In addition to wasting time, taking a view of the paper does not suffice in judging the difficulty level of the question; also, you might lower your morale. So, take one question at a time.
    2. You can choose between General Aptitude and Core branch questions from the link provided on the upper left corner.
    3. The right side of the screen provides a map of the questions, attempted, unanswered, marked for review and attempted, but marked for review. The ones that are attempted and marked for review are considered for evaluation even if you fail to come back and check in the stipulated time.

  1. A link to the online virtual calculator is provided at the upper right side of screen. Physical calculators are not allowed.

A scribble pad of A-4 size with 12-20 pages is also provided at the exam center. You could use a similar one at home for practice. The last two days should be utilized to memorise important concepts, formulae, frequently asked questions, etc. Use your short notes. On the last day, however, do not exhaust yourself. Sleep in time and for about 7-8 hours.

Keep your bag ready for the next day. Make a check-list that includes:

  1. Stationary (pens. pencils, eraser, sharpener)
  2. Water bottle, if allowed
  3. GATE admit card (clear colored print on A-4 size sheet, signature should be legible and clear for matching at the time of exam)
  4. Valid photo identification (photocopy will not be allowed, original document only, as per the list and the one that has been selected at the time of filling your form:  Passport / Aadhaar Card / Voter ID / PAN Card / Employee ID / Valid College ID / Driving License. It should be valid during your exam period.)

On the day of the GATE exam:

Trust that you are ready. Your prior work is in place. It is okay to feel anxious, accept it rather than fighting it, breathe deeply and let go. Reach the exam centre well in advance. Locate your exam hall and seat first and get settled.  When you get access to the exam paper, get used to the screen and read all instructions carefully. Try to not judge the questions. They might seem difficult at first, but, might be simpler. Take one question at a time. Also try not to judge yourself on the basis of the previous question. Stay motivated and focused. Do not waste too much time in solving numerical type questions; however, you could attempt them since they carry no negative marks. Keep a track of time every one hour. Check whether you have marked all answers that you have solved on your scribble pad. In the last hour, you could review all your attempted questions in the last 30 minutes and if time permits, you could solve the unattempted ones.

These tips combined with your consistent effort should help you crack the GATE 2018.

Team Vidyalankar wishes you great success in your pursuit!