9 Common Mistakes To Avoid During Gate Exam

Mar 09, 2023, 16:45 IST


GATE exam is the gateway to a successful career in the engineering field. Making mistakes while taking this exam can be costly and lead to a lower score.

In this blog, we will discuss the most common mistakes students make while taking the GATE Exam and provide tips on avoiding them. We will also provide strategies to help you stay focused and motivated during the exam.

By the end of this blog, you will be better prepared to ace the GATE exam and ensure that you are successful in your future endeavours. With the right preparation, you can maximise your chances of success and ace the GATE exam.

  1. Not Managing Time Wisely

A candidate needs to structure their studying, plan their days, and prioritise their tasks to achieve the best outcome. If a candidate does not manage their time wisely, it could ultimately lead to an unsatisfactory exam result.

When preparing for the GATE exam, it is important to plan out one’s day and determine the best method for task completion. Priorities should be determined, and time should be set aside for everything from studying to taking breaks.

Scheduling and sticking to that schedule is the only way to ensure tasks are completed properly and efficiently. It is also important to balance this planner with daily tasks such as work, errands, and personal obligations.

How to avoid

  • Create a schedule that outlines when to study and how long, and stick to it.
  • Avoid procrastination by focusing on the task at hand. Don’t be distracted by daydreaming, TV, or social media – they only take up valuable time that could be spent studying.
  • Don’t waste too much time focusing on the easier parts of the GATE syllabus. Instead, concentrate more on the difficult parts - they will be the ones that will be more beneficial in the long run.
  • Make sure to allocate specific time for revision to ensure that all topics are constantly reinforced. This will also help ensure that any missed topics are caught up on and give you a chance to make improvements where necessary.
  • Don’t get distracted by other obstacles. Practice good time management and focus on the end goal.
  1. Not Reading the Questions Carefully

One of the most common mistakes test takers make during the GATE exam is not reading the questions carefully. This can lead to a poor score and wasted time that could have been better spent answering other questions.

While GATE exam preparation, it is important to familiarise yourself with the type of questions asked and the directions given for each one. Reading and understanding the questions before answering them can save valuable time and effort during the exam.

Pay particular attention to the keywords used in the questions, as they may have a bearing on the expected answer type.

How to avoid

  • Avoid making assumptions and reading into the question.
  • Pay attention to the keywords in the question.
  • Ensure you read each question thoroughly and answer what is asked.
  • Highlight or underline keywords and phrases for easy reference.
  • Read the question twice to make sure you answer it correctly.
  • Go through the options provided and ensure your chosen answer is correct.
  • Read all instructions for the question carefully and answer accordingly.
  • Make sure you answer each question.
  1. Attempting All the Questions

Attempting all the questions during a GATE exam can be a mistake since there is a negative marking in the GATE exam.

If the student attempts a question incorrectly, the loss of marks from the negative marking could put them at a disadvantage and lead to a lower overall score.

Furthermore, attempting all the questions also means that time for each question is limited, and it increases the risk of making mistakes due to rushing or not being able to provide an accurate answer in the limited time.

How to avoid

  • It is better to prioritise the sections and questions.
  • Attempt the questions which you are most confident about first.
  • For some difficult questions, attempt the first parts which you can solve and move on to the other sections.
  • Learn to identify the types of questions that can be skipped without penalties.
  • Learn to utilise the extra time by revising and rechecking the answers.
  • Don't spend too much time on any single question.
  • Don't be hesitant to leave a question unanswered if you are unsure about the answer.
  • Don't make random guesses, as these can result in negative markings.
  1. Not Knowing the GATE syllabus
  • Understanding the GATE syllabus is essential for any test or exam. Knowing the syllabus well can give aspirants an added advantage, as it is the blueprint of what needs to be covered in the exam.
  • Not knowing the complete GATE syllabus can be a huge disadvantage. This is because students might study the wrong topics or neglect important ones. Also, they may waste time studying topics not part of the GATE syllabus.
  • Proficiency in the entire GATE syllabus ensures that the student has mastered all the topics and can think of various approaches to solving different questions.
  1. Not Practicing Using Mock Tests
  • Mock tests are the most important aspect of GATE preparation. They provide a real-time experience of the GATE environment. Students familiarise themselves with the time and exam structure. This helps them prepare for the actual GATE and perform better.
  • Additionally, mock tests help aspiring engineers identify and address their weak areas. Often, students don’t realise their mistakes when self-assessing. However, after taking a mock test, they can identify asses areas they need to focus on while preparing.
  • Furthermore, taking the mock test also provides students with valuable insight into the standard of questions asked in the GATE. Although candidates can refer to question banks, one should practice such questions in a given time frame in a mock test.
  • This would hone the student’s skills in solving problems and time management. Thus, taking mock tests is a critical asset when undertaking GATE preparation.
  1. Not Having the Required Documents

Not having the required documents during a GATE exam can be costly. The documents necessary for the exam vary from one exam centre to another. Still, there are some necessary items that students must have with them before they enter the examination hall.

If a student does not have the required documents during the GATE exam, they might not be allowed to enter the examination hall.

How to avoid

  • Familiarise yourself with the mandatory documents required to attend the GATE exam. The list and instructions are provided in the GATE Admit Card.
  • Make sure to carry all the required documents to the venue on exam day.
  • Documents you must carry for the GATE 2023 – GATE Admit Card, valid photo ID proof (original and photocopy), pen, pencil, transparent water bottle, mask, and pocket-sized hand sanitiser.
  1. Not Taking Breaks

Include breaks in your study schedule to ensure you are not overwhelmed. Taking a few minutes or 1-2 hours from your timetable will help you regain your energy and give your mind a fresh start.

Taking very minute breaks during the GATE exam is also equally important. This can help to restore energy levels and help you stay focused. Make sure to take a few minutes to stretch and relax your body and mind.

Do not hesitate to take a few minutes of your exam time to take a deep breath and clear your mind before continuing. This will also help break up the exam's monotony and give you a chance to refresh your mind. This also might help you memorise the concept you couldn’t think of due to the pressure.

How to avoid

  • Get enough rest and maintain a healthy diet. Too much cramming can cause tiredness, eventually leading to an inability to focus on the studies and perform at an optimum level.
  1. Not Asking for Help

Overlooking the importance of seeking assistance and help during the GATE preparation period can be detrimental to the student's overall success.

It is essential to understand when and where to ask for help. Taking up the best coaching classes like GATEWALLAH (by India’s favourite Physics Wallah) and guidance from experienced GATE aspirants or joining study groups is one of the most effective ways of ensuring one's success in the GATE examination.

Asking for help while taking the GATE exam can also be beneficial and can help you save time. If you are running out of time or are having trouble understanding a particular question, do not hesitate to ask for help from the invigilator. The invigilator can provide you with a more detailed explanation of the question.

  1. Not Knowing the Exam Pattern

Understanding the GATE exam pattern is crucial, as it allows students to plan out their study strategy and tailor it to the structure of the exam. This includes focusing on the relevant topics, understanding the question format, and practising more questions that resemble the exam pattern.

The GATE exam pattern is also beneficial for understanding the marking scheme clearly in advance and utilising the allotted time efficiently.

Not knowing the exam pattern can put students at a disadvantage when it comes to acing the GATE examination, as they will not have an accurate understanding of the type of questions that will be asked, the length and time duration of the exam, and other factors.

How to avoid

  • Familiarise yourself with the exam pattern before starting the preparation.
  • Understand the marking scheme for the exam, including the number of questions, the maximum marks, and the time duration.
  • Make sure you know which sections the questions will come from and the topics to cover.
  • Be aware of the type of questions in the GATE exam and the weightage of each type of question.


GATE is a comprehensive and highly competitive exam, and it is important to give it the attention it deserves. With a little preparation and understanding of the common mistakes made during the GATE exam, you can ensure you are well-prepared to tackle the exam and maximise your chances of success.

By avoiding these nine common mistakes and following the right strategies, you can make the most of your GATE exam preparation and put yourself in the best possible position to succeed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How can we avoid calculation mistakes in GATE?

Ans. Calculation mistakes can be a common problem in GATE examinations. The key to avoiding them is to ensure a thorough preparation of concepts and formulae required for the examinations. Firstly, it is important to practice with a sufficient number of sample papers to develop speed and accuracy in solving questions.

The other methods include using mental calculations while solving long numerical questions and using calculators whenever needed. In order to check the accuracy, one can use past question papers to cross-check answers.

For tricky questions, students should remember to check the answer against all the conditions given in the question. Additionally, students should make sure to double-check all the answers to avoid careless mistakes.

Q2. How to prepare for the GATE exam?

Ans. For effective GATE preparation, start by getting a clear view of the GATE syllabus and GATE exam pattern. Next, plan a study schedule and stick to it. Lastly, try to solve as many practice papers as possible to get comfortable with the type of questions asked.

Q3. What is the duration of the GATE examination?

Ans. The GATE examination is a 3-hour long Computer Based Test (CBT).

Q4. Is there a negative marking in the GATE 2023?

Ans. Yes, there is a negative marking in some sections in the GATE 2023.

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