One question that is asked every now and then by a beginner who aspires to crack GATE – Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering is “What is the meaning of Gate score validity or valid GATE Score

GATE 2019 exam is coming closer, still many aspirants are confused about the real meaning of GATE score validity. So, let us take some time to first understand the concept of validity of GATE score.

The word VALIDITY, when used with GATE exam score, becomes a very confusing term. It has two parts. The term validity when used with GATE score means

  1. A qualifying GATE score, that means your marks in GATE exam should be more or atleast equal to the qualifying marks.
  2. A TIME PERIOD (usually in years) for which the institutions accept the GATE score.

Let’s look into these two meanings of GATE score validity in more depth.


Every year million of students and professionals appear for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering or GATE. Many of them wish to get a job in PSUs and some of them want to pursue a Master or a Doctoral degree from a premier institute in India. The others aim at becoming a CSIR- Junior Research Fellow (JRF).

It is not possible for the institutes, even together, to shortlist such a large number of students for admissions or job. Thus, the GATE exam is conducted. It is an entrance examination which acts as an elimination round for the different institutes. It eliminates the students who are not yet capable of getting admission in the institution. Now, the question is how do they do that.

Nearly a month after the GATE exam is conducted, the aspirants receive the result of their performance in the examination. Every aspirant gets a score which is known as GATE score. This is the same score that the aspirants have to produce while seeking admission/job in the premier institutes and top PSUs in India.

Based on the highest score achieved in the examination, in different streams, a qualifying marks is set. To have a valid GATE score means you should have atleast scored marks equal to the qualifying marks.


Just like all significant examinations, GATE examination is also conducted every year. Aspirants can appear for the exam as many times as they want. This means that there is no restriction imposed on the number of GATE attempts. This raises an inevitable question, that is, how long is the GATE scorecard valid?

A common conception among aspirants is that since GATE is conducted every year the scorecard is valid only for one year. But this is not the case. GATE scorecards, like many other major examination is valid for a period of 3 years. Three years are counted from the year of issuing the scorecard. However, this does not stop an aspirant to appear in the GATE examination again the next year. If an aspirant desires to improve his/ her score, then he/ she is eligible to appear for the GATE examination again next year. The scorecard issued on this next attempt will be valid for 3 years starting from that year.

It is also to be CAREFULLY NOTED that in case a candidate has more than one valid GATE scorecard in any year, he/she can use any of them for seeking admission to the desired institution. (For jobs in PSUs, it is important to note that GATE score is valid for only one year for PSUs)

Let us understand this concept better by taking an example. Suppose ‘R’ appears in GATE examination in February 2018. He receives his scorecard one month after the examination. Let us call this GATE 2018 scorecard- SC18. SC18 is valid till the year 2021. This means that SC18 can be used for seeking admissions in 2018, 2019 and 2020 for further studies. For job in PSUs SC18 will be valid for the PSUs recruiting in 2018 only.

Now suppose ‘R’ wants to improve his score and appears in GATE 2019 exam. He receives the scorecard in March 2019. Let us call this scorecard- SC19. SC19 is valid for 3 years, i.e. till March 2022. This means that he can use this scorecard for seeking admissions in the years 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Now, it is to be noted that in the years 2019 and 2020, ‘R’ has two valid scorecards. Therefore, in these two years ’R’ can use any scorecard of his choice (usually the one having a higher score) for seeking admission to the desired stream in the desired institution.


GATE 2018 was very challenging. The qualifying marks that were set for GATE 2018 were pretty high.

The following are the qualifying marks for various streams of GATE 2018:

Paper Name Qualifying Marks
General OBC SC/ST/PwD
Aerospace Engineering 34.4 30.9 22.9
Agricultural Engineering 25 22.5 16.6
Architecture and Planning 43.9 39.5 29.2
Biotechnology 27.9 25.1 18.5
Civil Engineering 27 24.2 17.9
Chemistry 25.4 22.8 16.9
Electronics and Communication Engineering 25 22.5 16.6
Chemical Engineering 37.8 34 25.1
Computer Science and Information Technology 25 22.5 16.6
Electrical Engineering 29.1 26.1 19.4
Instrumentation Engineering 37.1 33.3 24.7
Mathematics 29.4 26.4 19.5
Ecology and Evolution 49.3 44.3 32.8
Geology and Geophysics 32.5 29.1 21.5
Mechanical Engineering 34.7 31.2 23.1
Petroleum Engineering 39.9 35.8 26.5
Physics 29 26.1 19.3
Production and Industrial Engineering 32 28.8 21.3
Mining Engineering 45 40.5 30
Metallurgical Engineering 40.3 36.2 26.8
Textile Engineering and Fibre Science 32.2 28.9 21.4
Engineering Sciences 31.5 28.3 21
Life Sciences 29.9 26.9 19.9

Thus, it is clearly evident that GATE 2018 exam was not at all easy. Similarly GATE 2019 examination will also be very challenging, and all aspirants must prepare well to obtain a valid GATE score for admission to the premier institutes in India and jobs in PSUs.

To seek admission in top institutes of the country – a candidate must have the minimum cut off score set by the respective institute.

The cut-off may be done separately for the Master Degree programs and the Doctoral Degree programs. It is to be carefully noted that the different institutes have different cut off scores. The aspirants who have scored higher than or equal to the cut-off score in their respective program and stream can proceed to seek admission or fellowship, wherever applicable, in the institution.

Let us look at an example for better understanding. Suppose in GATE 2019, the highest score that can be obtained in the examination of any stream is 1000. The exam is conducted in February 2019. In March 2019 the results are declared. Let us consider only 2 streams in this example- Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering. Based on the highest score obtained in Mechanical Engineering, suppose, institute ‘A’ sets the cut-off score for admission to Mechanical Engineering program as 850.

Similarly, based on the highest score obtained in Civil Engineering, institute ‘A’ sets the cut-off score for admission to Civil Engineering program as 750. So all the students who want to apply for the Mechanical Engineering course in institute ‘A’ and have a GATE score, in Mechanical Engineering paper, greater than or equal to 850 can apply.

Similarly, for Civil Engineering course, all the aspirants having a GATE score of 750 or above, in Civil Engineering paper of GATE, can apply for the Civil Engineering course in institute ‘A.’

Rest of the aspirants, in both the streams, will not be allowed to apply since they do not have a VALID GATE SCORE or the minimum score required for admission to the desired course in that institution.

It is to be noted that the valid GATE score is also different for aspirants of different categories. In every stream, it is the highest for the general category aspirants.

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  1. Understand the concepts clearly. Answering GATE questions require aspirants to be well versed with the concepts and not on memorizing content completely.
  2. Find shorter methods of solving numerical questions. Questions are to be solved with complete accuracy.
  3. Do not waste time. Time management is very important. Time is marks in GATE examination.
  4. Attempt the questions SMARTLY.
  5. Attempt the section you are confident in, first.
  6. Read the questions carefully. Ignoring a data or part of a question will cost you valuable marks.
  7. Understand what is being asked. Many questions are twisted. They have to be read multiple times. This will enable you to understand the questions properly.
  8. Do not PANIC. Stay calm and answer the paper.
  9. For better practice do appear for mock tests seriously. Take the tests as if you are appearing for the final examination.


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