GATE 2021 Chemistry (CY) Syllabus, Books and Preparation Tips

    Nikkil Visha Nikkil Visha
    Exams Prep Master

    Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with compounds composed of atoms, elements, molecules, and their composition, structure, properties, and behavior. GATE 2021 Chemistry syllabus has been revised and various new topics like Group theory, Organometallics, etc are added in the syllabus. 

    • In GATE 2021 chemistry paper, the majority of questions that is 55 are asked from core subject and 10 questions from General Aptitude. Candidates will be given 3 hours to complete the exam. There will be negative markings for every incorrect response.  Check GATE 2021 Exam Pattern
    • The paper code for Chemistry paper is CY and if you have opted for this paper as your first paper then you will have 2 options to sit for the second paper i.e. CH or XL. 

    Only GATE 2021 qualifying candidates will be eligible to get admissions offered at IITs, NITs, etc. Read the article to check the revised syllabus of GATE Chemistry paper, exam pattern, preparation tips, important books, and much more. 

    Must Read: 

    GATE Syllabus for Chemistry

    GATE 2021 Syllabus for Chemistry

    GATE Syllabus for Chemistry consists of three sections. The sections are Physical Chemistry, Inorganic chemistry and Organic Chemistry. Here, we are providing the complete syllabus of Chemistry for GATE  which is given below:

    Section 1 - Physical Chemistry

    • Structure: Postulates of quantum mechanics. Operators. Time dependent and time independent Schrödinger equations. Born interpretation. Dirac bra-ket notation. Particle in a box: infinite and finite square wells; concept of tunnelling; particle in 1D, 2D and 3D-box; applications. Harmonic oscillator: harmonic and anharmonic potentials; hermite polynomials. Rotational motion: Angular momentum operators, Rigid rotor. Hydrogen and hydrogen-like atoms : atomic orbitals; radial distribution function. Multi-electron atoms: orbital approximation; electron spin; Pauli exclusion principle; slater determinants. Approximation Methods: Variation method and secular determinants; first order perturbation techniques. Atomic units. Molecular structure and Chemical bonding: Born-Oppenheimer approximation; Valence bond theory and linear combination of atomic orbitals – molecular orbital (LCAO-MO) theory. Hybrid orbitals. Applications of LCAO-MO theory to H2 +, H2; molecular orbital theory (MOT) of homo- and heteronuclear diatomic molecules. Hückel approximation and its application to annular π– electron systems.
    • Group theory: Symmetry elements and operations; Point groups and character tables; Internal coordinates and vibrational modes; symmetry adapted linear combination of atomic orbitals (LCAO-MO); construction of hybrid orbitals using symmetry aspects.
    • Spectroscopy: Atomic spectroscopy; Russell-Saunders coupling; Term symbols and spectral details; origin of selection rules. Rotational, vibrational, electronic and Raman spectroscopy of diatomic and polyatomic molecules. Line broadening. Einstein’s coefficients. Relationship of transition moment integral with molar extinction coefficient and oscillator strength. Basic principles of nuclear magnetic resonance: gyromagnetic ratio; chemical shift, nuclear coupling.
    • Equilibrium: Laws of thermodynamics. Standard states. Thermochemistry. Thermodynamic functions and their relationships: Gibbs-Helmholtz and Maxwell relations, Gibbs-Duhem equation, van’t Hoff equation. Criteria of spontaneity and equilibrium. Absolute entropy. Partial molar quantities. Thermodynamics of mixing. Chemical potential. Fugacity, activity and activity coefficients. Ideal and Non-ideal solutions, Raoult’s Law and Henry’s Law, Chemical equilibria. Dependence of equilibrium constant on temperature and pressure. Ionic mobility and conductivity. Debye-Hückel limiting law. Debye-Hückel-Onsager equation. Standard electrode potentials and electrochemical cells. Nernst Equation and its application, relationship between Electrode potential and thermodynamic quantities, Potentiometric and conductometric titrations. Phase rule. Clausius- Clapeyron equation. Phase diagram of one component systems: CO2, H2O, S; two component systems: liquid- vapour, liquid-liquid and solid-liquid systems. Fractional distillation. Azeotropes and eutectics. Statistical thermodynamics: microcanonical, canonical and grand canonical ensembles, Boltzmann distribution, partition functions and thermodynamic properties.
    • Kinetics (Topic have been rearranged): Elementary, parallel, opposing and consecutive reactions. Steady state approximation. Mechanisms of complex reactions. Unimolecular reactions. Potential energy surfaces and classical trajectories, Concept of Saddle points, Transition state theory: Eyring equation, thermodynamic aspects. Kinetics of polymerization. Catalysis concepts and enzyme catalysis. Kinetic isotope effects. Fast reaction kinetics: relaxation and flow methods. Diffusion controlled reactions. Kinetics of photochemical and photophysical processes.
    • Surfaces and Interfaces: Physisorption and chemisorption. Langmuir, Freundlich and Brunauer–Emmett– Teller (BET) isotherms. Surface catalysis: Langmuir-Hinshelwood mechanism. Surface tension, viscosity. Self- assembly. Physical chemistry of colloids, micelles and macromolecules.

    Section 2 - Inorganic Chemistry

    • Main Group Elements: Hydrides, halides, oxides, oxoacids, nitrides, sulfides – shapes and reactivity. Structure and bonding of boranes, carboranes, silicones, silicates, boron nitride, borazines and phosphazenes. Allotropes of carbon, phosphorous and sulphur. Industrial synthesis of compounds of main group elements. Chemistry of noble gases, pseudohalogens, and interhalogen compounds. Acid-base concepts and principles (Lewis, Brønsted, HSAB and acid-base catalysis).
    • Transition Elements: Coordination chemistry – structure and isomerism, theories of bonding (VBT, CFT, and MOT). Energy level diagrams in various crystal fields, CFSE, applications of CFT, Jahn-Teller distortion. Electronic spectra of transition metal complexes: spectroscopic term symbols, selection rules, Orgel and Tanabe- Sugano diagrams, nephelauxetic effect and Racah parameter, charge-transfer spectra. Magnetic properties of transition metal complexes. Ray-Dutt and Bailar twists,
    • Reaction mechanisms: kinetic and thermodynamic stability, substitution and redox reactions. Metal-metal multiple bond. Lanthanides and Actinides: Recovery. Periodic properties, spectra and magnetic properties.
    • Organometallics: 18-Electron rule; metal-alkyl, metal-carbonyl, metal-olefin and metal- carbene complexes and metallocenes. Fluxionality in organometallic complexes. Types of organometallic reactions. Homogeneous catalysis - Hydrogenation, hydroformylation, acetic acid synthesis, metathesis and olefin oxidation. Heterogeneous catalysis - Fischer- Tropsch reaction, Ziegler-Natta polymerization.
    • Radioactivity: Detection of radioactivity, Decay processes, half-life of radioactive elements, fission and fusion processes. Bioinorganic Chemistry: Ion (Na+ and K+) transport, oxygen binding, transport and utilization, electron transfer reactions, nitrogen fixation, metalloenzymes containing magnesium, molybdenum, iron, cobalt, copper and zinc.
    • Solids: Crystal systems and lattices, Miller planes, crystal packing, crystal defects, Bragg’s law, ionic crystals, structures of AX, AX2, ABX3 type compounds, spinels, band theory, metals and semiconductors. Instrumental Methods of Analysis: UV-visible, fluorescence and FTIR spectrophotometry, NMR and ESR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, atomic absorption spectroscopy, Mössbauer spectroscopy (Fe and Sn) and X- ray crystallography. Chromatography including GC and HPLC. Electroanalytical methods- polarography, cyclic voltammetry, ion-selective electrodes. Thermoanalytical methods.

    Section 3 - Organic Chemistry

    • Stereochemistry: Chirality and symmetry of organic molecules with or without chiral centres and determination of their absolute configurations. Relative stereochemistry in compounds having more than one stereogenic centre. Homotopic, enantiotopic and diastereotopic atoms, groups and faces. Stereoselective and stereospecific synthesis. Conformational analysis of acyclic and cyclic compounds. Geometrical isomerism and optical isomerism. Configurational and conformational effects, atropisomerism, and neighbouring group participation on reactivity and selectivity/specificity.
    • Reaction Mechanisms: Basic mechanistic concepts – kinetic versus thermodynamic control, Hammond’s postulate and Curtin-Hammett principle. Methods of determining reaction mechanisms through kinetics, identification of products, intermediates and isotopic labelling. Linear free-energy relationship – Hammett and Taft equations. Nucleophilic and electrophilic substitution reactions (both aromatic and aliphatic). Addition reactions to carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom (N and O) multiple bonds. Elimination reactions. Reactive intermediates – carbocations, carbanions, carbenes, nitrenes, arynes and free radicals. Molecular rearrangements.
    • Organic Synthesis: Synthesis, reactions, mechanisms and selectivity involving the following classes of compounds – alkenes, alkynes, arenes, alcohols, phenols, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids, esters, nitriles, halides, nitro compounds, amines and amides. Uses of Mg, Li, Cu, B, Zn, P, S, Sn and Si based reagents in organic synthesis. Carbon-carbon bond formation through coupling reactions - Heck, Suzuki, Stille, Sonogoshira, Negishi, Kumada, Hiyama, Tsuji-Trost, olefin metathesis and McMurry. Concepts of multistep synthesis – retrosynthetic analysis, strategic disconnections, synthons and synthetic equivalents. Atom economy and Green Chemistry, Umpolung reactivity – formyl and acyl anion equivalents. Selectivity in organic synthesis – chemo-, regio- and stereoselectivity. Protection and deprotection of functional groups. Concepts of asymmetric synthesis – resolution (including enzymatic), desymmetrization and use of chiral auxiliaries, organocatalysis. Carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bond forming reactions through enolates (including boron enolates), enamines and silyl enol ethers. Stereoselective addition to C=O groups (Cram, Prelog and Felkin-Anh models).
    • Pericyclic Reactions and Photochemistry: Electrocyclic, cycloaddition and sigmatropic reactions. Orbital correlations - FMO and PMO treatments, Woodward-Hoffmann rule. Photochemistry of alkenes, arenes and carbonyl compounds. Photooxidation and photoreduction. Di-π-methane rearrangement, Barton-McCombie reaction, Norrish type-I and II cleavage reaction.
    • Heterocyclic Compounds: Structure, preparation, properties and reactions of furan, pyrrole, thiophene, pyridine, indole, quinoline and isoquinoline.
    • Biomolecules: Structure, properties and reactions of mono- and di-saccharides, physicochemical properties of amino acids, chemical synthesis of peptides, chemical structure determination of peptides and proteins, structural features of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, steroids, terpenoids, carotenoids, and alkaloids.
    • Experimental techniques in organic chemistry: Optical rotation (polarimetry). Applications of various chromatographic techniques such as thin-layer, column, HPLC and GC. Applications of UV-visible, IR, NMR and Mass spectrometry in the structural determination of organic molecules.

    Direct link to download GATE Chemistry (CY) syllabus PDF 

    Sample Questions from Chemistry

    • Sample Question 1: An ideal gas occupies an unknown volume V liters (L) at a pressure of 12 atm. The gas is expanded isothermally against a constant external pressure of 2 atm so that its final volume becomes 3 L. The work involved for this expansion process is ________cal. (Round off to two decimal places)
    • Sample Question 2: 

    Check GATE Paper Analysis

    GATE Exam Pattern of Chemistry

    GATE 2021 Exam Pattern of Chemistry

    • GATE is conducted by IIT Madras through online mode (Computer-Based)
    • Applicants have to attend 65 questions in the duration of 3 hours
    • The exam includes 2 types of Questions- MCQs & NAT
    • All the questions will be based on 3 sections (General Aptitude, Engineering Mathematics* and Subject Specification Section)
    Section Distribution of Marks  Total MarksTypes of questions
    General Ability5 questions of 1 mark each
    5 questions of 2 marks each

         15 marks 

    Chemistry25 questions of 1 mark each
    30 questions of 2 marks each 
        85 marks  MCQs and NATs

    Marking scheme

    • Total marks: 100 marks
    • Negative marking: Only for the MCQs 
    Type of questionNegative marking for wrong answer

    1/3 for 1 mark questions

    2/3 for 2 marks questions

    NATsNo negative marking 

    Read More GATE Exam Pattern

    Best Books for GATE Chemistry

    Important Books for GATE 2021 Chemistry Paper

    BookAuthor/ Publication
    Chapterwise Solved Papers Chemistry GATE 2020Sanjay Saxena & Preeti Gupta
    GATE 2020: Chemistry Year-wise Previous Solved Papers 2000-2019GKP

    How to Prepare for GATE CY Paper?

    Preparation Tips for GATE 2021 Chemistry Paper

    1. Target Based Study Plan

    Candidates can divide their preparation plan as short term and long term study plan. The implementation of any of the plans is totally based on the choice and comfort of candidates.

    • In short term study plan: Candidates can include revision, practice previous year papers, taking the mock tests, etc after the completion of each major topic. This will help them in judging their weaker and stronger points at an early stage of preparations. Candidates can also predict their rank using  GATE Rank Predictor
    • In long term study plan: Candidates can go for final revision, mock test, online test, etc only once that is after the completion of the whole syllabus.

    2. Time Management

    Time management is very important. We are providing one time table to help candidates.

    Time AllotmentActivities to Do
    5:00 AM to 8:00 AMPen down the important topics and scan all the important points
    8:00 AM to 10:00 AMTake a Break
    10:00 AM to 1:00 PMPick up a Major Topic
    1:00 PM to 5:00 PMTake a Break
    6:00 PM to 9:00 PMGo through all the topics that you have covered in the day or you can also continue with the preparation of Major Topic
    10:00 PMA quick go through of the Notes and try to sleep early

    Also Read  Preparation Tips from GATE Topper

    3. Maintain Consistency 

    • Candidates are advised to start from the basic concepts. Make your base strong enough so that you can cover the difficult topics easily. 
    • Consistency plays an important role in your preparation. Without it, you will not be able to achieve any of your goals. Stick to your time table and first go for the major topics only. 

    4. Online Test, Mock Test Series, and Video Lectures

    Taking the online tests or mock test is one of the important steps of your preparation plan. The mock test will help you boost up your confidence level as it gives the feel of the real exam. With the help of an online test, you will be able to judge your strong and week points and you can prepare for your weaker sections again. Candidates can also take help from video lectures. The benefits of video lectures are:

    • Easy to access anytime or anywhere.
    • Learning at one place.
    • Chances of getting valuable information.
    • Information about an easy approach to difficult topics.

    5. Previous Years Practice Papers

    • Previous years' papers are handy and you can go through them n number of times.
    • You can observe the trend of questions asked in the past 2-3 years and prepare according to that.
    • Practice papers help you prepare for your exams in the long run.

    Download GATE Previous Years Papers of TF

    GATE Syllabus of Other Subjects

    GATE 2021 Syllabus of Other Subjects

    GATE 2021 will be conducted for 25 disciplines and candidates can check the syllabus fo the respective from the links provided in the table below:

    Aerospace EngineeringAEMechanical EngineeringME
    Agricultural EngineeringAGMetallurgical EngineeringMT
    Civil EngineeringCEMining EngineeringMN
    Chemical EngineeringCHPetroleum EngineeringPE
    Engineering SciencesXEProduction and Industrial EngineeringPI
    Electronics and CommunicationECTextile Engineering and Fibre ScienceTF
    Electrical EngineeringEEBiotechnologyBT

    Frequently Asked Questions

    GATE 2021 Chemistry Syllabus FAQs

    Ques: What will be the major topics in GATE 2021 Chemistry syllabus?

    Ans: The major topics are mentioned below:

    • Section 1 - Physical Chemistry
    • Section 2 - Inorganic Chemistry
    • Section 3 - Organic Chemistry

    Ques: What will be the marking scheme and weightage of sections in GATE 2021 Chemistry syllabus?

    Ans: The marking scheme and weightage of sections in GATE 2021 Chemistry syllabus are mentioned below:

    Section Distribution of Marks  Total Marks
    General Ability5 questions of 1 mark each
    5 questions of 2 marks each

         15 marks 
    Physics25 questions of 1 mark each
    30 questions of 2 marks each 
        85 marks

    Ques: I am planning to appear for chemistry paper so do I need to prepare for the engineering mathematics section?

    Ans: No. The Engineering mathematics section is not part of GATE 2021 Chemistry syllabus. So there is no need to prepare for the same. But the general aptitude section is common for all the 25 disciplines of GATE.

    Ques: How should I prepare for GATE 2021 Chemistry syllabus? 

    Ans: You must refer to the notes, study material, etc of your graduation because the syllabus will be based on graduation level. For better preparations you can also refer to some of the books provided below:

    BookAuthor/ Publication
    Chapterwise Solved Papers Chemistry GATE 2020Sanjay Saxena & Preeti Gupta
    GATE 2020: Chemistry Year-wise Previous Solved Papers 2000-2019GKP

    *The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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    Shruti Verma

    How can I prepare for GATE 2024?

    19 Nov, 2020 22:47


    GATE 2024 Preparation : How to start preparing for the GATE 2024 through coaching

    1. If you really want to study on your own for GATE 24 then you shoul start your preparation from this moment . 
    2. Get syllabus. 
    3. Start to study from reference books for technical subject atleast . 
    4. Dedication is a key.

    19 Nov, 2020 22:55

    I must focus on which topics of inorganic chemistry the most?

    17 Nov, 2020 19:29

    Hi, Some important topics of Inorganic chemistry are:

    Lanthanides and Actinides, Organometallics, catalysis - Fischer- Tropsch reaction, Ziegler-Natta polymerization, Radioactivity, fission and fusion processes, metalloenzymes containing magnesium, molybdenum, iron, cobalt, copper and zinc, structures of AX, AX2, ABX3 type compounds, metals and semiconductors, Instrumental Methods of Analysis, UV-visible spectrophotometry, NMR and ESR spectroscopy.

    17 Nov, 2020 23:16
    Riya Gupta

    Shall I focus more on the inorganic, organic or physical chemistry?

    10 Nov, 2020 19:49

    Dear Riya Gupta

    Greetings from Collegedunia. You have to focus on all chemistry topics to clear the GATE 2021 cut-off in Chemistry subject. It is a compulsory subject in XE paper. For more details, kindly go through this link – GATE 2021 Syllabus

    11 Nov, 2020 11:47

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