GATE 2021 Civil Engineering Exam Pattern, Marking Scheme and Weightage of Topics

    Nikkil Visha Nikkil Visha
    Exams Prep Master

    GATE is one of the most competitive examinations in the country. Thousands of students from all over India attempt this exam in order to qualify for admissions to the best post-graduate programs and job opportunities. GATE CE is a challenging paper to answer. Knowing the paper pattern can be very helpful during the time of preparation.

    GATE 2021 will be a computer-based test conducted with a time duration of 3 hours. The paper will be divided into 3 sections and consists of a total of 65 questions. The 3 sections will be General Aptitude, Engineering Mathematics, and core subject. However, the General Aptitude section is common for every candidate.  Check GATE 2021 Civil Engineering Syllabus

    • GATE Civil Engineering paper includes multiple-choice and numerical answer type (NAT) questions.
    • Negative marking does not apply to the numerical answer type (NAT) questions.
    • The marks obtained in GATE 2021 CE examination will not only be valid for admissions in IITs or NITs but these scores are also used by various PSUs for recruitment.  Check GATE PSU Recruitment

    Read the article to know more about GATE 2021 CE exam pattern, marking scheme, weightage of questions, sample questions, and much more. 

    Must Read 

    Highlights of GATE 2021 Civil Engineering Exam Pattern

    • Two types of questions in GATE CE paper - MCQs and NAT questions.
    • The MCQs will have 4 options out of which only 1 is correct.
    • NAT questions will require students to provide a numerical value as the answer.
    • 1 and 2 marks are awarded for every correct answer to an objective type question as per the marks assigned.
    • -1/3 and -2/3 marks for every incorrect answer to an objective type question as per the marks assigned.
    Civil Engineering Paper CodeCE
    Exam ModeOnline
    Total Marks100
    Number of Questions65
    Types of QuestionsMCQs and NAT
    Number of Sections3 (General Aptitude, Engineering Mathematics, Civil Engineering Subject Questions)
    Weightage by SectionGeneral Aptitude – 15% of total marks Engineering Mathematics – 15% of total marks Civil Engineering Subjects – 70% of total marks
    Total Time Duration3 hours (180 minutes)
    Sectional Time-LimitNone

    Details of GATE 2021 Civil Engineering Exam Pattern

    Why is the knowledge of Exam Pattern important?

    The pattern brings to light the assessment time duration, type, and the number of questions that will appear in the exam, the section-wise weightage, and the marks allotted to each topic that will be assessed. Therefore, a knowledge of the paper pattern could be very beneficial because you can space out your study time for each topic and section according to the allotted marks. Quite obviously, the most important sections with the highest allotment of marks will require more preparation. The paper pattern goes along with attempting mock papers and can prepare you better for the real exam.

    Details of GATE 2021 Civil Engineering Paper Pattern

    Time Duration:

    • GATE CE is a 3-hour long computer-based paper. 

    Language of Paper:

    • The language used is English.

    Total Marks:

    • The total marks in GATE CE are 100 and the total number of questions is 65.

    Type of Questions: 

    • GATE CE will primarily consist of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and Numerical Answer Type (NAT) questions.
    • MCQs are objective questions that carry 1 or 2 marks in all sections. Every question will have 4 choices out of which only 1 is the correct answer.
    • NAT questions carry 1 or 2 marks in all sections. The answers to these questions are numerical values that are to be entered using a virtual keypad. No choices are given for these questions.

    Total Number of Section:

    • GATE CE has three sections - General Aptitude carrying 15% of the total marks, Engineering Mathematics carrying 15% of the total marks, and Civil Engineering Subject Questions carrying 70% of the total marks.
    • The compulsory General Aptitude section carries a total of 15 marks.
    • The compulsory Engineering Mathematics section contains 10 questions that carry a total of 15 marks. Out of these 10 questions, 7 questions carry 1 mark each, and 4 questions carry 2 marks each. 
    • Some of the questions could be NAT.

    Know More GATE Exam Pattern

    Marking Scheme of GATE 2021 Civil Engineering

    Marking Scheme for GATE 2021 Civil Engineering Paper

    The subject wise weightage in GATE CE paper is:

    DisciplineSubjectNumber of QuestionsMarks
    Civil Engineering (CE)Engineering Mathematics1015
    General Aptitude1015
    Civil Engineering Subjects4570

    Marking Scheme:

    Type of questionNegative marking for wrong answerMarking for correct answer
    MCQs1/3 for 1 mark questions 2/3 for 2 marks questions1 or 2 marks
    NATsNo negative marking 1 or 2 marks

    Nature of GATE 2021 Civil Engineering Questions

    Nature of GATE 2021 Civil Engineering Questions

    Based on Facts & Laws

    • These kind of questions have their basis in known principles, facts, laws, or formulae pertaining to the discipline of civil engineering. 
    • You will be expected to answer these questions from your memory or a one-line computation.

    Based on Core Topics

    • These questions test your understanding of the discipline of civil engineering. 
    • You will be required to bring out simple conclusions from fundamental ideas.

    Application Based Questions

    • Here, you will have to apply learned knowledge by computing or logical reasoning.

    Analysis and Synthesis

    • These kind of questions could be presented to you in a linked format where an answer must be given to the first question of the pair in order to be able to answer the question that succeeds it. 
    • You can also expect common data questions where the same data would be shared by 2 questions that are independent of each other.

    Common Data Questions

    • Multiple questions would be connected to a common data passage or problem. 
    • Depending on the presented data, 2 or 3 questions can be formed. 
    • Every question is independent and the solution can be derived separately.

    Linked Answer Questions

    • These questions are of the problem-solving type. 
    • You will find a problem statement after which you will have to answer 2 questions. 
    • These questions will be connected to each other, which means that the second question will rely on the first question’s solution.

    Download GATE Civil Engineering Practice Papers

    Important Topics of GATE 2021 Civil Engineering

    Important Topics for GATE 2021 CE

    The important topics that will be tested in GATE CE are –

    Section 1- General Aptitude

    • Numerical Ability – Numerical computation, Numerical estimation, Numerical Reasoning and Data Interpretation
    • Verbal Ability - English Grammar, Verbal Analogies, Vocabulary

    Section 2 – Engineering Mathematics

    • Linear Algebra
    • Calculus
    • Ordinary Differential Equation (ODE)
    • Partial Differential Equation (PDE)
    • Probability and Statistics
    • Numerical Methods

    Section 3 – Civil Engineering Subjects

    • Structural Engineering - Engineering Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, Structural Analysis, Construction Materials and Management, Concrete Structures, Steel Structures
    • Geotechnical Engineering - Soil Mechanics, Foundation Engineering
    • Water Resources Engineering - Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics, Hydrology, Irrigation
    • Environmental Engineering - Water and Wastewater, Air Pollution, Municipal Solid Wastes, Noise Pollution
    • Transportation Engineering – Transportation Infrastructure, Highway Pavements, Traffic Engineering
    • Geomatics Engineering - Importance of surveying, principles and classifications, mapping concepts, coordinate system, map projections, measurements of distance and directions, leveling, theodolite traversing, plane table surveying, errors and adjustments, curves

    Direct Link to Download GATE Civil Engineering Syllabus PDF

    Sectional Weightage of Topics in GATE 2021 Civil Engineering

    Weightage of Different Sections in GATE 2021 Civil Engineering 

    Based on the data of previous years the sectional weightage of important topics is provided below:

    Section 1 – General Aptitude

    Set 1Set 2
    Numerical AbilityNumerical computation88
    Numerical estimation
    Numerical Reasoning and Data Interpretation
    Verbal AbilityEnglish Grammar77
    Verbal Analogies

    Section 2 – Engineering Mathematics

    Set 1Set 2
    Engineering MathematicsLinear Algebra1012
    Ordinary Differential Equation (ODE)
    Partial Differential Equation (PDE)
    Probability and Statistics
    Numerical Methods

    Section 3 – Civil Engineering Subjects

    a. Structural Engineering

    Set 1Set 2
    Structural EngineeringEngineering Mechanics10
    Solid Mechanics
    Structural Analysis63
    Construction Materials and Management
    Concrete Structures
    Steel Structures54

    b. Geotechnical Engineering

    Set 1Set 2
    Geotechnical EngineeringSoil Mechanics1514
    Foundation Engineering

    c. Water Resources Engineering

    Set 1Set 2
    Water Resources EngineeringFluid Mechanics and Hydraulics87

    d. Environmental Engineering

    Set 1Set 2
    Environmental EngineeringWater and Wastewater1012
    Air Pollution and Noise Pollution
    Solid Waste Management

    e. Transportation Engineering

    Set 1Set 2
    Transportation Engineering1111

    f. Geomatics Engineering

    Set 1Set 2

    Check GATE Civil Engineering Paper Analysis

    Sample Questions from GATE 2021 Civil Engineering

    Sample Questions from GATE 2021 Civil Engineering Major Topics

    Section 1 – General Aptitude

    1 Mark Questions:

    • Q.1. The lecture was attended by quite ________ students, so the hall was not very ______?
    • Q.2. They have come a long way in _________________ trust among the users.

    2 Mark Questions:

    • Q.1. In a sports academy of 300 people, 105 play only cricket, 70 play only hockey, 50 play only football, 25 play both cricket and hockey, 15 play both hockey and football and 30 play both cricket and football. The rest of them play all three sports. What is the percentage of people who play at least two sports?

    Sections 2 and 3 – Engineering Mathematics and Civil Engineering Subject Questions

    1 Mark Questions:

    • Q. 1. An element is subjected to biaxial normal tensile strains of 0.0030 and 0.0020. The normal strain in the plane of maximum shear strain is_______?
    • Q.2. Assuming that there is no possibility of shear buckling in the web, the maximum reduction permitted by IS 800-2007 in the (low-shear) design bending strength of a semi-compact steel section due to high shear is_______?

    2 Marks Questions:

    • Q. 1. A survey line was measured to be 285.5 m with a tape having a nominal length of 30 m. On checking, the true length of the tape was found to be 0.05 m too short. If the line lay on a slope of 1 in 10, the reduced length (horizontal length) of the line for plotting of survey work would be________?
    • Q.2. A 0.80 m deep bed of sand filter (length 4 m and 3 m) is made of uniform particles (diameter = 0.40 mm, specific gravity = 2.65, shape factor = 0.85) with bed porosity of 0.4. The bed has to be back washed at a flow rate of 3.60 m3/min. During backwashing, if the terminal settling velocity of sand particles is 0.05 m/s, the expanded bed depth (in m, round off to 2 decimal places) is __________ ?

    Read How to Prepare for GATE Civil Engineering?

    What is Civil Engineering and its Scope?

    What is Civil Engineering and its Scope?

    Civil Engineering includes the planning, construction, and maintenance of the human and natural environment, including public works. This division is further broken down into a range of sub-disciplines and its history is linked to knowledge of structures, mechanics, geography, hydrology, the science of materials, geology, and other fields. 

    The civil engineering sub-disciplines include construction engineering, coastal engineering, environmental engineering, earthquake engineering, geotechnical engineering, etc. Civil engineering applies physical and scientific principles to solve societal problems.

    Scope after GATE 2021 CE

    Each year, the number of students who offer GATE in Civil Engineering (CE) is growing rapidly over the years.This is because the Master's courses now need a GATE ranking, but all the PSUs are hiring through GATE as well. 

    Some students want to pursue M.Tech from IITs / NITs in different streams such as Structures, Geotechnical, Water Resources, Construction Project Management and Transportation; while others are trying to get a job at PSUs such as IOCL, HPCL, RITES, EIL, NHAI, DMRC, etc. Thus, it is important to understand the significance of the GATE exam and the various opportunities through GATE.

    1. Job opportunities in PSUs

    • Nearly 100 PSUs present in the country (such as IOCL, ONGC, HPCL, RITES, EIL, NHAI, DMRC, BHEL, SAIL, NTPC, PGCIL) consider the GATE examination score as criteria for recruiting civil engineers.
    • A job in a successful PSU means that you keep in touch with recent developments in engineering and work on exciting country development initiatives, as well as obtain security and government job benefits.  Check PSU Recruitment through GATE

    2. Pursuing M.Tech after GATE

    • One of the most common ways to proceed is by applying for M.Tech at the IITs, IISc, and NITs, having cleared the GATE test. You are also eligible for the MHRD stipend during the two-year Master’s program, with a clear GATE ranking.  Check GATE COAP Counselling
    • This can be a major step for students who dreamed of studying in the country's top institutes such as IITs and NITs.
    • Also if you apply to other states / regional/private colleges that do not require GATE as their criterion for selection, getting a good GATE score will still give you an advantage over other candidates. You can go for private jobs in the technological domain after completing M.Tech, with good packages.

    3. Opportunities for research through GATE

    • Research is a field in which the country's civil engineers are not exploring much, as most students either try for M.Tech or government jobs.
    • However, those of you who are excited about learning more should opt for a research-oriented career and give back to society.

    Important Instructions for Candidates

    Important Instructions for Candidates

    1. GATE Admit Card must be brought to the examination center for verification with a minimum of one original and valid photo identification proof (Aadhar Card, Passport, College ID, PAN Card, Driver’s License, Voter ID, or Employer ID).

    2. GATE Admit Card will be considered valid only if the candidate’s signature and photograph are clearly visible.

    3. Candidates must report to the venue of examination 60 minutes before the scheduled time of examination.

    4. Candidates will be allowed to take the exam only if their credentials get verified by the officials of the examination center.

    5. Candidates will be allowed to take their allotted seats 35 minutes before the scheduled time of examination.

    6. Candidates will be permitted to start reading the instructions for the examination 20 minutes before the scheduled time of examination.

    7. No candidate will be allowed to enter the examination center after 09:30 AM for the morning session and after 02:30 PM for the afternoon session.

    8. Candidates will not be allowed to leave the examination hall before the end of the examination.

    9. A virtual scientific calculator will be present on the computer screen for the examination.

    10. Scribble pads will be available for rough work. Candidates will have to write their names and registration numbers on the pads before beginning any rough work. These pads are to be returned to the invigilator after the examination.

    11. Mobile phones, personal calculators, or other electronic devices will not be permitted in the examination hall.

    12. No papers, charts, or tables must be brought to the examination hall.

    *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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