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GATE 2021 Civil Engineering (CE) Syllabus, Preparation Tips and Books

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Nikkil Visha

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GATE 2021 Civil Engineering syllabus has 3 sections namely- General Aptitude, Engineering Mathematics, and Civil Engineering. The syllabus for GATE 2021 paper has been revised which covers the graduation level topics. Engineering Mathematics is one of the important sections with topics like linear algebra, calculus, probability etc. 

  • The maximum weightage will be given to the core syllabus that is 72% and 15% to General Aptitude and 13% to Engineering Mathematics. 
  • From its session candidates will also get an option to opt and sit for two papers. If your first paper is CE then as a second paper you can opt from AR/ ES.  GATE CE paper will consist of 65 questions worth 100 marks.  Check GATE 2021 CE Exam Pattern
  • Civil Engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical & naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings. 

Candidates must note that GATE 2021 exam dates have been announced by IIT Bombay. GATE 2021 is scheduled to conducted from Feb 5-7 & 12-14, 2021. Before starting the preparation candidates should have the right information about all topics included in the syllabus. After qualifying GATE candidates can take admission in IITs, NITs to pursue M.Tech. Read the article to know more about the revised civil engineering syllabus, weightage of important topics, and books. 

Must Read: 

GATE Civil Engineering Syllabus

GATE 2021 Syllabus of Civil Engineering

GATE Civil engineering consists of 7 sections namely: 

Section 1 – Engineering Mathematics

Sections Topics
Section 1 Linear Algebra
Section 2 Calculus
Section 3 Ordinary Differential Equation (ODE)
Section 4 Partial Differential Equation (PDE)
Section 5 Probability and Statistics
Section 6 Numerical Methods

Section 2 – Structural Engineering

Sections Topics
Section 1 Engineering Mechanics
Section 2 Solid Mechanics
Section 3 Structural Analysis
Section 4 Construction Materials and Management
Section 5 Concrete Structures
Section 6 Steel Structures

Section 3 – Geomatics Engineering

Sections Topics
Section 1 Soil Mechanics
Section 2 Foundation Engineering

Section 4 – Water Resources Engineering

Sections Topics
Section 1 Fluid Mechanics
Section 2 Hydraulics
Section 3 Hydrology
Section 4 Irrigation

Section 5 – Environmental Engineering

Sections Topics
Section 1 Water and Waste Water
Section 2 Air Pollution
Section 3 Municipal Solid Wastes

Section 6 – Transportation Engineering

Sections Topics
Section 1 Transportation Infrastructure
Section 2 Traffic Engineering
Section 3 Highway Pavements

Section 7 – Geotechnical Engineering

Sections Topics
Section 1 Principles of surveying; Errors and their adjustment; Maps - scale, coordinate system
Section 2 Distance and angle measurement - Levelling and trigonometric levelling; Traversing and triangulation survey
Section 3 Total station; Horizontal and vertical curves. Photogrammetry - scale, flying height; Remote sensing - basics, platform and sensors, visual image interpretation; Basics of Geographical information system (GIS) and Geographical Positioning system (GPS).

Direct link to download GATE Civil Engineering (CE) syllabus PDF 

Weightage of Sections

GATE 2021 Civil Engineering Syllabus – Weightage of Sections 

Topic Weightage (Marks)
Numerical Ability 8
Verbal Ability 7
Engineering Mathematics  10
Engineering Mechanics 1
Construction Materials & Management 6
Steel Structure 5
Soil Mechanics  15
Fluid Mechanics & Hydraulics 8
Hydrology & Irrigation 5
Water & Waste Water 10
Transportation Engineering 11
Geomatics Engineering 5

Best Books for GATE CE

GATE 2021 Civil Engineering Section Wise Important Books

Important books which are recommended by GATE toppers are: 

CE Books
Book Name Author/Publisher
Basic Structural Analysis C.S.Reddy, Edition: 3rd
R.C.C. Designs B.C.Punmia, Ashok Kumar Jain, Arun Jain Edition: 3rd
Design Of Steel Structures S.K Duggal Edition: 3rd
Surveying (vol. 1,2,3) B.C.Punia, Ashok Jain, Arun Jain
Engineering Hydrology K Subramanya, Edition: 4th

Preparation Books for Engineering Mathematics

Engineering Mathematics is the most important section of  GATE. This section carries around 13% weightage of questions in the exam. Here are some important books for the preparation of engineering mathematics. 

  • GATE Engineering Mathematics by Abhinav Goel and Suraj Singh
  • Engineering Mathematics - Vol.1 by Sharma J.P
  • Engineering Mathematics - Part 1 by Dr. D.S.C.
  • Advanced Engineering Mathematics by Sastry S.S
  • Problems and Solutions in Engineering Mathematics by T.C. Gupta

Preparation Books for Structural Engineering

  • Structural Engineer's Pocket Book by Fiona Cobb
  • Fundamentals of Structural Engineering by Jerome J. Connor and Susan Faraji
  • Structural Engineering Formulas by Ilya Mikhelson
  • Structural Analysis by R. C. Hibbeler
  • Structural engineering reference manual by Alan Williams

Preparation Books for Geotechnical Engineering

  • Fundamentals of Geotechnical Engineering by Braja M Das
  • Geotechnical Engineering by T. G. Sitharam and T.N. Ramamurthy
  • Principles of Geotechnical Engineering by Braja M Das
  • Geotechnical Engineering Design by Ming Xiao
  • Geotechnical Engineer's Portable Handbook by Robert W Day

Preparation Books for Water Resources Engineering

  • Irrigation and Water Power Engineering by B.C. Punmia, Ashok Kumar Jain, Arun Kumar Jain, and Pande Brij Basi Lal 
  • Water Resources Engineering by Gupta
  • Water-Resources Engineering: International Edition by David A Chin
  • Water Supply Engineering by Santosh Kumar Garg
  • Hydrology and Water Resources by Experienced Professor

Preparation Books for Environmental Engineering

  • Introduction to Environmental Engineering by David A Cornwell and Mackenzie L Davis
  • Chemistry for environmental engineering and science by Clair N. Sawyer
  • Elements of Environmental Engineering by K. N. Duggal
  • Textbook of Environmental Engineering by P. Venugopala Rao
  • Environmental engineering and sanitation by Joseph A. Salvato

Preparation Books for Transportation Engineering

  • Principles of Transportation Engineering by Chakraborty and Das
  • Transportation Planning: Principles, Practices, and Policies by Sarkar Prabir Kumar, Maitri Vinay, and Joshi G.J
  • Text Book On Transportation Engineering by Chandola and S.P 
  • Highway Engineering by Rangwala
  • Transportation Engineering and Planning by C. S. Papacostas and Panos Prevedouros

Preparation Books for Geomatics Engineering

  • Geomatics Engineering: A Practical Guide to Project Design by Clement A. Ogaja
  • Basics of Geomatics by Mario A. Gomarasca
  • Precision Surveying: The Principles and Geomatics Practice by John Olusegun Ogundare
  • Elementary Surveying: An Introduction to Geomatics by Charles D. Ghilani and Paul R. Wolf

Also Check GATE 2021 Books for other subjects

GATE Civil Engineering Exam Pattern

GATE 2021 Exam Pattern of Civil Engineering

GATE is an all India competitive exam for engineers from different branches. There are a total of 25 papers in GATE. Applicants can appear for one paper at one time. Candidates are required to make sure that they go through  GATE 2021 Exam Pattern before starting the preparation of the exam. 

  • GATE is held in online mode only (Computer-Based Test).
  • The question paper consists of 65 questions worth 100 marks.
  • The exam includes 2 types of questions - Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and Numerical Answer Type (NAT).
  • There is no negative marking for NAT but it is applicable for MCQs.
  • For 1 mark MCQs, 1/3 marks will be deducted for every wrong answer.
  • Likewise, for 2 marks MCQs, 2/3 marks will be deducted.
  • The duration of the exam is 3 hours. 
  • GATE comprises 3 sections namely- General Aptitude, Engineering Mathematics and specific subject of the paper
GATE 2020Section Name of the Section Weightage
Section 1 Engineering Mathematics 13% 
Section 2 General Aptitude 15% 
Section 3 Subject Questions 72%

How to Prepare for GATE CE Paper?

How to Prepare for GATE 2021 Civil Engineering Paper?

The preparation of a competitive exam should be done by incorporating a good strategic plan. The plan should include all the important points like the right number of hours allocated to each topic, mock test preparation, online tests, leisure time so that preparing doesn’t get stressful and much more. Candidates can also follow the preparation plans adopted by GATE toppers. Read  Preparation Tips from GATE Topper

1. Speed and Accuracy

You aim should be solving questions with accuracy and good speed. These are the two important factors in the exams and are interrelated. With accuracy, you can easily gain speed and with a good speed, you can solve the maximum number of questions. The following will help you in gaining the mentioned skills:

  • Solving Mock Test or Online Test Series
  • Practice Papers or Model Test Papers
  • Solving unsolved problems provided at the end of each section or subject
  • Use stopwatch while solving the questions to check your speed

Check GATE Mock Test

2. Making Notes and Daily Revision

  • Revision should be done on a daily basis.
  • Candidates must revise all those topics that they studied in the whole day. 
  • Make notes during preparation so that you can memorize all the topics easily and also these notes will help you in last minute preparations.
  • Notes should be short and only include important topics or points. 
  • Candidates are advised to keep the last month solely for revision. 

3. Test Yourself

  • Prepare a test for yourself on a weekly basis.
  • You can also take mock tests or online test series.
  • Once you take the test, analyze the level of your performance.
  • You should observe and make a list of topics in which you are weak or need to put more effort.
  • Try to solve n number of mock tests.

Download GATE Practice Paper of CE

4. Following a Strict Schedule

Time management is very important while preparing for the exam. If you are good at managing time then you must divide your whole preparation into months then into weeks and then into days. You should know which topics need to cover in a week or in a day. This is also called a target-based study plan. You can set a goal for yourself and then work hard to achieve that goal. 

  • Candidates are advised to study 6-8 hours daily
  • Take regular breaks to avoid laziness
  • Devote special time for daily revisions session
  • Avoid using social media. Use internet only for the purpose of studies.

GATE Syllabus of Other Subjects

GATE 2021 Syllabus of Other Subjects

Candidates who are planning to appear for GATE can check the syllabus their respective subjects from the links provided in the table below:

Frequently Asked Questions

GATE 2021 Civil Engineering Syllabus FAQs

Ques: What will be the major topics or sections of GATE 2021 Civil Engineering Syllabus?

Ans: Other than general aptitude GATE Civil engineering syllabus consists of 7 sections namely: 

  • Section 1 – Engineering Mathematics
  • Section 2 – Structural Engineering
  • Section 3 – Water Resources Engineering
  • Section 4 – Environmental Engineering
  • Section 5 – Geomatics Engineering
  • Section 6 – Geotechnical Engineering
  • Section 7 – Transportation Engineering

Ques: What will be the marking scheme and weightage of sections in GATE 2021 Civil Engineering paper?

Ans: The exam includes 2 types of questions - Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and Numerical Answer Type (NAT). There is no negative marking for NAT but it is applicable for MCQs. For 1 mark MCQs, 1/3 marks will be deducted for every wrong answer. Likewise, for 2 marks MCQs, 2/3 marks will be deducted. The weightage of sections is: 

  • General Aptitude – 15%
  • Engineering Mathematics – 15%
  • Core Syllabus – 70%

Ques: What are the best books to prepare GATE 2021 Civil Engineering paper?

Ans: Some of the best books for GATE 2021 Civil Engineering preparation are:

Basic Structural Analysis C.S.Reddy, Edition: 3rd
R.C.C. Designs B.C.Punmia, Ashok Kumar Jain, Arun Jain Edition: 3rd
Design Of Steel Structures S.K Duggal Edition: 3rd

Ques: What is the weightage of soil mechanics and Water & Waste Water topics?

Ans: Based on the previous years paper analysis the weightage of soil mechanics and Water & Waste Water topics is approximately 15 and 10 marks respectively. 

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

GATE 2021 : 42 answered questions


Ques. What do you prefer, the GATE or the IES?

● Top Answer By Keshav Jindal on 25 Feb 21

Ans. I would prefer GATE or IES because in GATE the ratio is 10:1 whereas in IES the ratio is 300:1. This makes IES a very tough competitive exam but in GATE it is easier to get good marks and rank higher as the paper is easy and less competitive compared to IES.  The IES exam is tougher than GATE because here a candidate has to excel both in academics and personality. In GATE the questions are concept based and it is easier to solve if all the concepts are clear. Also in the GATE exam, there are 65 questions and the time limit is 3 hours but in the IES exam there are 120 questions and the time limit is 2 hours. So you get less time to solve all the questions.  After qualifying for your GATE exam with good marks, you can apply to any of the big companies with higher packages and it also opens your gate to apply for PSU.   After qualifying for your IES exam, you will get a job as an assistant executive engineer and after 3-4 years of experience, you will get promoted to executive engineer post. Then after many years of experience of like 20+ years, you will get Chief Engineer posts.Read more
1 Answer

Ques. What is the pattern for the written test for M.Tech at IIT Gandhinagar?

● Top Answer By Kumar Shiwam on 24 Feb 21

Ans. The admission for M. Tech at IIT Gandhinagar is done on the basis of academic records, written test, personal interview, and valid GATE scores. Those students who have a good academic record along with good GATE scores are not supposed to appear in the written test and personal interview.  The pattern of the written test is as follows: 10 questions of General aptitude questions consisting of logical analytical and reasoning ability and engineering mathematics are asked. 15-20 questions are asked related to basic courses in various disciplines up to the third year of an undergraduate program. The total duration of the written test is 1 hour for 80 marks. A total of 40 marks for general aptitude and 40 for basic knowledge. There is a negative marking and very basic questions are asked in the test. For branch subjects, all questions are asked related to SOM, fluid mechanics, etc.  The reservation category will get relaxation in the cut-off marks as per the norms. You will also be entitled to and fro sleeper class train tickets for the shortest route from your hometown to the institute. If you pass the test then you will attend the interview on the same day.Read more
1 Answer

Ques. What are the best coaching centres for GATE and IES in Civil Engineering?

● Top Answer By Sabeer Chalana on 23 Feb 21

Ans. There are many coaching centers throughout the country for IES and GATE coaching. However, these 2 institutes enjoy a huge reputation and recognition at the national level due to their experienced faculty and their study material quality. Made Easy: It is one of the best in the field when it comes to GATE and IES coaching. They have the best faculty teaching the subjects for the students.  Their specialty lies in their high quality and concise presentation. One of my friends enrolled in the Delhi center weekend coaching program, which he claimed to be good. Their online test series is one of the best you can opt for. They are prepared keeping the present pattern in mind. The number of students enrolled is hefty and gives you a clear picture of the competition. Some criticize that their teaching lacks depth compared to other institutes. Their courses and tests require analytical knowledge and are more than enough to crack GATE/IES exams. IES Masters: This institute is one of the best in this field and has earned respect for its excellence and quality coaching within a short span of its inception. All the major subjects for all batches are handled by Mr. Kanchan Thakur who is the director of the institute. He has a brilliant command over all the subjects in Civil engineering. The study material of this institute is best and is even recommended for those who choose civil engineering as an optional subject in UPSC exams. One small setback is that other faculties than the director are not on par when compared with the faculties of Made Easy. For the GATE Online test series, you can opt for Made easy test series, and for the IES test series you can opt for IES Masters. If you plan to join made easy to enroll in Super Talent Batch which has all top faculties teaching in this batch. For Classroom coaching for civil engineering in GATE/IES, Super talent batch can be preferred if not then IES Masters. For Postal study course, one can opt for IES masters.Read more
1 Answer

Ques. Which will be a better career for ECE engineers, IBPS SO or PSU via the GATE?

● Top Answer By Vaishnavi Agrawal on 19 Feb 21

Ans. Some of my friends work in both the departments and based on their experience, I can answer this. If you look at the position of an IBPS SO, it's that of a specialist officer. You'd technically be a network administrator of all of the intra networks of the bank. You'd be a database administrator/database manager who would have the entire intra network of that particular bank under your supervision.  Now if you look at the PSU job, you'd be someone who would be responsible for sustaining the technicalities concerning PSU. Your enquiry on which one is better entirely is up to you and where your interest lies. While some might opt for GATE which concerns their core subjects entirely, others simply might find their area of interest in networking. So, decide for yourself and choose what suits you and not the rest.Read more
1 Answer

Ques. What is the difference between IES and GATE?

● Top Answer By Himani Arora on 17 Feb 21

Ans. GATE and IES, are very well known among graduate engineers. The IES exam is carried out annually by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the GATE exam is administered by Bangalore's Indian Institute of Science (IISc) or any of the seven IITs. Syllabus and paper pattern: The complete engineering syllabus is covered by the IES exam, while GATE covers a portion of this syllabus and some other topics useful for higher studies.  While GATE tests problem-solving ability, IES tests conceptual capability.  The IES exam paper contains questions of the objective and subjective type and a total of 4 papers, while the GATE exam paper only contains questions of the objective type and only 1 paper.  Only in the subjective paper, a calculator is allowed. Difficulty Level & Duration: It will be much more difficult to solve the questions you will face in GATE than in IES.  In a single problem, GATE questions require you to apply many concepts. For that, you should have good problem-solving skills.  While most of the questions asked in IES are direct formula or a single concept based. In GATE, in 3 hours, you have to solve 65 questions that are approximately 2.5 minutes per question.  On the other hand, you have 120 questions in 2 hours to solve in IES. So, 1 minute per question which means you get nearly 2.5 times more “time” per question in GATE. But the difficulty level compensates for it. Category of PSUs and Job Scope: UPSC conducts IES examination to recruit candidates under the Govt for different engineering departments (mechanical, electrical, civil, and E&T).  Around India, The departments you get through IES are Indian Railway Service of Engineers, Indian Railway Stores Service, Indian Ordnance Factories Service AWM/JTS., Central Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Service, Geological Survey of India Engineering Service Gr ‘A’, Central Engineering Service (Roads), Gr ‘A’, Central Water Engineering Service Gr ‘A’, Indian Defence Service of Engineers, Central Power Engineering Service Gr ‘B’ and so on. The GATE exam is organized for higher studies (, PH. Ed. etc) and for placements in PSUs and Govt. Organizations. From the above-mentioned factual information, the difference between the two should be clear. Rest all depends on your choice what you opt for.Read more
1 Answer


shaik kabeer
What is the marking scheme?
common admission test

Hii Shaik, Greetings from collegedunia. GATE 2021 consists of 65 questions carrying 100 marks. For MCQ type questions +1 or 2 marks will be awarded for correct answers whereas 1/3 marks will be deducted for 1 mark question and 2/3 for 2 mark questions. No negative marking is there in NAT and MSQs. For more details kindly visit:- GATE EXAM PATTERN

shreya sarkar
What is the exam pattern?
common admission test

Hii Shreya, Greetings from collegedunia. GATE 2021 Exam Pattern has been revised and it is a 3-hour online test where candidates will have to attempt 65 questions carrying 100 marks. For more details visit GATE PATTERN

How many questions are asked in this section?

HI Taniksha

There are total 65 questions of 100 marks. You will get 3 hours for your examination. Visit on our official website of GATE Syllabus and Exam Pattern of Civil Engineering to know all the details about the exam.

preetam oinam
What is the cutoff civil engineering ?
sourajit mukherjee
Does it include the complete syllabus of BE?

Dear Sourajit Mukherjee

Greetings from Collegedunia. Yes, it includes the complete syllabus of B.E. in various specializations at the GATE 2021 Examination. For more details, kindly go through this link – GATE 2021 Syllabus

j asha naik
will gate syllabus change every year ?

Hi Asha. No, GATE syllabus doesn’t change every year. Just the difficulty level of the exam varies.