GATE 2021 Physics Syllabus, Books and Preparation Tips

    Nikkil Visha Nikkil Visha
    Exams Prep Master

    Physics is the natural science that studies matter and its motion and behavior through space and time and that studies the related entities of energy and force. GATE 2021 Physics syllabus will have core physics and general aptitude topics.

    • The majority of questions i.e. 85% will be asked from the core subject and the rest of the questions i.e. 15% will be asked from general aptitude topics.  Check GATE 2021 Exam Pattern
    • In Physics there will be a total of 65 questions of 100 marks. The duration of the exam will three hours.  
    • Moreover, from this session candidates are allowed to opt for 2 papers. Also, if you are from arts or commerce background or in the 3rd year of graduation then also you are allowed to sit for the exam. Read More

    After qualifying GATE 2021, candidates will be able to get admission in courses offered at various institutes of the country like IITs, NITs, etc. Read the article to know more about syllabus, exam pattern, books, preparation tips, and much more. 

    Must Read: 

    GATE 2021 Physics Syllabus

    GATE 2021 Syllabus for Physics

    Section 1: Mathematical Physics

    • Linear vector space: basis, orthogonality and completeness; matrices; vector calculus; linear differential equations; elements of complex analysis
    • Cauchy Riemann conditions, Cauchy’s theorems, singularities, residue theorem and applications
    • Laplace transforms, Fourier analysis; elementary ideas about tensors: covariant and contravariant tensor, Levi-Civita and Christoffel symbols.

    Section 2: Classical Mechanics

    • Alembert’s principle, cyclic coordinates, variational principle
    • Lagrange’s equation of motion, central force and scattering problems, rigid body motion; small oscillations
    • Hamilton’s formalisms; Poisson bracket; special theory of relativity
    • Lorentz transformations, relativistic kinematics, mass‐energy equivalence.

    Section 3: Electromagnetic Theory

    • Solutions of electrostatic and magnetostatic problems including boundary value problems; dielectrics and conductors
    • Maxwell’s equations; scalar and vector potentials; Coulomb and Lorentz gauges
    • Electromagnetic waves and their reflection, refraction, interference, diffraction and polarization
    • Poynting vector, Poynting theorem, energy and momentum of electromagnetic waves; radiation from a moving charge.

    Section 4: Quantum Mechanics

    • Postulates of quantum mechanics; uncertainty principle
    • Schrodinger equation; one-, two- and three-dimensional potential problems; particle in a box, transmission through one dimensional potential barriers, harmonic oscillator, hydrogen atom; linear vectors and operators in Hilbert space; angular momentum and spin; addition of angular momenta; time independent perturbation theory; elementary scattering theory.

    Section 5: Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics

    • Laws of thermodynamics; macrostates and microstates; phase space; ensemble
    • Partition function, free energy, calculation of thermodynamic quantities; classical and quantum statistics; degenerate
    • Fermi gas; black body radiation and Planck’s distribution law; Bose‐Einstein condensation; first and second order phase transitions, phase equilibria, critical point.

    Section 6: Atomic and Molecular Physics

    • Spectra of one‐ and many‐electron atoms
    • LS and jj coupling; hyperfine structure; Zeeman and Stark effects; electric dipole transitions and selection rules; rotational and vibrational spectra of diatomic molecules; electronic transition in diatomic molecules
    • Franck‐Condon principle; Raman effect; NMR, ESR, X-ray spectra; lasers: Einstein coefficients, population inversion, two and three level systems.

    Section 7: Solid State Physics & Electronics

    • Elements of crystallography; diffraction methods for structure determination; bonding in solids; lattice vibrations and thermal properties of solids; free electron theory; band theory of solids: nearly free electron and tight binding models; metals, semiconductors and insulators; conductivity, mobility and effective mass; optical, dielectric and magnetic properties of solids; elements of superconductivity: Type-I and Type II superconductors 
    • Meissner effect, London equation. Semiconductor devices: diodes, Bipolar Junction Transistors, Field Effect Transistors; operational amplifiers: negative feedback circuits, active filters and oscillators; regulated power supplies; basic digital logic circuits, sequential circuits, flip‐flops, counters, registers, A/D and D/A conversion.

    Section 8: Nuclear and Particle Physics

    • Nuclear radii and charge distributions, nuclear binding energy
    • Electric and magnetic moments; nuclear models, liquid drop model: semi‐empirical mass formula
    • Fermi gas model of nucleus, nuclear shell model; nuclear force and two nucleon problem; alpha decay, beta‐decay, electromagnetic transitions in nuclei
    • Rutherford scattering, nuclear reactions, conservation laws; fission and fusion; particle accelerators and detectors; elementary particles, photons, baryons, mesons and leptons; quark model.

    Direct link to download GATE Physics(PH) syllabus PDF 

    Sample Questions of GATE 2021 Physics Paper

    • Sample Question 1: An infinitely long thin cylindrical shell has its axis coinciding with the z-axis. It carries a surface charge density σ0cosφ, where φ is the polar angle and σ0 is a constant. The magnitude of the electric field inside the cylinder is _______?
    • Sample Question 2: For the following circuit, the correct logic values for the entries X2 and Y2 in the truth table are
    • Sample Question 3: Low energy collision (s-wave scattering) of pion (π+) with deuteron (d) results in the production of two protons (π + + d → p + p). The relative orbital angular momentum (in units of ħ) of the resulting two-proton system for this reaction is _________?

    Check GATE Paper Analysis

    GATE 2021 Exam Pattern of Physics

    GATE 2021 Exam Pattern of Physics

    • Mode of Examination: Online
    • Duration: 3 hours
    • Types of questions: MCQs and NATs
    • Sections: 2 Sections – General Aptitude and Subject-based
    • Total Questions: 65 questions
    Section Distribution of Marks  Total MarksTypes of questions
    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  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 2021 Exam Pattern 

    Important Books for GATE 2021 Physics

    Important Books for GATE 2021 Physics Paper 

    BookAuthor/ Publication
    Chapterwise Solved Papers Physics GATE 2020Vijay Kumar
    GATE 2020 – Guide – Physics GKP
    GATE 2020 – Chapter-Wise Previous Solved Papers – 20 Years’ Solved Papers – PhysicsGKP 

    How to Prepare for GATE 2021 Physics Paper?

    Preparation Tips for GATE 2021 Physics Paper 

    • Knowledge of Syllabus and Pattern: Candidates must have accurate knowledge about their syllabus and exam pattern so that they can prepare a proper plan for preparations. Candidates are advised to go through the syllabus prescribed by the authorities only. The exam pattern of GATE is also released every year by the authorities so you must stick to that only.  
    • Download Practice Papers: Candidates must download the previous years' papers for practice. These papers will you in getting a better idea about the exam pattern, type of questions, difficulty level of questions, weightage of sections or topics, etc. With the help of practice papers, you can also work on your weaker areas.  Download GATE Practice Papers
    • Prepare a Time Table: Candidates must follow a trick time table to prepare well for the exam. You must devote 6-8 hours every day for preparations only. You can also take frequent breaks in between for relaxation of body and mind. 
    • Revision is Must: Prepare handwritten notes during the time of preparations. These notes should include all the important formulas, points, tips, tricks that are required to solve the questions. Daily revision of notes will help you in memorizing things for a longer period of time. 
    • Accuracy and Speed: To improve speed and accuracy, you must practice more and more practice papers or online tests. Candidates must solve 1-2 practice after every 3 days. You can also take mock test to check your speed and accuracy. Do not get disappointed if you are not able to do well in these. In fact, you must observe your weaker areas and start working on them.

    Read Preparation Tips of GATE Topper

    GATE 2021 Syllabus of Other Subjects

    GATE 2021 Syllabus of Other Subjects

    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 Physics Syllabus FAQs 

    Ques: What will be major topics that one needs to prepare for GATE 2021 Physics paper?

    Ans: Candidates should focus on General Aptitude which is common for every discipline and other than that prepare all the core subject topics. 

    • Section 1: Mathematical Physics
    • Section 2: Classical Mechanics
    • Section 3: Electromagnetic Theory
    • Section 4: Quantum Mechanics
    • Section 5: Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
    • Section 6: Atomic and Molecular Physics
    • Section 7: Solid State Physics & Electronics
    • Section 8: Nuclear and Particle Physics

    Ques: What type of questions will be asked in GATE 2021 Physics paper?

    Ans: Two types of questions will be asked in the paper: MCQs & NATs

    Type of questionNegative marking for the wrong answer

    1/3 for 1 mark questions

    2/3 for 2 marks questions

    NATsNo negative marking 

    Ques: What will be the weightage of different sections in GATE 2021 Physics paper?

    Ans: The maximum number of questions i.e 85% weightage will be given to the core subject syllabus and the remaining 15% weightage will be given to the general aptitude section. 

    Ques: Are there any books to prepare for GATE 2021 Physics paper?

    Ans: Candidates can refer to the following books:

    BookAuthor/ Publication
    Chapterwise Solved Papers Physics GATE 2020Vijay Kumar
    GATE 2020 – Guide – Physics GKP

    Ques: Can I opt for Physics and Humanities paper in GATE 2021?

    Ans: Candidates are allowed to opt for a maximum of 2 papers. But it is not necessary that you can opt for these papers because the authorities will release a predefined list of combination of papers that candidates can opt. The list will be prepared by taking into consideration various factors. 

    *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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