The notification of the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), 2013 has brought in a surprise package for M. Tech and Ph.D aspirants. The examination has been shifted to online mode for 15 streams out of 21. Given that Hyderabad accounts for the largest number of aspirants and 15 to 20 percent students from the state appear for the examination every year the introduction of online mode of testing will require a different level of preparation.
However, the online mode is not new for many candidates who are B.E or B.Tech graduates. “The online system has its advantages as candidates can monitor the number of questions remaining and time available during the test. In the traditional pen and paper setup, candidates lose count of the questions unless he or she keeps a manual check. Also, as many students might have had an attempt at the online entrance tests such as AIEEE or BITSAT at intermediate level, introduction of online mode in GATE won’t come as surprise,” observes V. Uma Maheshwar, associate professor and placement officer at the Osmania University College of Engineering (OUCE).
As public sector units (PSUs) take into account GATE percentile to recruit engineers, the number of students appearing for the examination is likely to increase further this year. “It provides a good opportunity for students from tier 2 and tier 3 cities and also helps to secure viable employment options,” adds Maheshwar.
The move to progressively shift the examination online will unlikely affect the chances of students from rural areas, said Prudhvi Reddy, course director of GATE at the TIME coaching institute. “As the online model was introduced with four papers in 2011 and has now been scaled up to 15, the students only need to familiarise themselves with the interface by taking practice tests prior to the examination,” he adds.