A key to success in GATE-09


GATE-09 results are due in just under a day. To all our undergrad readers who took this exam this year: Good Luck!

This year, GATE introduced quite a few format changes. The most important ones are the following:

  • reducing the total number of marks to 100 (from 150 in previous years), and
  • reducing the number of questions to 60 (from 85).

Since the total time was kept the same (3 hours), the exam-takers should have had an easier time (did you?). We will have to wait and see if these format changes led to a significant improvement in the scores.

The GATE question paper in metallurgical engineering has to test the students on their knowledge of a variety of topics: physical, mechanical and extractive metallurgy and materials processing (to name just a few). Having taken a look at this year’s paper, I have to say that the team behind this year’s paper has done a marvellous job. The questions display a remarkable balance across sub-disciplines, as well as on the easy-tough spectrum.

What’s really nice is that a fair number of questions are devoted to testing the students’ grasp of the fundamentals of the discipline: crystal structures, thermodynamics, phase diagrams, and kinetics (diffusion).

All that is just a peramble to something that I noticed in this year’s paper: if I were to point to the one thing whose mastery will get you a good chunk of marks in GATE-09, it is this: mass and energy balance.

[BTW, this is generally true of GATE papers in earlier years too, though I have quantitative data only for this year].

There are quite a few questions which require you to apply the principles of mass balance and energy balance in a variety of settings:

  • phase diagram (lever rule)
  • steel-making (phosphorus removal)
  • welding (time required to melt a spot of a given area through resistance welding)
  • iron-making (amount of O2 consumed per ton of iron)
  • continuous casting (thickness of the solid shell)
  • enthalpy of reactions (adiabatic flame temperature)

All in all, I counted some seven questions with a total value of 14 marks. That’s a lot of marks.

If you are not convinced this is a lot of marks riding on one principle / theme, consider this: going by unconfirmed 😉 rumours, 14 marks would have been worth over half the GATE average in some of the earlier years!

Given the variety of settings where mass and energy balance is the fundamental principle, I’m pretty sure the future versions of GATE will continue to have quite a few questions based on it.

So, here’s a possible slogan for MT papers of GATE: Mass and Energy Balance. Your key to competitive advantage!


About Abi

My name is T. A. Abinandanan, and I am a professor of Materials Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
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2 Responses to A key to success in GATE-09

  1. dhanapradeeban says:

    ur message makes some sense to me….really gud to see this…

  2. c.mohan says:

    thank you yaar

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