GATE 2021 Syllabus for Psychology (XH - C4) - Important Chapters, Best Books, Sample Questions

Abhik Das
Abhik DasPublished On: August 31, 2020 | GATE

Find out all the details regarding the GATE Psychology exam which is going to be conducted in February 2020. With the addition of the two new subject papers, GATE will be conducted for a total of 27 papers henceforth. 

GATE 2021 Psychology Exam

Earlier GATE was used to be conducted for admission into only postgraduate level programmes like M.Tech, MS, M.E, Direct PhD etc offered at various institutions of national repute like the IITs, NITs, IISc Bangalore etc. But as per the new official release, GATE 2021 will also be conducted for subjects from two new streams - Humanities & Social Sciences and Environmental Science & Engineering. Aspirants who wish to study subjects such as Psychology, Philosophy, Sociology, Linguistics, Economics, English and Environmental Science and Engineering from one of the reputed GATE participating institutions can now apply for GATE exam. 

This article comprises of all the details regarding the GATE 2021 exam which is to be conducted for the Psychology subject like syllabus, important topics, sample question papers, best books, exam pattern etc. Check out all the details regarding GATE 2021 Psychology exam from the sections below. 

GATE 2021 Psychology Syllabus

All the important topics on which the questions in the Psychology paper of GATE 2021 exam will be based on have been provided below. Candidates can simply access the GATE 2021 Psychology exam syllabus by clicking on the link provided below - 

Detailed Syllabus for Psychology Paper of GATE 2021 Exam

GATE 2021 Psychology Syllabus - Important Chapters

Here is the list of all those important chapters from where the GATE 2021 Psychology paper questions will be formed - 

Name of the ChapterImportant Topics
Applications of PsychologyPsychological disorders: Conceptions of mental disorders; Assessment and diagnosis, DSM and Other tools, PTSD and Trauma; Psychotherapies: Psychodynamic, Phenomenological/Experiential therapy; Behaviour therapy; cognitive therapy; biological therapy, Applications of theories of motivation and learning in School: Factors in educational achievement; counselling & guidance in schools, Application of theories of motivation, learning, emotions, perceptions, group dynamics & leadership to organizational setup, Issues of Personal space, crowding, and territoriality.    
Development Across the Life Span    Nature versus nurture in human development, Prenatal development: Chromosomes, Genes and DNA. Physical, cognitive and psychosocial development in infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood, Theories of ageing, Moral development.
Social PsychologySocial perception: Attribution; impression formation; social categorization, implicit personality theory, Social influence: conformity, compliance and obedience, Attitudes, beliefs and values: Evaluating the social world, attitude formation, attitude change and persuasion, cognitive dissonance, Prejudice, discrimination, Aggression, power and prosocial behaviour, Belief systems and value patterns. Group dynamics, leadership style and effectiveness, Theories of intergroup relations and conflicts.
Motivation, Emotion, Stress and CopingApproaches to understanding motivation: instinct, drive-reduction, arousal, incentive, humanistic, Achievement motivation, Intrinsic motivation, aggression, curiosity and exploration, Emotions: nature of emotions; biological basis of emotions, Theories of emotions: James-Lange, Canon-Bard, Schachter and Singer, Lazarus, Definition of stress; what are stressors; cognitive factors in stress, Factors in stress reaction: General adaptation syndrome; effect of stress, Coping with stress: problem-focused coping; emotion-focused coping, REBT and meditation
PersonalityTheories of personality: Psychoanalytic, behaviourist, social cognitive view, humanism and trait and type theories, Biology of personality and Assessment of personality.
CognitionThinking, Intelligence and Language: Basic elements of though: Concepts, Propositions, Imagery. Current paradigms of cognitive psychology – Information processing approach, ecological approach, Problem-solving: Methods of problem-solving, Strategies and obstacles, Role of Metacognitive processing, decision-making: choosing among alternatives, Intelligence: Theories of intelligence (Spearman; Thurstone; Jensen; Cattell; Gardner; Stenberg) and Emotional Intelligence; Measuring intelligence, Individual differences in Intelligence; Role of heredity and environment, Difference between Intelligence, Aptitude and Creativity
Perception, Learning, Memory and ForgettingWhat is a sensation, sensory thresholds and sensory adaptations, Vision, hearing, touch and pain, smell and taste, kinesthesis and vestibular sense, Perception: role of attention; organizing principles of perception, gestalt perception, depth perception and illusions, Theories of learning: classical conditioning, operant conditioning, social learning theory, cognitive learning, Memory: encoding, storage, retrieval, Information processing theories of memory, Retrieval in Long term memory, reconstructive nature of long-term memory, Forgetting: encoding failure, interference theory, memory trace decay theory, the physical aspects of memory.
Biological and Evolutionary Basis of Behaviour Heredity and behaviour Evolution and natural selection, Nervous system, structures of the brain and their functions, Neurons: Structure, functions, types, neural impulse, synaptic transmission. Neurotransmitters. Hemispheric lateralization, The endocrine system types and functions, Biological basis of Motivation: Hunger, Thirst, Sleep and Sex. The biological basis of emotion: The Limbic system, Hormonal regulation of behaviour. Methods of Physiological Psychology: Invasive methods – Anatomical methods, degeneration techniques, lesion techniques, chemical methods, microelectrode studies, Non-invasive methods – EEG, Scanning methods, Muscular and Glandular system: Genetics and behaviour: Chromosomal anomalies; Nature-Nurture controversy [Twin studies and adoption studies]
PsychometricsFoundations of Psychological measurement; Basic components: scales and items’ Construction and analysis of items: Intelligence test items, performance tests, Ability & Aptitude test, Personality questionnaires. Method of test construction, Standardization of measures: Reliability, Validity, Norms, Application of assessment and measurements in Tests— Applications of psychological testing in various settings-educations, counselling and guidance, clinical, organizational and developmental.
Research Methods and Statistics
  • Approaches to research: Philosophical worldviews & criteria involved in the approach. Research design: quantitative & qualitative, mixed methods.
  • Designing research: Research problems, purpose statement, Variables and Operational Definitions, Hypothesis, Sampling.
  • Nature of quantitative & qualitative research: Structured, semi-structured interviewing, self-completion questionnaires (Survey), observation, Experimental, Quasi-experimental, Field studies, Focus groups discussions, Narratives, Case studies, Ethnography
  • Ethics in conducting and reporting research
  • Statistics in Psychology: Measures of Central Tendency and Dispersion. Normal Probability Curve. Parametric and Non-parametric tests Affect size and Power analysis.
  • Correlational Analysis: Correlation [Product Moment, Rank Order], Partial correlation, multiple correlations. Special Correlation Methods: Biserial, Point biserial, tetrachoric, phi coefficient. Regression: Simple linear regression, Multiple regression. Factor analysis: Assumptions, Methods, Rotation and Interpretation.
  • Experimental Designs: ANOVA [One-way, Factorial], Randomized Block Designs, Repeated Measures Design, Latin Square, Cohort studies, Time series, MANOVA, ANCOVA. Single-subject designs.

Best Books for GATE 2021 Psychology Exam

Candidates aspiring to crack the GATE 2021 psychology exam with good marks must make sure they have the best books to prepare from and study materials to refer to. After doing a bit of research on what supposedly could be the best books for PG level Psychology entrance exams, we have come up with a list of the following books which should help the candidates achieve their goal - 

  • MCQs in Psychology - Objectives for JRF/UGC NET and Other Competetive Examinations

  • Question Bank Psychology - SLET/UGC NET/SPSC/UPSC/Other Higher Grade Examinations

  • NTA UGC NET Psychology Paper-II (recent edition)

  • Objective Psychology (Popular Master Guide) Paperback

Sample Question Papers for GATE 2021 Psychology Paper

The best way to assess the preparation levels before a major entrance exam is to solve previous year question papers, mock test papers and sample test papers. As the Psychology paper will be introduced in the GATE 2021 exam for the first time, the best way to measure the preparations is to attempt the GATE 2021 Psychology sample test papers available on the official website of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. To start downloading the GATE 2021 sample question paper for the Psychology exam, the candidates must click on the direct link provided below - 

GATE 2021 Psychology Sample Question Papers - Download Here!

The candidates will also find the answer key to the sample question paper at the end of the PDF. 

GATE 2021 Psychology Exam Pattern and Marking Scheme

As the exam pattern and marking scheme of the GATE 2021 Psychology exam will be different from the usual papers for which GATE has been usually conducted to date, we decided to provide the candidates with a detailed explanation of the GATE 2021 Psychology exam pattern and marking scheme - 

Name of the Section

Number of Questions 

Marks Carried

Question Distribution

General Aptitude




Reasoning and Comprehension



  • 1 marks x 05 questions = 5

  • 2 marks x 10 questions = 20

Psychology Paper Section



  • 1 mark x 20 questions = 20

  • 2 marks x 20 questions = 40

The marking scheme is given in the table below - 

Marks Carried by Each Question

Negative Marking

1 mark questions

1/3rd of maximum marks carried by each question

2 marks questions

2/3rd of maximum marks carried by each question

MSQ type questions

No negative marking

Get Help From Our Expert Counsellors


How many chapters are there in the GATE 2021 Psychology paper syllabus?

The Psychology paper syllabus of GATE 2021 will have 10 chapters in total.

How many questions will be there in the GATE 2021 Psychology paper final section?

The GATE 2021 Psychology paper final section will comprise questions from psychology subject. There will be a total of 40 questions in this section - 20 questions for 1 mark each and 20 questions for 2 marks each.

How many questions will be there in the GATE 2021 Psychology paper Reasoning & Comprehension section?

The GATE 2021 Psychology paper Reasoning and Comprehension section contains 15 questions - 10 questions for 2 marks each and 5 questions for 1 mark each.

How many marks does the General Aptitude section of GATE 2021 Psychology paper carry?

The GATE 2021 Psychology exam General Aptitude section carries 15 marks.

Will the NTA UGC NET Psychology Paper-II (recent edition) book be enough to prepare for the GATE 2021 Psychology paper?

Yes, you will cover more or less everything if you refer to the NTA UGC NET Psychology Paper-II (recent edition) book to prepare for the GATE 2021 Psychology paper but it is also recommended to refer the additional study materials to be fully prepared.

GATE Previous Year Question Paper

GATE Production and Industrial Engineering (PI) Question Paper 2019

GATE Production and Industrial Engineering (PI) Answerkey 2019

GATE Physics (PH) 2019

GATE Petroleum Engineering (PE) 2019

GATE Petroleum Engineering (PE) Answer key 2019

GATE Mining Engineering (MN) 2019

GATE Metallurgical Engineering (MT) Answer key 2019

GATE Mechanical Engineering (ME1) 2019

GATE Mechanical Engineering (ME02) Question Paper 2019

GATE Mechanical Engineering (ME02) Answer key 2019

GATE Mathematics (MA) Answer key 2019

GATE Mathematics (MA) Answer key 2019

GATE Life Sciences (XL-P, Q, R, S, T, U) Question Paper 2019

GATE Instrumentation Engineering (IN) 2019

GATE Instrumentation Engineering (IN) Answer key 2019

GATE Geology and Geophysics (GG) Question Paper 2019

GATE Engineering Sciences (XE-A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H) 2019

GATE Engineering Sciences (XE-A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H) Answer keys 2019

GATE Electronics and Communication Engineering (EC) 2019

GATE Electronics and Communication Engineering (EC) Answer key 2019

Electrical Engineering 2019

Gate Electrical Engg. Answerkey 2019

GATE Ecology and Evolution (EY) 2019

GATE Ecology and Evolution (EY) Answer key 2019

GATE Computer Science and Information Technology (CS) 2019

GATE Computer Science and Information Technology (CS) Answer key 2019

GATE Civil Engineering (CE1) 2019

GATE Civil Engineering (CE1) Answer key 2019

GATE Civil Engineering (CE2) 2019

GATE Chemistry (CY) 2019

GATE Chemistry (CY) Answer key 2019

GATE Chemical Engineering (CH) 2019

GATE Chemical Engineering (CH) Answer key 2019

GATE Biotechnology (BT) 2019

GATE Biotechnology (BT) Answerkey 2019

GATE Architecture and Planning (AR)2019

GATE Architecture and Planning (AR) Answer key 2019

GATE Agricultural Engineering (AG) 2019

GATE Agricultural Engineering (AG) Answer key 2018

GATE Agricultural Engineering (AG) Answer key 2019

GATE Aerospace Engineering (AE) 2019

GATE Aerospace Engineering (AE) Answer key 2019

GATE 2017 AE Question Paper

GTE IN 2017 question paper

GATE IN 2017 Question Paper


Be the First to Know

Get Access to Latest Updates

View All Questions

Related Questions

Can I get into any good Architecture College for M.Arch without clearing any Entrance?

-AnonymousUpdated on October 14, 2020 08:27 PM
  • 1 Answer
Samiksha Rautela, Student / Alumni

Dear Student, 

To get admission in an M.Arch course, you are either required to qualify a national level entrance exam such as GATECEED, TANCET etc. or sit for institute level entrance exam. Go through the list of Top Private Colleges for M.Arch Admission and M.Arch Admissions 2020 in India to explore some options.

You can also either dial the helpline number 1800-572-9877 (toll-free) or fill the Common Application Form to talk to our admission experts. For the queries related to any course or college, write back in the QnA zone. 


I made a mistake in Karnataka PGCET OMR sheet while filling the TYPE-A. Is that a problem?

-LohitUpdated on October 14, 2020 10:38 AM
  • 1 Answer
Diksha Sharma, Student / Alumni

Dear Student,

It is very important to be careful while filling your Karnataka PGCET OMR sheets as wrong filled information can be rejected by the OMR machine. However, you don't need to worry as it may not be the case for you. See, for Karnataka PGCET type A, there are 10 courses while for type B, there is only one course which is Mathematics and Computer Science.

So, if you have attempted the Type B paper and just marked the type as Type A, there should not be any problem. It might be possible that the examination authority will ...


Engineering 4th year student eligible for gate exam?

-AnonymousUpdated on September 18, 2020 03:07 PM
  • 1 Answer
Diksha Sharma, Student / Alumni

Dear Student,

Yes, the students who are in their final year of graduation or are awaiting their results can also apply for GATE Exam. However, it is important for the candidates to generate their qualification degree at the time of admission. Recently, the examination authority has made several changes to the GATE eligibility criteria. To learn about the new GATE eligibility, read GATE Eligibility Requirements.

Meanwhile, you can also go through other articles related to GATE to learn more:

What’s New in GATE 2021?

GATE 2021: List of Top 25 Government & Private Colleges for M.Tech Admission

Documents ...


Do you have a question? Ask us.

  • Typical response between 24-48 hours

  • Get personalized response

  • Free of Cost

  • Access to community

Admission Updates for 2020

Admission Updates for 2020

Subscribe to CollegeDekho News

By proceeding ahead you expressly agree to the CollegeDekho terms of use and privacy policy
Apply Now

Top 10 Arts and Humanities Colleges in India

View All

Never miss an exam update !!