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GATE-Biochemistry(XL- Q Life Sciences) Exam Pattern

Exam Pattern

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) -Biochemistry(XL- Q Life Sciences) has 3 hours duration.

  • The question paper will consist of both Multiple choice questions (MCQ) and Numerical answer type (NAT) questions.

  • In all the papers, there will be a total of 65 questions carrying 100 marks, out of which 10 questions carrying a total of 15 marks will be on General Aptitude (GA).

  • In the papers bearing the codes Biochemistry(XL- Q Life Sciences), Chemistry will carry, around 25% of the total marks, the General Aptitude section will carry 15% of the total marks and the remaining 60% of the total marks is devoted to the subject of the paper.

GATE would contain questions of two different types in various papers:

(i) Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) carrying 1 or 2 marks each in all papers and sections. These questions are objective in nature, and each will have a choice of four answers, out of which the candidate has to mark the correct answer(s).

(ii) Numerical Answer Questions of 1 or 2 marks each in all papers and sections. For these questions the answer is a real number, to be entered by the candidate using the virtual keypad. No choices will be shown for this type of questions. The answer can be a number such as 10 (an integer only).

General Aptitude (GA) Questions

In all papers, GA questions carry a total of 15 marks. The GA section includes 5 questions carrying 1-mark each (sub-total 5 marks) and 5 questions carrying 2-marks each (sub-total 10 marks).

Question Papers

These papers would contain 25 questions carrying 1-mark each (sub- total 25 marks) and 30 questions carrying 2-marks each (sub-total 60 marks). The question paper will consist of questions of multiple choice and numerical answer type.

A candidate appearing in the Biochemistry(XL- Q Life Sciences) paper has to answer the following

1. Section – Chemistry

2. GA – General Aptitude

3. Any two of XL sections Q to U

The choice of two sections from Q to U can be made during the examination after viewing the questions. Only two optional sections can be answered at a time. A candidate wishing to change midway of the examination to another optional section must first choose to deselect one of the previously chosen optional sections (Q to U).

XL Paper

In XL paper, Chemistry section is compulsory. This section contains 15 questions carrying a total of 25 marks: 5 questions carrying 1-mark each (sub-total 5 marks) and 10 questions carrying 2-marks each (sub-total 20 marks). Some questions may be of numerical answer type. Each of the other sections of the XL paper (Sections Q through U) contains 20 questions carrying a total of 30 marks: 10 questions carrying 1-mark each (sub-total 10 marks) and 10 questions carrying 2-marks each (sub-total 20 marks). Some questions may be of numerical answer type.



Chemistry (Compulsory)


Code  (P)









Food Technology





Paper General Aptitude (GA) Questions  Subject Marks     Total Marks Total Time
Biochemistry (XL- Q Life Sciences) 15  25+2*30 100 3 hours 


Test duration- 3 hours 

Total Marks- 15+25+2*30= 100

Total Question- 65

Marking System – For 1-mark multiple-choice questions, 1/3 mark will be deducted for a wrong answer. Likewise, for 2-mark multiple-choice questions, 2/3 mark will be deducted for a wrong answer. There is NO negative marking for numerical answer type questions.

Syllabus Summary

No. Of Subject 7
No. Of Unit 11
No. Of Chapter 50
  1. Immunodiffusion
  2. Immunoelectrophoresis
  1. Active and Passive Immunity
  2. Complement system
  3. Antibody Structure
  4. Cells of the Immune System
  5. T and B cell Activation
  6. Major Histocompatibility Complex
  7. T Cell Receptor
  1. Organization of life
  2. Importance of water
  3. Structure and function of biomolecules
  4. Protein structure
  5. Folding and Function
  1. DNA replication, transcription and translation
  2. Biochemical regulation
  3. Recombinant DNA technology
  1. Numerical computation
  2. Numerical Estimation
  3. Numerical Reasoning
  4. Data Interpretation
  1. English grammar
  2. Sentence Completion
  3. Verbal Analogies
  4. Word Groups
  5. Instructions
  6. Critical Reasoning
  7. Verbal Deduction
  1. Nitrogen Fixation
  2. Amino acids and Nucleotides
  3. Photosynthesis
  4. Calvin cycle
  1. Metabolic Pathways
  2. TCA Cycle
  3. Pentose Phosphate Pathway
  4. Oxidative Phosphorylation
  5. Fatty Acid Metabolism
  1. Enzyme Kinetics
  2. Vitamins and Coenzymes
  3. Metabolism and Bioenergetics
  4. Generation and Utilization of ATP
  1. Ion exchange
  2. Affinity Chromatography
  3. Characterization of Biomolecules
  4. Fluorescence Spectroscopy and Mass spectrometry
  1. Cell Structure and Organelles
  2. Biological Membranes
  3. Transport across Membranes
  4. Signal Transduction
  5. Hormones and Neurotransmitters

How to prepare

Preparation Strategy -

Make a proper Time Table

It is very important that you make a timetable and stick to it and you will have an exact idea of what you are required to study and the time required for it.

Concept clarity rather than routes learning

It is essential that you have a clear idea of the formulas and concepts rather than rote learning of things for the papers. While you might require it for memorizing formulas it is important that for other stuff you make sure you clear your basis and concepts before moving on.

Prepare Notes

It is very important to make small notes or a comprehensive list of formulas on each covered topic and chapter which will come in handy at the time of revision. This will require you to be regular with your work but will surely make things easy at the time of revision.

Revision of Class XI and XII concepts

Make sure that you revise your concepts from the syllabus of these classes before starting anything new as most of the engineering exams will be for admission to undergraduate courses and so the syllabi from class XI and XII becomes the testing ground to check students.

Seek guidance

It is not possible for you to know everything in your syllabus, at least not at the time of preparation. Sooner or later you will run into a concept or so which will give you trouble and then it is best you seek guidance from an instructor or a teacher. It is necessary that you clear your doubts at regular intervals and don’t prolong things for long. Getting into a good coaching class is nothing to be ashamed off and if anything a regular coaching class will enable you to avoid roadblocks in your preparation.

Sample Papers

Even though there may be a complete change in the exam pattern or the expected questions altogether,it is important that you practice on the sample and previous years question papers available for the engineering exam you’d be attempting. You will know the existing pattern and have a fair idea of the type of questions to expect in the paper along with the time constraint.

Mock tests

The paper pattern, duration of the paper and the number of questions to be attempted in the given amount of time is not something you will be able to pick up on the day of the examination. A Mock Test tests a student’s abilities as it not only provides a similar feel of real exams but also helps in building speed and confident to face the exam. Furthermore, they can improve their performance to get an extra edge in actual exams. Try to build up an Engineering Entrance Exam Test Prep MCQ Question Bank

Time management

Time management can be learned through thorough practice and regular test taking. So it is important that you practice it and practice it well.

Negative marking

Most the entrance examinations will have negative marking and everyone would suggest you stay clear of questions are not sure about. But some experts are of the opinion that you answer the questions in which you are confused between an option or two because there will also be a chance of getting it right.

Duration : 3 Hours

Important Instructions

  • Examinations for all the 23 papers (disciplines) will be conducted by an ONLINE Computer Based Test (CBT). A candidate can appear only in any one paper of the GATE examination.

  • The online examination paper will contain some questions for which numerical answers must be keyed in by the candidate using the virtual keypad.

  • Rest of the questions shall be of Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) type.

  • A virtual on-screen calculator only shall be used during the examination.

  • The candidates shall use the ONLY virtual calculator to be provided by GATE.

  • Physical calculator, mobile phone and wrist watches with calculation facility are strictly prohibited and candidates possessing these in the examination hall (even if not using) shall be disqualified.

  • Biometric information (Photograph and Fingerprints) for randomly selected candidates may be captured before the start of the examination.

  • The candidate has to appear at the GATE Examination Center on the date and time specified in the admit card; no request for any change in Center or Date/Time shall be entertained. Similarly, this being an examination body with certain constraints, candidates needing very special or specific facility for the exam may not be entertained.

  • For GATE the entire process of filling up of an application form, uploading of certificates/documents etc., shall be online only and the candidates should not send any hard copy of his/her application form/documents etc., to IITR or any of the IIT’s zonal GATE office.

  • The payment of application fees would be through electronic mode; online as well as through payment at bank counters using e-challan.

  • The admit cards for GATE would be available through the online process only. Candidates can download their admit card from GATE website.