Zero in on Gate and GRE

Gauri Chhabra
GATE or GRE? This is the question that is constantly on the minds of students when they are on the threshold of graduation in Engineering. Both these are the prestigious examinations for entry into post graduation and have their relative merits and demerits. Both look equally competitive and  open a broad spectrum of offshoots to choose from. Here is an attempt to understand the subtle differences between the two:
Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is an all India examination administered and conducted jointly by the Indian Institute of Science and seven Indian Institutes of Technology on behalf of the National Coordination Board – GATE, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India. It is held for PG admissions to Engineering/ Technology/ Architecture and Science programs offered across IITs, NITs and other leading centrally funded institutes. It is totally a technical exam for those who wish to get recruited in PSUs.
The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test that is an admissions requirement for many graduate schools in the United States, in other English-speaking countries and for English-taught graduate and business programs world-wide.
Who takes the test?
GATE is taken by the students who wish to pursue higher education in India whereas GRE is usually taken by the students wish to pursue studies outside India.
Who accepts the Test?
In GATE,  colleges across India (including the IITs and NITs) accept GATE scores whereas thousands of universities and institutions  abroad accept GRE scores for admissions. GRE gives importance to the English language skills of the candidate besides gauging them on other subjects. The GRE score is accepted mainly in the U.S. After acing the exam, students can go for M.S and PhD.
GATE exam is the ticket to get admission in M. Tech in Indian universities and its score is accepted in countries like Singapore and Germany. Students can pursue even M.E, M.S and PhD after clearing GATE.
GATE helps students to get scholarships and other funding (provided by MHRD and other government organizations) for Masters and/or PhD in various top engineering colleges across world whereas GRE helps students to get admissions in some of the best colleges in the world.
GATE: Candidates, who want to apply for GATE, must meet  the following criteria :
*    Aspirants who are in their second or higher year of the Four-year Integrated Master’s degree program (Post-B.Sc.) in Engineering or Technology can appear for GATE.
*    Candidates who are in their third or higher year of the Five-year Integrated Master’s degree program and Dual Degree program in Engineering or Technology can appear.
*    Candidates who have obtained qualifications equivalent to B.E. or B.Tech through professional organizations, such as, UPSC and AICTE .
*     Indian nationals along with international students from Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be eligible to appear for the exam.
*    The candidates should have completed their Bachelor’s degree in Engineering or Master’s degree in Science in a relevant subject.
*    There is no age limit for the entrance test.
*    There is also no specified minimum pass percentage (qualifying exam) to apply for GATE
GRE: There is no specific eligibility criterion for GRE. However, candidates have to fulfill the eligibility criteria of the institutions where they wish to pursue studies after taking the GRE. Anyone can register for this exam, irrespective of age or qualifications. The only thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that you will be required to produce your original passport as proof of identity at the exam center, so make sure that you have a valid passport before you register for the GRE exam.
GATE: Candidates can select ANY ONE of the 23 different papers offered by GATE.  General aptitude section is common to all papers. Other sections of the paper differ according to the paper selected.  Each paper will include a mandatory General Aptitude (GA) section comprising 10 questions. 5 of these questions will carry 1-mark each, while the remaining 5 will each carry 2 marks, for a total of 15 marks.
*    GATE 2018 is a computer-based test that will be conducted in online mode
*    GATE question paper will consist of two question types: multiple choice questions (MCQs) and Numerical Answer Type (NAT) questions
*    The questions will be displayed on a computer screen randomly
*    In case of MCQs, the candidate needs to select the correct answer, while for numerical answer type, the candidate must enter the numerical answer using a mouse and virtual keyboard ( the keyboard attached to the computer will be disabled)
*    The candidate will have to complete the test in 3 hours. After the allotted three hours, the screen will automatically close down and no further action will be possible.
*    During the exam, each candidate will be provided with a scribble pad where the candidate can do all his rough work.
*    Each question paper will contain questions related to General Aptitude (GA) in addition to subject-specific questions.
GRE comprises of 4 sections ie Analytical writing skills, Verbal reasoning, Critical thinking and Quantitative reasoning
The first one (i.e. The Analytical Writing section) is  a written test whereas the others are of objective type. The writing section has two tasks and you have 30 minutes to complete each task, making the total time for this section to be one hour.The Verbal section has to be completed within one hour as well as both the two sections require 30 minutes each. Same goes for Quantitative section, where you get 35 minutes for the two sections.
GATE: There is no restriction or bar on the number of times you can appear for the GATE exam. You are eligible to appear for GATE, as long as you meet the academic eligibility criteria for the exam. The dates for GATE 2018 are out and it is scheduled for 3rd, 4th, 10th and 11th February 2018. GATE 2018 will be organized by IIT Guwahati this time.
GRE: If you are preparing to take the GRE, then one thing you might be wrestling with is when to take the test. The most popular time to take the test is in October, November, and December. If you aren’t sure if you’ll achieve the score you want on your first try, then you may want to schedule the GRE so that you can take it again if you score poorly. You can take the GRE revised General Test once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period.
While you can take the GRE up to 5 times, you may only take it once per calendar month (including a month in which you cancel your score). You’ll want to schedule enough time in your planning process to register and re-take the test (if necessary) and have a new score submitted to schools before the application deadline. If you are dissatisfied with your initial score, you should retake the GRE only if you are confident that your score will increase considerably-for instance if you were ill or had family/personal problems. Both scores will be reported to the schools in which you apply. Schools typically accept your highest score.
GATE is completely a technical examination whereas GRE is more of Aptitude, Quantitative Aptitude and English language. There is no ranking system in GRE and the admission process is based upon the overall judgment of your profile which includes your academics, work experience, extracurricular activities, social skills & GRE. GATE is different and dead opposite in approach. It is more of subjects studies up to 6th semester of your Engineering which constitutes the syllabus where the emphasis is on technical knowledge and application of the subject.
Diligent preparation is required for both but practically the efforts required for GATE is more than GRE as engineering syllabus in India is usually shallow and not application based. So based upon your planning, you could start at least 6 months before the exam as you do not have the luxury of taking the exam at your convenience like GRE. Revising topics & practicing papers on a consistent basis is the key for GATE
Both GATE and GRE have their relative advantages and challenges. Which exam you decide to take depends on where you wish to head. The basic advantage with GATE is that if you do well, you will get to see most prestigious engineering institutes in the world. It is easier to crack after graduation, as the exam is totally based on the subjects one studied in the 4 years of engineering. Hence, even average students, by putting little effort, can sail through the exam. You get a scholarship to support education and get wonderful two years of life that you are going to remember for rest of your life. Even, if you score little less, it will take you to some colleges where you will enjoy scholarship and time.The real daunting task comes when the master degree is finished. IITs, NITs and some good universities have placements and everyone have to face huge competition. Another disadvantage, because of high competition, is that somehow one need to remove few candidates to make selection procedure to finish in given time, and usually CGPA or percentage will come into picture as a short listing criteria killing many bright students if you did not care much about your scores. The recruitment procedure for PSU is a valid GATE score of the current year and then a round of Group Discussion (GD) and Personal Interview (PI). The weight age given to GATE score is between 75% to 85%. Different PSUs that recruit through GATE include Power Grid, the central transmission utility (PGCIL), National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC), National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) etc.
If public Sector Undertaking is not your liking and budget is not a  constraint, you may  prepare for GRE as it would give you a global exposure. It has now become a single test that opens gateways of both graduate schools and business schools for you worldwide.
Preparing for GRE needs extra effort as English is not our first language, though most of Indian students do well, but one the average we don’t do well in English. Apart from this, after GRE, one has to run around a lot to fulfill many other admission requirements. This may discourage you students from taking this option.
Whether it be GATE or GRE, what matters most is hard work, dedication and perseverance, as ultimately what’s important is a successful career, be it in India or any foreign country. And for a positive career graph, you have to be consistent in your efforts and make wise decisions by considering the pros and cons of both the exams and then zero in on the appropriate