GATE Biotech (BT): Important Subjects and Books to Follow

booksandsubjectsI have always received queries regarding the important subjects and books I followed during my B.Tech (and for GATE Biotech preparation). Thought to use as a platform to share the info for one and all. Hope this information might prove helpful to all of you.

I’ll start with the subject that almost invariably constitutes a common data question:


Bioprocess Engineering
Books to Follow 1. Bioprocess Engineering, By Doran (I consider it the best one. Even in IIT Delhi, we referred this book only)
2. Bioprocess Engineering by Schuler and Kargi is another famous one.3. Whitaker and Stanbury’s Principles of Fermentation Technology is an equally good book for Bioprocess.
Special Recommendation Do not follow more than 1 book. Doran will suffice all your GATE needs.


Next subject constitutes (or has the potential of constituting) the most number of match the column and assertion reasoning questions. Knowledge of this subject is very crucial from interview point of view as well:

Enzyme Engineering (or Enzyme Technology)
Books to Follow Trevor Palmer’s Book on Enzymes is a bible!


The next subject is the essence of Biotechnology Industry. Ignoring this subject can be fatal for your Biotechnology career.

Books to Follow Prescott’s Microbiology is the perfect one for all your needs.
Special Recommendation If you get some time, do try to follow the questions asked at the end of the various chapters of Brocks’s Microbiology.
If IIT Delhi is the organizer of GATE, do not ignore Brock’s Microbiology.


The next subject can constitute a number of 1 mark questions, and is very important subject for aspirants aiming for IIT Kanpur or looking for a career in clinical research.

Books to Follow Kuby’s Immunology is the bible!


Next subject is potentially the best subject for 1 mark questions. More important than that, the conceptual understanding of this subject is extremely crucial to understand Biotechnology as a field.

Books to Follow Stryer’s Biochemistry
Lehninger’s Biochemistry
Special Recommendation If you are looking for an Indian version of the Biochemistry, go for U Satyanarayan’s book. Personally I would recommend that follow either of the two books (Lehninger or Stryer), both are the bibles. But don’t follow two books!


Next subject is important from Biomedical Engineering point of view (IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IIT Madras being the potential hubs).
Not more than 1-2 questions are often asked from this subject.

Tissue Culture
Books to Follow Plant Tissue Culture: By Bhojwani
Culture of Animal Cells: By Ian Freshney
Special Recommendation A basic know how of the tissue culture techniques and concepts is sufficient for GATE needs. Give special attention to various technical terms used in Tissue Culture, and the importance of various physical parameters.


Next two subjects are not only important for basic foundations, but these two subjects together constitute a good number of one marks and 2 marks questions.

Cell Biology and Molecular Biology
Books to Follow Cell Biology: By Geral Karp
Molecular Biology of the Cell: Bruce Alberts
Special Recommendation Gerald Karp’s Cell Biology is a very important book. It not only covers the basic concepts, but  also thoroughly covers very good concepts of Cell Signalling.


Next subject can be considered as the heart of modern biotechnology. If I had to give a recommendation about which subjects to follow one week prior to GATE BT, I would suggest just 2 subjects: one is Microbiology, and other in the following:

Genetic Engineering (or Recombinant DNA Technology)
Books to Follow Molecular Biology of the Gene by JD Watson
Principles and Techniques of Practical Biochemistry by Wilson and Walker
Special Recommendation Book by Wilson and Walker is a very important one to cover all important Bioanalytical Techniques. Do not ignore this book.Also, the detailed concepts of Recombinant DNA technology in Molecular Biology of the Gene by JD Watson, are really very important to cover.


Other important Subjects:

Books to Follow Bioinformatics: Sequence and Genome Analysis by David W Mount

(keep yourself aware of various databases)



Books to Follow NCERT books of XI and XII


For any other query, feel free to post your questions in the comments section.

All the best for GATE Biotech and all other exams. Wish you all success in life!




  1. Thanks’s very useful information..
    Can you please suggest some topics which are very important for GATE BT?
    Thank you

  2. Sunil Nagpal

    Hi Abhay,
    Good to know that you found the post useful..
    I have already published an article on “GATE Biotech: Most Important Topics”…you may refer the same from here:

    Let me know if you have any other query.

    Best Wishes

  3. Very helpful and detailed information sir! I have just started preparing for IIT JAM BT, 2015. Would you have any tips/advice, specific to the IIT JAM BT paper that would aid my preparation?
    Thank you!

    • Sunil Nagpal

      Hi Shreya,
      Aim of the post was to help you all. I’m happy that you found it useful. Very frankly, my personal experience pertains more to GATE, DBT, CSIR, NUS etc. Though I don’t hold a first hand experience of IIT JAM BT, but my piece of advice would be:
      1. Go through the previous year question papers of GATE XL, BT and JAM BT (especially of those years in which IIT Guwahati was the organizer, as IIT JAM 2015 will be organized by IIT Guwahati).
      2. JAM 2015 is going to be completely computer based, so practising the mock tests for adapting yourself would be crucial.
      3. As I observed in the syllabus for JAM BT 2015, they have very specifically mentioned about the topics one should cover. You should make sure that your concepts should be crystal clear about these limited topics in Biology. The books I have mentioned will be useful. For Maths, Chemistry and Physics, you really don’t need to follow any book other than NCERTs of 11th and 12th. Be thorough in studying them.
      4. And, within next few months, I’ll be posting study materials as well, I hope those will help you all in some way.

      My best wishes to you!


  4. Hi,

    The information is very useful for aspiring GATE BT candidates. Well appreciated !

  5. Hello Ji, Can you please tell me how about using P. F. Stanbury for Bioprocess. I found that in Stanbury all topics are in sequence and is easy to use and i found bit uneasy in using Doran.

    • Hi Mario,

      Whitaker’s (We recognize it by Whitaker 😉 ) Principles of Fermentation Technology is indeed an awesome book to understand the basics of Bioprocess. You may blindly follow that book. But I would suggest that do practice the numericals of Doran when ever you finish a topic from Whitaker. Doran ‘can’ at-times seem bit tedious to follow, but as I said, follow religiously ‘one book’ you are comfortable with. But, choosing the right book is indeed very important, and on that part Whitaker’s fermentation technology is no less than Doran. My thumbs are up for it 🙂

      And Thanks for the question, I’ll definitely update the recommendation for Bioprocess 🙂 Thanks for the reminder actually.
      P.S : I’ll be posting some video lectures on Bioprocess soon. Hope those will help in some way.

      Best Wishes!

  6. Thanks for your tips and well I am going to follow Whitaker and to solve numerical’s from Doran. Now got some clear cut idea and waiting for those video lectures.

  7. Hello sir could you please tell me that collecting all the previous year papers of the GATE exam conducted by the host institute(this year IIT KANPUR) will be useful if so how ?
    moreover IIT KANPUR paper will stress/concentrate on which topics mainly ?

  8. Hello Vikram, Hope it will bit help you but I dont know their key areas. Only Sunil bhaiya can answer those key areas that IITK are concentrating, Year Organizing Institute
    2015 IIT Kanpur
    2014 IIT Kharagpur
    2013 IIT Bombay
    2012 IIT Delhi
    2011 IIT Madras
    2010 IIT Guwahati
    2009 IIT Roorkee
    2008 IISc Bangalore
    2007 IIT Kanpur
    2006 IIT Kharagpur
    2005 IIT Bombay
    2004 IIT Delhi
    2003 IIT Madras
    2002 IISc Banglore
    2001 IIT Kanpur
    2000 IIT Kharagpur
    1999 IIT Bombay
    1998 IIT Delhi
    1997 IIT Madras
    1996 IISc Banglore
    1995 IIT Kanpur

    • Sunil Nagpal

      This is a really nice response to Vikram’s query, Mario! It’s indeed a useful information for GATE BT aspirants (infact for all GATE aspirants). Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Keep the good work up!

      Best Regards and Cheers!


  9. DEAR SIR,
    THAN YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR VALUABLE INFORMATION. I am a bio medical genetics student. Being a student of bio sciences I am feeling a bit difficulty in solving numerical problems in bio process engg and process BT units.Please provide some notes in theory and numerical problems in above two units in GATE BT paper.


  10. Hello sir,could you please tell me how to prepare for BIOPROCESS ENGG, is there any book that cover/contain numerical problems and what are the important topics to concentrate more.

    • Sunil Nagpal

      Hello Vikram,

      Extremely sorry for the delay in response (had some unavoidable circumstances). Please use Doran’s Bioprocess Engineering to practice the numerical problems. Also, “donot” ignore unsolved problems at the end of the chapters. You may post your problems here (I’ll solve them for you people). Also, there’s a solution manual available on the web for Doran’s numerical problems. Just google it and you will find it. Religiously follow and understand the numericals of Doran, you will find yourself in extremely confident situation.

      Best wishes!

      P.S: Thanks to Mario for assisting you in this regard.

  11. Hello Vikram, as Sunil bhaiya said we can blindly follow Whitaker’s Principle of fermentation technology. To solve problems you have to use Bio Process Engineering by Doran.
    To know the important topics, visit the following link,

  12. Nagpal sir…you are doing really a great job..thank you so much for this valuable information…
    now got a criteria to prepare…

  13. sushmita biswas

    help me out in cracking ugc net …pls suggest important books n topics

  14. Hello sir,i need one small suggestion that, presently iam final year Biotech.iam taking GATE coaching from BIOTECNIKA, actually they are mainly concentrated in Pure life sciences topics such as Cell,Molecular biology,genetics,rDNA tech e.t.c and they are going to complete the syllabus in december and from december they start teaching our biotech topics such as BIOPROCESS,PLANT & ANIMAL BIOTECHNOLOGY,BIO INFORMATICS so iam at the confusion that weather i have to fallow their regular schedule to complete life sciences topics upto december and spending remaining 2 months(december and january) for bioprocess & plant,animal biotech. plz suggest me that weather should i have to start preparing bioprocess & bioinformatics,plant & animal biotech topics during these months(november,december) along their regular schedule (or) i have to start my preperation of bioprocess from december?

    • Hello Vikram,
      I’ll suggest you to spend just 1-2 hrs a day on reading the basic concepts in Bioprocess. Start with Chapter 4 (Material Balances) of Doran’s Bioprocess. Read this chapter thoroughly. Then switch to Chapter 11 (Homogenous Reactions) and then focus on Chapter 13 (Reactor Engineering). If you thoroughly focus on these chapters (along with their numericals), it will cover 80% of the Bioprocess Needed for GATE BT.

      And, don’t delay in starting practising the previous years papers. Start solving them soonest possible!

      Spend 2 hours on Weekends for Plant & Animal Biotech and Bioinformatics. You just need to know the basic terms and concepts. No need to go in depth.

      Hope it helps.

      Best wishes

  15. Hello sir i would like to know that the key areas that IIT kanpur will concentrate in setting GATE 2015 paper.

    • Vikram, you need to go through the IITK faculty profiles to figure that out and also thoroughly analyse those years’ question papers wherein IITK was the host.

      I can do that for you, but it will help you more when you will do it on your own. The process of analysing the focus areas of IITK will eventually help you in a lot many ways.

      All the best!


  16. Hello sunil bhai, i have gone through IITK faculty profile but not able to judge in which areas they are concentrating,as each faculty is specialized in 1 or more than one areas,so please help me about in which areas does IITK will concentrate.

  17. Sir !! Please suggest me that for cracking the GATE exam is there a need of joining the coaching or self study is sufficient?

  18. Desh Deepak Yadav

    Hello Sunil Sir , I am in third year with Bio Engineering (almost similar with Biotech curriculum) and wants to crack the GATE 2016 with flying colors. Sir ,Presently i am preparing with book “Biotechnology-A problem approach” by Pranav kumar & Usha Mina and solving previous year papers side-wise. Sir ,whether this book is sufficient or I have to follow the books you have prescribed in above Posts.
    And sir can you upload the GATE- 2015 BT paper ?

  19. Hi sir,
    I’ve many questions in my mind regarding biotech.
    I’m actually about to start my college in a week and i wasn’t really looking for biotech but it happened anyway.
    I was preparing for pre-medical but its not gonna happen now, so basically biotech was my plan B and also I’m gonna be doing it from a private college.
    I actually googled a lot about it but I’m still not satisfied. It would mean a lot to me if u could tell me what exactly I’m getting myself into.I have a tad bit of an idea but I need to know more, like what after biotech,about job opportunities and further studies please help!

  20. Prathyusha

    Sir which edition should I follow kuby…there is alot of variation between 6th and 7th?

    • Sunil Nagpal

      Hi Prathyusha,

      Sorry for the delayed response…the comment approval took a lot of time for me to see this query…

      You should follow the 7th edition and don’t worry about the difference in the contents of the two editions, just stick to 7th and stay assured that you are following the right content..all the best!

  21. Shubham Mahla

    Hello sir
    I am currently pursuing BTech biotechnology from vit university vellore need guidance regarding what should I do after completion of my BTech degree should is go for MS in biotechnology or should I try for Mtech ?

  22. hi, I would be appearing for the gate 2017 organised by iit roorkee for gate bt. I have seen their list of faculties and concluded that they are mostly in fundamental and basic research along with environmetal aspects. can you please still guide me as to what would be the key areas i should focus on. i am also preparing for csir exam also and have made a lot of notes on population genetics and diversity of microbial along with enzyme kinetics considering IIT roorkee. thanks in anticipation.

    • Hi Zaid,

      I’ll have to go through IIT Roorkee’s profile and history to give my recommendation. Please allow me some time. Meanwhile, keep doing the good work.

      All the best

  23. Hello sunil sir,
    I want to knw that what about path finder regarding for gate preparation.M in btechBT 3rd year

    • Hello Harshita,

      My recommendation to every student has been to follow step by step approach towards Gate bt preparation. Rather than following an “All in one” book, it’s better to trust the standard books to Clear your Concepts about the topics mentioned in the syllabus.

      The questionnaire mentioned at the end of each chapter of standard books is rarely touched upon by the students (that’s unfortunate). Those questions are vast source of preparation themselves.

      And then, being thorough with previous year papers is really going to help.

      In short, I will never vouch for an All in One book (those books give you Facts, not concepts).

      Hope it helps

      Best wishes,

  24. Hello
    I am a student of IIT Delhi 4rth year pursuing Dual degree in Biochemical and Biotechnology.
    I am not having a good academic record till now its just near average.
    The question about what to do after my mtech bugs me a lot. I am highly inclined towards this branch (specially computational Biology) but the scope in India seems to be too less and in foreign its hard to get with my academic details.
    As you might also know the placement ratios for biotech core company is too low from here and mostly people are taking consultansy jobs or doing other preparetions like IAS.
    I request you to guide me what should I actually do as 2 semester of B.Tech and a year of M.Tech is now left.
    Thank You

    • Sunil Nagpal

      Hello Ravi,

      Could you please share your CGPA? And, share your resume as well. Your first step should be getting an internship in Computational Biosciences in an institute or company of repute. I’ll see if I can of some help.

      Best wishes

  25. Kuldeep Sharma

    Hello Sunil Sir,

    Where can I find Completely solved Paper for GATE BT 2016 (not just the answer key!). I have no Idea how to solve NAT type questions came in previous year question paper.

    Thanks & Regards

    • Sunil Nagpal

      Hi Kuldeep,

      Kindly share the questions you are facing problem with. I wont be able to solve the entire paper, but will try to solve some specific questions. You can share the questions here or on

  26. Hello sir actually I’m preparing for jam biotech 2017 as uk. Only 3.months left for the exam..My basics are not so strong.What to do? I know the syllabus but it’s too much so can please tell me some important topics that I should do rather than completing each and every chapter for eg immunology which topics carry more weightage so that I should do those topics first . please reply asap
    Thank you

  27. Sir, your guidance have really been helpful. Actually , I secured 7.6 CGPA in B.E Biotech.
    But I was going through the discussions and I came across one reply of yours where u have mentioned that to get an admission into iit institutes one needs to have an avg of 8.5. So now I really am confused about the preparation. Should I even give it try after months of prep. I am really looking forward for your reply.
    Thanking you in advance .

    • Sunil Nagpal


      Please do direct me to that comment so that I can make the necessary amends.

      8.5 CGPA is minimum required for ‘Direct Admission’ if your GATE score is above the minimum needed score for direct admission. That too doesn’t ensure the direct admission, but makes you eligible for consideration amongst the pool of candidates.

      6.75 CGPA is minimum required for all other candidates.

      So you shouldn’t worry alot and prepare well!

  28. Hello sir, can you please suggest me the standard book for molecular dynamics and bioenergetics

  29. Sir I’m a second year BE CSE student. I am very much interest in agriculture field related biotechnology. I came to know that cross majoring is possible in IIT via decent GATE marks. How am I prepare for GATE 2019 to score eligible marks for joining in IIT ?

    • Sunil Nagpal

      That will be a steep learning experience for you. You should ensure that your Maths and Apti is good (that will fetch you a good 15-20 marks if attempted well).

      For other subjects focus more on Microbiology (industrial microbiology), Immunology and Bioprocess.

  30. Ananthi Ponnusamy

    Sir can you suggest book for process Biotechnology? You haven’t told that.

  31. How should i study biochemistry from Leninger for gate biotechnology ?Iam really confused….

    • Sunil Nagpal

      Follow the GATE syllabus and try to cover it topic by topic. Practice the back exercises of each chapter.

  32. Please let me know which test series is better for gate biotechnology.Thanks a lot.

  33. Please let me know reference book and website links for mathematics 2.aptitude

  34. Tq sir for ur detailed information about book and question.. It is really very helpful

  35. I’m unable to get your prescribed book
    If u have any prescribed book link please please send the link…please

  36. hello sir , thankk you very much for this useful information…but how would i read these books like they have a lot of content and how would i come to one which topic should i read it’s not easy to read the whole book and memorize it as well

  37. Hello sir i found this really helpful…
    Please suggest me how to do numerical questions of bio section ….theory is ok.but what about numericals section please suggest me….

  38. Neha Yadav

    hello sir

    I Have a query that is there a scope of doing biotech from nit if i do not want to go for phd. What are the career options of doing biotech from nit. Will i be eligible for teaching or i have to search job in variois companies.


  39. Dear Sir,
    I’ve noticed that you’ve stopped posting after July 2017. I am a GATE aspirant. I am giving GATE 2019. The books that you’ve mentioned are clearly too vast to understand, absorb and also contain to the date of the exam. What are the focus topics or rather subjects that need repetition. Because, repetition is the key to brushing up and containing the matter in the head! Also, how has the GATE question asking style changed over years? Considering IIT Madras is the organiser of GATE ’19, it has organised GATE before 2010 (when GATE BT didn’t exist) and in 2011. I have only one paper to analyse. Most people advise about past question paper analysis and making a blue print. I’m afraid I don’t quite comprehend that. How do I go about analysing how the paper is set? This is the preparation part. That being said, being really honest, I don’t have a knack for taking such exams considering there is negative marking. When I don’t attempt a question, I panic and end up guessing a random option, and pay a high price for it. This I do with more than about half the questions. How do I deal with such a problem? I’ve read your article about how you cracked GATE twice and both the times you attempted only 40 to 50 questions and how its all about not answering all but only about getting what you answer right. How do I deal with my paranoia?


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