GATE Biotech: Most Important Topics

gate25If one goes through the syllabus mentioned for GATE Biotech, I’m sure he/she will get a burden of his life (especially if he/she has decided to prepare for GATE BT just 3-4 months before the scheduled day of exam). Let’s lighten that burden a bit 🙂 Here’s a list of some ‘very’ crucial topics which should be on your high priority list!

  1. Microbial Cell Growth Kinetics
  2. Batch Mode of Bioreactor and Chemostat
  3. Mechanism of action of various antibiotics
  4. Kinetics of Sterlization
  5. Plant growth regulators and elicitors
  6. Recombinant DNA technology in Plants: Give special focus on Reagents used for cell membrane poration and their mode of action
  7. Hybridoma technology
  8. Major histocompatibility complex (MHC)
  9. Antibodies
  10. Comlement System (Immunology)
  11. Types of Restriction endonucleases
  12. PCR and Blotting techniques
  13. GPCR, G-protein (structure and functional significance of each component), and basics of Cell Signalling
  14. Very basic information about Vectors: plasmid, bacteriophage and other viral vectors, cosmids, Ti plasmid, yeast artificial chromosome
  15. ATP sheet of Kreb cycle to Electron Transport Chain (i.e focus on the number of ATPs, NADH and NADPH being produced)
  16. Microbial Anaerobic Respiration
  17. Protein Secondary structure: special focus on numerical details
  18. Difference between Fermentation and Oxidative phosphorylation; NADH vs NADPH
  19. Chromatographic techniques
  20. Thorough detail on Central Dogma: Special focus on how prokaryotic and eukaryotic central dogma differ
  21. Structure of t-RNA
  22. Read the definition of various terms used in Bioinformatics (Often given at the end of books in APPENDIX or glossary). A knowledge of only the terms is more than sufficient for Bioinformatics
  23. Numericals on population genetics
  24. Detailed study of DNA gyrases (Topoisomerases)
  25. Mean, median, mode, standard deviation, Matrices, determinants and Bayesian probability


  1. Hi,

    Thanks for this useful suggestion. Can you please help me with the important topics from Calculus and Linear Algebra? I have never studied Engineering mathematics before. So, it’s kind of tough gaining a command over the entirety.



    • Hi Aakansha,

      Just grab the NCERT books of XI and XII and go through Matrices and Determinants.
      For Calculus; be thorough with Differentiation and Integration (again NCERT). Get the understanding of Maxima and minima as well. But make sure that your probability and statistics is very sound (very crucial for aptitude part as well). This should suffice your mathematics needs.

      And, it’s understandable on part of core Biology students not to have a command over engineering mathematics; so don’t get disheartened by this (most of the GATE BT aspirants appear with this fear, so the balance is sort of maintained). Just prepare with contention and stay confident!

      Hope it helps.

      Feel free to post any further queries.

      Best wishes


  2. Thanks sir for providing imp topics for gate.
    My preparation is not upto that level till now. Please guide me what should I do now.
    Is there any hope now?????
    Looking forward for your reply

    Thanking you……!

    • Sunil Nagpal

      Hi Sweta,
      First of all don’t panic at all. Yes you can crack it. Start solving the previous year GATE BT and GATE XL (Biotech section) question papers (especially of those years wherein IITK was the organizer). And, amongst the topics mentioned above just study one topic every day from now on. Give priority to those topics which are not mathematical. But make sure that you start solving previous year GATE question papers.

      It will help.

      Let me know if you need any further help.

      Best regards

  3. Sorry sir I forgot to mention the date of exam. Its on 31st of this month i.e 31 jan

  4. I am not good at maths
    so M.Tech biotechnology is suitable for me after graduation or I change my field to MBA

    • Sunil Nagpal

      Hi Ashutosh,
      As I mentioned in response to your previous question, in my opinion, you should go for further specialization in the course related to your Bachelor’s degree. And donot worry about Maths (it’s not extremely hard in Biotech related courses). Probability and Statistics; and Differentiation and Integration is all you need to be good at.

      Hope it helps.

      Best Regards

  5. Shankha Ghosh Dastidar

    Sir ,can you provide the link for XL 1995 ques paper..along with the answer key

    • Sunil Nagpal

      Hi Shankha,

      Couldnt trace 1995 GATE XL anywhere on the web. Will revert back soon once I talk to IITK people (organisers of 1995 GATE). Thanks for your query.

      Best Regards


  6. Thnx a lot sir

  7. Hello Sir
    My interest is to be an Biotech Engineer.
    and not to become Agricultural Biotechnologist thats why
    I wanted to do M.Tech after my 4 year BS.

  8. I dont secure Admission at B.Tech biotech as there is few college offering it in maharashtra. so I get admission in BS agricultural biotechnology for my future plan.
    But my ultimate Aim is to do M.Tech.
    so guide me sir.

    • Hi Ashutosh,

      You may appear for GATE BT/DBT/other related exams to pursue your goals. M.Tech in Biochemical Engg with specialization in Plant Cell Technology will be suitable for you. But do let us know if you find interest in other related area of Biotech.

      Best Regards

  9. Hello Sir
    Can you provide me a list of colleges who offering M.Tech in plant or Agricultural related disciplines.
    it will great help sir

  10. Afrin Yasmin

    sir,how do i find what iisc has taught subjects and topics this year so that i can make list for the preparations as you told us for gate 2016

  11. Debasmita Mukherjee

    Sir, I wish to appear for GATE BT 2017. Would you enlighten me on how to go about the entire syllabus? Do the topics you mentioned are enough in addition to previous year papers? Before 2010, will solving the XL papers of the organising institute do? In that case, will IISc be organising the exam this year? I have more or less 5 months for preparation. Please help out, Sir! Thanks.

    • Sunil Nagpal

      Hello Debasmita,

      Over the years, I have posted a lot of articles on how to approach GATE Biotech. Request you to go through and this website in detail. If you don’t find any helpful article, I’ll be there to assist.

      Best wishes,

  12. Vasudha Pandit

    Dear sir,

    Can you suggest a good coaching institute in Bangalore for gate 2017 preparation?


    • Sunil Nagpal

      Sorry, that’s not in my scope of knowledge. I would rather suggest you to prepare through self study. No one teaches you better than yourself.

      Best wishes

  13. prakash choudhary

    Hello Good evening sir, I prakash choudhary student of btech biotechnology preparing for gate 2017…i feel that i am not good in bioprocess eengineering …so sir how can i inprove in these subject…beacause sir these subject is very inp subject in gate point of view….

  14. Dear Sir,

    I would like to know whether questions are repeated or not in GATE? And also it will be helpful if you can please post the answer key of the 2009 question paper.

    Thanks a lot,

    • Sunil Nagpal

      Hi Sneha,

      Questions are not verbatim repeated, but yes the concept is repeated a lot of times. So being thorough with the previous year papers is really very important. Could you please share the questions you need answers for (I will have to sit and look into them)..All the best!

  15. sir
    i am a 4th year student of b.tch biotechnology
    and i take myself to b at 0 right no with no preprations. can you please help me out ?

    • Sunil Nagpal

      Hi Sonali,

      Ideal way would be to thoroughly solve the previous year papers. Once should never hold a notion that he/she has zero preparation. Your 4 years of study in BTech is there in your mind (and believe me, if you go into the exam room with a stress free mind, it will do wonders in deciphering the right answers for the questions). Believe in your 4 years of “experience” and condition your mind for the exam situation by practicing as many mock tests as possible. Also, as I keep telling: DONOT IGNORE THE PREVIOUS YEAR PAPERS.

      You will do well. Confidence in yourself is all that you need!

      Best wishes

  16. Hello sir . I want to appear in Gate BT 2017. I m weak in mathematics. And I want to know that is it OK to study with standard book in this small time period of five months.

    • Hello Noor,
      Refer NCERT books for clearing your concepts of Mathematics (number of questions pertaining to Maths aren’t many in GATE BT, so you shouldn’t worry much about that).

      Also, lesser is the time left, the more should be your focus on Previous year papers and mock tests.

      Yes, it is completely fine to follow standard books to [Clear your Concepts]. Refer to the syllabus and go topic by topic go evaluate how much you already know and to what extent you need to go through the standard book thoroughly.

      Keep one thing in mind,..institutes never ever refer to any “MCQ books or sure short books”. They follow the standard books recommend to students for theoretical studies. So, at the end of the day, questions will be framed from the concepts mentioned in standard books only.

      Hope it helps

      ” And, no time is too small for achieving something. It’s your zeal and self confidence that matters the most ”

      Stay confident!

      Best wishes

  17. Sir, after clearing GATE and getting select in IIT’s we will be doing research or Ph.D ..But what is the status of companies(mnc’s) in iits? Do they come for placements in iit in our branch (bt) while we r doing M.Tech?

    • Hello Shubhangi,

      Yes MNCs do come for placements. But it is up to us (the students) to call and invite them. One of you will have to be the placement coordinator, representing your degree course and invite the companies of interest. The conventional companies that often visit the specific IIT will come without your invitation (core team handles that),..but to get your company of interest to your campus , you will have to pitch for them.

      Hope it helps

  18. Ketaki Yelgaonkar

    Hello sir, I’m in my third year of engineering and I have started with the GATE preparations. I wanted to know what is the criteria for getting into an IIT after GATE? Do they have a specific cut off of the engineering pointer? what if my average of all the semesters is not up to the requirement but my GATE score is good?

    • Sunil Nagpal

      Hello Ketaki,

      Eligibility criteria is as follows:

      12th: Above 60%
      6.75 CGPA is minimum required for all candidates.

      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.

      GATE score: Variable cut-off by different institutes and departments.

      Hope it helps

  19. Hello sir!
    I am in the fourth year of my Btech in Biotechnology. I was interested more in Food technology and would like to pursue this in my Master’s. Will this be a good option in terms of placements and other future scopes for jobs. Will Mtech.Biotechnology be suitable?…If yes , than how should I apply for it in good institutions? Once again wouldi like to say that core biotechnology is not in much of my interests, rather food technology is what that means more of my interest, but is confused as my bachelor’s is not in that!
    Please guide me!.

  20. Hi sir,
    I would like know the blueprint and weightage of marks for each subject in gate Biotechnology.

  21. Nabamita Nandi

    can you please tell me that whether types of protein such as collagen, myoglobin etc are a part of gate biochemistry syllabus or not

  22. Sir please do update us with GATE BT 2018 preparation as i can’t find anything about 2018 GATE on ur site.
    Thanking you.

  23. Can a b pharmacy student apply for gate biotechnology. And is there any future in it


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