The GATE exam comprises of multiple choice questions wherein the students have to choose between four given options. This is where the main challenge is involved because students often get puzzled between the options that apparently seem very similar.

Like any other entrance exam, GATE also has the much-dreaded feature of negative marking and if you are not careful enough, it can bring down your scores considerably. This article is all about approaching GATE 2019 in a way to avoid negative marking and maximizing the months of intensive practice that you have pumped in for acing the exam.

How To Avoid Negative Marking

Avoid Negative Marking

Read the questions slowly and carefully
The proverb ‘Haste makes waste’ could not be truer than in case of entrance exams. Read the question slowly and make sure you understand exactly what is required of you. Misunderstanding the question can lead to a wrong answer and result in negative marking.

Know the marking scheme well
In GATE, two types of questions are asked – Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) and Numerical Answer Type (NAT). ⅓ mark is deducted for each incorrect answer to MCQ carrying 1 mark and ⅔ mark is deducted for each incorrect answer MCQ carrying 2 marks.

NAT questions, however, do not have the provision of negative marking. Also, questions that are not attempted are marked zero. Make sure you attempt the NAT questions well as there will not be any scope of you losing any marks for such questions.

Confused between options? Try the elimination method
In an MCQ, if you are not sure of the answer, try eliminating the options one by one to reach one best-fit solution. Chances are high that this way your guess-work will hit bulls-eye. If you are unable to eliminate options, leave the question.

If unsure, don’t attempt the question
You need to make peace with the fact that not all questions in the exam will be a cakewalk for you. There will be some questions, despite your rigorous preparation, that you will not be sure about. It is best to leave these questions and move on to the ones you are confident about and thus reducing the chance of negative marking.

Don’t forget to save your answers
Ensure that you save your answer before proceeding to the next question. GATE being a computer-based examination, you have the option of saving your answer or marking the same for review later, before you can move on to the next question. In case you forget to hit the ‘Save’ tab, your answer will be lost.

Time management is the key
Time management is crucial in entrance exams like GATE. You may end up spending more time than you can afford to in one particular section leaving you with inadequate time to solve the rest of the paper. So prioritizing is important. In case you feel that a particular question is taking up more time than usual, mark the same for review and come back to it when you have finished solving the majority of the paper.

Note down the question number kept for review
In case you are marking a question for review, please note down the question number in the rough note pad provided at the exam hall. Unless you note down the question number that you want to review, you might forget about it altogether or waste precious time browsing through the questions in search of it.

Learn how to use the on-screen calculator
Since you will not be allowed to carry a calculator inside the exam hall, you will need to make use of the on-screen calculator. Now, the usage of an on-screen calculator is quite different from using a hand-held calculator. So, it is advisable to include mastering the usage of the on-screen calculator in your GATE preparations so you can avoid inadvertent mistakes in the exam.

It’s okay to leave confusing questions
If you have answered all the questions that you were confident about and think that they will fetch you a decent score whereas all that is left are the questions that are confusing you, then simply chuck them and minimize the chances of negative marking.

So, these were the tips and tricks to minimize the chances of negative marking in GATE 2019. Here are a few words about your prep in the run-up to the exam so that you can banish the thought of negative marking altogether:

  • Practice to the extent that one look at a question and you know the answer to it.
  • Attempt as many mock tests as possible so that when you are attempting the actual exam, you are through with the processes and the type of questions cannot unnerve you.
  • Keep a track of the mistakes committed in mock tests and work on them so as to avoid them in the next attempt.
  • Finally, and most importantly, practice keeping your calm during the exam. Remember that both overconfidence and nervousness are best friends with mistakes.