Preparation Strategy for GATE Civil Engineering (CE)


Civil Engineers give shape to the world we live in. Be it well-connected highways, skyscrapers, tunnels, bridges, or even dams, for that matter, they are the result of the careful planning and impeccable execution by a Civil Engineer.

Becoming a Civil Engineer is not a cakewalk. One has to crack GATE to pursue Civil Engineering from a premier institute (IITs/NITs/IISc) to gain EXPERTISE and EXCEL in the field. Civil Engineering is one of the oldest and most popular branches of Engineering among GATE aspirants to pursue Masters in Technology.

It draws the highest number of candidates for the GATE every year. Hence effective preparation and sincere efforts are required in the GATE exam preparation for Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering Syllabus for GATE

It is imperative to have a basic understanding of the Civil Engineering syllabus before starting the preparation for the subject. Carefully analyzing the syllabus will help candidates to focus more on the topics that have high marks weightage.  

Most Important Topics of Civil Engineering

Section Important Topics
Structural Engineering System of forces,

free-body diagrams,

equilibrium equations;

Bending moment and shear force in statically determinate beams;

Simple stress

and strain relationships;

Simple bending theory,

Statically determinate and indeterminate structures by force/ energy methods;

Construction Materials: Structural Steel – Composition

Geotechnical Engineering Seepage through soils –

two – dimensional flow, flow nets, uplift pressure, piping, capillarity, seepage force;

Sub-surface investigations – Drilling bore holes, sampling, plate load test,

standard penetration and cone penetration tests;

Earth pressure theories – Rankine and Coulomb;

Stability of slopes

Shallow foundations – Terzaghi’s and Meyerhoff’s bearing

capacity theories, effect of water table; Combined footing and raft foundation; Contact pressure;

Settlement analysis in sands and clays;

Water Resource Engineering Properties of fluids,

Fluid statics;

Continuity, momentum and energy equations and their applications;

Potential flow, Laminar and turbulent flow;

Forces on immersed bodies;

Flow measurement in channels and pipes; Dimensional analysis and hydraulic similitude;

Hydrologic cycle,




watershed, infiltration,

unit hydrographs, hydrograph analysis, reservoir capacity,

Flood estimation and routing,

Environmental Engineering Basics of water quality standards – Physical,

chemical and biological parameters;

Water quality index;

Sewerage system design,

quantity of domestic wastewater,

primary and secondary treatment.

Types of pollutants,

their sources and impacts,

air pollution control,

air quality standards,

Air quality Index and limits.

Municipal Solid Waste-Characteristics, generation, collection and transportation of solid wastes,

engineered systems for solid waste management (reuse/ recycle, energy recovery, treatment and


Transportation Engineering Geometric design of highways – cross-sectional elements, sight

distances, horizontal and vertical alignments.

Geometric design of railway Track – Speed and Cant.

Concept of airport runway length, calculations and corrections; taxiway and exit taxiway design.

Highway materials – desirable properties and tests;

Desirable properties of

bituminous paving mixes;

Design factors for flexible and rigid pavements;

Traffic studies on flow and speed, peak hour factor, accident study,

statistical analysis of traffic data;

Geomatics Engineering Principles of surveying;

Errors and their adjustment;

Maps – scale, coordinate system; Distance and angle measurement – Levelling and trigonometric levelling;

Traversing and triangulation survey; Total station; Horizontal and vertical curves.

Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing – Scale, flying height;

Basics of remote sensing and GIS.

Practical Tips to Prepare for GATE Civil Engineering

Prepare a Study Plan

You don’t want your exam preparation to be unorganized, right? So, it is recommended to make a daily study routine and follow it rigorously. Candidates must ensure to prepare a well-structured study plan that includes revision, appearing in mock tests and test series, and the much-needed time for relaxation. The study plan should cover both short-term and long-term goals.

Refer Good Books

There is no denying that the market is flooded with various reference books for GATE preparation, and it is impossible to follow all of them. Hence, you should choose the books for the Civil Engineering preparation wisely. You can take assistance from your teachers or watch toppers’ interviews to get an idea of the books they followed during their preparation. Most importantly, you can take the assistance of best free apps for GATE preparation. 

Revise Regularly

If you do not revise what has been studied, you will forget everything you have learnt. Retaining technical and complex topics/concepts can be a daunting task for GATE aspirants. It is a human tendency to forget things with time, and the GATE Civil Engineering syllabus is no exception. The syllabus is vast, time-consuming, and complex. So, it is strongly recommended to devote time to your revision. 

Keep Evaluating your Preparation

Always ensure to test the knowledge acquired during your preparation from time to time. Self-assessment should be done to identify your weak areas. Once found, take all the necessary actions to overcome the weaknesses. By engaging in self-assessment, you become a self-directed learner rather than a passive learner. The best way to evaluate yourself is by solving multiple Mock Tests. Not only do they give you an idea of how to present the answers in the exams, but they also boost your confidence level tremendously.

Solve Previous Year Question Papers

To understand the GATE exam pattern, type of questions asked in the exam, sections/topics which are essential from the exam point of view, and the level of questions asked in the GATE, it is strongly recommended to solve Previous Year Question Papers (PYQ). They will help you identify weak areas and time management, a crucial aspect to succeed in the exam. PYQs can be easily found on FREE app for GATE preparation

It goes without saying that to crack the GATE examination, one needs perseverance, dedication, a blend of smart and hard work. However, the most important prerequisite for cracking GATE is the availability of a reliable training partner. If you are looking for a valuable resource for GATE exam preparation, then look no further. PrepLadder is here to assist you in your preparation journey. It has everything that you require to crack GATE which includes India’s best GATE faculty, extensive Qbank, Mock tests,Video lectures by experts, HOTS notes, Question bank with many exam-relevant questions, etc. We hope these tips will assist you and give you an edge in your Civil Engineering Exam preparation online.




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here