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GATE Virtual Calculator (2021) – Guidelines, Advantages & Disadvantages

Written by  Piyush Bhartiya, MBA

Published on Wed, February 12, 2020 9:33 AM   Updated on Tue, August 25, 2020 11:51 AM   4 mins read

The Gate entrance exam has a virtual calculator instead of a physical scientific calculator. Students appearing for the entrance exam are not allowed to use any calculator apart from this virtual one, which is provided on their computer screens.


The use of a Gate calculator can be done at any time of the exam. It is given in an easily accessible form and is usually located above the question palette. To understand this better we need to have proper knowledge of do’s and don’t’s.

Also Read: GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering)

GATE Calculator

The calculator was introduced as an important feature in GATE 2016. The upcoming GATE 2020 has the most advanced Virtual calculator, and some of its features are 

  1. In 2020, The GATE virtual calculator, the candidates appearing for the examination, will be able to find the keys for simple operations on the right-hand side of the calculator. 
  2. On the other side of the calculator, i.e., the left-hand side, the keys for all scientific functions and operations are given.
  3. For the inverse, the candidates do not need to press SHIFT or INV keys since the inverse function has been given separate keys. 
  4. All the trigonometric functions are given together. 
  5. All the hyperbolic functions are grouped. 
  6. Above the top of the GATE 2020 virtual calculator, two display boxes will be given. The op box will indicate the sequence of keys pressed.
  7. The second box below is there to indicate actual values that are entered or obtained after calculation.
  8. The position of the inverse function will be placed below these respective functions. For example, the signing will be positioned below sin on the calculator. 

Also Read: GATE Calculator

GATE Calculator Guidelines

Now, To be answering some common queries related to the use of GATE 2020 Virtual calculator:

  1. There is no provision for answer infractions, therefore, NAT questions will require answers only in decimal forms.
  2. There will be no separate keys for the conversion of polar to rectangular and vice-versa; hence the candidate needs to use the appropriate conversions using the GATE 2020 Virtual calculator.
  3. A limitation of the calculator is that the complex number can not be represented on that but related to complex numbers such as power systems or any other area that can be solved GATE 2020 Virtual calculator.
  4. Matrix calculations will have to be done on a manual basis since there are no provisions for it to be done on the virtual calculator provided. 
  5. No usage of the keyboard is allowed during the whole course of the examination. 

Also Read: GATE vs GRE

Do’s Of UsingGATE Calculator

  1.  Always press C before a new calculation.
  2. Use already defined operations like a log, Exp. 
  3. The usage of memory function should be done to calculate cumulative totals. 
  4. Type an equation using parenthesis and other mathematical operators.
  5. Be sure to select the angle unit before beginning any calculation. 

Dont’s Using GATE Calculator

  1. The keyboard operation is disabled.
  2. Modulus operation performed on decimal numbers with 15 digits would not be precise. 
  3. The range of value supported by the calculator is 10(-323) to 10(308).
  4. The output for a factorial calculation is precise upto 14 digits.

Also Read: Gate Admit Card


Is the calculator allowed for the GATE Exam?

Ans. No, calculators are not allowed, you can’t have mobile phones,
physical calculators, wristwatches, or any other electronic items. During GATE 2019-20 students were provided with a virtual scientific calculator which has to be used to answer the questions.

What is a virtual calculator?

Ans. For GATE Exam there is a virtual calculator provided to the candidates instead of physical calculators. Virtual Calculator is the same as the scientific calculator but this is available on the computer. This is done to reduce the chances of cheating.

How do you solve equations with a virtual calculator?

Ans. For using the virtual calculator you need to open the calculator in another tab beside the questions paper of the GATE Exam.

How is the GATE score calculated in 2019?

Ans. GATE score is calculated using formula i.e. out of 1000. The marks of the candidates is the number he/she got in the exam out of 100. The GATE result indicates both GATE score and marks obtained by candidates .

About the Author & Expert


Piyush Bhartiya

Author • MBA • 20 Years

Piyush values education and has studied from the top institutes of IIT Roorkee, IIM Bangalore, KTH Sweden and Tsinghua University in China. Post completing his MBA, he has worked with the world's # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group and focused on building sales and marketing verticals for top MNCs and Indian business houses.

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