GATE Life Science Syllabus - GATE XL Syllabus

By Mrinmay Ganguly|Updated : September 13th, 2022

IIT Kanpur released GATE Life Science Syllabus 2023 on its official website. Candidates who choose Life Science as their subject must check the syllabus to understand the topics that need to be covered for the upcoming exam. Understanding the syllabus allows you to plan your preparation strategically. 

To achieve good marks in the exam, you are suggested to download the GATE Life Science syllabus 2023. This post provides extensive information on the GATE syllabus for Life Science (XL) so that you do not encounter any difficulties studying for the exam.

Table of Content

GATE Life Science Syllabus 2023

GATE Life Science syllabus 2023 for all the subjects consists of three sections which are as follows:

  • Section 1: General Aptitude
  • Section 2: Chemistry (XL-P)
  • Section 3: Life Science subjects

Out of which section-1 and section-2 are compulsory for all the students. The third section of Life Science (XL) includes segments Q to U. From the third section; candidates have to choose any two to attempt in the exam. The segments Q to U are:

  • Biochemistry (XL-Q)
  • Botany (XL-R)
  • Microbiology (XL-S)
  • Zoology (XL-T)
  • Food Technology(XL-U)

The detailed GATE Life Science Syllabus 2023 for all the sections is given below.

GATE Life Science Syllabus 2023 PDF Download

The PDF of the GATE Life Science syllabus can be downloaded from the direct link provided below:

GATE Life Science Syllabus 2023 PDF

GATE Life Science Syllabus - General Aptitude

The General Aptitude section is common in all the GATE Life Science syllabus 2023. This section is divided into- Verbal Ability & Numerical Ability. There are 10 questions in this section, out of which 5 questions have a weightage of 1-mark each and 5 have a weightage of 2-marks each. The topics covered in this section are as follows:



Verbal Ability

English grammar

Sentence completion,


Verbal analogies

Word groups

Critical reasoning

Verbal deduction

Numerical Ability

Numerical computation

Numerical reasoning

Numerical estimation

Data interpretation

GATE Life Science Syllabus 2023- Chemistry (XL-P)

According to the GATE XL syllabus, Chemistry is mandatory, so it is advised to prepare this subject thoroughly. The topics of the Chemistry section of the GATE Life sciences syllabus are mentioned below:

  • Atomic Structure and Periodicity
  • Structure and Bonding
  • s, p, and d-block Elements
  • Chemical Equilibria
  • Electrochemistry
  • Reaction Kinetics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Structure-Reactivity Correlations and Organic Reaction Mechanisms
  • Chemistry of Biomolecules

GATE Life Science Syllabus - Biochemistry (XL-Q)

The GATE Life Science syllabus for Biochemistry includes the following topics organization of life, Importance of water, Structure and function of biomolecules, Enzyme kinetics including its regulation and inhibition, Vitamins and Coenzymes; Metabolism and bioenergetics, Biochemical separation techniques, Cell structure and organelles, DNA replication, transcription, and translation, and Immune system.

GATE Life Science Syllabus - Botany (XL-R)

The botany (XL-R) section of the GATE Life Science syllabus carries various topics like Genome Editing, Plant Breeding, Genetic Modification, Economic and Applied Botany, etc. TheBotany section of the GATE syllabus for Life Science includes the following topics:

  • Plant Systematics
  • Plant Anatomy
  • Plant Development, cell and tissue morphogenesis
  • Plant physiology and biochemistry
  • Genetics and genomics Cell cycle and cell division
  • Plant Breeding, Genetic Modification, Genome Editing
  • Economic and Applied Botany
  • Plant Pathology
  • Ecology and Environment

GATE Life Science Syllabus - Microbiology (XL-S)

The Microbiology section of the GATE Life Sciences syllabus carries topics like Control of Microorganisms, Microbial Metabolism, Prokaryotic Cells: Structure and Function, and a lot more. Let us see all sections of the Microbiology syllabus, including the following topics:

  • Historical Perspective
  • Methods in Microbiology
  • Microbial Taxonomy and Diversity
  • Prokaryotic Cells: Structure and Function
  • Microbial Growth
  • Control of Microorganisms
  • Microbial Metabolism
  • Microbial Diseases and Host-Pathogen Interaction
  • Chemotherapy/Antibiotics
  • Microbial Genetics
  • Microbial Ecology

GATE Life Science Syllabus - Zoology (XL-T)

This section has various important topics Animal Anatomy and Physiology, Parasitology and Immunology, Cell Biology, etc. The GATE Life Science syllabus for Zoology includes the following topics:

  • Animal Diversity
  • Evolution
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Gene expression in Eukaryotes
  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Parasitology and Immunology
  • Development Biology
  • Ecology
  • Animal Behavior

GATE Life Science Syllabus Food Technology (XL-U)

This is the last and highest-scoring section of the Life Science GATE syllabus. Candidates can score well and achieve a good rank with the help of this section. The GATE Life Science Syllabus 2023 for Food Technology includes the following topics Food Chemistry and Nutrition, Food Microbiology, Food Products Technology, and Food Engineering.

GATE Life Science Exam Pattern

Here is the pie chart representing the exam pattern of the questions asked in the GATE exam for life Science. 

GATE Life Science Exam Pattern

GATE Life Science Books

Here is the list of important books that will help effectively cover the GATE Life Science Syllabus.

ZoologyStephen A Miller and John P Harley
ChemistryDavid E Goldberg
Food TechnologyNeil Morris
BotanySingh Pande Jain
MicrobiologyMicheal Pelczar, E.C.S Chan, Noel R. Krieg


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FAQs on GATE Life Science Syllabus

  • The GATE Life Science syllabus 2023 is divided into three sections which are as follows:

    • General Aptitude
    • Chemistry (XL-P)
    • Life Science subjects- Biochemistry (XL-Q), Botany (XL-R), Microbiology (XL-S), Zoology (XL-T) and Food Technology (XL-U)
  • The best-recommended books for the GATE XL syllabus 2023 are:

    • Zoology: Animal Cell Structure Methods by Jennie P Mather, David Barnes
    • Food Technology: Textbook of Food Science and Technology by Avantika Sharma
    • Chemistry: A Logical Approach to Chemistry by Pragati Publications
    • Botany: Principles Of Genetics by Gardner
    • Microbiology by Micheal Pelczar, E.C.S Chan, Noel R. Krieg
    • Biochemistry by Satyanarayana
  • As per the GATE Life Science syllabus 2023, the exam is divided into three sections. The sections, along with their weightage are mentioned below:

    • General Aptitude - 15 Marks
    • Chemistry - 25 Marks
    • Life Science Section Q to U - 30 Marks
  • The GATE syllabus for Life Science can be prepared with the following tips:

    • Firstly, try to master the tough topics
    • You need to develop speed for the aptitude section by practising more.
    • Prefer quality over quantity while selecting the study material.
    • Analyze the syllabus according to the time left for preparation.
    • Practice mock tests.
  • Yes. The GATE Life Science syllabus 2023 is considered one of the toughest syllabi. It tests aptitude and your subject knowledge that one has studied during the four years of Graduation. 

  • The GATE syllabus for Life Science 2023 is released by IIT Kanpur. Every year minor changes can be seen in the syllabus. For major changes, officials notify the aspirants on the official website along with the updated syllabus.

  • According to the GATE XL syllabus 2023, the topics covered in the Food Technology section are:

    • Food Chemistry and Nutrition
    • Food Microbiology
    • Food Products Technology
    • Food Engineering

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