About NTSE (National Talent Search Exam) 


The National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) is a National Level scholarship program in India to identify and nurture talented students. It honours and helps talented students by providing financial assistance in the form of a monthly scholarship for the entire Academic Career. Students studying in Class X are eligible to appear for the selection process. As it is organized by an official body (NCERT), it is widely regarded as the most prestigious examination at high school level in India. For more details of NTSE, students can visit www.ncert.nic.in

There is a two-stage selection process for award of scholarship. For Stage – I, selection will be done by States/UTs through the written examination. Each State/Union Territory has been allotted a quota to recommend a specific number of candidates for the Stage – II examination, the details of which are available on NCERT website (www.ncert.nic.in). Students who qualify Stage – I will be eligible to appear for Stage – II examination conducted by NCERT.

How to Prepare for NTSE ?


Fundamental way to prepare for the National Talent Search Exam and become NTSE Scholar is by enhancing your knowledge and applications of the conceptual knowledge of the syllabus up to class X.

The most important skill for NTSE preparation is developing analytical thinking. This is a process in which the knowledge acquired, concepts learnt, misconceptions understood and fundamentals absorbed are woven together by the thinking skill to arrive at a logical and strategic solution to a given problem.

For some topics of Science and Mathematics advance in-depth applications are also required as about 15% questions in SAT paper asked are based on these applications. To cover these applications, knowledge of class XI or higher is not required. This can be done by exhaustive practice of advance problems on the syllabus of CBSE IX and X. Managing topics of Social Studies is a very important and strategic task, as in Stage – I knowledge of History, Geography and Civics up to zonal level is required, but in Stage – II students must have good knowledge of our country as a whole. Only CBSE text book will not be sufficient for preparation of stage – I, students need to refer State Board books also for regional knowledge.

Overall practice can be done by a series of MOCK Tests. Several Online and Offline MOCK Tests series are available which a student can join.

NTSE  Eligibility


There are certain criteria laid out by CBSE that one should keep in mind before applying for the exam. NTSE Eligibility Criteria for each stage differs. The detailed criteria are provided below.

NTSE Eligibility Criteria (Stage 1)

  • Candidates must be an Indian national.
  • Class X students can also apply for Stage 1.
  • A minimum of 60% marks Class IX is required. SC, ST and PH candidates will need 55% marks in Class IX.
  • Candidate must be studying in a recognized school in their respective State or Union Territory.
  • Those who are registered in Open Distance Learning (ODL) program will also be considered eligible if they are below 18 years of age (as on July 1, 2018) and are not employed when they appear for Class X exam.

NTSE Eligibility Criteria (Stage 2)

  • Candidates will need 80% marks or above in the State level exam, to be considered eligible.
  • Every student who secures the minimum required marks in Stage II will be eligible for the scholarship program.

NTSE Eligibility Criteria for Students Studying Abroad

  • Indian students studying abroad in Class X or equivalent are eligible to write stage 2 (second level examination) directly and are exempted from the stage 1 examination.
  • The candidate must have scored 60% in the previous year’s annual examination.
  • The candidate should appear for the examination in a centre in India
  • The candidates must request through the Head of the Institution where he/she is studying, along with an attested copy of Class IX mark sheet. The request should reach the Head, Department of Educational Survey Division, NCERT, New Delhi by 31 December of the concerned year.
  • The selected candidate will receive the scholarship only if he/she decides to pursue studies in India.

NTSE Reservation Criteria


  1. 15% for students belonging to SC category.
  2. 7.5% for students belonging to ST category.
  3. 4%for Physically Challenged group of students, with benchmark disabilities of which – 1% each will be reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities under clauses –
  • Blindness and low vision
  • Deaf and hard of hearing
  • Locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy.
  • 1% for persons with benchmark disabilities under clauses
  • Autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness.
  • Multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses in the posts identified for each disabilities.

NTSE  Exam Pattern

The questions in the exam are multiple choice questions. The exam pattern for NTSE is the same for both stage 1 and stage 2. The exam consists of three tests:

  1. Mental Ability Test (MAT) – Test a student’s ability to problem-solving and reasoning skills.
  2. Language Test (LT) – Contain questions from Paragraph completion, Fill in the blanks, English Comprehensions, Synonyms & Antonyms, etc.
  3. Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) – Contain questions from sections like Maths, Science, Geography, History, Political Science & Economics.

The Exam pattern is the same for both Stage 1 and Stage 2 and there will be only the objective type of questions in both the stages of examination.

Paper Test Total Time (Minutes) Total Questions Total  Marks
Part 1 Mental Ability Test (MAT) 45 50 50
Part 2 Language Test (LT) 45 50 50
Part 3 Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) 90 100 100
  1. 1 mark is awarded for every correct answer for both stage 1 and 2.
  2. No negative mark is deducted for a wrong answer in stage 1.
  3.  mark is deducted for every wrong answer in stage 2.

NTSE Exam Marking Scheme


NTSE Exam (Paper 1 & Paper 2)
Stage 1 1 Mark will be awarded for every correct answer.
No negative marking for the wrong answer.
Stage 2 1 Mark will be awarded for every correct answer.
For every wrong answer, one-third of the marks will be deducted.
No negative marking for questions left unattended.

NTSE Exam Qualifying Marks


  1. 40% Marks in each paper for General category students.
  1. 32% Marks in each paper for SC, ST & PH category students

NTSE Scholarships


Around 1000 scholarships are awarded for each stage of education. These stages are:

  1. For Class XI to Class XII, a scholarship of Rs.1250/- per month is provided.
  1. For Undergraduates and Postgraduates, a scholarship of Rs.2000/- per month is provided.
  1. For Ph.D., the scholarship amount is fixed in accordance with the UGC norms.

Selection Procedure


Identification of talent comprises a two-stage selection process.

  • NTSE Stage- I conducted by the State / UT (usually in November) – FOR CLASS X STUDENTS
  • NTSE Stage-II conducted at the National Level (usually in May) – FOR Stage-I Qualified Students only.

Stage-I : State level examination

The first level exam is the state level examination, which has two parts for nominating the required number of candidates for the second level test to be conducted by the NCERT.

  • Part-I:Mental Ability Test (MAT), and
  • Part-II:Language Test (LT) – Contain questions from Paragraph completion, Fill in the blanks, English Comprehensions, Synonyms & Antonyms, etc
  • Part-III:Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)(with questions on History, Civics, Geography, Economics, Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.)

Students of any Board studying at any recognized school can participate. Those who get qualified an enter the Second Level National Exam. The results of the same will be out on March of the next year.

Stage – II : National level examination

Candidates acquiring more than the required percentage in the state level examination and standing within a specified number of top ranks (state quota) are eligible to appear for the national level examination (about top 4000 students from the entire country). The national level examination has two parts for nominating the required number of candidates for the interviews to be conducted by the NCERT in May:

  • Part-I:Mental Ability Test (MAT), and
  • Part-II:Language Test (LT) – Contain questions from Paragraph completion, Fill in the blanks, English Comprehensions, Synonyms & Antony
  • Part-III:Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)(with questions on History, Civics, Geography, Economics, Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.)

NTSE Syllabus


  • Syllabus of NTSE is based on Class 9 and 10 curriculum of NCERT.
  • Students are advised to go through each and every topic while preparing for the exam.
  • NTSE consists of multiple choice questions which are asked from the subjects like Mathematics, Science, Social Science, English, General Knowledge and Mental Ability syllabus.
  • Following is the detailed explanation of all the topics of different subjects along with the weight-age of particular topic:

Mathematics Syllabus

NTSE Mathematics section contains around 30 questions which include the topics from class 6 to 10.

Topics Weight-age Topics Weight-age
Algebraic Expressions 5% Percentage& Its Application 8%
Arithmetic 15% Playing with Number 1%
Arithmetic Progressions 1% Probability  1%
Basic Geometry 15% Quadratic Equations 8%
Circles 1% Rational Numbers 1%
Coordinate Geometry 1% Simple & Compound Interest  2%
Direct& Inverse Variations 0% Square & Cube Roots 3%
Exponent 1% Statistics 1%
Linear Equation 3% Surface Areas and Volume 4%
Mensuration 10% Triangles 1%
Number System 9% Trigonometry 9%

Science Syllabus

In the science syllabus, topics are included from Physics, Chemistry and Biology. This section contains around 35 questions.

Topics Weight-age Topics Weight-age
Acid Bases and Salts 2% Metals & Non Metals 5%
Air 4% Micro-Organisms 3%
Carbon and its Compound 6% Motion and Force 3%
Cellular Level of Organization 4% Our Environment 5%
Diversity in Living organisms 2% Periodic Classification of Elements 2%
Fibres and Plastics 1% Reproduction 5%
Food Production & Management 1% Soil 1%
Heredity and Evolution 1% Some Common Diseases 7%
Human Body 7% Sound 2%
Life Processes 4% Sound of Energy 4%
Light 5% Structure of Atom 3%
Acid Bases and Salts 2% The Universe 1%
Magnetic & Electricity at Work 5% Water 4%
Measurement 3% Work and Energy 6

Social Science Syllabus

In this subject, topics are from History, Civics, Geography, Economics and General Awareness. This section contains around 35 questions.

Topics Weight-age Topics Weight-age
Agriculture 2% Local and State Government 1%
Atmosphere 3% Medieval Architecture and Culture 1%
Biosphere 1% Motion of the Earth 3%
British raj 5% Nationalism in Various Countries 2%
Culture, Science and Literature 1% Natural Vegetation 3%
Democracy and Elections 2% New Empires and Kingdoms 2%
Diversity and Livelihood 2% Our Country- India 4%
Early Medieval Period 3% Popular Movements and Social Reforms 2%
Early States 1% Population 1%
Eighteen Century Political Formation 1% Resources and Development 5%
French Revolution 1% Solar System 1%
India and Its Neighbours 2% The Delhi Sultanate 3%
Indian Constitution 4% The Judiciary 2%
Indian Economics 4% The Maurayas 2%
Indian Freedom Struggle 5% The Mughal Empire 5%
Indus Valley Civilization 4% UN and International Agencies 1%
Industrial Revolution 2% Union Government 2%
Industries 1% Vedic Period 2%
Internal Structure of the Earth and Rocks  2% Water Resources  2%
Introduction and Sources of Ancient Indian History 2% World History 3%
Jainism, Buddhism and Conquerors from Distant Lands 2%
Distant Lands 2%  

English Syllabus

Topics Weight-age
One Word Substitution  30%
Paragraph Completion 5%
Reading Comprehension 10%
Rearrangement of Jumbled Words 5%
Sentence Completion 10%
Synonyms 15%
Antonyms 15%
English Grammar 10%

 General Knowledge Syllabus

Topics Weight-age
India 40%
World 20%
Abbreviations 10%
Awards and Recognitions 10%
Books and Authors 10%
Sports 10%

 Mental Ability Syllabus

Topics Weight-age Topics Weight-age
Alphabets and Number test 1% Figure Partition and Dot Situation 1%
Analogy(Non Verbal) 5% Mathematical Operations 3%
Analogy(Verbal) 5% Missing Character 9%
Blood relations 9% Paper Folding and Cutting 2%
Calendar, Time and Clock 1% Ranking and Arrangements 7%
Classification 9% Series (Verbal) 7%
Coding-Decoding 7% Series(Non Verbal) 8%
Cube and Dice 5% Venn Diagrams 2%
Direction Sense 7% Water and Mirror Images 4%
Embedded Figure 5%

Declaration of Results


The results of the the National Level Examination shall be out by July–August the same year. Students are divided into 4 quotas: General, SC, ST, Disabled. Around 750 students will be selected from General quota, 150 from SC, 80 from ST and around 20 from Disabled quota. The results will be displayed on the website www.ncert.nic.in mid-July or early-August.

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