NTSE Exam Syllabus & Eligibility Criteria - myPAT
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National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) is a scholarship program which was introduced by NCERT in 1961 as an initiative to identify and promote academic talent. While it was started only for the students of Delhi, today NTSE is the most prestigious national-level scholarship exam conducted at secondary school level.

NTSE is conducted in two stages for the students of class 10. 1000 scholarships are awarded every year out of which 250 are reserved for SC, ST and physically challenged students.

NTSE Scholar Advantages

It is a matter for honour and repute to hold the title of an ‘NTSE Scholar’. You’ll reap its benefits throughout life. Here are a few advantages you get as soon as you receive the scholarship in class 10.

  • Most of the recognised coaching centres which prepare students for careers in science discipline (JEE, medical, etc.) offer free admission and up to 50% off on preparation material.
  • If you’re a IIIT-Delhi aspirant, a bonus of 6 marks is added to your JEE Main score while considering admission into the institute.
  • A number of foreign universities which offer undergraduate courses in science give preference to NTSE scholars during selections.
  • Bagging internships during early years of college (when you have nothing substantial on your resume) is easier as compared to others.
  • A monthly scholarship of Rs 1250 is given to NTSE scholars for pursuing science, social science, humanities, fine arts, languages, commerce, or vocational studies in class 11 and 12. The scholarship amount is increased to Rs 2000 per month from undergraduate up to doctoral level.
  • Benefits during NDA selections.

Eligibility Criteria

For a candidate to be eligible to take NTSE 2018, he must fulfil the following criteria.

  • Candidate must be an Indian.
  • Candidate should be less than 18 years of age as on July 1, 2017.
  • Candidate must be studying in class 10 in a recognised school in India.
  • Candidate must secure at least 75% in class 9.

Students registered under Open Distance Learning (ODL) are also eligible for NTSE, given that they are under 18 years of age, are not employed and are appearing for class 10 examination for the first time.

NTSE Stages

NTSE is conducted in two stages, Stage-1 and Stage-2, the details of which are mentioned below.

NTSE Stage-1:

  • It is conducted at the state or union territory level.
  • Candidates can apply for the first stage from their respective states.
  • Results are announced separately for different states and union territories.
  • Candidates must score a minimum of 10 marks each in MAT, SAT and Language Paper to qualify for NTSE Stage-2.
  • About 4000 students qualify Stage-1 who then become eligible to participate in Stage-2.

NTSE Stage-2:

  • It is conducted at the national level.
  • Candidates who qualify Stage-1 can appear for Stage-2 exam.
  • Questions are not asked from the language section in this paper. There are 100 questions each from MAT as well as SAT.
  • Candidate must score well individually in SAT and MAT to qualify Stage-2.
  • Top 1000 candidates who qualify Stage-2 will be given the prestigious NTSE scholarships.

Important Dates

The important dates for NTSE are announced.

Events Exam Dates (Tentative)
Notification Release for NTSE 2018 July 31, 2017
Application for NTSE 2018 Starts August 2017
Application for NTSE 2018 Ends Varies from one state to another; to be notified by the respective State/UT
NTSE Stage-1 Exam Date (For Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Andaman & Nicobar Islands) November 4, 2017 (Saturday)
NTSE Stage-1 Exam Date (For all other States and Union Territories) November 5, 2017 (Sunday)
Declaration of Results for Stage-1 January to April 2018 (Varies from state to state)
NTSE Stage-2 Exam Date May 13, 2018
Declaration of Results for Stage-2 June 2018

Exam Pattern

The question paper is divided into two sections – Mental Ability Test (MAT) and Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT).

MAT: The questions in this section are designed to judge the ability to think, power of reasoning, ability to judge, evaluate, visualise in space, etc. Questions are asked from series, analogies, pattern perception, classification, coding-decoding, problem solving, hidden figures, block assembly, etc.

SAT: The questions in this section is further divided into language test and test for science, math and social sciences. The language test will consist of questions either from English or Hindi (as selected by the user).

Note: SAT and MAT questions are asked in both NTSE Stage-1 and Stage-2. However, the language test in omitted in NTSE Stage-2. Stage-2 has 100 questions each from SAT and MAT.

  • Mode of Exam: NTSE is a pen-and-paper based (offline) test.
  • Exam Duration: Candidates are given 3 hours to complete the paper.
  • Language for Question Paper: You have the option to take the paper in Assamese, Bengali, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu or Urdu.
  • Question Type: The questions are of MCQ type with 4 alternatives per question.
  • Marking Scheme: Candidates will be awarded +1 for a correct response. There is no negative marking for incorrect answers.
  • Qualifying Marks: Qualifying marks for candidates of General category is 40% in each paper. For SC, ST and physically handicapped 32% in each paper.

NTSE Stage-1

Section Questions Marks Time
Mental Ability Test (MAT) 50 50 45 Minutes
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
(a) Science, Math & Social Science
(b) Language Test
90 Minutes
45 Minutes
Total 200 200 3 Hours

NTSE Stage-2

Section Questions Marks Time
Mental Ability Test (MAT) 100 100 120 Minutes
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
Science, Math & Social Science
100 100 120 Minutes
Total 200 200 4 Hours


  • The mental ability test is to judge your power of reasoning, logical sequencing, reading comprehension, etc.
  • The language test is designed to test your command over the language subject, that is, English or Hindi.
  • The SAT section tests how much knowledge you have gained in school reading your textbooks. As different schools (or boards) in India follow different course books, there is no prescribed book or syllabus for NTSE.
  • However, you can refer NCERT syllabus for class 9 and 10 for your NTSE preparation.

NTSE Application

  • Check and ensure your eligibility as per the aforementioned eligibility criteria.
  • If you are a class 10 student of a recognised school, look out for a circular regarding NTSE around August 2017.
  • Fill out your application form, get it signed by your principal and submit your application before the due date.
  • NCERT does not accept direct application for Stage-1. In case of any query, you must reach out to the Liaison Officer of your state or union territory.
  • For NTSE Stage-2, you need not fill any application form.
  • NCERT will reach out to Stage-1 qualifiers and convey their roll number, time and venue for Stage-2 directly through speed post.

Exam Fee

  • Each state or union territory has its own fee structure for NTSE Stage-1.
  • You are required to check with your state advertisement or circular to get details on the NTSE exam fee.
  • No fee is charged for NTSE Stage-2.

NTSE Previous Year Papers

For students to practice, free NTSE previous year papers can be accessed from the link below:


NTSE Preparation Resources

myPAT organises interactive NTSE webinars conducted by outstanding faculties and subject experts who have decades of experience of training NTSE aspirants. The webinars give you insights on exam patterns, tips and tricks and exam hacks which are very helpful for your exam readiness.

You can find the links to the previous webinars here:


Solving mock papers is the most crucial aspect of NTSE preparation. You get to test yourself against thousands of other NTSE aspirants in a real test environment. Check out the popular myPAT NTSE preparation products below:

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