National Talent Search Exam

National Talent Search Exam (NTSE)

NTSE: The National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) is a national level examination cum scholarship program. The scholarship programme is conducted by NCERT and students studying in class X are eligible for NTSE examination and selection procedure. NTSE exam will be conducted in November for Stage I and in May for Stage II.


NTSE Eligibility Criteria:

As per the eligibility criteria of NTSE all the students studying in X standard are eligible to apply for this scholarship programme. A student from any state of the country can register for this examination and scholarship scheme. Whether a student is from a government or a private school, he/she is eligible to apply for NTSE.

Exam Pattern

There are 3 papers in both stages –

  • Mental Ability Test (MAT),
  • Language Test and
  • Scholastic Ability Test (SAT).

Questions are in the form of multiple choices with negative marking deducting 1/3 marks. The tests are available in Asamiya, Bangla, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Malyalam, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. However, language test is available in two languages – English & Hindi.

Test No. of Questions Maximum Marks Time
Mental Ability Test (MAT) 50 50 45 minutes
Language Test 50 50 45 minutes
Scholastic Ability Test (SAT) 100 100 90 minutes


Application Procedure

  • Candidates need to apply for NTSE Stage-I as per the advertisement or circular issued by the respective State/UT Government.
  • Applications and form fees need to be submitted to Liaison officer of State/UT as and when mentioned in the advertisement.
  • NCERT will send the examination details and roll numbers directly to the selected candidates through speed post. No separate application or fee is required NTSE Stage-II.
  • Students with Indian Nationality studying abroad need to apply through the Head of the Institution where they are presently studying. These applications need to be sent to Head Educational Survey Division, NCERT, Delhi – 16 with the attested copy of Class IX.


Important Dates

Events Estimated Dates
Availability of Application To be updated
Last submission date of NTSE Application Form To be notified by the respective State/UT
NTSE Stage 1 admit card October
NTSE Stage 1 exam date November
NTSE Stage 2 exam May




  • Algebraic Expressions
  • Arithmetic
  • Arithmetic Progressions
  • Basic Geometry
  • Circles
  • Coordinate Geometry
  • Direct & inverse variation
  • Exponent
  • Linear Equation
  • Mensuration
  • Number System
  • Percentage & its Application
  • Playing with Numbers
  • Probability
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Rational Numbers
  • Simple interest & Compound interest
  • Square Root & Cube Root
  • Statistics
  • Surface Areas and Volumes
  • Triangles
  • Trigonometry


  • Antonyms
  • English Grammar
  • One word substitution
  • Paragraph Completion
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Rearrangement of Jumbled Words
  • Sentence Completion
  • Synonyms


General Knowledge

  • Abbreviations
  • Awards and Recognitions
  • Books and Authors
  • India
  • Sports
  • World

Mental Ability

  • Alphabet and Number Test
  • Analogy (Non Verbal)
  • Analogy (Verbal)
  • Blood Relations
  • Calendar, Time and Clock
  • Classification
  • Coding-Decoding
  • Direction Sense
  • Embedded Figure
  • Figure Partition and Dot Situation
  • Mathematical Operations
  • Missing Character
  • Ranking and Arrangements
  • Series (Non – Verbal)
  • Series (Verbal)
  • Venn Diagrams
  • Water and Mirror Images
  • Word Problems


  • Acid Bases and Salt
  • Air
  • Carbon and its Compounds
  • Cellular Level of Organisation
  • Diversity in Living Organisms
  • Fibres and Plastics
  • Food Production & Management
  • Heredity and Evolution
  • Human Body
  • Life Processes
  • Light
  • Magnetism & Electricity at Work
  • Measurement
  • Metals & Non Metals
  • Micro-organisms
  • Motion and Force
  • Our Environment
  • Periodic Classification of Elements
  • Physical and Chemical Changes
  • Plant and Animal Nutrition
  • Reproduction
  • Soil
  • Some Common Diseases
  • Sound
  • Source of Energy
  • Structure of Atom
  • The Universe
  • Water
  • Work and energy

Social Science

  • Agriculture
  • Atmosphere
  • Biosphere
  • British Raj
  • Culture, Science and Literature
  • Democracy and Elections
  • Diversity and Livelihood
  • Early Medieval Period
  • Early States
  • Eighteenth Century Political Formation
  • French Revolution
  • India and its Neighbors
  • Indian Constitution
  • Indian Economics
  • Indian Freedom Struggle
  • Indus Valley Civilization
  • Industrial Revolution
  • Industries
  • Internal Structure of the Earth and Rocks
  • Introduction and Sources of Ancient Indian History
  • Jainism, Budhism and Conquerors from Distant Lands
  • Local and State Government
  • Major Domains and Landforms
  • Maps and Globe
  • Medieval Architecture and Culture
  • Motion of the Earth
  • Nationalism in Various Countries
  • Natural Vegetation
  • New Empires and Kingdoms
  • Our Country – India
  • Popular Movements and Social Reforms
  • Population
  • Resources and Development
  • Solar System
  • The Delhi Sultanate
  • The Judiciary
  • The Mauryas
  • The Mughal Empire
  • UN and International Agencies
  • Union Government
  • Vedic Period
  • Water Resources
  • World History

NTSE exam pattern

The exam is conducted in two stages. Stage 1 selection will be done by States/UTs and those who qualify Stage 1, will be eligible to appear for Stage 2 examination, conducted by NCERT.

The examination consists of two tests namely the Mental Ability Test (MAT) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) which also includes Language Comprehensive test. Each question has four alternatives marked 1,2,3 and 4. The candidate has to select one correct answer from the given alternatives and mark its number in the answer sheet. Each correct answer carries one mark. Thus the total score of a candidate in a test is equal to the number of questions answered correctly by him/her.

Mental Ability Test Items (MAT)
In the MAT, there will be 50 multiple choice type items, with four/five alternatives, out of which only one will be the correct answer. This test is given to the candidates to judge their power of reasoning, ability to think ability to judge, evaluate or discriminate, ability to visualize in the space, spatial orientation, etc. A variety of questions relating to e.g. analogies, classification, series, pattern perception, hidden figures, coding-decoding, block assembly, problem solving etc. are used to test the candidate.

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
The Scholastic Aptitude Test consists of 100 multiple choice items of one mark each. Each item shall have four alternatives, out of which only one will be the correct answer. These questions are from Science (Physics, Chemistry and Biology), Mathematics, History, Geography, Political Science And Economics and also includes Language Comprehensive Test. These questions are basically multiple choice questions where one alternative is correct. However, some questions are of different types like matching type, arrange the sequence, true and false statements and questions based on passages apart from simple multiple choice questions.

Language Test (LT)
The Language Test consists of 50 multiple choice items of one mark each. This test contains 50 questions in English Language and 50 questions in Hindi Language.The candidate has to attempt this test only in one Language i.e. either in English or in Hindi.


Stage I

Test Sub-test No. of Questions Time(minutes) Max. Marks
Mental ability test(MAT) 50 45 50
Scholastic Test Language comprehensive test 50 45 50
Aptitude Test 100 90 100
Total 200 180 200


Stage II

Test Sub-test No. of Questions Time(minutes) Max. Marks
Mental ability test(MAT) 50 45 50
Scholastic Test Language comprehensive test 50 45 50
Aptitude Test 100 90 100
Total 200 180 200


In Stage2 (National Level), there will be negative marking in each paper. For each wrong answer 1/3 marks will be deducted. No marks will be deducted for unattempted questions.

From where have to study?

Follow NCERT books of classes IX and X for NTSE preparation religiously. For some concepts in Biology, refer NCERT Class XI Biology text book (only portions that are relevant to IX and X class curriculum). It is very important to thoroughly study Social Studies NCERT book for NTSE. You must also read a brilliant General Knowledge book for out of course questions.

R.S Aggarwal’s handbook is immensely helpful for MAT section. For mocks, refer to Arihant and Tata McGrawHill books as they clearly point out difficulty level of NTSE.


Qualifying marks:

General category: 40% in each subject.
SC/ST/PH: 35% in each subject.
The category wise cutoff for NTSE is (based on previous years cutt off):

S NO Category wise Cut Off Marks
1 OC 117
2 SC 94
3 ST 90
4 MBC 100
5 OBM 102
6 OBG 110


Rs.1250/month will be awarded from class IX to XII
Rs.2000/month will be awarded for UG and PG courses


  • NTSE Stage 1 exam for Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Andaman & Nicobar Islands – November
  • NTSE Stage 1 exam for Other states and UTs – November
  • NTSE stage 2 exam All states and UTs – May


NTSE Exam Pattern:

The examination consists of mainly two tests; Mental Ability Test (MAT) and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) in Stage-I. The NTSE Exam Pattern is an objective type test based on paper-pencil format. The students have to select and mark one right answer from the four given options. Each right answer carry one point each, thus making the total score of the candidate in a test equal to the number of questions answered correctly. However, at the second stage 1/3 mark is deducted for every wrong answer.

Detailed Pattern


No. Of Questions

Maximum Marks

Time Allotted


50 Questions

50 Marks

45 minutes

SAT – Language Test

50 Questions

50 Marks

45 minutes

SAT – Maths, Science, Social Sciences

100 Questions

100 Marks

90 minutes




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