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After the JEE, or maybe along with it, Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana(KVPY) is one of the most prestigious examinations in India. It offers admission to IISc and the various IISERs in the nation, which are among the best colleges to pursue courses in Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Biology, etc. This exam witnesses a decent participation every year. When I gave this test, around 50,000 students appeared for the Maths Stream under KVPY, while another 25,000-30,000 appeared for the Biology Stream. I appeared for this exam in my 12th grade and cleared both written and interview tests. Since I am a KVPY fellow with an All India Rank of 354, I’ve decided to help you with some relevant information about it.

Firstly, let me tell you a few basic things before getting into the details.

What You Need to Know about KVPY

This exam is held around in the first week of November, both in an online as well as offline mode. However, there are a very few selected centers for the offline examination, so you might just have to opt for the online mode if the center is not accessible. The overall selection procedure involves a written paper followed by an interview. 70% of the marks obtained in the exam along with 30% weight-age from your interview will decide the merit. Interviews are conducted in the IISER nearest to you, or IISc Bangalore, if that is closer. Both 11th and 12th standard students are eligible for this exam.

Now moving onto the specifics, it involves four subjects – Physics, Chemistry, Maths, and Biology. It is conducted in both 11th and 12th standards.

There are three streams under which you can apply: SA, SB, and SX. SA is for 11th standard students. SB and SX are meant for 12th standard students. So, let’s now go stream-by-stream:

  1. Stream SX/SB

Students studying in the 12th standard have an advantage as they have to attempt either maths or biology. SX is for students pursuing mathematics while SB is for biology students. The examination pattern for both the streams is the same.

The paper will consist of two sections, A and B. Each section will contain all the four subjects. Section A will have 20 questions in each subject; Section B will have 10 questions per subject. You have to attempt any 3 out of the 4 subjects in Section A, and any 2 out of 4 subjects in Section B. Section A will have +1, -0.25 marking scheme; and Section B will have +2, -0.5 marking scheme.

Part A is, as expected, generally easier than part B. Questions won’t deviate much from what you do from some good quality reference books. The only cinch is: you might not have completed your syllabus till the date of exam. Not a big deal, as long as you guys are not starting out with the 12th standard syllabus around this time.

SX and SB will ask questions from both 11th and 12th standard syllabus. The cut-off for qualifying for interviews is around 50-55, and it is fairly easy to secure these number of marks. Though you need to be careful while choosing your subjects in section B, sometimes the questions in a particular subject are deliberately made very lengthy. So, it’s advisable to have a go-through of this section before choosing what to attempt. In my year, Maths of section B was very lengthy. All those who attempted it messed up their paper. So, prudence and a bit of common sense will get you through the paper.

Also, be very careful while attempting section B; attempt only 2 sections in it. If you attempt three, you really don’t know which ones the examiner will end up evaluating.

Remember: Calculators are allowed, so make full use of it. I missed out on a couple of questions last year as a consequence of not having one; please make sure you don’t commit the same mistake.

Syllabus: There is no fixed syllabus as such for the written test, but if you are preparing for JEE, or have even done NCERT and a couple of JEE Main/AIPMT level books, you will be thorough with the syllabus. Questions are around JEE Main/ AIPMT difficulty level, maybe a bit easier even.

Study material: NCERT, basic JEE Main/AIPMT books, and previous years’ papers.

Interview: This is the fun or the nerve-wracking part, depending on your guts. There’ll be a panel of specialists on all subjects as your interviewers in the room. They’ll fire questions at you at their discretion and will. Now, this part depends on where you are sent. I was sent to IISER Bhopal. The professors on the committee were quite friendly. They asked me about two of my favorite subjects. I named Chemistry and Maths. In Chemistry, I was asked about aromaticity, Huckel’s rule, and some basic organic Chemistry mechanisms. In Maths, I was asked about Mean Value Theorems. Overall, it was a brilliant experience. In fact, all you need to know are the basics of class 11th and 12th, and you will sail through the interview.

  1. Stream SA

It is meant for 11th class students. I did not give KVPY in 11th standard. Partly because it had biology, and I hated it! But then again, it’s a matter of opinion. So, proceeding with the details, you guys will have a mandatory biology section, both in parts A and B. Look it up just a bit, if you are very serious about obtaining a scholarship in 11th standard itself.

The question paper consists of two parts (Part A contains multiple choice questions and Part B contains descriptive type questions) for 100 marks. It consists of 40 questions of 1 mark each and 12 questions of 5 marks each. There will be four sections allotted for (1) Mathematics, (2) Physics, (3) Chemistry and (4) Biology. All questions are compulsory. Part 2 questions are descriptive type in nature.

In Part – A, each correct answer gets 1 mark, and for each incorrect answer, 0.25 mark are deducted.

In Part – B, each correct answer gets 5 marks. There is no negative marking for Part B.

Remember: Part-B will be evaluated only for the top 2,500 students based on the marks obtained in Part A.

Syllabus: It will be mostly the stuff you did in 10th standard. There’ll be questions about basic chemistry, basic magnetism, electricity and elemental geometry and algebra.

Study Material: No study material is available, so just get your concepts right and be confident. Again, the best study material would be previous years’ question papers. Also, brush up a bit on the fundamental concepts of class 10th.

Interview: There are no personal experiences to be told here. However, many of juniors qualified for the interview, and I can tell you about their experiences. The basics remain the same; there’ll be a panel of interviewers who’ll ask you questions. There will be questions on 11th standard topics that you would already have studied until then.

Many of you might not even have heard of this exam before. Hardly surprising. But I’ll encourage all of you to give this exam. It’s a fantastic way to kick-off the examination season. You’ll face competition from all over India, and trust me, most of the brilliant minds out there who you will compete with in JEE and AIPMT will be up for this as well. So, you’ll get a taste of the real competition and hopefully, a whiff of success. If not, then certainly an insight into your weak areas.

The top 300 students will gain direct admission to IISc Bangalore, which is the best college in India for basic sciences. The remaining candidates have the option of a direct entrance to IISERs.

IISc is also right up there with IITs when it comes to courses in basic sciences, especially material science. There’ll be monetary scholarships for all KVPY students who take up a course in basic sciences in any college. Besides, the prestige of the exam will help you in further applications once you enter colleges and want to apply for internships, projects, etc.

Hopefully, this post will help all those candidates appearing for the coming year’s KVPY.

Wish you all the best in your endeavours.


PS: Now that this year’s written exam is done, here are some interview tips for those hopeful of qualification! Start preparing!

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