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Established by the Government of India in the year 1961, The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) aimed to bring about qualitative improvement in school education in the country. Soon, in order to accomplish this aim, a number of programmes were mounted in this direction. One such programme was to identify and nurture the talented students. This programme took up the shape of a scheme called National Science Talent Search Scheme (NSTSS) in the year 1963 which provided for the identification of talented students and awarding them with scholarships. In this article, you will find information about NTSE syllabus, exam pattern and much more!

NTSE or National Talent Search Examination is explicitly conducted for students pursuing class X. The NTSE syllabus for exam primarily consists of two sets of examinations, namely, Mental Ability Test (MAT) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The Scholastic Aptitude Test of NTSE syllabus includes the language comprehensive test as well. The exam comprises of 90 MCQs or multiple choice questions.

NTSE is held in two stages and different eligibility criteria apply for each stage:

Stage 1 or the state level NTSE 2016 eligibility criteria: Only Class X Indian students from a State or Union Territory recognized school who have secured at least 60% marks during their class IX exams can sit for the test. The minimum percentage of students belonging to SC/ST/PH category is 55% (5% relaxation).

Stage 2 or the national level NTSE 2016 eligibility criteria: The students who secured at least 80% marks in the state level NTSE can appear for the stage 2 national level exam. All the students who achieve requisite scores at this level automatically qualify for scholarships that are handed over by NCERT.

Exam outline (MAT and SAT):

Each question of the exam comprises of four alternatives, out of which the students have to select the best-suited answer.

The correct answer marked earns 1 mark.

The complete score is equal to the number of correct answers successfully served by the students.

Mental Ability Test or MAT:

The main objective of conducting the Mental Ability Test in NTSE syallabus is to judge and analyze students’ power of evaluation, discrimination, reasoning, the potential to visualize, spatial orientation and space orientation. Questions related to classification, coding-decoding, series, pattern perception, block assembly, hidden figures, analogies and problem solving are asked to the students to gauge their mental ability. The questionnaire includes a set of 90 multiple choice questions. Mental Ability Test is an appropriate way to scale a student’s ability, using rationalized questions.

Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT:

In this test of NTSE, questions are picked from extreme subjects like Physics, Biology, Chemistry, History, Geography, Economics, and Political Science. Further, the SAT also comprises of a Language Comprehensive Test.

The set might also include questions which refer to arrange the sequence, match the correct answer, true and false statements, and last but not the least, the comprehension passage-based questions. This might make the exam more entertaining than the multiple choice questions. Scholastic Aptitude Test being an integrated exam grills the students more than the Mental Ability Test. As students tend to make more mistakes in SAT, it is a good learning experience for the students; it makes them aware of their weak points, as well as their strong topics.

Details of Language Test:

The competency of a student in NTSE is best judged from the language test. Questions in NTSE syllabus on logical sequencing, evaluation, interpretation, predictive and other creative components of language are descriptively asked. Language Comprehensive Test being the most subtle carries more weightage in NTSE syllabus.

Each test consists of three papers. A brief insight into National Talent Search Examination (NTSE):

Test Marks Questions Time
Mental Ability Test 50 50 45 minutes
Scholastic Aptitude Test  100  100 90 minutes
Language Test 50 50 45 minutes

(Click here to view the eligibility criteria of NTSE, and also for NTSE syllabus)

NTSE Syllabus

Mathematics: In mathematics, geometry, algebra, mensuration, number systems and profit & loss are some hot topics that are frequently asked in the test and are an important part of NTSE syllabus. Students are advised to grill themselves on these topics for NTSE. These are the topics as per NTSE syllabus

  • Algebraic Expressions: An algebraic expression is a mathematical phrase that can contain ordinary numbers, variables, and mathematical operators
    Eg.  x+2a – b, 3x
  • Arithmetic
  • Arithmetic Progressions-   It is a sequence of numbers such that the difference between the consecutive terms is constant. For instance, the sequence 5,8,11,14.. is an arithmetic progression with common difference of 3.If the initial term of an arithmetic progression is  and the common difference of successive members is d, then the nth term of the sequence  is given by:

    and in general

  • Basic Geometry- Involves topics like Angles, Polygons, Parallel and Transverse lines, Similar Figures, Congruent Triangles etc.
  • Circles
  • Coordinate Geometry
  • Direct & inverse variation– We sayvaries directly with b when say, a=kb, for some constant k.
    Similarly, varies inversely with when ab=k.
  • Exponent
  • Linear Equation
  • Mensuration- It is the branch of mathematics. It usually deals with geometric shapes like triangles, squares etc. and tries to estimate their areas, volumes, and various related parameters. Remembering various formulas like an area of the triangle, parallelogram, trapezoid etc will come in handy!
  • Number System
  • Percentage & its Application
  • Playing with Numbers
  • Probability
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Rational Numbers
  • Simple interest & Compound interest- Interest money paid regularly at a particular rate for the use of money lent, or for delaying the repayment of a debt. It is the cost of borrowing money from the owner by the borrower. It is usually expressed in the form of either SIMPLE Interest or COMPOUND Interest. Simple interest is only based on the principal amount of a loan, while compound interest is based on the principal amount and the accumulated interest.
  • Square Root & Cube Root
  • Statistics
  • Surface Areas and Volumes
  • Triangles
  • Trigonometry

Science: Science is the most aggressive topic includes topics like gravity, energy, liquids and gases, conservation of energy, history of physics, solids, liquids and gases, nutrition, natural gases, cells, common diseases, properties of solids, properties of chemical elements under dangerous conditions. Well, science is the most thrilling subject always interests students more than any other subject. Hence, asking students to emphasize more on it is pretty much expected in NTSE. The follwing are the topics prescribed in NTSE syllabus

  • Acid, Bases and Salt- Questions usually focus on their definitions in terms of furnishing of H+ and OH- ions, General properties, examples and uses, concept of pH scale(Definition relating to logarithm not required), importance of pH in everyday life; preparation and uses of sodium hydroxide, Bleaching powder, Baking soda, Washing soda and Plaster of Paris.
  • Air
  • Carbon and its Compounds– Covalent bonding in carbon compounds. Versatile nature of carbon. Homologous series Nomenclature of carbon compounds containing functional groups (halogens, alcohol, ketones, aldehydes, alkanes, and alkynes), the difference between saturated hydrocarbons and unsaturated hydrocarbons. Chemical properties of carbon compounds (combustion, oxidation, addition, and substitution reaction). Ethanol and Ethanoic acid (only properties and uses), soaps and detergents.
  • Cellular Level of Organisation
  • Diversity in Living Organisms
  • Fibres and Plastics
  • Food Production & Management
  • Heredity and Evolution
  • Human Body
  • Life Processes
  • Light- Light is described as packets of energy called ‘photons’ that move from the source in a stream at a very fast speed. To learn more about light, we’ll first have to understand the electromagnetic spectrum.The electromagnetic spectrum comprises of different electromagnetic waves (EM waves).
  • Magnetism & Electricity at Work
  • Measurement
  • Metals & Non Metals
  • Micro-organisms
  • Motion and Force
  • Our Environment–  Eco-system, Environmental problems, Ozone depletion, waste production and their solutions. Biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances.
  • Periodic Classification of Elements
  • Physical and Chemical Changes
  • Plant and Animal Nutrition
  • Reproduction– Reproduction in animal and plants (asexual and sexual) reproductive health need for and methods of family planning. Safe sex vs. HIV/AIDS. Childbearing and women’s health.
  • Soil
  • Some Common Diseases
  • Source of Energy
  • Structure of Atom
  • The Universe
  • Water
  • Work and energy
  • Sound

Social Science: The history of Mughal dynasty, ancient civilizations, legislative assembly, government structure, physical divisions of India, hydrosphere, types of banks, recent general happenings, political events, awards, type of economics, fundamental rights, natural vegetation and the political system of India are the most frequently grilled topics in NTSE and are a part of NTSE syllabus.

  • Agriculture
  • Atmosphere
  • Biosphere
  • British Raj
  • Culture, Science, and Literature
  • Democracy and Elections- “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people.” There are various kinds of democracies:1. Direct and Indirect Democracies,2. Presidential and Parliamentary Democracies3. Bi-Party and Multi-Party system
  • 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 In 1922, archaeologists made a gripping discovery, the remains of an ancient city from a previously unknown civilization. They named this city Harappa. Shortly thereafter, and with help from local guides, they found another city from the same civilization. They called this one Mohenjo-Daro. Since that time, archaeologists have found over 1400 cities from this same civilization. We now call this the ‘Indus Valley Civilization’ as the cities were mostly found in the Indus Valley. The Indus River is one of the world’s longest, and winds from the mountains in northern India through India and Pakistan until it reaches the ocean.
  • Industrial Revolution
  • Industries
  • Internal Structure of the Earth and Rocks
  • Introduction and Sources of Ancient Indian History
  • Jainism, Buddhism, and Conquerors from Distant Lands-  Jainism, an ancient religion from India, it is one of the most peaceful religions. Its aim is to achieve Liberation of the soul.  It is one of the three most ancient Indian religious traditions still in existence. Jainism often employs concepts shared with Hinduism and Buddhism, the result of a common cultural and linguistic background.
  • 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- You can find the entire history in the crispest and helpful at the same time, here. 
  • 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- The total volume of water present in the world is 35 million kmout of which 2.5% is fresh water. Out of this 2.5%, 70% water is available as snow cover and ice. Thus, human beings have access to only 200,000 kmof freshwater. With the demand and the excessive use of water increasing day by day, there can be no denying the fact that the water would be absolutely scarce in the near future.
  • World History

Mental Ability : The mental ability test problems, sometimes called Mental Aptitude problems, test the reasoning & interpretation skills of candidates. This is done by looking at how a candidate approaches problems of the test. It is not very easy to test thinking of a candidate since, unlike in other subjects vis-a-vis Physics, Maths, Biology, English etc., there is not an established theory to it. However, over the years, mental ability test has molded itself into a set of questions which are still growing in variety. The best part is that the questions that can be asked in a mental ability test are growing in variety faster than the theory of Science & Commerce.

  • 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

General Knowledge tests the information a student has on various topics like Abbreviations, Awards, and Recognition, Books and Authors, India, Sports, World. Reading a newspaper every day and following the current affairs is necessary for this section.

Also, make sure you solve previous papers present on toppr. Here are some books that you should follow. Happy learning!

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