National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) is a national-level scholarship program in India. It’s an attempt to recognize and tap into students’ potential. Organized by a government body viz. National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT), it’s considered to be one of the most prestigious exams. Every year, close to fifty lakh students appear for this scholarship exam, out of which 1000 scholarships are awarded. The scholarship is open only to the students of Indian nationality. Students studying in Class X are eligible to appear for this examination. In this article, we will share with you the top tips to become an NTSE scholar.

Before we deep dive into the tricks of cracking these exams, let’s quickly take a look at the various NTSE tests and rewards to help you understand the basics.

The exams are conducted at two levels for Class X:

First Level

  • Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

This test has multiple-choice questions, where one alternative is correct. However, it can also have matching, arrange the sequence, true & false statements and questions based on passages. The idea is to assess the reasoning ability and logical thinking of the candidates.

  • Mental Ability Test (MAT)

It has a variety of questions about analogies, classification, series, pattern perception, hidden figures, coding-decoding, block assembly, problem-solving, etc. Here, the goal is to gauge the power of reasoning, ability to judge, evaluate, visualize in space, spatial orientation, etc. of the candidates.

Second Level

A new pattern of Stage 2 exams has been announced by NCERT, where each correctly answered question earns the candidate one mark while an incorrect answer deducts 1/3 marks. This level of exam tests the students’ potential concerning their mental abilities, languages, scholastic aptitudes and social sciences

Scholarship Rewards

Students who clear the second stage of exams are eligible for the NTSE scholarship. Moreover, there are no restrictions like parental income, government school, domicile, etc. However, in case the student moves abroad for studies, the scholarship will no longer be provided.

With the stakes so high and the competition so stiff, here are some tips for aspiring students on how to go about cracking the NTSE exams.

Top 10 Tips to Become an NTSE Scholar

  • Know your Strengths & Weaknesses

It’s necessary to know your strengths & weaknesses. E.g. If you’re strong in mathematics and science but average in languages and weak in social sciences, then you can turn your weaknesses into strengths for an overall good score.

  • Follow NCERT Books

Follow NCERT books of classes IX and X for NTSE preparation. For some concepts in biology, refer NCERT Class XI Biology textbook (only portions that are relevant to IX and X class curriculum). It’s imperative to thoroughly study the Social Studies NCERT book for NTSE.

  • Strengthen Your MAT Section

The MAT section tests your mental ability. Hence, you must give sufficient time for preparing for this part.

  • Work on Your SAT Section

Follow NCERT for the scholastic aptitude section of NTSE. You must also read a good general knowledge book for ‘out of the course’ questions

  • Solving Sample Papers

You must solve a lot of sample papers and mock tests at least thrice a week. There are a lot of NTSE mock papers available on the internet. You should aim to solve these papers within the stipulated time so that you can improve your speed and know the sections that consume more time.

  • Analyze Your Performance

Make sure you minutely assess what you could do and what you had a hard time with. Was it the subject understanding you lacked? Or did you miss out on the scores because of silly mistakes? Whatever it is, just analyze your performance very critically.

  • Apply Findings

Once you know your weak points, make a plan. Study and revise the subject matter if needed. Allocate time for different sections of the exam.

  • Reference Books

Diligently read reference books to prepare for NTSE. R.S. Aggarwal’s handbook is extremely helpful for preparing for the MAT exams. For mocks, you can refer to Arihant & Tata McGraw-Hill books as they clearly point out the difficulty level of NTSE.

  • Self-Study is Important

For clearing any exam, a decent amount of self-study is important. It is one of the most basic and important of all the tips to become an NTSE scholar. One should devote at least 3-4 hours to self-learning to crack this competitive exam.

  • Practice, Practice & More Practice

Finally, regular practice is what will get you through. Solve as many questions of mental ability as possible so that you’re not shocked on the exam day. Take the help of your school seniors and teachers. With practice, you’ll also get more confident about your speed, subject knowledge, and accuracy.

Just remember that you don’t have to be a Know-It-All to compete and excel. You can be just an ordinary candidate and follow these tips to become an NTSE scholar. Sometimes, all it takes is little changes in everyday habits to succeed in life.

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