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NTSE -National Talent Search Examination

The NTSE (National Talent Search Examination) is a scholarship examination at the national level for students studying in 10th class. It is a scholarship program to honour and support students financially in the form of a monthly scholarship for the full academic career, i.e. from Class XI until the post-doctoral studies.  It is one of the well-recognized scholarship examinations in India that assesses the concepts and skills learnt by the students in the school. This exam is held each year at two levels- Stage Level (Stage- I) and National Level (Stage II). Students who pass both the exam levels are awarded a scholarship. About 1000 scholarships are awarded every year. Reservation is available for SC, ST and Physically handicapped students.

Organizing Body of NTSE

The National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) is majorly organized by the NCERT (National Council of Education Research and Training).

Stage I is conducted by the States/ Union Territories and students who pass Stage- I are eligible to appear for the next stage- National Level (Stage-II), which is done by the NCERT.

Who is Eligible?

n Student must be-

  • An Indian National
  • Studying in 10th Class in a recognized school
  • Indian Students studying abroad can directly apply for Stage II under terms and conditions mentioned in NTS brochure available on NECERT website
  • Students registered under Open Distance Learning(ODL)- provided the student is below 18 years of age (as on 1st July of particular year and not employed. Also must be appearing for class 10th exam for the first time.

Exam Date

NTSE Stage-I (State Level) is held in the month of November across India. Students who clear Stage-I appear for Stage-II, which is held in the month of May.

Test Structure

The NTSE is an objective- based pencil-paper exam.

The NTSE has two parts-

  • Mental Ability Test (MAT)
  • Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

Mental Ability Test (MAT)

This part evaluates the students reasoning ability. The emphasis is on the basics of the verbal and non-verbal reasoning, grammar and vocabulary.  Questions are based on spatial orientation, space visualization, pattern perception, analogies, coding and decoding, classification, hidden figures, series, problem solving, block assembly, etc.

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

This part has two sections:

  • SAT Language Test: This test evaluates the student’s ability to comprehend. It includes reading comprehension, interpretative and predictive components of the language, and logical sequencing. Students can undertake this test in either Hindi or English. 
  • SAT – Math, Social Science and Science: This test evaluates the textbook knowledge of the students. The emphasis is on the textbook academics. Questions are based on the science, math and social science of Class IX and Class X as prescribe by the respective State Board.

Each question has four options and carries one mark. In Stage-I, no negative marking is there, while in Stage-II, 1/3 mark is deducted for every wrong answer.

Level Wise Tests

Stage- I (State Level)

This level exam has two parts:

  • Mental Ability Test (MAT)
  • Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), inclusive of Language Comprehensive Test

Stage-II (National Level)

This level has three parts-Paper 1: MAT (Mental Ability Test)

  • No. of questions: 50
  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Maximum marks: 50

Paper-2:  SAT Language Test (Hindi or English)

  • No. of questions: 50
  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Maximum marks: 50

Paper 3: SAT (Math, Social Science and Science)

  • No. of questions: 100
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Maximum marks: 100


Applying Ways and Means

To apply for NTSE exam, students can collect the application form from their respective schools or can download from the official website of the NCERT. Fill up the form completely and submit it to the school. Also, pay the required amount of fees for Stage-I exam (if any), as prescribed by the State/UT. The Principal will sign the completed application form and further submit the filled form along with the fees (if any) to the State/UT Liaison officer.

** Pupils can enroll themselves for NTSE through the school only!

For Stage-II (National Level), no application is to be filled. Students who pass Stage- I (State Level) will directly receive the admit card from the official board-NCERT by the third week of April or beyond.

Result Date

  • The Stage- I result is declared between February and April. The result declaration date varies from state to state.
  • The Stage-II result is declared between July and September.


Students after passing Stage-II are awarded a monthly scholarship of Rs 1250 for students studying Class XI and Class XII, and for students studying in an undergraduate and postgraduate course, a monthly scholarship of Rs. 2000 is awarded.  The scholarship amount for PhD course is given as per the UGC Norms.


Tips for Exam Prep

  • Improve and increase your vocabulary base. Read voraciously!
  • Focus on the fundamentals, i.e. grab conceptual knowledge up to 10th class.
  • Study State board as well as CBSE textbooks for advanced understanding of the topics.
  • Solve mock tests and previous papers as much as possible. “The more you practice, the better you become”.  (Solve sample papers from Tata McGraw Hill books and Arihant publication).
  • Work on your weaknesses. Formulate an effective strategy to improve your weaker sections.
  • Revise the concepts thoroughly.
  • Prefer group study as you’ll be able to learn more and at a fast pace. Every day, you will come across a new concept and questions. This is a productive practice!
  • Time is a vital factor. So to keep a tab on time required for each question and part, take time diagnostic test.
  • Books for references: NCERT textbooks of Class IX and Class X. For Biology few concepts, refer NCERT Class XI textbook. For MAT part, R.S. Aggarwal is highly recommended. For National Level, solve booklet given by the NTSE. For Math section: R.S. Aggarwal and RD Sharma are the preferred books, apart from NCERT.
  • You can find sample papers or NTSE exams here

Contact Details:

For NTS National Level Examination Inquiry:

Phone number: 011-2560464 (Timings 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM only)
E mail: ntseexam.ncert@gov.in

For State Level NTS Examination Enquiry: Contact the
Liason Officer  of your State


For NTS Scholarship Inquiry:

Phone No: 011-26562704 (Timings 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM only)

Nurturance Programme for NTS Awardees:Do you have question related to NTSE, Ask now!

E mail: nurturance.nts@gov.in

Helpful Links
Scores of MAT, SAT and Language Test of 2016
Scoring Key NTSE -2016
FAQs about NTSE