National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) – Eligibility, Application, Syllabus & More

The National Talent Search Examination, initially known as the National Science Talent Search Scheme (NSTSS) and later as the National Talent Search Scheme (NTSS), is one of the most sought-after national-level examinations in India. It is conducted by the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) and offers 1,000 scholarships for students of Class 10 to allow them to pursue courses in the streams of science and social science (up to the doctoral level) and professional courses like engineering and medicine (up to the second-degree level).

The NTSE (National Talent Search Examination) examination is conducted every year at two levels – Stage 1 and Stage 2. NTSE Stage 1 is conducted by different states and union territories, whereas the second stage is conducted by NCERT at the national level.

What is the NTSE scheme all about? Who can apply for NTSE? What is the procedure to apply for the exam? How can the students prepare for the exam? This article covers answers to all these questions.

NTSE: Important Dates

The NTSE state-level screening examination for all the states and UTs is conducted on the first Sunday of November – except for Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Meghalaya and Mizoram – where it is conducted on the first Saturday of November every year. 

Here is a tentative schedule of the examination: 

Note – The following are tentative dates and might change as per the discretion of the exam conducting body. Students must keep checking NCERT’s site for confirmation on the exact exam dates.

Events Dates
Notification of NTSE application To be notified
Applications begin To be notified
NTSE application deadline Will be announced separately by each state/UT
Admit card of NTSE Stage 1 To be notified
NTSE Stage 1 exam (for Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Andaman & Nicobar islands) 3 November 2022
NTSE Stage 1 exam (for all other states and UTs except West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana) 4 November 2022
NTSE Stage 1 exam for West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana 18 November 2022
Results of NTSE Stage 1 January 2023

Also Read –NTSE – Syllabus, Examination Pattern and Books

NTSE – Eligibility Criteria

Only the students who are residents of India are eligible to apply for the National Talent Search Examination (NTSE). Indian students who are pursuing their studies abroad are also eligible to apply. Here are the other details regarding NTSE. 

Detailed Eligibility Criteria for NTSE

S.No. Stage Eligibility
1. Stage-1 (State/UT Level)
  • Students who are currently studying in Class 10 at a recognised school including Navodaya Vidyalaya, Kendriya Vidyalaya, and Sainik School can apply for state-level examination from the state where their school is located.
  • Students studying under ODL (Open and Distance Learning) can also apply for the scholarship provided they are below 18 years of age, unemployed, and are appearing for the Class 10 examination for the first time.

Note: The state may levy eligibility conditions like qualifying percentage, etc., for Stage-1 examination.

2. Stage-2 (National Level)
  • The national-level examination is open to students having Indian nationality only.
  • Students must be studying in Class 10 either in India or abroad.

For students in India

Buddy4Study - IDFC FIRST

  • Candidates shortlisted in Stage-1 (state-level examination) will be qualified to appear for the national-level examination.

For students studying abroad

  • Students who are Indian nationals but studying abroad in Class 10 can directly apply for the national level examination, only if – 
    • He/she has obtained at least 60% marks in aggregate in the previous examination.
    • He/she takes up the examination at a center in India and bears the cost by himself.
    • He/she requests through the HOI (Head of the Institution) where he/she is studying.

NOTE: The scholarship will be paid to students from abroad only if they pursue further studies in India.

NTSE – Application Process 

A eligible candidate can apply for the NTSE by following these steps-

  • For Indian Students

Indian students who are pursuing their studies in India itself can apply for the state-level examination through the following steps-

Step 1: Look out for state-level notification by the respective State/UT government in the newspapers or circulars in your school.

Step 2: The student can contact their respective State Liaison Officer to get the application form.

Step 3: Fill in the application form.

Step 4: Get it signed by your school’s Principal.

Step 5: Submit the duly-filled application along with the examination fee (if applicable) to the State Liaison Officer.

  • For Indian Students Abroad

The Indian students studying abroad can directly apply for the national-level examination through the following steps –

Step 1: Make the request through your respective Head of Institution (HOI).

Step 2: Get the mark sheet for Class 9 attested by the HOI.

Step 3: Submit the application to – Head, Department of Educational Survey Division, NCERT, New Delhi-110016.

National Talent Search Examination – Examination Fee

As per the rules laid down by the NCERT, the students do not need to pay any examination fee for the stage 2 NTSE exam. However, for the 1 stage examination, the students might be required to pay an examination fee based on the requirements of the states/UTs. Students can get detailed information about the application fee and how to pay it through their respective State Liaison Officer as well.

NTSE – Exam Pattern

  • NTSE is conducted in two different stages, i.e., Stage 1 and Stage 2. 
  • Stage 1 is conducted by the states/UTs, whereas stage 2 is conducted under the supervision of NCERT. 
  • The medium of the examination could be English, Hindi, Bangla, Asamiya, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Odia, Urdu, Telugu or Tamil. 
  • Students can choose either one of the languages.
  • Each stage comprises two tests for students, namely the MAT (Mental Ability Test) and the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test). 

To know the exam pattern for both stages in detail, the students can refer to the table below- 

S.No. Particulars Details
1. Mode of examination Offline (OMR sheet) 
2. Medium of examination English, Hindi, Bangla, Asamiya, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Odia, Urdu, Telugu, and Tamil
3. Number of papers  2 [Mental Ability Test (MAT) & Scholastic Aptitude Test( SAT)]
4. Number of questions  MAT– 100

SAT– 100

5. Types of questions Multiple-choice questions
6. Marks allotted for each question 1 (One)
7. Time duration for each test 120 minutes
8. Scholarship Aptitude Test (Pattern) Science – 40 Questions

Social Science – 40 Questions

Mathematics – 20 Questions

9. Negative Marking Not applicable 

NTSE – Exam Syllabus

NCERT does not specify any prescribed syllabus for NTSE. The students aspiring for the examination can prepare by referring to the syllabus of Classes 9 and 10. While MAT requires the students to solve questions related to mental aptitude, SAT carries questions from science, social science, and mathematics. 

Below is a tabular representation of the syllabus for both stages of the examination:

S.No. Section Areas Covered*
1. MAT (Mental Ability Test) The test is based on questions related to –

  • Analogies
  • Series
  • Classification
  • Pattern perception
  • Hidden figures
  • Block assembly
  • Coding-decoding
  • Problem-solving
2. SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)

The test comprises questions based on –

  • Science
  • Social Science
  • Mathematics

*The areas covered in the examination mentioned above are based on expert inputs and the paper pattern of previous years.

NTSE – Books for Preparation

The most important concern for students while preparing for any examination is the reference material for the syllabus. Every year, thousands of students sit for the NTSE exam date, hence, the competition is relentless. Students, therefore, need to choose the right books. 

Since the examination is conducted in multiple languages, the students must consult books that are easier to understand. If the books contain sample questions or previous year papers, then it is an added advantage. To stay up to date, the students need to ensure that they are referring to the latest edition of the books for NTSE preparation. Here are the important books for NTSE preparation.

NTSE – Books for Preparation

S.No. Book Name Author Publication
1. Study Package for NTSE McGraw Hill Education McGraw Hill Education
2. Practice Papers for NTSE Stalin Malhotra, S.L. Gulati, Hari Mohan Prasad McGraw Hill Education
3. The Pearson Guide to NTSE Navin C. Joshi, Saurabh Priyadarshi Pearson India
4. Lakshya NTSE- Class 10th (Study Material + Mock Papers + Motivational Book and CD) AIETS Experts Disha Publication
5. Study Guide NTSE (MAT + SAT) for Class 10th 2020-21 Arihant Experts Arihant Publication

NTSE Books for Class 10

Here are some of the much-preferred NTSE books for Class 10 –

  • NCERT Textbooks of Class 10 (For Science, Social Science, and Mathematics)
  • Study Package for NTSE Class 10 – McGraw Hill Education (Price may range from INR 500 to INR 700)
  • Practice Test Papers for NTSE Class 10 – McGraw Hill Education (Price may range from INR 300 to INR 400)
  • Pearson Guide to NTSE Class 10 – Pearson India (Price may range from INR 500 to INR 600)
  • Study Guide for NTSE Class 10 – Disha Experts (Price may range from INR 500 to INR 600)
  • NTSE Books for Class 9

Here are some of the most popular books that students should consider while preparing for the examination.

  • NCERT Textbooks of Class 9 (For Science, Social Science, and Mathematics)
  • Daily Practice Problems (DPP) for Class 9 – CP Editorial (Price may range from INR 200 to INR 300)
  • Foundation Study Package for NTSE Class 9 – CP Editorial (Price may range from INR 2,000 to INR 2,500)
  • NTSE Books for MAT
  • To prepare well for the MAT examination, students may refer to R.S. Aggarwal’s book Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning. 

NTSE – Admit Card

Since the NCERT conducts the Stage 2 examination of NTSE, the admit card for this stage is available on its official website. However, to obtain the admit cards for Stage 1, the candidates have to be dependent on their respective state/UTs. 

The admit card contains crucial details including the applicant’s roll number, venue as well as the date and time of the test. 

Note: The admit cards are available for download 21 days before the day of the examination.

NTSE – Selection Process

Students who crack Stage 1 of the NTSE examination are qualified for Stage 2 of the examination. The minimum qualifying marks that a student must obtain is 40% in each paper (for General/OBC category students) and 32% in each paper (for SC/ST/PH category students). 

After clearing the Stage 1 exam, the students will have to appear for the NTSE examination at the national-level at Stage 2. The final results are declared based on evaluation, which happens at Stage 2.

National Talent Search Examination – Results

  • The final result of NTSE is generally declared between July and September by combining the scores obtained by students in both MAT and SAT for the Stage 2 examination. 
  • To be considered for merit, the students need to obtain the qualifying marks in both papers separately. 
  • The students shortlisted for the scholarship are intimated through the official website of NCERT and a registered letter. 
  • Also, the marks of all students, including the shortlisted ones and the ones who did not qualify are revealed individually on the official website. 
  • The previous NTSE Stage 2 results were declared on 18th February 2022 a notification for which was released on the official website of NCERT.

National Talent Search Examination - Results

Thereafter, NCERT releases a link through which the students can access their e-award letters. 

e-award letters

NTSE – Scholarship Details

The rate and number of scholarships awarded under NTSE have undergone several revisions over the years. As per the current scheme, a total of 1,000 scholarships will be given to students nationwide, out of which 15% reservation is given to students belonging to the SC category, 7.5% reservation is available for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates, and 27% reservation is given to Other Backward Classes (OBC) candidates. 

Also, there is a reservation of 4% for students with benchmark disabilities. The amount of scholarship that the students receive depends on their current class or level of study. The detailed information about the NTSE scholarship award is given in the table below- 

Details of NTSE scholarship awards

S.No. Class/Level of Study Scholarship Amount
1. For Classes 11th and 12th INR 1,250 per month
2. For undergraduate and postgraduate courses INR 2,000 per month
3. For students pursuing PhD courses As per UGC norms

NTSE Scholarship Disbursement – Rules and Regulations

The selected students pursuing studies in the stream of Social Sciences, Science, Languages, Humanities, Commerce, Fine Arts, and Vocational studies are eligible to earn scholarships up to the PhD level. 

However, the students who are currently pursuing studies in the stream of Engineering, Medicine, Management, Technology, and Law are eligible for scholarships up to the second-degree level. The disbursal of scholarships at different levels of study is subject to the student’s fulfilment of the following conditions –

Detailed Conditions for NTSE Scholarship Disbursal

S.No. Level of Study Eligibility Criteria
1. Higher Secondary Level
  • The scholarship shall commence the moment the student gets a subsequent promotion in Class 11.
  • It is payable for up to two years for a student’s studies in India only.
  • If the student is pursuing a diploma/certificate course, she/he can also get a scholarship if unemployed.
  • The student needs to secure an aggregate score of 60% or equivalent to receive a scholarship every year. In case, she/he doesn’t secure the minimum percentage for two consecutive or non-consecutive years, the scholarship will be discontinued forever.
2. First Degree Level
  • The student must secure a minimum of 60% marks at the intermediate level or equivalent examination to ensure the continuation of scholarship at the first degree level in any stream. 
  • The scholarship will continue for subsequent years if the student maintains at least 60% marks in aggregate in internal exams or the final degree.
  • In case the student does not secure 60% marks for two consecutive or non-consecutive years, the scholarship will be discontinued forever.
3. Second Degree Level
  • The student needs to have obtained an aggregate score of 60% or equivalent to receive a scholarship every year.
  • In case the student fails to secure 60% marks for two consecutive or non-consecutive years, the scholarship will be discontinued.
4. M.Phil./PhD Level
  • To ensure the continuation of studies at the pre-doctoral or PhD level, the student must pass MA/MSc/MCom/M.Phil course with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent in the first attempt.
  • The scholarship will continue during the second and fourth year of the student’s PhD programme if her/his guide certifies that the student has delivered high-quality work during the first and third years, respectively.

NTSE – Key Preparation Tips

As NTSE approaches, students begin the hunt for preparation tips to crack one of the most nationally-acclaimed examinations. Here are some tips which a student must remember while preparing for the exam.

  • Work in a planned way

Discipline is the key to preparing for any examination. A proper plan in place can help the applicant to reduce stress and perform to her/his full potential. Delegating time throughout the day while paying more attention to the sections which the students believe she/ he needs to work more on can be a game changer.

  • Begin with previous years’ papers

Nothing works better than having a thorough knowledge of the paper pattern from the previous examinations. This not only gives the students a close exposure to the nature of questions but also helps them in taking a mock examination while keeping the time limit into consideration.

  • Practice is key

Practice makes a man perfect! And there is no easy way to crack an examination as tough as NTSE. However, dedication and consistency in preparation can help a student hone her/his subject knowledge, speed, and accuracy. 

  • Keep track of your performance

Hard work always pays but keeping a track of one’s progress can make a student feel more confident and determined for attempting the examination. This also helps the students to realise their strengths and weaknesses.

National Talent Search Examination – About the Scheme

The NTSE scholarship programme was launched in 1963 with an objective to identify talented students and encourage them to pursue higher education. Over the years, the scheme has undergone several changes in terms of name, eligibility, pattern, structure and various other aspects of the examination. The idea is not just to encourage the students to pursue higher education but also to recognise the ones with extremely high intellectual abilities and academic excellence. The scheme, however, is only open for applicants who are Indian citizens.

FAQs – 

What is the eligibility criteria for NTSE scholarship?

A candidate of Indian nationality studying in Class 10 in India or abroad can apply for NTSE. They will get a scholarship to continue their studies in India at higher secondary, graduation, post-graduation, and PhD levels.

How can the student apply for NTSE?

The students studying in India can apply for the programme through their respective State Liaison Officer. However, the Indian students studying abroad need to apply through their Head of Institution.

How many scholarships are available under the NTSE scheme?

A total of 1000 scholarships are disbursed under this scheme, which varies from class to class. For studies in Classes 11 and 12, a student can win a scholarship of INR 1,250 whereas for studies at UG/PG level, a student can win a scholarship of INR 2,000 per month. For studies at PhD level, the scholarship amount is decided as per the norms of UGC.

When can a student apply for NTSE?

NCERT releases details of the application for NTSE every year. Similarly, the states/UTs also announce their respective notifications every year. A student must contact her/his respective State Liaison officer to get the details about the application.

What are the stages of the NTSE exam?

The NTSE exam is conducted in two stages – the state level which is Stage 1 of the exam and the national level which is Stage 2. Each stage comprises two papers, namely MAT (Mental Ability Test) and SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test).

What is the syllabus for NTSE?

NCERT does not specify any prescribed syllabus for NTSE. The students aspiring for the examination can prepare by referring to the syllabus of Classes 9 and 10. While MAT requires the students to solve questions related to mental aptitude, SAT carries questions from science, social science, and mathematics.

Is there any fee charged for NTSE registration?

No, there is no fee charged for NTSE registration by NCERT. However, for Stage 1 (state/UT level) examination, the states/UTs may charge a registration fee.

follow us for social updates


  1. Source of Information: Buddy4Study app compiles details on scholarships/fellowships from government websites and private scholarship sources. Links to the official sources accompany each listing detail pages.
  2. Non-affiliation: The Buddy4Study app is not associated with any government entity in India or elsewhere. When featuring government scholarships, we rely on publicly accessible information from central and state government websites in India.