NTSE 2021 Syllabus – Key Information, Examination Pattern and Books

NTSE syllabus- The NTSE (National Talent Search Examination) is a national-level scholarship program held by the NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training). Though there is no strict NTSE syllabus prescribed by NCERT, it has a fixed pattern and is associated with the syllabus of the 10th standard. The examination is conducted in two parts namely, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the Mental Ability Test (MAT). The SAT constitutes subjects like mathematics, social science, and science and the MAT constitutes questions based more on testing the mental ability of the students.

What are the topics covered in NTSE syllabus? Which books should be referred for the NTS Examination? What is the structure of the examination? The answer to a lot of questions like these and much more information has been provided in this article for the assistance of the applicants.

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NTSE Syllabus – Examination Pattern

The NTS Examination is a two-tier examination i.e. it is held in two stages. Stage one is the state level examination and stage two is the national level examination. It is an offline examination based on multiple choice question format (MCQ). There are 4 options provided for each question amongst which only one is correct, the candidate has to identify the right answer and mark it.

Stage one is conducted by the state and it is the state’s decision to either add or subtract any terms and conditions at its discretion. Stage two of the examination is a national level examination held by the NCERT. Both state level and national level examination are divided into two parts: MAT and SAT.

Mental Ability Test (MAT)-  This section tests the problem-solving skills of the student. The questions are based to check the mental ability of the applicant through different topics. The examination comprises 100 questions and it is divided into 3 parts namely, verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, and the grammar section.

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)- This section tests the academic skills of the student constituting questions from the NCERT books of class 10. The questions in this paper usually circumscribe chapters from the subjects the students are already acquainted with in school, for example, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, history, geography, civics, economics, and general knowledge.

NTSE Syllabus – Overview of Examination Pattern



No. Of Questions Maximum Marks

Time Allotted


Aptitude Test 100 100 120 Minutes
SAT Science, Social Science, Mathematics 100



NTSE Syllabus – Key Information

The NTSE syllabus for every year remains the same as the NCERT syllabus of class 9 and 10. The students need to go through the respective books of class 9th and 10th in order to qualify the examination and earn a scholarship. Since stage 1 examination is conducted by different state/UTs, the examination date for different states may vary. The stage 2 examination is scheduled to be held on 13th June 2021 for the academic year 2020-21 and the final result is expected to release in the month of October 2021.

The NTSE syllabus of stage one is usually taken from the books published by the state board. This stage is a state-level examination qualifying which progresses the student to the national level.
The stage two syllabus is mostly from NCERT textbooks. This stage is harder as compared to stage one of the examination as both the papers i.e. MAT and SAT have a higher level of difficulty and understanding in this stage and the number of students to be selected in this stage is considerably less. The syllabus for the examination is mentioned in a descriptive manner below.

Subject-wise NTSE Syllabus for SAT Examination

SCIENCE – Chemistry

S. No.      Syllabus for Scholastic Aptitude Test
1. Structure of an Atom
2. Acid, Bases and Salt
3. Carbon and Its Compounds
4. Metals and Non-metals
5. Periodic Classification of Elements
6. Physical and Chemical Changes
7. The Universe

SCIENCE – Biology

1. Cellular Level of Organizations
2. Air, Water and Soil
3. Heredity and Evolution
4. Fibers and Plastics
5. Food Production and Management
6. Diversity in Living Organisms
7. Our Environment
8. Human Body
9. Micro-organisms
10. Reproduction
11. Plant and Animal Nutrition
12. Life Processes
13. Some Common Diseases

SCIENCE – Physics

1. Magnetism and Electricity
2. Motion and Force
3. Work and Energy
4. Light and Sound
5. Measurements
6. Source of Energy
7. Sound
8. Light


1. New Empires and Kingdoms
2. Jainism, Buddhism and Conquers from Distant Lands
3. Industrial Revolution
4. Culture, Science and Literature
5. The Mauryas
6. Vedic Period
7. Medieval Architecture and Culture
8. Resources and Development
9. French Revolution
10. The Delhi Sultanate
11. World History
12. Early Medieval Period
13. British Raj
14. India and Its Neighbors
15. Indus Valley Civilization
16. The Mughal Empire
17. Introduction and Sources of Ancient Indian History


1. Early States
2. Indian Constitution
3. Democracy and Elections
4. 18th Century Political Formation
5. Indian Economics
6. The Judiciary
7. Union Government
8. Indian Freedom Struggle
9. Popular Movements and Social Reforms
10. UN and International Agencies
11. Local and State Government
12. Nationalism in Various Countries


1. Agriculture
2. Resources and Development
3. Atmosphere
4. Maps and Globe
5. Natural Vegetation
6. Population
7. Biosphere
8. Diversity and Livelihood
9. Internal Structure of Earth and Rocks
10. Major Domains and Landforms
11. The motion of the Earth
12. Our Country- India
13. Solar System
14. Water Resources


1. Algebraic Expression
2. Arithmetic Progression
3. Polynomials
4. Quadratic Equation
5. Square Roots and Cube Roots
6. Mensuration
7. Surface and Area Volume
8. Direct and Inverse Variation
9. Percentage
10. Simple Interest and Compound Interest
11. Statistics
12. Basic Geometry
13. Circles
14. Triangles
15. Coordinate Geometry
16. Number System
17. Real Numbers
18. Rational Numbers
19. Trigonometry
20. Arithmetic
21. Linear Equations
22. Exponents
23. Probability


1. World
2. Awards and Recognitions
3. Sports
4. Abbreviations
5. Book and Authors
6. India


1. Paragraph Completion
2. Sentence Completion and Formation
3. One Word Substitution
4. Synonyms and Antonyms
5. Rearrangement of Words
6. English Grammar
7. Comprehension
8. English Grammar

*This is a qualifying examination. The marks scored in this subject will not be included in the final score of the applicant.

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Detailed NTSE syllabus for MAT Examination

S. No.          Syllabus for Mental Ability Test
      1. Word Problems
      2. Analogy (Verbal and Non-verbal)
      3. Alphabet and Number Test
      4. Blood Relations
      5. Ranking and Arrangements
      6. Coding-Decoding
      7. Venn Diagrams
      8. Distance and Direction
      9. Mathematical Operations
    10. Series (Verbal and Non-verbal)
    11. Mirror and Water Images
    12. Embedded Figures
    13. Calendar, Time and Clock
    14. Classification


NTSE Syllabus – Books

To ensure good preparation for the exam, the students need to refer relevant books related to NTSE syllabus. Referring to the books published by NCERT is undoubtedly the first choice for all the aspirants. Besides this, there are about thousands of books available for NTSE preparations. Which is the best-suited book to refer for the preparation?

Find the answer to this question in the table below. It highlights some of the most prominent books based on NTSE syllabus for your preparation. The following books have been used and been effective for the students in the past for the examination.

List of Books to Refer Based on NTSE Syllabus

S. No.                 Book Name           Author        Publication
1. A Comprehensive Manual for NTSE for Class 10th Abhijit Guha, N.D. Arora, V. Sasikumar, Divya Johry, Majid Husain Access Publishing
2. Practice Papers for NTSE Stalin Malhotra, S.L. Gulati, Hari Mohan Prasad McGraw Hill Education
3. Study Package for NTSE McGraw Hill Education McGraw Hill Education
4. The Pearson Guide to NTSE Navin C. Joshi, Saurabh Priyadarshi Pearson India
5. NTSE Explorer Er. Sonia Lal MTG Learning Pvt. Ltd.
6. Lakshya NTSE- Class 10th (Study Material + Mock Papers + Motivational Book and CD) AIETS Experts Disha Publication
7. Target NTSE Class 10th (MAT + SAT) Disha Experts Disha Publication


NTSE Syllabus – Key Tips for Preparation

The competition level for the NTS Examination has constantly been ascending. It’s a national-level scholarship and lakhs of students from all around the country participate in the examination to win the scholarship. Students need to relieve themselves of any extra tension as it leads to chaos. Here are some important preparation tips that can prove effectual in helping the students –

  • Know your strengths and weaknesses– It’s very important for a student to know his strengths and weaknesses and what to expect out of what. For instance, a student is great in mathematics and average in science, he/she can use this knowledge to acquire an overall good score.
  • Buy a General Knowledge book– The students should be updated with the current affairs in order to be successful in the general knowledge section of the examination. The students are advised to purchase a general knowledge book to keep themselves updated.
  • Avoid silly mistakes– Try not to make silly mistakes by marking the wrong circle or forgetting to mark your answer in the OMR sheet.
  • Be consistent- It’s not important to be a genius to crack the NTS Examination. The student should be consistent in his/ her preparation and avoid laziness. Consistency is the key to the NTSE lock.
  • Reference Books- Apart from following the books published by NCERT for preparing, the student should go through other reference books prepared specifically for the examination. Some of the highly efficient books have been mentioned above.
  • Mock test and Sample papers- Prepare through mock tests. They make the student acquainted with the type of questions that are expected to be in the examination paper.
  • Previous year question papers- The student should solve previous year question papers. The examination pattern is usually kept intact every year and a lot of questions or question type are recurring in the examination. Thus, the student should solve at least 2-3 previous years’question papers to adapt to the timing.
  • Prepare well for the Mental Ability Test- Since the MAT paper is to test the mental ability of the students, the students need to practice a lot of questions in order to be efficient in it. MAT is not something a student can learn by mugging up, practising the MAT questions is the only way.
  • Analyse performance- The students should constantly analyse what is easy for them, what comes across as hard for them and what takes a lot of effort and time. They should constantly work on improving on what they like. Students should prepare in such a way that even if it is slow they should constantly make some progress. Preparation is pointless without rectifying errors.
  • Time management- Since NTSE is based on multiple-choice question (MCQ) format, all the questions carry 4 options amongst which the student has to identify the correct one. The student should be very careful to work on his/her time management skills in order to complete the examination.
  • Thorough and efficient practice- Lastly, practice is what will get you through. Practice test and sample papers, take help of the teachers and friends to gain a cutting edge over others.

Remember and try not to be a master of all trades, prepare well, stay away from excessive stress, eat healthily and do not deprive yourself of sleep at all. A healthy brain and body always prove to be assets at the time of the examination. Small changes in the daily routine can help a student become really focused, prepared and successful in the NTSE examination and help them win a scholarship.


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