NTSE Exam  (National Talent Search Examination)

NTSE or National Talent Search Examination is a national level exam conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) for granting scholarships to the meritorious students studying in class 10th. NTSE is only held for 10th standard students and the exam is conducted in two different stages – Stage I and II.

The first stage exam is a state-level exam and is conducted by all the Indian states and UTs. On the other hand, NTSE stage II is conducted for those students who clear the first stage. As mentioned earlier, only those who qualify in NTSE stage 1 will be eligible to write the Stage II exam. This is the main criteria. Meanwhile, the objective of organizing NTSE is to award scholarships to potential candidates who are aspiring to pursue higher education in the field of Science or Social Studies. With these scholarships, students will be able to continue their education in their desired stream. NTSE scholarship will be awarded on the basis of the overall performance of students in both the stages of the examination.


Latest Updates 

  • May 13, 2021: NCERT has postponed NTSE Exam Stage II 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which was scheduled to be held on June 13, 2021. The revised dates will be announced after the COVID-19 situation in the country normalizes.
  • February 11, 2021: NCERT has released blank admit card for NTSE Exam Stage II 2020 which has been scheduled on February 14, 2021. The blank admit card is for the students who are not able to download the original admit card from NCERT website.


Highlights of National Talent Search Examination

Exam Name

  • National Talent Search Examination
  • Commonly known as NTSE

Conducted by

  • NTSE Stage 1 is conducted by respective states/UTs
  • National level or NTSE stage II is conducted by NCERT

Exam Level

             National Level

Class level

             Class 10th

Total Scholarships


Scholarship amount

  • Rs. 1250 per month for Class 11-12
  • Rs. 2000 per month for UG and PG level
  • As per UGC norms for research level

Scholarship level

            Up to PhD level

Exam Mode

            Offline examination



Exam Papers

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

Test Duration

120 minutes for each paper (MAT & SAT) at each level i.e. a  total of 240 minutes. (same for both the stages)

Total Exam Centers

For NTSE Stage I exam - In all 28 states and 9 UTs

For NTSE Stage II - 35 exam cities

Registration dates

Registration begins in August every year and the last date of application is notified by respective State/UT separately

Exam dates for NTSE 2020-21 stage 1

December 12 for Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Andaman and Nicobar Islands

December 19 for Punjab

December 27 for Jammu & Kashmir

January 3 for Odisha

January 17 for West Bengal

January 24 for Bihar, Kerala and Karnataka

February 21 for Telangana and HP

December 13 for All other states and UTs

Exam date for NTSE 2021 stage 2

June 13, 2021 for all states and UTs (Postponed)

Exam Helpline for NTSE Stage II examination only

Phone number - 011-26560464

e-mail - ntsexam.ncert@gov.in

Official Website



NTSE 2020 – 2021 Important Dates



Tentative Dates

Stage – I


Last Date to Submit Application Form

To be notified by the State

Examination in Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Andaman & Nicobar Islands

12th December 2020 (Saturday)

Examination in all other States and Union Territories

13th December 2020 (Sunday)

Stage – II (National)

Examination in all States and Union Territories

13th June 2021 (Sunday)


NTSE Scholarships 

Around 2000 scholarships are awarded for each stage of education. These stages are:

  • For Class XI to Class XII, a scholarship of Rs.1250/- per month is provided.
  • For Undergraduates and Postgraduates, a scholarship of Rs.2000/- per month is provided.
  • For Ph.D., the scholarship amount is fixed in accordance with the UGC norms.


NTSE Exam Eligibility Criteria 2021


NCERT has defined an age limit for the students to appear for the exam. Candidates should be below the age of 18 years (as on July 1, 2020).


NTSE Eligibility for Stage 1 (State level examination)

  • Due to the COVID situation in the country, there is no exact date given about the registration and date of the examination but students who are pursuing their studies from schools in India are eligible to appear in the stage 1 exam. Eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • The candidate must be a Class X student from any Government/ Private schools in India.
  • There is no domicile restriction. The candidate can be from any State/Union Territory of  India.
  • The candidates studying in open or distance learning are also eligible to write NTSE 2020, provided they are less than 18 years of age, not employed and are appearing for Class X board examination for the first time.


NTSE Eligibility for Stage 2 (National level examination)

  • Only the students who qualified in stage 1 (state-level examination) are eligible to appear  for Stage 2 examination. The roll number, venue, date of examination details will be conveyed to the selected candidates by NCERT through its official website.


NTSE Eligibility for Students Studying Abroad 

  • Indian students studying abroad in Class X or equivalent are eligible to write stage 2      (second level examination) directly and are exempted from the stage 1 examination.
  • The candidate must have scored 60% in the previous year’s annual examination.
  • The candidate should appear for the examination in a centre in India.
  • The candidates must request through the Head of the Institution where he/she is studying,   along with an attested copy of Class IX mark sheet. The request should reach the Head,  Department of Educational Survey Division, NCERT, New Delhi by 31 December of the concerned year.
  • The selected candidate will receive the scholarship only if he/she decides to pursue studies in India.


NTSE Application Form

Students can register for NTSE through 3 means. Students can get the NTSE application form from their school, the Liasion's office, and from the official website.

The NTSE Application Form will be available in schools from the last week of July 2021. Students can also get the application from the Liaison's office. However, a printable format of the same application form can be downloaded from the official website of NCERT

Indian Students Studying Abroad in Class X can also fill the NTSE application form online. It will be available on the NCERT website (https://ncert.nic.in/pdf/programmes/NTSE/Examination(NTS-I)/Application_Form_2020.pdf). They can fill and send the form to Head, Department of Educational Survey Division, NCERT, New Delhi-110016 along with a photocopy of the mark sheet of the previous examination, latest by January 2021.

Application Form for students studying abroad will be uploaded on the NCERT website in the month of February 28. 2021. Announcement for students of Indian nationality studying abroad will be announced separately.


How to fill Online NTSE Application Form 2020-21 (Stage 1)?

Some states release stage 1 NTSE 2020 application form through the official website. Students who meet the eligibility criteria can fill the NTSE stage 1 application form 2020-21 in online mode. They will have to upload documents attested by their Principal for online NTSE registration 2020-21. The steps to fill the NTSE form 2020-21 are given below.

  • Step-1- Visit the SCERT website of respective state/UTs or click on the relevant link     from the table given above.
  • Step-2- Select the NTSE section available on the home page and click on the NTSE 2020-21 application form.
  • Step-3- Enter the details in online NTSE form 2020-21 such as student name, date of    birth, gender, caste, mobile number, academic details, family income and more.
  • Step-4- Upload the scanned photograph, signature file and other documents as required.
  • Step-5- Pay the application fee (if applicable) through online mode.
  • Step-6- Download the filled-in NTSE application form 2020-21 and submit at the school. After reviewing the applications, the Head/ Principal of the School will send the forms to the State Liaison Officer.


NTSE Exam Pattern

NTSE exam pattern  for Stage 1 & Stage 2  is divided into two parts as SAT & MAT.

There will be 100 questions each in both MAT and SAT (Science-40, Maths-20, Social science-40).

Part 1 – Mental Ability Test (MAT)    

  • This section will have questions on analytical and logical reasoning.
  • This section tests the students on their ability to solve reasoning questions, ability to think, evaluate and visualise.
  • The section consists of a total of 100 questions.
  • The main topics from this section consist of series, pattern perception, analogies, coding-decoding, classifications, hidden figures and problem-solving, etc.

Part 2 – Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

  • This section will have a total of 100 questions, which is further divided into  Science  (40), Social Science (40) and Mathematics (20).
  • The student has to be well versed in the syllabus taught in class 9 and 10th.
  • The time allotted for the SAT section is 120 minutes.
  • The level of questions will be equivalent to class 10th or equivalent exam.

           The Exam pattern is the same for both Stage 1 and Stage 2 and there will only be objective type of    questions in both the stages of examination.



Maximum Marks

Number of Questions

Time Allotted




120 minutes

SAT (Mathematics, Science, Social Sciences)



120 minutes


NTSE Exam Marking Scheme

NTSE Exam (Paper 1 & Paper 2)

Stage 1

1 Mark will be awarded for every correct answer.

No negative marking for the wrong answer.

Stage 2

1 Mark will be awarded for every correct answer.

For every wrong answer, one-third of the marks will be deducted.

No negative marking for questions left unattempted.


NTSE Exam Qualifying Marks 

  • 40% Marks in each paper for General category students.
  • 32% Marks in each paper for SC, ST & PH category students.


NTSE Reservation



Schedule Caste


Scheduled Tribe


Person with Disability



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