Guide for class X students on how to crack NTSE exam

A guide to understanding and cracking the NTSE examination

Are you a student of class X looking for a platform to identify your hidden talent? The right answer and the platform catering to your needs is the National Talent Search Examination (NTSE)

NTSE is a national-level scholarship programme conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) at the secondary school level.The objective of the two-tier examination is to identify the students who have a special aptitude for sciences, math, social sciences and questions based on analytical reasoning. Every year, lakhs of students appear for this scholarship exam, out of which 1000 scholarships are awarded.

Stages and reward

Stage I:

This test takes place every November. It comprises the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the Mental Ability Test (MAT).

SAT features 100 multiple-choice questions — 40 from science, 40 social science, and 20 from math.

MAT also consists of 100 multiple choice questions. Each question carries one mark with no negative marking. It has a variety of questions about analogies, classification, series, pattern perception, hidden figures, coding-decoding, and so on.

Stage II:

This test takes place every May. Pattern of MAT and SAT are same as in Stage I.

This level of exam tests the students’ potential concerning their mental ability and scholastic aptitude.


Students who clear Stage II are eligible for the NTSE scholarship. There are no restrictions like parental income, government school, domicile, and so on.

The rates of scholarships at different stages of study are: Higher Secondary level — ₹1250 per month; Graduate and Postgraduate — ₹2000 per month; Ph.D. degree (four years) — As per UGC norms.


Some tips on how to go about cracking the NTSE exams.

Know your strengths and weaknesses.

Once you know your weak points, draft a plan. Study and revise the subject matter if needed.

Follow NCERT books of classes IX and X.

MAT and SAT carry equal weight in NTSE, so give due time to both the papers while preparing.

Follow NCERT for the Scholastic Aptitude section of NTSE. You must also read a good general knowledge book for miscellaneous questions.

Solve sample papers within the stipulated time so that you can improve your speed and know the sections that consume more time.

Analyse your performance.

Find a good mentor to guide you and advice on do’s and don’ts.

Starting preparation for competitive/scholastic exams like NTSE early.

Devote at least three to four hours for self-learning.

Finally, with regular practice you will get more confident about your speed, accuracy, and subject knowledge.

The writer is the Director of FIITJEE and ex-CMD, MECON (MOS).


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