CSIR NET 2020 Exam Pattern, Subject-wise Marking Scheme, Question Papers & Books

Updated On -

Aug 28, 2020

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Nikkil Visha

Exams Prep Master

NTA has released the CSIR UGC NET Exam Pattern 2020. It is such that the question paper contains 120 questions of 200 marks. Further, the question paper is divided into 3 sections – A, B, and C. Part A is common in all subjects and will test candidates’ general aptitude whereas Part B and C will have subject-specific questions. Each section contains a different number of questions and also the total questions that candidates need to attempt are different for every subject.

Check and Practice Life Science Tests Series free of cost before the CSIR UGC NET 2020 Exam

CSIR NET Exam will be conducted for 5 subjects – Chemical Science, Earth Science, Life Science, Mathematical Science, and Physical Science. Candidates have to indicate their opted subject while filling the online application form. Candidates need to complete their respective papers in a duration of three hours. Read further to know about CSIR NET Exam Pattern, section-wise number of questions, marking scheme, and syllabus for all the five subjects.

Prepp Test Series

Chemical Science Exam Pattern

CSIR UGC NET 2020 Exam Pattern - Chemical Sciences

In Chemical Sciences paper, there will be a total of 120 multiple choice questions, out of which candidates have to attempt only 75 questions.

  • Part A, B, and C will have 20, 40 and 60 questions wherein candidates have to attempt a maximum of 15, 35 and 25 questions respectively. 
  • Each question will have four alternatives or responses, only one of them will be the correct answer.
  • Questions in Part A, B and C will carry 2, 2 and 4 marks respectively. 
  • There is a negative marking of one-fourth marks for incorrect answers.

The infograph below explains the section-wise exam pattern for Chemical Sciences:

CSIR NET Exam Pattern Chemical

CSIR NET Syllabus for Chemical Sciences

CSIR NET Chemical Sciences Syllabus is divided into 4 sections:

Major Topics
Inorganic Chemistry
Physical Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
Interdisciplinary Topics

Check Detailed  Chemical Sciences Syllabus

Earth Science Exam Pattern

CSIR UGC NET 2020 Exam Pattern - Earth Sciences

In Earth Sciences exam, candidates have to answer a maximum of 15, 35 and 25 questions out of 20, 50 and 80 questions in Part-A, Part-B and Part-C respectively.

  • Each question will have 4 alternatives, candidates have to mark the best alternative as their answer.
  • Questions in Part-A and Part-B will carry 2 marks each and negative marking of 0.5 for wrong answer.
  • Part-C will have questions worth 4 marks each wherein an incorrect answer can cost you 1.32 marks.

The infograph below explains the section-wise exam pattern for Earth Sciences:

CSIR NET Exam Pattern Earth Science

CSIR NET Syllabus for Earth Sciences

CSIR NET Earth Sciences Syllabus is divided in various section tabulated below: 

Major Topics
Earth Sciences
Applied Geology
Physical Geography
Ocean Sciences

Check Detailed  Earth Sciences Syllabus

Life Science Exam Pattern

CSIR UGC NET 2020 Exam Pattern - Life Sciences

Part-A, Part-B and Part-C will have 20, 50 and 75 questions, out of which candidates are supposed to answer any 15, 35 and 25 questions respectively. 

  • There will be four alternatives for a questions, candidates have to mark only one alternative as their answer.
  • Questions in Part-A, B and C will be of 2, 2 and 4 marks respectively.
  • There will be a negative marking of 25% in all the parts.

The infograph below explains the section-wise exam pattern for Life Sciences:

CSIR NET Life Science Exam Pattern

CSIR NET Syllabus for Life Sciences

There are 13 major topics under CSIR NET Life Sciences syllabus. Candidates can check detailed topic-wise syllabus from below table:

Major Topics
Molecules and their Interaction Cellular Organization
Cell Communication and Cell Signaling  Developmental Biology
Fundamental Processes System Physiology-Animals
Inheritance Biology System Physiology-Plant
Diversity of Life Forms Evolution and Behaviour
Ecological Principles Photosynthesis, Respiration and photorespiration, Nitrogen metabolism, Plant hormones, Sensory photobiology, Solute transport and photoassimilate translocation, Secondary metabolites and Stress physiology.
Methods in Biology Applied Biology

Check Detailed  Life Sciences Syllabus 

Maths Exam Pattern

CSIR UGC NET 2020 Exam Pattern – Mathematical Sciences

CSIR NET Mathematical Sciences exam will have 20, 40 and 60 questions,  however, candidates have to attempt only 15, 25 and 20 questions in  Part-A, Part-B and Part-C respectively.

  • Each question will have 4 alternatives, Questions in Part A and Part B will have only one correct answer whereas Part-C questions may have one or more correct answers. 
  • Credit will be given only when exact number of correct answers are marked.
  • There will be a negative marking of 25% in Part A and Part B. However, no negative marking is applicable in Part-C.

The infograph below explains the section-wise exam pattern for Earth Sciences:

CSIR NET Exam Pattern Mathematical Sciences

Practice Earth Science Mock Tests for free during the CSIR UGC Net exam preparation

CSIR NET Syllabus for Mathematical Sciences

There are four units in CSIR NET Mathematical Sciences Syllabus. All students are supposed to answer Unit 1 questions, students with mathematics background may attempt additional questions from Unit 2 and 3 whereas students with statistics background are expected to solve problems of Unit 4. Unit-wise syllabus of CSIR NET Mathematical Sciences is tabulated below:

Major Topics
Unit 1: Analysis Linear Algebra

Unit 2: Complex Analysis, Algebra, Topology

Unit 3: Ordinary Differential Equations (ODEs), Partial Differential Equations (PDEs), Numerical Analysis, Calculus of Variations, Linear Integral Equations, Classical Mechanics

Unit 4: Statistics, Exploratory Data Analysis 

Physical Science Exam Pattern

CSIR NET Exam Pattern 2020 – Physical Sciences

There will be 20, 25 and 30 questions in Part-A, Part-B and Part-C, out of which a maximum of 15, 20 and 20 questions respectively have to be answered by the candidates. 

  • There will be four alternatives against every question and only one answer would be correct.
  • There will be a constant 25% negative marking applicable in all the parts.

The infograph below explains the section-wise exam pattern for Physical Sciences:

CSIR UGC NET Physical Sciences Exam Pattern

CSIR NET Syllabus for Physical Sciences

Physical Science Syllabus is divided in two levels- Core and Advanced. Candidates can check the syllabus below:

Levels CSIR NET Physical Sciences Syllabus
Core Mathematical Methods of Physics, Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetic Theory, Quantum Mechanics, Thermodynamic and Statistical Physics, Electronics and Experimental Methods
Advanced Mathematical Methods of Physics, Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetic Theory, Quantum Mechanics, Thermodynamic and Statistical Physics, Electronics and Experimental Methods, Atomic and Molecular Physics, Condensed Matter Physics and Nuclear and Particle Physics

CSIR NET Official Question Papers

It is very crucial to refer to previous years’ question papers to know the exam pattern and syllabus. Practicing from old question papers is as good as taking the exam before the actual exam. Candidates can download CSIR NET Question Papers PDFs of June 2019 Session from below links: 

Subjects CSIR NET Question Papers
Chemical Sciences Download 
Earth Sciences Download
Life Sciences Download
Mathematical Science Download
Physical Sciences Download

Download Previous Years Practice Papers

CSIR Important Books

Recommended CSIR UGC NET Books 2020

Some of the recommended books to prepare for CSIR UGC NET 2020 are listed below. Candidates can avail the books from any online store or shop in the market.

csir ugc net books    
CSIR NET Subject CSIR NET Book Publisher/ Author
Chemical Sciences UGC-CSIR JRF/ NET Chemical Sciences (Chemistry) Trueman’s
Earth Sciences Joint CSIR-UGC NET Earth, Atmospheric, Ocean and Planetary Sciences R. Gupta’s
Life Sciences UGC CSIR NET/ SET (JRF & LS) Life Sciences Arihant
Mathematical Sciences CSIR-UGC NET/ SET (JRF & LS) Mathematical Sciences Khanna Publishers
Physical Science CSIR-UGC NET/ JRF/ SET Physical Sciences Upkar’s

Check Best Books for CSIR UGC NET Preparations

CSIR UGC NET 2020 Important Instructions

The important instructions related to CSIR UGC NET 2020 are as follows:

  • List of candidates registered for this test will be made available on the official website. Aspirants must refer to the website for checking their registration and for time to time updates.
  • The Question paper will be set in Hindi and English Version. Candidate opting for Hindi medium in the Application Form will be displayed questions in both English and Hindi whereas candidates opting for English medium will be asked questions in English Version only. 
  • The actual number of questions in each Part and Section to be asked and attempted may vary from subject to subject.
  • No candidate shall be permitted to leave the Exam Hall before completion of 3 hours from the start of the exam.
  • Candidates must carry CSIR NET Admit Card and an original photo Id proof and two passport size photos.

CSIR NET Exam Pattern FAQs

Ques. How many subjects are there in CSIR NET exam?

Ans. CSIR NET exam is conducted for 5 subjects –  Chemical Science, Earth Science, Life Science, Mathematical Science and Physical Science.

Ques. How many parts are there in CSIR UGC NET exam?

Ans. CSIR NET exam has 3 parts – Part-A, Part-B, and Part-C. Part 'A' will be the same in all subjects and will test candidates’ General Aptitude with emphasis on logical reasoning, graphical analysis, analytical and numerical ability, quantitative comparison, series formation, puzzles etc. Part-B will have subject-related conventional questions generally covering the topics given in the syllabus. Part - C will have higher-order questions that may test the candidate's knowledge of scientific concepts and/or application of the scientific concepts. 

Ques. What if a candidate attempts more questions than the required number of questions?

Ans. If any candidate attempts more than the required number of questions then only the First Set of required questions will be considered for evaluation.

Ques. Is there negative marking applicable in CSIR NET exam?

Ans. Yes, Negative marking is applicable in all the subjects except Part C of Mathematical Sciences.

Ques. In what languages CSIR NET Exam will be set?

Ans. CSIR NET Exam will be set in English and Hindi languages. 

Ques. Will there be a break between Part A, Part B and Part C of the test?

Ans. No, there will be no break in the exam, candidates will have to finish the test in one go.

Ques. Is it necessary to take UGC NET coaching?

Ans. Taking UGC NET coaching is not mandatory if you think you can cover the entire syllabus independently. You can check these preparation strategies and study tables for guidance.

Ques. Can UGC NET be cracked in first attempt?

Ans. If you are proficient in your subject and take the preparation seriously right from the beginning, you can easily crack UGC NET in the first attempt.

Ques. Is the NET exam applicable for mechanical engineering?

Ans. No, there is no specific paper for mechanical engineering through UGC NTA NET or CSIR NET. However, with a B. Tech degree, you can sit for CSIR NET but apply for JRF only.

Ques. Are questions repeated in CSIR UGC NET life science?

Ans. Yes, certain questions do get repeated from previous years and you can notice a pattern when you go through the previous years’ question papers thoroughly.

Ques. Is the NET exam offline or online?

Ans. NET is entirely conducted online since the past few years. Previously it used to be conducted offline before the exam was taken over by NTA.

Ques. Is the UGC NET exam a descriptive type?

Ans. No, UGC NET is an objective type exam. You can learn more about the exam pattern here.

Ques. How to prepare CSIR in three months?

Ans. You can easily prepare for CSIR NET in three months if you spare 10+ hours on average every day for your studies. Study previous year question papers to figure out the topics which are more important. Plan a study schedule dedicating more time to the important topics. Since there is negative marking try not keep quality over quantity while preparing so that you are sure of all the answers you have written.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.


sourajit mukherjee
Can anyone help to put a study plan for the CSIR UGC NET mathematical science?
kavita rani

Hi Sourajit. First of all, it is vital for the candidates to prepare a strong study plan and study accordingly. If you divide your time equally, it can help you to get a good score in the exam. For detailed and more effective study plan, click here.

shubham sharma
What is more useful for an MSc ecology student, UGC environmental sciences or CSIR life sciences?
kavita rani

Hi Shubham. Both UGC NET in Environmental Sciences and CSIR-UGC NET in Life Sciences are similar exams in terms of eligibility for Assistant Professor and also JRF. However, the syllabus and exam pattern varies in both the exams. So it is you who needs to make the final decision.

ammar zaheer ahmed
Can undergraduates (life science) take the CSIR NET/JRF after graduation?
kavita rani

HI Ammar. Candidates who have a bachelor's degree are eligible for CSIR fellowship only in case they have registered/enrolled for PhD/Integrated PhD program within the validity period of two years. In case you cleared the CSIR NET JRF EXAM CSIR, you will get 2 years of time from date of results to activate your JRF. Within the given time period, you have to complete the MSc.

How do I prepare for UGC NET (political science)?
kavita rani

HI Taniksha. First off all, make a time table and allot 100-150 days for preparation of Paper I, II & III. Some of the important topics in the UGC NET exam (political science) include Indian polity and Governance, International Relation, Public Administration, etc. You can do past year papers for more than 10 years to boost your preparations.

Which textbook do we have to refer to to prepare for the national eligibility test in physics?
kavita rani

Hi Prahasti. Some important books that can be referred while preparing for the national eligibility test in physics include CSIR-UGC NET/JRF/SET Physical Sciences by Dr Surekha Tomar; Mathematical Physics by H K Dass, Rama Verma; Classical Mechanics by J C Upadhya, etc.

avinash sahu
How do I prepare for the NET exam? Are there any books recommended for it?
kavita rani

Hi Avinash. Some of the books that can be refereed while preparing for the NET exam include NTA UGC - NET/SET/JRF Paper I - Teaching and Research Aptitude By Pearson; UGC University Grants Commission NET/SET for Lectureship Exam: Paper 1  By Trueman's; 3. UGC NET/SET Paper I : Teaching & Research Aptitude General (Compulsory) - Guide  (English, Paperback, GKP), among others.

sheetal chib
Can you recommend some good MCQ books to practice for CSIR NET life science and any one book which covers all the syllabus?
kavita rani

Hi Sheetal. Some of the best books include Biochemistry: International Edition by Stryer, Berg and Tymoczko; The Cell: A Molecular Approach by Geoffrey M. Cooper; Principles of Development 5e by Lewis Wolpert, among others.

Which topic is the most important for the CSIR UGC NET in life sciences?
kavita rani

Hi Sameer. Some of the important topics for the CSIR UGC NET in life sciences include Molecules and their Interaction Relevant to Biology, Cellular Organization, Cell Communication and Cell Signaling, etc.

sunny pandey
Are questions repeated in the CSIR UGC NET in chemical sciences?
kavita rani

Hi Sunny. It is not sure. But since the question pattern is same, so questions can get repeated with different language. So it will help in case you prepare the chemical science with its fundamental concepts.

lakshay kakkar
Is UGC net JRF only for science students?
kavita rani

Hi Lakshay. JRF is a Junior Research Fellowship given to the research scholars who are recruited through the NET exam or National Eligibility Test. Even the students belonging to an art stream (for which JRF recruitment is done through NET) are eligible to apply for the exam.