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CSIR NET 2021 Exam Pattern, Subject-wise Marking Scheme, Question Papers & Books

Updated On -

Feb 15, 2021

NTA has released the CSIR UGC NET Exam Pattern 2021. 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.

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.

Chemical Science Exam Pattern

CSIR UGC NET 2021 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:

  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Interdisciplinary Topics

CSIR UGC NET 2021 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: 

  • Geology
  • Applied Geology
  • Physical Geography
  • Geophysics
  • Meteorology
  • Ocean Sciences

Life Science Exam Pattern

CSIR UGC NET 2021 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 the CSIR NET Life Sciences syllabus. Candidates can check the detailed topic-wise syllabus from the below table:

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

Maths Exam Pattern

CSIR UGC NET 2021 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

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:

  • 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 2021 – 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 2021

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

CSIR UGC NET 2021 Important Instructions

The important instructions related to CSIR UGC NET 2021 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.

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 to 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.


rahit bhar
Is the NET necessary for pursuing a Ph.D. in India?
kavita rani

Hi Rahit. The majority of the universities admit candidates for Ph. D. course by conducting their own entrance test.

shaik kabeer
Should I start UGC CSIR NET/JRF/SET preparation for mathematical science? How do I start it? I'm reading in 3rd year BSc math.
kavita rani

Hi Shaik. Yes, you can start preparing for the UGC CSIR NET & allied exams while doing BSC course. To begin with the preparations, you need to stay well versed about the latest NET math syllabus & pattern so that you can prepare accordingly while pursuing BSC & MSC math. Check out detailed eligibility criteria here.

sunny pandey
What should I do to get a lectureship in college?
kavita rani

Hi Sunny. You need to have a valid good degree, relevant to the subject you want to teach in college. Also, you need to have a postgraduate master's or PhD degree.

shaik kabeer
Do I need to study the whole syllabus to qualify for the UGC NET Life Sciences?
kavita rani

Hi Shaik. In case you want to understand all the concept clearly then it is important to go through the detailed syllabus of UGC NET. Because in case you cover thoroughly, you will able to understand better. 

ammar zaheer ahmed
How do I take astronomy as a course after 12th? (I'm currently preparing for the JEE Mains and don’t wish to pursue engineering further). Are the admissions to private/government colleges for BSc courses given solely on the basis of boards' result?
kavita rani

Hi Ammar. Post completing your class 12th studies, you can do Bachelors and Masters in your preferred stream and then Phd specializing in a field of physics (such as Astronomy). In order to get admission in IISc, IISERs, NISER, CBS DAE, you can give KVPY, SCB, etc. exams

deshrudi khemprai
Hi, I did my Bsc zoology am I eligible for CSIR NET?

Hi Deshrudi. Minimum eligibility for UGC NET is Masters degree. You can give the exam when you are in final year of Masters and after that.

avinash sahu
How can I start preparing for the CSIR physical science June 2021?
kavita rani

Hi Avinash. The first and the foremost important step to prepare for the CSIR physical science exam is going through the exam pattern and detailed syllabus. Once you know the syllabus, prepare a study plan and study accordingly. Also do last year question papers and mock tests as it will help you judge your performance.

koyena biswas
How do I qualify for the CSIR NET (life science) without coaching?
kavita rani

Hi oyena. In case you are dedicated and focused, you can clear the CSIR NET as well without coaching. To prepare for this paper, first of all, you need to have detailed information about the topics for the exam and exam pattern. Start preparing for the CSIR NET Exam as per the updated syllabus and plan your preparation accordingly.

laxmi mishra
Which exam is more difficult to clear for a fresh college graduate: the GATE or the NET?
kavita rani

Hi Laxmi. The difficulty level of GATE exam is tougher as compared to NET. The NET exam is taken two times in a year, while GATE exam is taken once in a year. The GATE score will be considered valid for 3 years and a candidate can appear for exam any number of times.

nafisa khatoon
How to crack UGC CSIR NET Physical Sciences ? How to prepare study schedule for it ?
kavita rani

Hi Nafisa. You must start with the CSIR NET Exam studies by referring to the latest syllabus and then plan your preparation strategy accordingly. For more details, refer here.

What are the important topics for the CSIR NET Earth Science and how do we do our preparation for the exam?
kavita rani

Hi Riyaz. Some of the important topics that you need to prepare for the CSIR NET Earth Science include Atmospheric Science, Geomorphology, Oceanography, Geophysics, etc. You need to do more practice papers as doing them more will give you a complete idea about the kind of questions asked in the exam. Set your own time limit as it helps a lot of questions.

vikram dewan
I am a biotechnology postgraduate. Am I eligible for teaching in schools?
kavita rani

Hi Vikram. In case you have completed Masters from a good university profile, you can teach biotechnology in a few CBSE and ICSE schools to students of class 11 or 12. But you need to check at the school you are applying at. But in case you want to teach at the university level, you must have cleared CSIR-UGC NET exam along with having a PhD degree.

bhagyashri kene
Will there be any kind of difficulties in the exam pattern if I opt for both JRF and NET instead of choosing NET only (UGC NET)?
kavita rani

Hi Bhagyashri. No there will not be any difficulty in the exam pattern in case you opt for both JRF and NET instead of choosing NET only (UGC NET).

mohammed adhnan
Can a MSc Biophysics student give NET exam on Life science?


No, only the students who have a Bachelor’s degree in Life Science can apply for CSIR NET in Life Science.

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.

arjab de
Can I appear in Ugc Csir NET before msc?

Hello Arjab,

Yes, you can appear for CSIR NET before M.Sc as the minimum educational qualification is a Bachelor’s degree.