NTSE 2020 Mental Ability Test (MAT) Preparation Strategy

Updated On -

Jun 14, 2020

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Sudeshna Bhar

Exams Prepmaster

The NTSE exam is conducted in two stages. The candidates who clear the 1st stage at the state/UT level will be eligible for the national level. The national level NTSE Exam is conducted by NCERT. NTSE Exams has two sections: 1) Mental Aptitude Test (MAT) 2) Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). In stages-1 of this exam, MAT consists of 50 questions and to complete this section, students will get 45 minutes and in the stage-2, there will be 100 questions and no negative marking for wrong attempts.

This section would test your reasoning ability, ability to judge, think, evaluate a given situation. It will also test your observation skills i.e. ability to visualize space and spatial orientation etc.

NTSE Exam: Syllabus of MAT

The MAT section is divided into 2 parts: Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning. The topic-wise syllabus is as follows:

Verbal Reasoning Non-Verbal Reasoning
Alphabet Test Analogy
Analogy Analytical reasoning
Analytical Reasoning Classification
Arithmetical Reasoning test Dot fixing situation
Blood Relations Embedded Figure
Classification Folding paper cutting
Coding-Decoding Incomplete Figures
Direction Sense Test Mirror Images
Inserting a missing character Problems on cubes and dice
Logical sequence of words Series
Logical Venn Diagram Transparent paper folding
Mathematical Operations Water Images
Clocks  _
Puzzle Test
Series Completion Test
Verification of truth of the statement
Prepp Test Series

Check NTSE 2020 Eligibility

Best Books to Clear MAT of NTSE Exam

Here are some popular and most recommended books to clear the MAT section of NTSE

Books Author/Publication
Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning RS Aggarwal
Study Package For Ntse Class X (English) McGraw Hill(McGraw Hill Education Pvt. Ltd.)
Study Guide NTSE (MAT + SAT) for Class 10th Arihant Experts

Preparation Tips and Strategies for MAT of NTSE Exam

NTSE is one of the most prestigious exams on the national level. So you must follow appropriate strategies so that you can achieve your goal. Here are tips and tricks which will no doubt benefit you:

  • Practising Strategy: Practice the mental ability questions like test series. At the beginning of your practice, take 10 questions at a time and target to solve them within 15 minutes. Maybe at the beginning, you will not be able to answer 10 questions within the 15 minutes time frame, but your constant aim should be to solving them within 10 minutes of time frame with accuracy.
  • Making Habits: Make a habit of going through the paper twice. 1st round of solving and second round of solving. While practising at home, you become habitual of going through paper twice, in the NTSE, you get time to check you solved questions and gain more marks.
  • Previous year papers: either you can buy the previous years’ papers and the sample papers so that you can understand the types of questions and try to solve the question papers in 100 minutes or 1 hour 40 minutes.
  • Keeping a watch handy: Students, this is important to keeping a stop-watch or a normal watch handy. Smartphones can divert your attention, but if you want to tack your growth and maintain your concentration constant, a stop-watch is a must for MAT preparation.
  • Second Round of solving: In the last 20 minutes in the examination hall or at home, you already answered the questions and left only which one you were not able to answer. In the rest of the exam period, apply your second round of solving methods. In this time if you manage to solve even one question with accuracy, this can give you the NTSE scholarship even.
  • MAT Practice Timing: SAT is more of an informative area and MAT is totally kind of solving puzzles. Whenever you feel like you are totally tired of reading informative topics, sit with MAT. In no time, your energy will lift up and you will be able to utilize the time as well.
  • Find a Logical Approach: For every problem, you look for what is the exact formulas or strategy you can apply. If you are good at this you can go. On the other hand, you can apply your common sense to bring out a logical solution. This way you don’t need to remember the applied and important formulas and solving problems will become much more fun.
  • Attempting All questions: when your goal is to achieve the NTSE Scholarship, you must attempt 100% questions with more accuracy and confidence. The increasing rate of your practice will boost your confidence and accuracy for sure.
  • Follow state board and NCERT books: Along with the above-mentioned books, you also should follow the NCERT books and the books of the state board. This will help you to score good both in the Secondary Exam and NTSE Exam.
  • Make question bank of difficult questions: You must have found many questions difficult during your preparation. You should make a question bank of those difficult questions to practice them in the last week of your NTSE preparation. With this, you will be able to know most of your common mistakes and will not repeat them in the NTSE exam hall.
  • Stay focused and calm: You need not get stressed as NTSE exam date approaches. Stay calm, cool and stable before the exam and try to give your best in the exam hall. It is just an exam and you are fully prepared for it. You have practised a lot for the last few months, revised the exercises regularly, and solved a number of question papers. Now is the time to appear in the exam with a cool mind.

Check NTSE Pattern & Syllabus

Last but not the least, It is important to have a seven-to-eight-hour sleep a night before the NTSE exam day. It will keep your mind straight and a good amount of sleep helps you to stay energetic whole day keeps your mind concentrated.


Ques. Is calculator allowed in NTSE?

Ans. No, Any type of gadget, watch, and calculators are not allowed inside the exam centre of NTSE in both stages.

Ques. Is English removed from NTSE?

Ans. Yes, Language Test or Language Comprehension Test is still a part of stage 1 NTSE examinations. However, marks obtained in language test will not be included in the final merit scores of each participant.

Ques. Is negative marking in NTSE Exam?

Ans. Every correct answer will fetch 1 mark while there is no negative marking for wrong attempts.

Ques. Which state has the easiest NTSE paper?

Ans. Bihar paper is not that tough, however, cutoff is not high. Karnataka, West Bengal, Delhi Papers are good. There are other states also whose paper are good. Maharastra NTSE is all about Maharashtra state board.

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