NTSE 2020 Exam Pattern and Marking Scheme

Updated On -

Apr 7, 2020

Samrat Roy's profile photo

Samrat Roy

Exam Prep Master

The state education boards and NCERT prescribe NTSE 2020 Exam Pattern on their official websites. The exam pattern will help candidates in preparing for the national level exam. The examination is conducted every year at 2 levels: Stage – 1 (State level) and Stage – 2 (National level). Stage 1, exam will be held in November 2020 and stage 2, exam will be conducted on June 2021. For both stages, exam is divided into two parts i.e. Mental Ability Test (MAT), and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).

NTSE is organized in offline or pen paper-based mode. The paper is available in both the Hindi and English medium. Students need to select any one language from both the languages. Every correct answer will fetch 1 mark while there is no negative marking for wrong attempts. The total time to answer the paper is 120 minutes for each part. Only those who clear stage-1 will be shortlisted for stage-2 exam.

Prepp Test Series

NTSE 2020 is a national-level scholarship program for class X students in India. Every year around 10,000,000 students appears in the scholarship test out of which only 1000 get scholarships. Find all important details regarding NTSE 2020 Exam Pattern, syllabus and recommended books.

NTSE 2020 Exam Pattern Highlights

NTSE Exam Date Stage 1 November 2020
NTSE Exam Date Stage 2 June 2021
Mode of Exam Offline
Number of subjects 3
Duration of exam 120 minutes for each stage respectively
Number of questions 100 in each paper
Marking Scheme 1 mark for each right answer
Total Marks 400
Language of paper English, Hindi

NTSE 2020 Stage-I Exam Pattern

Stage-I is conducted at State/UT level by the concerned State/UT authorities. Candidates have to select 1 language from English or Hindi to solve the paper. Each correct answer is awarded 1 mark and there is no negative marking at this stage. The paper is divided into two parts:

Part 1 – Mental Ability test (MAT): This part contains logical and analytical reasoning based questions. This section tests the candidate’s reasoning, ability to think, evaluate, ability to discriminate and visualize. A total of 50 questions is to be answered under this section.

Part 2 – Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT): This part consists of 150 questions from Science, Mathematics, Social Science and English Language. This section judges the student’s reading abilities, interpretation, evaluation and general awareness of the subjects.

TEST No. Of Questions Maximum Marks Time Allotted
MAT 50 200 120 Minutes
SAT 150

NTSE 2020 Stage-II Exam Pattern

Stage-II is conducted at National Level, where shortlisted students from Stage-I (State-level) exam appear to compete for the scholarship. The paper is divided into two parts – MAT and SAT, like that in Stage-I. There will be 100 questions in both MAT and SAT (Science-40, Maths-20, Social science-40).

The duration of both the exams is 2 hours or 120 minutes. In NTSE Stage 2 exam, there is no negative marking. Only candidates qualifying in both the papers separately will be considered for merit. Selection of the awardee will be made on the basis of total marks scored in MAT and SAT based on merit.

NTSE 2020 Exam Pattern of Stage I and Stage II is given below:

TEST No. Of Questions Maximum Marks Time Allotted
MAT 100 200 120 Minutes
SAT - Mathematics, Science, Social Sciences 100

Indian Students Studying Abroad in class X can directly appear for Stage - II of NTSE 2020 if they qualify for the condition mentioned in the NTSE brochure available at NTSE Official Website.

NTSE 2020 Syllabus

NTSE Syllabus enables candidates to carefully plan and prepare for the exam. NTSE syllabus 2020 would be based on the syllabus of class X prescribed by NCERT. Candidates should focus on all the units while preparing for NTS Examination.

The subject-wise syllabus as prescribed by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is given below.

Mathematics - There are 22 chapters to be covered in the NTSE 2020 Mathematics Syllabus

Algebraic Expressions Arithmetic Arithmetic Progressions
Basic Geometry Circles Coordinate Geometry
Direct& Inverse Variations Exponent Linear Equation
Mensuration Number System Percentage& Its Application
Playing with Number Probability Quadratic Equations
Rational Numbers Simple & Compound Interest Square & Cube Roots
Statistics Surface Areas and Volume Triangles
Trigonometry -- --

Science - There are 29 chapters to be covered.

Acid Bases and Salts Air Carbon and its Compound
Cellular Level of Organization Diversity in Living organisms Fibers and Plastics
Food Production &Management Heredity and Evolution Human Body
Life Processes Light Magnetic & Electricity at Work
Measurement Metals & Non-Metals Micro-Organisms
Motion and Force Our Environment Periodic Classification of Elements
Reproduction Soil Some Common Diseases
Sound Sound of Energy Structure of Atom
The Universe Water Work and Energy

Social Science - There are 43 chapters to be covered in the NTSE 2020 Social Science Syllabus:

Agriculture Atmosphere Biosphere
British raj Culture, Science and Literature Democracy and Elections
Diversity and Livelihood Early Medieval Period Early States
Eighteen Century Political Formation French Revolution India and its Neighbours
Indian Constitution Indian Economics Indian Freedom Struggle
Indus Valley Civilization Industrial Revolution Industries
Internal Structure of the Earth and Rocks Introduction and Sources of Ancient Indian History Jainism, Buddhism and Conquerors from Distant Lands
Local and State Government Medieval Architecture and Culture Motion of the Earth
Nationalism in Various Countries Natural Vegetation New Empires and Kingdoms
Our Country- India Popular Movements and Social Reforms Population
Resources and Development Solar System The Delhi Sultanate
The Judiciary The Maurayas The Mughal Empire
UN and International Agencies Union Government Vedic Period
Water Resources World History --

English Language - There are 8 chapters to be covered in the NTSE 2020 English Language Syllabus:

Antonyms English Grammar
One Word Substitution Paragraph Completion
Reading Comprehension Rearrangement of Jumbled Words
Sentence Completion Synonyms

General Knowledge - There are 6 chapters to be covered in the NTSE 2020 General Knowledge Syllabus:

Abbreviations Awards and Recognitions
Books and Authors India
Sports World

Mental Ability - There are 20 chapters to be covered in the NTSE 2020 Mental Ability Syllabus:

Alphabets and Number test Analogy (Non-Verbal)
Analogy(Verbal) Blood relations
Calendar, Time and Clock Classification
Coding-Decoding Cube and Dice
Direction Sense Embedded Figure
Figure Partition and Dot Situation Mathematical Operations
Missing Character Paper Folding and Cutting
Ranking and Arrangements Series (Verbal)
Series(Non Verbal) Venn Diagrams
Water and Mirror Images Word Problems

NTSE 2020 Preparation Books

Book Name Author/Publisher ISBN
Mental Ability for NTSE Disha Experts 978-9383379170
Study Package for NTSE Class X McGraw Hill Education 978-9385965289

Check Previous year practice papers

NTSE Exam Day Instructions

Candidates are advised to follow these important instructions alongside do’s and don’ts at NTSE Exam Day:

  • Candidates should reach the test center 45 minutes before the test commences.
  • Candidates, who reach more than 15 minutes after the scheduled test time, may not be allowed to take the test.
  • Candidates are required to bring admit card, photo identity and ball pen to the exam center.
  • Any type of gadget, watch and calculators are not allowed inside the exam center.

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


I want sample question paper for state-level national talent search examination
shobhna chaturvedi

Hi Jayasudha, you can refer to the Practice Papers for this exam from here.

seema jain
Hii I want to know that what is the type of paper I want paper pattern and I also want sample paper but I can't know its website so please help me mera 3 ko paper hai
shobhna chaturvedi

Hi Seema, you can refer to the Sample Papers for this exam from here.

renu ofe
What is the cut off for OC category for 2019?
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Renu, the cut off marks are released only after the declaration of result. As per now, even exams have not been held for NTSE 2019. Thus, you may expect the cut off to release in the month of Dec, 2019.
arihant jain
when ntse stage 1 exam of 2019 will held
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Arihant, kindly mention the region from which you have applied for the exam as exam dates vary accordingly.
monisha aradhya cm
What are the syllabus for ntse exam 2020
shobhna chaturvedi

Hi Monisha, you can check the Syllabus for NTSE exam in detail from here.

ak hr
ntse madhya pradesh stage 1 syllabus 2020 helding on 3november 2019 . please reply i am in confusion . If anything is removed then tell me .
shobhna chaturvedi

Hi HR, you can check NTSE Syllabus in detail from here.

sanya malik
when are ntse 2019 examinatio stage 1 being held?
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Sanya, the exam has already been held on May 12, 2019.
What is the eligible mark for stage 2
sarthak mahajan
Hi Keerthika, The eligibility criteria for Stage II (National Level) examination is that the candidate will need 80% marks or above in the Stage I exam (State level).
arun vijai
Are ncert book preparation good for ntse .
sarthak mahajan

Hi Arun, Yes NCERT books are good for preparation of NTSE. But don't rely only on NCERT books. Here is the link for the Preparation tips for NTSE exam.

Do we have to carry our caste certificate to the examination?
sarthak mahajan

Hi Divyansh, You need to carry caste certificate at the time of documents verification, not at the time of examination.