Std 10th- National Talent Search Exam (NTSE)

NATIONAL Talent Search Exam


National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) is a national-level scholarship program in India to identify and recognize students with high intellect and academic talent. It is one of the most prestigious exams in India. Close to 15,00,000 students appear in this scholarship exam every year, and 1,000 scholarships are awarded. The scheme is open to students of Indian nationality. Students studying in Class X only are eligible to appear for the selection process. As it is organized by an official body NCERT (National Council of Educational Research & Training), it is widely regarded by the Government of India as the toughest and most prestigious examination at high school level in the country.

Brief history:

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is established by the Government of India in the year 1961 with a view to bringing about qualitative improvement in school education in the country. National Talent Search Scheme is a flagship activity of the NCERT started in the year 1963. The purpose of the scheme is to identify talented students and nurture their talent. Talent refers to the potentiality that manifests itself in a high level of performance in one or more specialized areas. Since the education system in the country had undergone changes, the National Talent Search Scheme (NTSS) has also been accordingly changed. NCERT has formed National Talent Search Scheme Cell on 14.02.2014, which  is part of the Educational Survey Division (ESD) and is looking after all the work related to National Talent Search. From the year 2012-13 NTSE is conducted for Class X students studying in recognized schools. There is no domicile restriction.

In 1964, the scheme was extended to all the states and the union territories in the country with 350 scholarships for the students of Class XI. Those scholarships were awarded on the basis of a written examination, a project report and an interview. The written examination comprised the Science Aptitude Test and an essay on a given scientific theme. The candidates were to submit the project report at the time of the written examination. A stipulated number of candidates selected on the basis of those three components were then subjected to personal interviews. The performance of the candidates on those four components was eventually employed for the purpose of awarding scholarships. Those scholarships were awarded for pursuing education only in basic sciences up to doctoral level.

The number of scholarships was again enhanced from 500 to 550 in 1981. Those 50 scholarships were exclusively meant for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) candidates. The number of scholarships was once again escalated to 750 in 1983 with a provision of 70 scholarships especially for SC and ST candidates. That arrangement continued until the scheme was decentralized in 1985. Yet another change in the scheme was effected from 2000 wherein the number of scholarships was raised from 750 to 1000 with the provision of reservation for SC and ST candidates based on the national norms of 15% and 7.5% respectively.

The scheme was partially decentralized in 1985 and was confined to only class X. Under the new arrangement, the selection of candidates for the awards became a two-tier process. The states and the union territories have been entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the first tier screening examination known as State Level Talent Search Examination. Each state and union territory selects and recommended a stipulated number (state quota) of candidates for the national level examination to be conducted for about 3000 candidates by the NCERT.

The states got complete autonomy to design and conduct their written examinations. However, they were advised to follow the national pattern which comprised MAT and SAT. The MAT, which consisted of 100 multiple choice type questions, was to be attempted by all the candidates. The SAT consisted of 25 multiple choice type questions each on eight subject areas namely Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, Geography, Civics, and Economics. The candidates could choose any four out of these eight subjects and had to answer a total of 100 questions in the SAT.

A crucial modification in the scheme was again made in the year 1995 when the provision of choice in the SAT was abolished and all the subjects were made compulsory. These subjects were Science, Social Science and Mathematics with 40, 40 and 20 questions respectively.

The recent changes are; discarding third level, Interview and shifting of the examination to Class X.

Students who qualify first stage are eligible to appear for the national level examination (about top 4000+ students from the entire country). The national level examination has two parts for nominating the required number of candidates. Students studying overseas but are Indian citizens can participate in NTSE second stage directly.


All students of Class X studying in recognized schools are eligible to appear for the Stage -I examination, conducted by the States/UTs, in which the schools are located. There will be no domicile restriction.

Students registered under Open Distance Learning (ODL) will also be eligible for scholarship, provided the student is below the age of 18 years ( as on 1st July of particular year), the student is not employed and s/he is appearing in class X examination for the first time

State Quotas:

Each State/Union Territory has been allotted a quota to recommend a specific number of candidates for the Stage II examination, the details of which will be made available on NCERT website. However, there will be no State/Union Territory Quota for the final award of scholarship after the Stage II examination.

Application Form:

Students may contact the State/UT Liaison officer for procuring application form. However, application form can be downloaded from NCERT website

The completed application form should be signed by the Principal of the school. The candidate as well as the Principal of the school must adhere to the last date for submission of the Application Form. Different states may have different last dates for submission. Students are instructed to confirm from the liaison officer of their respective state, the address at which the completed forms are to be submitted. The State wise contacts of the liaison officers are available in the NCERT website All queries related to application form should be directed to the State Liaison Officers (LOs). No application should be sent to NCERT.

Exam Pattern:

The pattern of written examination will be as follow:

Stage I & II: Examination at the State/UT will comprise of three parts.

The pattern of stage- I & II will be as under

Stage Level Paper Test No. of Question No. of Marks Negative Mark Qualifying Marks Duration (in minutes)





Paper-I Mental Ability Test (MAT) 50 50 Nil UR : 40%

SC/ST & PH : 32%

Paper-II Language Test (LT)


50 50 Nil UR : 40%

SC/ST & PH : 32%

Paper-III Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) 100 100 Nil UR : 40%

SC/ST & PH : 32%







Paper-I Mental Ability Test (MAT) 50 50 0.33 UR : 40%

SC/ST & PH : 32%

Paper-II Language Test (LT)


50 50 0.33 UR : 40%

SC/ST & PH : 32%

Paper-III Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) 100 100 0.33 UR : 40%

SC/ST & PH : 32%


Announcement of Results:

States and Union Territories may notify the fee required which will be paid for the Stage-I examination.  However, NCERT does not charge any fee for Stage-II examination.

Results of the Stage-I examination will be announced by the respective State Governments/ Union Territories. Results of Stage-II examination will be announced by NCERT.
Candidates may fill up the Application Form, available on the NCERT website and submit along with a photocopy of the mark sheet of previous examination, within prescribed period.


About one thousand scholarships are awarded for different stages of education as follow:

  1. Scholarship of Rs 1250/- per month for Class-XI & XII
  2. Scholarship of Rs 2000/- per month for Undergraduates & Post- graduates
  3. Amount of scholarship for Ph.D. is fixed in accordance with the UGC norms


15% of scholarship is reserved for students belonging to the SC category, 7.5% of scholarship for students belonging to the ST category and 3% for Physically Challenged Group of Students


Indian Students Studying Abroad in Class-X


Scholarship Disbursement Rules


Indian Students Studying Abroad in Class X can appear directly for Stage II NTS Examination under conditions prescribed in the NTS brochure which is available on the NCERT website.

Application Form for the Students Studying Abroad in Class X

NTSE Previous Year Papers

Language 2017

MAT 2017

SAT 2017

Answer Key MAT 2017

Answer Key SAT 2017

SAT 2015

MAT 2015

SAT 2011

MAT 2011