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How to prepare for NTSE: Let an NTSE scholar guide you

NTSE preparation is bound to get you confused. What to read and what to leave? How to practice for NTSE? How much to practice? Should we also do class-9 course material? If I am from a state board, do I need to prepare differently for NTSE? SchoolCountry brings to you the definitive guide to NTSE preparation directly from an NTSE Scholar. 

NTSE or National Talent Search Examination is a 2 stage examination. This article will focus on preparation for NTSE’s stage-1 written exam that is conducted at the state level every year in 3rd week of November. You can download the application forms for NTSE 2013 from here.


What is NTSE stage-1 exam

Stage 1 exam is a written exam conducted at the state level. It has 2 papers, namely MAT and SAT

  • MAT or Mental Aptitude Test is a written test where in you need to answer 100 questions of mental ability in a span of 90 minutes. Maximum marks is 100 i.e. each question of 1 mark and qualifying mark is 40 for general category students while 32 for reserved category students. 
  • SAT or Scholastic Aptitude Test is a written exam again of 90 minutes duration with 100 question to be answered. Of these 100 questions, 40 are on Science, 40 are on Social Science and remaining 20 are on Maths. Each question is a multiple choice question where you need to identify 1 correct answer out of 4 options. Again the max marks is 100 and qualifying marks are 40 and 32 for general and reserved category students respectively.

What is the course for NTSE

Although there is no set syllabus for NTSE, the SAT usually follows your school curriculum. From 2013, NTSE will conducted for class 10 students. Hence the syllabus for SAT would include maths, physics, chemistry, biology, history, civics, geography and general awareness topics. The topics are those that you would have covered till class 9 and partially in class 10. 



How should you prepare for NTSE

MAT and SAT carry equal weight in NTSE exam. There it is critical to give due time to both the papers while preparing. Some of us tend to overdo preparation of 3 subjects but in the process tend to ignore MAT. However it is important to realize that MAT carries more weight than any of the subjects. Here is my advice based on how I prepared for NTSE

  • Start your preperation with last year’s NTSE papers: The objective is understand the type of questions asked and your current level. I suggest that you take last year’s paper or good NTSE sample questions and just write the exam once with all seriousness. Does not matter if you have not prepared or never heard of it before. Just sit down and write the test. This will help you gain a knowledge of NTSE and also give you a fair idea of your standing
  • Analyze your performance: Make sure to minutely assess what you could do and what you had a hard time with. Is it the knowledge of subject matter that you lacked? Or did you miss out because you made some silly mistakes? Or is it that mental ability questions took a long time for you to crack? Whatever it is, just analyze your performance very minutely and critically
  • Make a plan: Once you know your weak points, make a plan. You will definitely need to study and revise the subject matter. That is required not just for NTSE but also for your school. So there is no letting up on that front. You will also need to practice more mental ability questions. But the allocation of time will depend upon your analysis of how weak or strong you are in that particular aspect
  • Practice, practice and practice: These are the only 3 steps that can lead to success. Get exposed to more questions of mental ability so that you are not shocked on the exam day, solve more papers and then analyze each one in detail. Take the help of your school seniors. As you practice, you can also get confident of your speed, subject knowledge and accuracy.

You can find detailed NTSE sample questions on all subjects. For more, write to SchoolCountry team for some FREE NTSE papers or practice questions. 


How much time should you devote to prepare for NTSE

This is a very personal aspect. If you ask me, I did not devote much time, ,may be 2-3 hours per week.  But this is personal choice. You can devote more or you can devote less time. Just make sure to be very critical of your performance and minutely assess your progress.


When should I start to prepare for NTSE

Again a very personal aspect but I started preparing around in the month of June i.e. when my summer holidays for class-8 were going on. I got in touch with my seniors who gave some of the above mentioned advice to me. 


I would suggest that the first step in preparation is to get to know all there is to know about NTSE. Also keep in mind about other national level talent search exams like NCO, NSO, KVPY, SSTSE etc that are conducted annually. Since the course content and exam structure is similar, it might be useful to appear in those too. 


Finally, you can write to SchoolCountry team for some FREE practice questions on NTSE and other talent search exams. Hope this has been useful.  I would be happy to personally advice on any aspect, if I can. 


Comments (47) -

Shikhar Tiwari said:

I am shikhar tiwari this year I am
preparing for NTSE so I want to get the
sample paper for NTSE.
Shikhar Tiwari

durgesh shukla said:

really useful.thanx a lot

Shadman said:

Sir ,
        I am preparing for the ntse exam, so please send me the sample papers.
I will be highly thankful to you .

c.anandamouli said:

Now iam preparing for ntse. Kindly arrange me free modelpapers. Thanks for ur guidance

Anisha said:

Thank you for the suggestion but I require some sample papers.If you could kindly send me the papers I will be pleased.
Thank you

Hiten Sethiya said:

i am a pre ntse scholar i was selected in class 8 this time as heard ntse will be conducted for 10th class students may i will be eligible this year and what are the extra benefits this year .
thanking you

pratyush said:

thanks a lot for telling this but please send me sample papers

Gopal Gondhia said:

    pls can u send me some model papers.

Gopal Gondhia said:

if u can den me I will be needful
Thanking you,

tanay said:

i just came to know about ntse for tenth.i am presently in 10 th is it too late for preparation.?i am in a state board school.

p.sneha catherine said:

i would like to get ome model &previous years qa papers pls send me some model papers

SOMYA said:

the above mentioned info. is quite useful......
please send me some sample paprers of NTSE.

tushar said:

i want some ntse papers for class 10 said:

*********************************NTSE for class 10*****************************
your self best and for FREE by the website
only place where u can prepare urself for class 10 course
ONE VISIT is a must, may impress you.........

ganapathy said:

Hi this is ganapathy i am preparing for the NTSE exams so please help me with the sample papers



   I am preparing for NTSE exam this year please send me sample and model papers  Thanking you


Rithwik said:

Respected sir/mam,
            Can you pleze send me some model papers . I will be thankful if u do so..

GYAN said:



yasg said:

should i do class 11 syllabus also for ntse (class 10)?

Shivam said:

I am in class 10 and this is the first time i am giving the ntse examm. Can you give me some sample paper/previous year papers and some advice on subjects like general awareness questions and maths and MAT questions .....

John Dude said:

My name is fake but i'm actually Already an NTSE scholar through 8th standard.
My question is whether i can appear for 10th NTSE and whether my scholarship will continue,.

pooja said:

i want to do more practice. can you send free model papers and previous year question paper

shubhangam said:

please send me previous year ntse papers so as to prepare for the exam. thanks

suhani said:

i shall be very thankful to u if u send me sample papers for prepration of ntse

Aditya Singh said:

in the preparation of ntse

somya said:

i have just one month for ntse please suggest me how to coverup all things in this one month.

zayn said:

can u pls help me out regarding NTSE? DATE of conduct of 2012 for class10?

aditya said:

thanx a lot for the advice

aditya said:

and pls send me the sample papers

dorthi said:

thanx a lot for the is very helpfull to me
and sir plz end me sample papers for prepration of ntse class 10

dorthi said:

sorry sir send not end

kalyani said:

this i'm going to write ntse exam
so i need sample model papers urgently
i'll be very helpful if u do this immediately

pavithra said:

thanks for a proper guidance towards ntse.can you send sample papers and the portions to my mail id.please..

Akanksha Duhan said:

Can you please send me syllabus of ntse examination. class 9 . also tell me some information about ntse and for which classes
its going to be held. i would be very thankful to you.

Akanksha Duhan said:

please send the information as soon as possible..........Thanks.

Satyam Agarwal said:

I am in class 10 and this is the first time i am giving the ntse exam. Can you give me some sample paper/previous year papers and some advice on subjects like general awareness questions and maths and MAT questions and also SAT. Thanking you

aditya Asnani said:

plz send me sample paper bcoz i m preparing one day before exam.....

CIA said:

sir, m in class 8th
a few days back I've decided 2 give the exam...........
i wud b glad if u send d sample papers

Zareena said:

my son studying now 8th std he was prepare for exam what is elgibility how it prepare for exam

Dr. D. Palui, WBFS said:

Please send me sample question answer for Class-I talent examination and inform about the preparatory books (mainly math. & science). Due to internet problem previous comment (N) entered sorry.

Dr. D. Palui, WBFS said:


davila1981 said:

Try Midland Fertility Clinic

Manshul Chhabra said:

it has given me hope that i too can clear it with flying colours but i want to ask which book to prefer for ntse preparation in 10th class.

please guide me
i shall feel highly obliged by the act of yours.

keshav agarwaal said:

i am preparing for ntse ,so please send me sample papers and important questions.i will be great thankful to you.

kruti ballav said:

It's very useful please send some practice papers .

harsh rathi said:

sir, i am preparing for ntse exam. kindly send me some sample papers.thank you for your guidance.

varun malik said:

sir  kindly  send me ntse sample papers.

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