National Talent Search Examination
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National Talent Search Examination 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 500,000 students (a largely self selective group of students) appear in this scholarship exam every year, and 1000 scholarships are awarded, of which 775 are unreserved. The scheme is open to students of Indian nationality.
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 recommends a stipulated number (state quota) of candidates for the national level examination to be conducted for about 5000 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 stipulated number of candidates who qualified at the national level examination were called for face-to-face interviews. The award of scholarships was finally determined on the basis of the candidates’ scores obtained in all three components namely the MAT, the SAT and the Interview.
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.
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.
Yet another change in the scheme was made in the year 2006 wherein the NTSE examination was held at the end of Class VIII. From the year 2008 examination, a provision of 3 per cent reservation has been made for physically-handicapped students.
The scholarships under the present scheme are awarded to the candidates for pursuing courses in sciences and social sciences up to doctoral level and in professional courses like medicine and engineering up to second-degree level subject to the fulfillment of the conditions provided. Also, an important decision was taken in the year 2008, when NTSE was opened only to the students of class VIII as against class X .In 2012, NTSE was reopened only for class X students, as against class VIII with the award of scholarships finally determined on the basis of the candidates’ scores obtained in the two components viz MAT and SAT in the NTS Second Level examination.
Students satisfying the following criteria can participate in NTSE:
- An Indian Citizen
- A student studying in class 10 in a recognized school of India
First level exam for class X
SAT: The syllabus for Mathematics, Science and Social Science is broadly based on the prescribed respective State Board Syllabus from standard 10th class (100 questions in SAT).
MAT: It has 50 questions of general nature.
Language Test: State Board books cover a lot. More focus is on vocabulary, grammar and basic understanding. Language in first stage is of qualifying purpose(40% of maximum score) only.
Second level exam for class X
NCERT has announced new pattern for stage 2 exam, where each correctly answered question awards the student +1, while an incorrect answer deducts 1/3 marks.
PATTERN: Mental Ability test: 50 questions, 50 marks; Language test : 50 questions, 50 marks; Scholastic Aptitude test : 100 questions, 100 marks (40 questions from Science, 20 questions from Mathematics and 40 questions from Social Sciences). In SAT, the Mathematics and Science questions will be asked from the chapters in the syllabus of class 9 and 10. The Social Science questions will also be asked from the class 9 and 10 NCERT textbooks. Language test is only of qualifying purpose(40% of maximum score), its marks are not counted in the merit list.
NTSE scheme at present
Declaration of results
The results of the first stage of the exam are declared between January to April, varying from state to state. The results of the second stage are declared between July to August. Students are divided into 4 quotas: General, SC, scheduled tribes ST, Disabled. Around 775 students are selected from General quota, 150 from SC, 50 from ST . The finals results of the second stage are displayed on the website www.ncert.nic.in by any time before May next year.They can publish final key/frozen key/revised key etc., as and when required.
The students who will qualify second stage (stage-2) are eligible for the scholarship. The amount of scholarship has been enhanced to Rs.1250 per month for class XI and XII and Rs.2000 per month for students studying under graduate and above. The scholarship is provided immediately after the result. In case students have not received the letter from NCERT after 5 weeks of the declaration of the result, they should contact NCERT for updates. The scholarship is expected to increase up to 4000-5000 in next few years.It was increased to Rs.1250 and Rs.2000 as per the orders in July 2014. There are no restrictions like parental income, government school, domicile etc. In case the student moves abroad for studies, the scholarship will no longer be provided.