National Standard Examination in Astronomy

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Conducted By Indian Association of Physics Teachers
First Conducted 1987

The National Standard Examination in Astronomy or NSEA is an examination in physics for higher secondary school students, usually conducted in the end of November (last or second last Sunday). Organized by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers in[1] association with Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE),[2] NSEA is the first stage of selection of students in the IOAA. The NSEA is carried out every year since 1987 in English, Hindi & a few other Indian languages. About 16000 [3]students from over 1,200 centres take part in these olympiads.[1]


Only Indian citizens born on or after July 1999 and are students studying in Class XII or lower as of 30 June 2004, can apply and appear for NSEA 2018-19. The student has to himself re-assure his eligibility. At any stage if the student is found to be not eligible for the exam, he/she may be disqualified from the program.[2]


Before 2014-15, The NSEA comprised both multiple choice questions and subjective questions. Due to the large volume of participating students, all questions were not checked for all candidates; subjective questions were checked for only those candidates scoring above a certain minimum in the multiple choice questions. Multiple choice questions carried about 60% of the total weightage and were the crucial determinant for selection to the next stage. The present format (from 2014-15 onwards) is composed entirely of 80 multiple-choice questions.[4]

Question Paper[edit]

The medium of test is English only and comprises 80 objective type questions, each with only one of the four options correct with 3 marks each and -1 negative marking for incorrect answer.[5]

Qualifying for the Second Stage[edit]

The basic objective of conducting this test is not focusing on merit but to involve as many students from the country to participate in the exam and try to show and expose their talent. Hence the selection to the stage II examinations i.e. Indian National Olympiad Examinations (INOs) is based on the following scheme.[6][5]


To be eligible to get to the next level, i.e. the second stage, it is necessary that a student scores at-least a Minimum Admissible Score (MAS) which is 50% of the maximum score.[1]

Proportional Representation Clause[edit]

The maximum number of students that can get to Stage II (INO) in each subject is around 300. These many students are not selected only on the merit basis but also on proportionate basis. This proportion is decided on the base of the number of candidates who appeared for NSE in the previous year from that center in each State or Union Territory (UT). In case there is a tie at the last position, then all the students competing for the last position will be eligible to move to stage II. However it’s necessary that the selected students fulfill the eligibility clause laid out above. The total number to be selected from centers in each State for each subject will be displayed on the IAPT and HBCSE website.[5]

Minimum Representation Clause[edit]

Notwithstanding the proportional representation clause the number of students selected for INO from each State and UT must be at least one, provided that the eligibility clause is satisfied.

Merit Clause[edit]

As stated above, approximately 300 students are to be selected for second stage. If this does not happen according to MAS, then after selection as per merit, the shortfall from 300 students will be selected based purely on merit without further consideration to proportional representation and minimum representation clauses. In the event of a tie at the last position in the list all students with the same marks at this position will qualify to appear for the Stage II examination.[6]


The fee for the NSEA is about Rs. 100 ($5 for overseas candidates). Application for this examination is typically handled through the school/college to which the student is affiliate[1][4]

Indian National Astronomy Olympiad[edit]

Held in January, this is a subjective exam. Students are divided into two pools; A, with those in class 12, and B, with those in class 11 or below. The 25 top performers from each pool are selected for the Orientation-Cum-Selection-Camp (OCSC), Astronomy.

OCSC Astronomy[edit]

The students are taught and tested on data analysis, theory and observation. From their performance in the tests, a team of five students is selected to represent India in IOAA.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Himangi. "NSEC/B/A/JS". Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  2. ^ a b "Olympiads | Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education". Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  3. ^ "NSEA National Top 1%" (PDF).
  4. ^ a b Sabharwal, Ankita. "NSEA 2016 - Astronomy Olympiad". Mota Chashma. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  5. ^ a b c Examrace. "Stage I: National Standard Examination in Astronomy (NSEA)- Examrace". Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  6. ^ a b resowatch (2015-11-24). "National Standard Examination in Astronomy (NSEA) 2015: A detailed analysis by Resonance". Resonance Blog. Retrieved 2016-11-15.