NSEC 2020 Exam Pattern

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Chapter Wise Exam Pattern of NSEC 2020

Due to Covid - 19, the usual three-stage procedure for the selection of the teams to represent India at the International Olympiad that has been followed in prior years is now being shortened to a two-stage procedure as a one-time exception only for the academic year 2020 -21. Read more about IOQ 2020-21.

National Standard Examination in Chemistry abbreviated as NSEC is organized by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT). IAPT conducts NSEC every year in the month of November all over the country. NSEC appreciates the talent among the students and aims to expose it worldwide.

It is the first level for the journey to the prestigious International Chemistry Olympiad.

NSEC is conducted across several centers throughout India. IAPT organizes it, additionally, IACT also contributes to question making, etc.

The examination is eligible for students in the 12th standard, though 11th standard students are also allowed to take the examination.

The NSEC chemistry olympiad consists of 80 multiple-choice questions. The questions are from the topics of physical chemistry, organic chemistry, and inorganic chemistry.

NSEC Exam Pattern

There is no fixed exam pattern defined for NSEC 2020. The NSEC Question Paper will cover topics from the Class XI and XII.

The question paper consists of 80 MCQs, and each one has four given options with 1 correct answer. The exam language is English. The exam duration is 2 hours.

The NSEC Exam Pattern is as Follows:


Number of Questions

Total Marks










Exam Timings – 11.00 am to 1.00 pm.

Duration of Exam – Two hours.

Test Paper Level/ Syllabus – Below CBSE Class 12th syllabus for chemistry subject.

Test Medium/ Language – English and Hindi (as mentioned during registration).

Type of Questions – Multiple Choices Questions.

Total Number of Questions – 80.

Total Marks – 240 marks.

Marking Scheme – 3 marks for each question and in case of an incorrect attempt, one mark is deducted.

NSEC 2020 Eligibility Criteria

The student must fulfill each criterion of NSEC Eligibility Criteria. If the student is found to be not eligible, he or she will be immediately disqualified from the NSEC 2020. The eligibility criteria for NSEC 2020 are as follows:

  • Must be eligible to hold an Indian passport.

  • Date of birth must be between 1st July 2000 and June 30, 2005; both dates are inclusive.

  • Must be residing or must be studying in an Indian school system since November 30, 2017, or earlier.

  • Must not have passed the class XII  board examination.

  • Must not be appearing for any NSEJS 2019.

  • Must not have planning to commence studies in a university or equivalent institution by June 1, 2020.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. How can you Fill the NSEC 2020 Application Form?

Answer: The application form of NSEC is available throughout September every year, at respective NSE Centres. To get the NSEC Application Form, please follow the steps given below:

Step 1: First you have to locate the nearest NSE Centre.  IAPT has established over one thousand centers across the country.

Step 2: After filling the NSEC application form, submit it back at the NSE Centre.

Q2. What is the Exam Pattern and Structure for the NSEC Exam?

Answer: NSEC question paper consists of 80 multiple choice questions and each one has four given options with 1 correct answer. The exam language is English. The exam duration is 2 hours. NSEC exam does not emphasize rote memory, but the comprehension of the structure.

Q3. What are the Different Stages in the Chemistry Olympiad.

Answer: The Chemistry Olympiad usually consists of the following stages:

  • Stage I: NSEC - National Standard Examination in Chemistry.

  • Stage II: INChO - Indian National Chemistry Olympiad.

  • Stage III: OSC - Orientation cum Selection Camp in chemistry.

  • Stage IV: PDT - Pre-departure Training Camp.

  • Stage V: IChO - Participation in International Chemistry Olympiad.

All the stages are planned and organized by HBCSE except for the first stage. The Indian Association of Physics Teachers organizes the first stage. Stage 1 is entirely the responsibility of IAPT. HBCSE organizes all the remaining stages.

Q4. What are the Reference Books for NSEC 2020 Syllabus?

Answer: For the IAPT NSEC syllabus, there is no requirement for a significant deviation from preparation from entrance exams like JEE or AIPMT, etc. But for INCHO, one has to devote at least 1 to 2 daily.

But it is always worthy of giving time for preparation towards NSEC as it strengthens one's concept in chemistry to a great extent. 

It would be great to practice older past papers.

Of the books mentioned at least, one should buy J D Lee for inorganic and any of the organic books for INCHO. The older editions of many of these books are also available online and can be referred.

Additional Books

  1. Advanced problems in organic chemistry by Balaji Publications - Is ideally meant for JEE but are a good practice for NSEC also.

  2. Indian National Chemistry Olympiad  2014 with Solved Papers NSEC & INChO by Arihant Publications - This is an alternative to past papers. Additionally, one can also practice the Chemistry Olympiad papers of other countries.

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