NSEP 2021 - National Standard Examination in Physics (NSEP)

NSEP Exam - Registration, Exam Date, Syllabus, Eligibility

The National Standard Examination in Physics(NSEP)has been conducted all over India since 1987. It has been conducted by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT) and it is considered to be a voluntary examination that helps in selecting the students for the International Olympiad of Science. Approximately, two lakh students appear for this examination and about one thousand five hundred centers are allotted to conduct this examination all over the country. A number of them are also conducted in towns and villages. Participation in this examination is purely voluntary and the students who are interested in participating in the International Science Olympiad have to go through various levels of examination and NSEP is the first stage in selecting the most eligible and qualified students. NSEP offers an opportunity for a student to measure his or her knowledge at the national level and it is not linked to any entrance or scholarship award. NSEP is conducted at the regional level by all the states that have participated and the UTs. After the examination is concluded, the students are allowed to take away the question paper and a week later the complete solution of the examination is provided to them. The NSEP is conducted in languages such as English, Hindi, and few other Indian languages. 


In this article, we have provided the complete details about the National Standard Examination for Physics (NSEP) such as the NSEP Syllabus, Eligibility, NSEP cutoff, Syllabus, and Format, how to do NSEP registration, and how to check NSEP result.

NSEP Exam Details

Key Features of National Standard Examination in Physics (NSEP)

The National Standard Examination in Physics (NSEP) is considered to be the stepping stone for many talented and aspiring students in the Physics Olympiad Program. NSEP is conducted by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT) at the national level with the help of many centers all across the country. The main objective of this examination is to get selected for the International Science Olympiad and in a way select the students who want to pursue their career in the field of physics. The students below class twelfth are eligible to attend this examination and the mode of examination is pen-paper or offline mode. The students can move forward to another stage only after clearing this stage.


Important Events and Dates Related to NSEP

  • The NSEP registration NSEP registration or the application for NSEP begins every year in September. 

  • The National Standard Examination in Physics (NSEP) is conducted every year in November and the mode of examination is the offline or pen-paper mode. 

  • Within one month, that is in December, the result of the shortlisted students will be announced.  

Eligibility for NSEP 

  • First and foremost the student should be of Indian nationality. 

  • The NSEP examination is intended for students who are in the grade of ninth and tenth. 

  • Students who have passed the twelfth-grade examination are strictly not eligible for participating in this examination. 

  • Students should be between the age limit of fifteen to twenty years. If the student is found to be not eligible for the examination, he or she will be disqualified from the program.

  • During the NSEP registration process, a one-time fee of rupees 150 has to be paid by the student. 

  • The student must not have completed the 12th grade before the 30th of November, as in the year of examination. 

  • If any candidate has represented India in the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) or the Asian Physics Olympiad (APhO) in the previous year, they are not eligible to appear for the NSEP. 

  • The student must not have taken or is planning to take admission in any university in the following year of the olympiad. 

NSEP Syllabus and Format 

  • The NSEP or the National Standard Examination in Physics is an all-India examination in physics for higher education school students which is usually conducted on the last second Sunday of November. Due to the outbreak of the pandemic, the date might change. 

  • NSEP is organized by the Indian association of physics teachers. NSEP is the first stage for selecting the students in the International Physics Olympiad.

  • Before the year 2015, the NSEP examination consisted of both multiple-choice questions and subjective questions.

  • But as time passed and due to a large number of participating students, all the questions were not checked for all the candidates. Subjective questions are checked by only the candidates who are scoring above a certain minimum in the multiple-choice questions. The multiple-choice questions used to carry 60% of the total weights and were very important for determining the selection in the next stage. 

  • The present format of the NSEP examination is completely composed of 70 multiple-choice questions. Out of the 70 questions, 60 of these questions have only one option correct and the other 10 questions have more than one. Three marks are awarded for solving each of the first 60 questions correctly and one mark is deducted for every wrong answer. 

  • For the last ten questions which have more than one correct answer, six marks are awarded for each correct answer. However, the negative marking rule has been excluded for the last ten questions. 

  • The top few students whose rankings range between 300 to 450 from the examination are selected and allowed to sit for the Indian National Physics Olympiad.

  •  The NSEP examination has been carried out every year since 1987 in English, Hindu, and other Indian languages.

  • The syllabus for the NSEP examination is almost similar to the curriculum of the senior secondary level(Class XI and Class XII) of the CBSE. No detailed syllabus is given for the NSEP examination but only the basic guidelines have been mentioned. 

Exam Pattern and the Structure for NSEP 

There are two stages of the NSEP examination and the first stage or the exam pattern is as follows: 


First Stage 

The First Stage of the NSEP examination paper comprises of two parts:

  • Part A  is 180 marks and has 50 multiple-choice questions. Part A is further divided into A1 and A2. A1 consists of 40 multiple choice questions with each question having only one correct answer. A2 consists of 10 questions with each question having one or more options as the correct answer. To get the proper credits, all the correct option(s) and no incorrect option(s) should be marked. 

  • Part B has 60 marks to its name and it has 6 questions which are problems or the short answer type questions. All the questions carry equal marks. 

  • The NSEP question is in English, Hindi, or any other language provided that there are more than 300 students who want to attend the examination in that particular regional language. 

Second Stage

  • The main aim of the first stage of the NSEP examination was to have a wide range that helps in progressively increasing the reach and to attain a nationwide representation for stage two without compromising on the quality or the merit. 

  • There are a few structures/clauses involved that help select the right candidate for stage two, those structures are:

    • Eligibility Clause: Any candidate who is participating in the examination must secure a score equal to or greater than a minimum admissible score(or MAS). This will allow the candidate to be eligible for the stage two INO exam leading to the International olympiad. By default, the minimum admissible score for the given subject will be 40% of the maximum score in that subject. 

    • Proportional Representation Clause(PRC): There are close to three thousand students who are selected in each subject for stage two(INO). In the event of a tie for the last position in the list where the candidates have the same marks, all the students will qualify to appear for stage two of the examinations. 

    • Minimum Representation Clause (MRC): Despite the proportional representation clause which has been explained above, the number of students selected for the INO from each state and the union territory must be at least one, provided that the eligibility clause is satisfied thoroughly.

    • Merit Clause: There can be a case when there are more than 300 students who might not qualify for stage two in a subject. In such cases, the students who have a score below 300 in a subject will be selected based on the merit clause.

The Selection Process for NSEP 

NSEP is the first stage exam that is used to shortlist the candidates for the Indian National Science Olympiad (INO). The selection in NSEP is done based on the following factors: 

  • Eligibility of the candidates.

  • The merit score of the candidates in the qualifying examinations. 

  • Minimum representation clause.

  • Proportional representation clause. 

  • Previous International representation clause

  • Minimum total number clause. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: Is NCERT Enough for NSEP?

Ans: The examination of NSEP is of 12th standard CBSE level. The candidates can refer to the NCERT books of both classes 11 and 12 to prepare for this examination. In short, it is fine to refer to the NCERT books initially to prepare for the NSEP examination. 

Q2: What is the Level of NSEP?

Ans: The National Standard Examination in Physics(NSEP) is considered to be the stepping stage in selecting the aspiring and talented students in the physics olympiad program. The level of the NSEP examination is very high as it is a national-level examination that is useful in selecting candidates who are interested in the field of physics. The students can move forward into the other stages of the olympiad program for physics only after clearing the NSEP stage. Students who are studying in class twelfth or any lower class as of November 30, 2019, can appear for the NSEP examination. 

Q3: How to Prepare for NSEP?

Ans: To prepare for any examination, it is very important to have a proper study plan. The way a candidate divides his time throughout the day and how he manages to cover the topics which are important for the examination is a very important step in clearing any examination. The same case is with the NSEP examination. NSEP is the first stage in the olympiad program for physics and there are many stages after NSEP that are considered to be even tougher than NSEP. The students who are planning to appear for the NSEP examination are required to study the NCERT of class 11th and 12th first and then move on and refer to other books such as HC Verma which is considered to be very important in preparing for the olympiad program for physics.

Q4: How to Crack NSEP?

Ans: Even the toughest examination of the country could be easily cracked or scored. The same is with NSEP. NSEP is considered to be the first stage of the olympiad program for physics. To crack any examination it is important to have the correct study material. NCERT of the class 11th and 12th is considered to be the initial books that every student should study completely. With proper planning and management of the time, NSEP could be easily cracked. 

Q5: How to Apply for NSEP?

Ans: The candidates who are willing to participate in the NCEP examination are required to follow a few steps. The candidates are expected to download a registration form from the official website of the IAPT first. After downloading the form, they have to fill in all their details. These details should include the candidate’s name, address, parents’ name, and the preferred language in which he or she wants to write the examination. After filling in all the accurate information, the candidate is expected to sign in a declaration stating that all the information is true. The registration and the declaration form should be submitted along with a fee of rupees 150 and also the name of the center in which the candidate wants to give the examination. The amount that is paid is a one-time payment and a nonrefundable one and even if the candidate qualifies for the next round, he or she should not worry about the paying fee. 

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