NSEP 2020 Syllabus

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NSEP Olympiad Syllabus

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.

The National Standard Examination in Physics, or the NSEP, is a voluntary examination in which students from all over the country can participate. This exam assesses the knowledge, analytical, and logical skills of candidates. Students participating in this exam should have a detailed understanding of every topic to ace the test. 

However, this exam is different from the regular school exams as it demands in-depth knowledge. Before starting their preparation, aspirants should go through the NSEP syllabus thoroughly. After they are familiar with the syllabus, they can design a suitable strategy to secure a top rank in this exam.

NSEP 2020 Syllabus

The syllabus for NSEP is broadly based on the Physics syllabus of Class XI and Class XII. Therefore, candidates willing to appear for this exam must start their preparation with the NCERT Physics books of Class XI and Class XII. Studying these books will help them understand the topics properly.

Here is an overview of the syllabus, which will help students with their preparation. The syllabus has been divided into three categories as per the weightage of topics. The first part consists of the four most important topics, followed by the second part, which covers five essential topics. The last part comprises chapters that carry less weightage, but candidates should not skip this part if they want to attempt all the questions.

Part 1


Sections to Cover

Geometrical Optics

  1. Refraction (by spherical surface, spherical mirror, prism, at plane surface and refraction in general)

  2. Lens

  3. Total internal reflection


  1. Battery

  2. Power

  3. Energy

  4. Voltage

  5. Electromotive force

  6. Kirchhoff’s Law


  1. Magnetic field

  2. Magnetic Charge


  1. Electric potential

  2. Flux Calculation

  3. Coulomb’s Law

  4. Gauss’s theorem

Once the candidates cover these topics, which hold maximum weightage in this exam, they should focus on these next topics. 

Part 2

  1. Alternating Current- AC circuit and Resonance. 

  2. Circular Motion- Circular motion in a vertical plane; Kinematics.

  3. Semi-Conductor- Transistors and Diode.

  4. Work, Energy, and Power- Work-Energy theorem.

  5. Thermodynamics- Kinetic energy, First Law of Thermodynamics.

  6. Center of Mass, Momentum, and Collision.

After completing the topics in parts 1 and 2, candidates should move to part 3. They should not devote much time to these topics but at the same time should not skip these entirely as well.

Part 3

  • Capacitor

  • Induction

  • Motion

  • Heat Transfer

  • Rectilinear Motion

  • Sound Waves

  • Modern Physics

  • Newton’s Law of Motion

  • Fluid

However, covering this IAPT NSEP syllabus once is not sufficient. Candidates should regularly revise these topics to develop a better understanding of every topic.

Books to Refer

Candidates should refer to multiple books while covering the syllabus for this exam. NSEP demands a comprehensive understanding of each topic. Therefore, preparation should focus more on quality rather than quantity.

The following books will help a candidate to prepare the topics thoroughly.

  • NCERT Physics Books (Class XI and XII).

  • H.C Verma’s Concepts of Physics (Both Part 1 and Part 2).

  • Pathfinder for Olympiad & JEE: Physics by Arvind Tiwari and Sachin Singh.

  • Indian National Physics Olympiad by Arihant Publications.

Ideally, preparation should start with the NCERT books, but after understanding the fundamentals of a topic, candidates should refer to other books as well.

Some Additional Tips

Besides knowing the NSEP Olympiad syllabus, and the books to be referred to, aspirants should also make a suitable strategy to score well in this exam. Without a proper strategy, no amount of hard work can bring a desirable result.

The Following Tips Will Help A Candidate To Score Well in This Examination.

  • After going through the syllabus, candidates should spend some time analyzing it and identifying their strong and weak areas to create a strategy accordingly.

  • They should understand the pattern of this exam first. The pattern of this exam is complicated, and candidates must understand it before creating a study plan.

  • Candidates should revise these topics at regular intervals. 

  • They should solve previous years’ papers and should take regular mock tests. This will help them to identify their shortcomings, and they will be able to rectify it before their exams.

  • Aspirants should regularly revise the formulas. They can note down the crucial formulas and keep it where it is always visible. 

NSEP is a crucial exam for all the candidates who want to participate in the International Olympiads. Therefore, they should sincerely prepare for this assessment. Aspirants willing to appear in this exam should understand the NSEP syllabus first, and then its pattern. Only after analyzing these two aspects of this exam, they should start with the actual preparation.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Why Should I Appear for NSEP?

NSEP is a crucial assessment for candidates who want to take up Physics as a career. Through this exam, candidates can evaluate themselves, and they also get an opportunity to compete on a national level.

NSEP also prepares a candidate for other competitive exams. After taking this exam, they will be able to detect their shortcomings and work on them. Moreover, NSEP is the stepping stone that leads to the Indian National Physics Olympiad, followed by the International Olympiads. It is only after qualifying this exam that a candidate will be eligible for the next stages of the Olympiad program.

Apart from this, a gold medallist of NSEP gets an opportunity to appear directly for the interview of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). They do not have to appear for the entrance test.

2. How Do I Register for NSEP?

Candidates who want to appear for NSEP must satisfy their eligibility first. After this, they have to download the registration form from the official website of IAPT.

Aspirants will then have to fill in the details like name, parent’s name, address, language preference. They will also have to mention the details of the center from where they are applying.

After filling all these details, candidates will have to sign a declaration stating these details as accurate. Finally, they will have to hand over this registration form to the center-in-charge along with one hundred and fifty rupees. This amount is non-refundable and a one-time payment. Candidates do not have to pay any charge again at any later stage of this exam.