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NTSE Preparation 2023 - How to Prepare for NTSE?

National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) is a two-stage process that comprises the state-level and national-level examination. The NCERT prescribes the syllabus for both stages, so the best study material a student should refer to for NTSE preparation is NCERT books of classes 9 and 10. Get the detailed study plan for NTSE preparation and the last minute preparation tips to ace the NTSE scholarship exam.

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How to Prepare for NTSE Examination?

NTSE stage 1 is the first successful step towards your NTSE scholarship. Each stage of the NTSE exam comprises two papers, Mental Ability Test and the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Though the two sections have similar syllabus and exam patterns, the question formats and difficulty levels vary for both papers. Hence, it is essential to understand the exam pattern before starting the NTSE preparation to analyze the weightage for each subject.

Without a complete understanding of the NTSE exam pattern, students cannot clear the examination. They must have a proper study plan before beginning their preparation.

Following exam preparation tips and tricks will help students clear the NTSE exam.

Understand the Exam Pattern and Syllabus

NTSE MAT and SAT papers assess students' logical ability and analytical skills, respectively. For both stages, students should answer 200 questions in 3 hours. The total questions asked in the MAT section is 120 for 100 marks, whereas, for SAT, it is 100 questions for 100 marks.

Once the students are clear with the exam pattern and syllabus well, mark all the important topics to be covered first. The NCERT has prescribed the syllabus of NTSE.

The students get a complete insight into the subjects and topics from where the questions are framed through the syllabus.

  • The sections that should have more practice sessions are verbal & non-verbal reasoning.
  • The sections that need more revision are the science and social science chapters.

Create a Study Plan and Time Table

Now it's time to create a study plan that gets you an NTSE scholarship. Schedule or create a timetable concerning the most important prerequisite for the NTSE preparation.

Consider the below points before starting NTSE preparation.

  • Divide your day into two and keep the first half for sections that need more revision and the second half for more practice sections.
  • Schedule your timetable with enough breaks to stay motivated.
  • Segregate the units and mark the important topics that need to be covered first.
  • Schedule time to take mock test/sample paper at least once a week.
  • Make brief notes of all the topics you are covering.

Refer NTSE Preparation Books

NTSE syllabus is prescribed by the NCERT, the National Council of Educational Research and Training. All the students applying for the NTSE exam should refer to the NCERT books of class 9 and class 10, but some topics that are not important can be neglected.

Students can refer to NCERT class 12 Biology textbook portions relevant to class 9 and 10 curriculums to better understand a few science concepts. Students can prepare with the R.S. Aggarwal aptitude handbook for the MAT section, which helps prepare for NTSE and any competitive exams.

In this digitalization era, students can also start their NTSE preparation online with available NTSE sample paper, model test paper, and NTSE e-books. Every state releases its NTSE previous year's paper and sample paper for free on their SCERT website. Students can download those papers and start their NTSE exam preparation online.

The list of NTSE preparation books for class 10 is given below.

  • Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning by R.S. Aggarwal
  • Study Package for NTSE Class 10 by McGraw Hill Education Pvt. Ltd.
  • Study Guide for NTSE Class 10 by Disha Publication
  • Practice Test Papers for NTSE Class 10 by Tata McGraw Hill Publications
  • A Comprehensive Manual for NTSE Class 10 by Access Publishing

Practice Sample Papers

Monotonous reading won't help students ace the exam. Through practice, students identify their strengths and weaknesses, which also helps them for the second level of preparation. Second level preparation should have more practice tests and sample paper analysis.

It is important to practice from previous years' question papers, as it helps to know the test's overall pattern and helps students overcome the exam fear. Solve all the previous year question papers and sample papers available at least once a week. Students can take overall mock tests and subject-wise mock tests. For mock tests, students can refer to Arihant & Tata McGraw-Hill books.

Know your Strength and Weakness

Through the rigorous practise sessions, students can know their strengths and weaknesses, i.e., whether they are strong in mathematics and Social but average in science and weak in science. Students can turn their weaknesses into strengths through this analysis by focusing more on an overall good score. Commonly, students struggle for the MAT section as it tests their mental ability.

Hence, practice time for MAT should be sufficient. Besides, candidates should analyze their performance by answering the following questions, which also helps them identify the subject areas they are strong and poor.

  • Did you understand the concepts of the subject clearly?
  • Did you miss out on the marks because of minor mistakes?
  • Are you able to finish on time?
  • Are you finding it to recall the answers to the questions you already know?

Answer all the above questions to self analyze your performance. It is one of the most basic tips to become an NTSE scholar.

Time Management

Students should spend at least 3-4 hours self-learning to crack the NTSE exam, excluding the sample papers practice. While practising sample papers, students must follow the exact exam timing of 3 hours, which would help them manage the time in the final exam.

The most popular saying is, "A Healthy mind dwells in a healthy body." So, eating healthy would help develop a healthy body and mind that paves a way to concentrate more on studying.

NTSE MAT Preparation Tips

Many students have a question in their mind like - how to prepare for NTSE stage 1 MAT? As mentioned earlier, MAT focuses on the mental ability that needs more practice sessions. The important topics that need more attention in the MAT section include aptitude questions on series, pattern, coding-decoding, analogies, classification, hidden figures, problem-solving, etc.

While starting MAT preparation for NTSE, students can try a few of the NTSE tips and tricks mentioned below.

  • Solving different problems of the typical kind
  • Always manage time while practising, allocate time for each problem, and complete it within the time allotted.
  • Take help from mentors by clearing any doubts that you have before exams.

NTSE SAT Preparation Tips

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) can be divided into three sections, Science, Maths, and Social Science. Here is where your NCERT books come into the picture.

The SAT section assesses the logical ability and reasoning skills of the students. Students must qualify for both MAT and SAT papers to be eligible for the national level exam.

Here are a few tips to consider while preparing for the SAT (subject-wise).


  • Revise every topic after your regular classes.
  • Maintain brief notes of every concept you read.
  • Revise chemical equations and formulae every day.

Social Science

  • Create a timeline of all the historical events covered in the NTSE syllabus using chart paper with different colours and revise it every day.
  • Maintain short notes for every topic you study.
  • Make sure to have a globe or map while preparing Geography topics.
  • Make short notes of every topic for easy revision.


  • Practice is the key to success in maths. So, solve as many question papers as you can.
  • Maintain a formula sheet to revise daily.
  • Be clear about Linear and Quadratic Equations.
  • Solve miscellaneous questions.

It is very important to have a healthy mind and body to concentrate more. To achieve all these, keep yourself healthy and take sufficient breaks (3-4 times breaks are a must) between your preparation time. During the final exam, make sure to take all the important documents like admit card and identity proof to enter the examination hall so that all your hard work doesn't go to waste.

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