NSEC Exam Pattern

The National Standard Examination in Chemistry is jointly administered by the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education and the Indian Association of Physics Teachers. The exam is held every year in November, and it is administered at different locations. The National Science Education Centre promotes and encourages interest in chemistry. The NSEC recognises students’ accomplishments based on their exam results. This exam is for students who desire to pursue chemistry and want to obtain knowledge of the topic while studying for the exam by completing a self-assessment. Students who pass this exam will be eligible to compete in the INCO (Indian National Chemistry Olympiad).

Aim of Exam

The main aim of the exam is to create a national and international platform for students who wish to compete in the field of Chemistry. This exam acts as a window of opportunity to pursue a career in chemical science.

Examination Pattern

IAPT conducts NSEC across the country every November. NSEC recognises student potential and works to bring it to the attention of a worldwide audience. It’s the first step toward competing in the International Chemistry Olympiad. The NSEC is held in several cities across India. Pupils in the 12 and 11 grades are eligible to take the exam. The pattern of the examination is discussed below.


The National Standard Examination in Chemistry syllabus is roughly equal to CBSE chemistry at the senior secondary level (Classes XI and XII). This is simply a general guideline; NSEC does not provide a complete syllabus.

Question Paper Pattern

The test consists of 80 multiple-choice questions, each with four options and only one correct answer. The exam will be conducted in English. The exam duration is two hours.


Number of Questions

Marks Per Question

Total Marks












The details of the examination are given below.

General Exam Timings 11.00 am to 1.00 pm
Duration of Exam Two hours
Test Paper Level/Syllabus CBSE Class 12 syllabus for Chemistry
Test Medium/Language English and Hindi (as chosen during the registration process).
Type of Questions Multiple-choice Questions
Total Number of Questions 80
Total Marks 240
Marking Scheme 3 marks are awarded for each question, and in case of an incorrect answer, one mark is deducted.

Benefits of NSEC Exam

The top 1% of students who pass the NSEC exam are invited to compete in the Indian National Chemistry Olympiad. The examination’s theoretical portion takes place in the last week of January. The top 30 students in each class are chosen to attend the International Chemistry Olympiad Training Camp. Listed below are a few more benefits

  • A student gets exposure to participate and get in touch with other students across the nation
  • This exam gives an opportunity to move to the international platform and compete at a global level
  • Students can gain fast career growth opportunities, which helps to upgrade their soft skills.

Tricks to Crack the Exam

The preparation methods and study habits play a vital role in clearing the olympiad exams. Reading NSEC important topics is not enough. Listed below are a few points that one can adopt for an easy and smooth study process for the chemistry olympiad.

  • Get well versed with the syllabus and topics mentioned in the curriculum
  • Early preparation is always the best while taking a competitive exam
  • Refer to the official website for updates regarding the examination
  • Go through the NSEC previous years’ question papers and solve practice papers
  • Try to get into a course online or offline that focuses on this exam
  • Get thorough knowledge of volatile topics in chemistry, such as organic chemistry
  • Read, learn, revise and solve more to gain a grip over the subject
  • Revision helps to enrich the subject knowledge in depth

Frequently Asked Questions on NSEC Exam Pattern

What is the importance of the NSEC Examination?

The National Science Education Centre promotes chemistry and attempts to increase students’ interest in it. The NSEC recognises students’ accomplishments based on their exam results.

What is the next step after NSEC?

National Standard Examination (NSE) conducted by IAPT in physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, junior science, which is the first stage of the International Olympiad. All further stages are conducted by Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), Mumbai. After the NSEC examination, the next step for the eligible students is the Indian National Olympiad (INO) examination in the respective subjects.

Where can one find the NSEC application form?

Every year, during the month of September (except this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic), the NSEC application form is accessible both online and offline. For the above-mentioned time period, the NSEC application form will be accessible at each NSEC centre. Please follow the instructions below to obtain your own copy of the NSEC application form:

  • The first step is to find the nearest NSE Centre. Over the last few years, IAPT has opened over a thousand centres around the country. Each centre’s name, address, and phone number are included in a PDF file.
  • Filling out the NSEC application form is the second step.
  • One can get the NSEC application form from the Centre Coordinator and fill it out.</div>

Which class students are eligible for the NSEC examination?

Students studying in Classes 11 and 12 are eligible for the examination.

Can the students attempt the International Chemistry Olympiad directly?

No, the students cannot attempt the International Chemistry Olympiad directly. Students in their senior year of high school should take the NSEC exam, which is more advanced. The National Standard Examination in Chemistry is crucial since it is the first level that students must complete before they can compete in the International Chemistry Olympiad. The IAPT administers this exam to assess students’ knowledge of chemistry in order to pick the best candidates to represent India at the international level.

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