NSO Class 12 Syllabus

The Science Olympiad Foundation administers the National Science Olympiad examination every year. This NSO exam is mostly focused on science-related themes. The exam is open to students studying in grades 1 to 12. Beginning with primary school, this exam aids in the discovery and development of future scientists, technicians, IT specialists, and other qualifications at a basic level. Olympiad exams develop a healthy competitive spirit among pupils, encouraging them to participate in national and international programmes. This type of exam encourages students to think from a wider angle and provides them with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share their inventive ideas with the rest of the world.

Overview of the Examination

The National Science Olympiad Exam (NSO) is a scholarship exam designed to help students enhance their scientific reasoning and analytical abilities. The test is divided into two sections. Level 1 is the first, and students who qualify at this level can move to level 2. The NSO Olympiad test is divided into phases, which begin from grade 3. Students in Classes 1 and 2 will only take level 1 tests, and grades will be assigned based on their performance.

The test is an objective type with 35 multiple-choice questions for grades 1 to 4 and 50 for grades 5 to 12. To take the second level of the NSO exam, a student must rank in the top 5 percent of their respective class.

Examination Pattern for Class 12

The exam is an objective-type test consisting of 50 multiple-choice questions for Class 12. The examination is divided into three sections.

  • Section 1 consists of questions based on Physics and Chemistry subjects
  • In section 2 the questions are based on Higher-OrderThinking Skills and is called the Achievers section
  • Section 3 consists of questions based on Mathematics or Biology subjects.

The marks distribution for the three sections is shown below.

Class / Grade


Number of questions

Marks per question

Total marks

Grade 12

Section 1




Section 2




Section 3




Grand Total



Syllabus for Class 12

The NSO Class 12 syllabus is based on a student’s general curriculum in grade 12. Students from any academic board, including CBSE, ICSE, and other state boards, can study the syllabus from the prescribed academic curriculum. The syllabus and concepts for the exam are based on the twelfth-grade syllabus.

The syllabus for the National Science Olympiad (NSO) for Class 12 is provided below.

Section of the exam

Name of the section

Topics included in the section

Section 1

Physics and Chemistry

The topics in Physics are

  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Electromagnetic Induction
  • Alternating current
  • Electromagnetic waves
  • Optics
  • Modern Physics
  • Semiconductor Electronics
  • Communication System

The topics in Chemistry are

  • Solid State
  • Solutions
  • Electrochemistry
  • Chemical Kinetics
  • Surface Chemistry
  • General Principles and Processes of Isolation of Elements
  • p-Block Elements (Group 15 to 18)
  • d- & f-Block Elements
  • Coordination Compounds
  • Haloalkanes and Haloarenes
  • Alcohols
  • Phenols and Ethers
  • Aldehydes
  • Ketones and Carboxylic Acids
  • Amines
  • Biomolecules
  • Polymers
  • Chemistry in Everyday Life.

Section 2

Achievers Section

This section deals with Higher-Order Thinking Questions. The topics for this section are the same as section 1, but the difficulty level would be a little more.

Section 3

Mathematics / Biology

The topics in Mathematics are

  • Relations and Functions
  • Inverse Trigonometric Functions
  • Matrices and Determinants
  • Continuity and Differentiability
  • Application of Derivatives
  • Integrals
  • Application of Integrals
  • Differential Equations
  • Vector Algebra,
  • Three Dimensional Geometry
  • Probability
  • Linear Programming.

The topics in Biology are

  • Reproduction
  • Genetics and Evolution
  • Biology in Human Welfare
  • Biotechnology
  • Ecology

The NSO syllabus is based on CBSE, ICSE, and various state boards’ academic disciplines. All theories and concepts are from the academic curriculum of grade 12. The difficulty of the questions varies, and the NSO test comprises a wide range of problems. Solving NSO sample papers and taking mock tests for Class 12 can help to pass the exam effortlessly.

Vital Points on the Syllabus

  • Level-I Olympiad exam questions will be based on 60% of the current class syllabus and 40% of the prior class syllabus. For example, the NSO exam for Class 8 will consist of 60% questions from the Class 8 syllabus and 40% questions from the Class 7 syllabus.
  • The level-II Olympiad exams will solely include questions from the current class syllabus.
  • Only current class syllabus questions will be asked in the achiever’s section.

Frequently Asked Questions on NSO 2021

How many levels of the NSO examination are there for Class 12?

There are two levels of NSO examination for Class 12.

What is the eligibility criteria for level 2 exam?

To take the second level of the NSO exam, a student must rank in the top 5 per cent of their class.

Where can the student find NSO previous year papers?

The student can find NSO previous papers on the official website.

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