How to Crack CSIR NET Life Science Exam 2023 – Learn Preparation Strategy

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 13th, 2023

How to Crack CSIR NET Life Science Exam 2023: The CSIR NET Life Science exam is for the recruitment of eligible candidates for junior research fellowships and assistant professor posts throughout the country. The CSIR NET Life Sciences exam not only aims at testing the subject knowledge but also the aptitude for scientific analysis. As the syllabus of the Life Science subject is vast, aspirants are often confused about how to crack CSIR NET Life Science exam.

Therefore, we have developed this article to help you out by listing some smart strategies that you can apply for easy preparation for the Life Science subject. Scroll down to learn all the important tips and tricks to make your preparation journey easy.

How to Crack CSIR NET Life Science Exam 2023

First and foremost, an aspirant must have an effective preparation strategy in order to crack CSIR NET 2023. Many candidates struggle while preparing for the exam because they lack a proper strategy and planning. Moreover, they are not able to cover all the topics on time and end up leaving many important topics while studying. To overcome this, the candidates need to make sure of the level of clarity they have and make a list of those concepts that they need to brush up on. To help out with this, we have laid out some tips that will help candidates reach their desired goals.

Understanding of the Life Science Curriculum

The CSIR NET Life Sciences exam also includes some questions about basic concepts from Physics, Chemistry, Maths, and Biological Sciences. It is expected from a candidate that a Life science graduate or postgraduate will be comfortable with biological sciences. Let’s get to know some of the examples of basic concepts from Physics and Chemistry that are a part of the CSIR NET Syllabus.

  • Physics is a part up to 10+2, hence students must try to get a grip on this subject very well. However, the concepts of Physics are always asked about as applications of biological sciences. Topics like Thermodynamics help students to learn Why ATP is the major source of energy in cells. Topics like Colligative Properties enable students to learn Why Plant cells contain cell walls, and animal cells do not? Why Glucose cannot be stored in the cells and has to be converted into Glycogen or starch?
  • Chemistry is also part of a 3-year graduation course and is an indispensable part of Biology as living cells obey chemical laws. Hence, knowledge of some topics like Solutions, Acids and Bases, Electrochemistry Chemical kinetics, etc will help candidates. These topics are a part of the Intermediate also. As a researcher, you might come across work with solutions on a day-to-day basis.
  • Knowledge of chemical bonds, energetics, and kinetics helps to comprehend Why glucose, a six-carbon molecule, has to undergo 10 reactions to produce two 3 carbon molecules? Thus, concepts of Glycolysis, a part of Biochemistry, and similarly, Photosynthesis, a part of plant physiology can become more clear. Atomic size and ionic mobilities will help in knowing the reason behind the high concentration of sodium (Na+) ions outside a cell whereas the concentration of potassium ions (K+) is high inside the cells.

Examine the CSIR NET Paper Pattern

Knowing the syllabus and exam format is perhaps the most important starting point while preparing for any exam. Thus, it will be easier for you to prepare and create a successful exam strategy if you are aware of the CSIR NET Exam Pattern. Candidates will be able to determine the number of questions and marks allotted for each subsection by understanding the exam format. You can use it to estimate how much time is needed for each topic.

CSIR NET Exam Pattern for Life Science


Total Questions

Questions to attempt

Marks Allotted

Negative marking

Part A





Part B





Part C









CSIR NET Study Plan for Life Science

Here is the CSIR NET Life Science Study Plan broken down by week, which has assisted many candidates in performing well on the test. 13 to 14 weeks can be used to divide the entire syllabus.

Study Plan for 2 Months

In the last two months before the Life Science exam, candidates must optimize their preparation and ensure that they only cover the important topics from the CSIR NET Life Science Syllabus mentioned below.


Topics to be covered

Week 1

Molecules and their Interaction Relevant to Biology

Week 2

Cellular Organization

Week 3

Fundamental Processes

Week 4

Cell Communication and Cell Signaling

Week 5

Developmental Biology

Week 6

System Physiology – Plant

Week 7

System Physiology – Animal And Inheritance Biology

Week 8

Diversity of Life Forms

Week 9

Ecological Principles

Week 10

Evolution and Behavior

Week 12

Applied Biology

Week 13

Methods in Biology

Study Plan for 3 Months

In the last three months before the exam, candidates can take the following route and streamline their preparation for the exam.

Time Span

Areas to Focus on

Week 3-4

  • Recognize your weaknesses and strengthen them.
  • Review all of the previously covered material, then take practice exams to see how well you prepared. 

Week 2-3

  • Include subjects like biomolecules, protein structure and function, bioinformatics tools and databases, and life sciences instrumentation techniques.
  • Concentrate on biophysics, bioinformatics, and instrumentation-related topics.

Week 2-3

  • Practice MCQs and questions from prior exams that deal with these topics.

It is important to follow these tips while preparing for the exam-

  • Review your notes
  • Solve test questions from prior years
  • Remember to take breaks and continue to exercise.
  • Take practice exams to gauge your readiness

Preparation Tips for CSIR NET Life Science Topics

We have provided topic-wise preparation strategies below, follow them during your preparation.

  • Start With the Basic Topics: Students should begin their CSIR NET preparation by starting the topics like Cell Biology first since it is a part of the high school syllabus and a common portion in both Botany and Zoology graduation levels. Cell biology is a compulsory subject for all Life Science students, hence, it is the easiest choice to start your preparation with.
  • Importance of the Unit Cell Biology: Cell Biology is included in the syllabus in 2 sections – Cell organization and Cell Signaling/Communication. Studying cellular organization will help in understanding the structure and function of the cells. Basic knowledge of how a Bacterial cell (Prokaryote) differs from a plant cell or animal cell is required. It also enables them to appreciate the basic concepts in biochemistry for example – Why Krebs Cycle occurs only in Mitochondria and not in the Cytoplasm?
  • The right way to Learn Molecular Biology: After Cell Biology, Molecular Biology is the right option to proceed with. Molecular Biology will help in learning fundamental procedures like the structure of DNA, RNA, transcription, translation, etc., A student who is well versed in cell biology and molecular biology will easily understand the difference between B-cell and T-cell and how leucocytes differ from a lymphocyte. Thus the Immunology concepts will become easy.
  • Biochemistry is Important: Basic Biochemistry is another important part of the Life Science exam. It is necessary that topics like amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids and proteins, vitamins, and hormones are studied well. Enzymology is another crucial part that every student must learn. Topics like the metabolism of amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids can be difficult for students who are not specialized in Biochemistry. While studying any biochemical pathway, the regulatory steps have to be focused on. However, it is essential to study energy production pathways such as Glycolysis, Kreb’s Cycle and electron transport chain, photosynthesis (PS I and PS II), C3, and C4 cycles, etc.
  • Know About Basic Genetics: Along with Biochemistry, basic genetics forms an inevitable portion of the syllabus which is very much required. Mendelian genetics includes laws of inheritance, gene interactions, linkage and crossover, sex determination and sex-linked inheritance are important. However, for those students not specialized in genetics qualitative and human genetics can be ignored. But topics like mutations and recombination are Important.
  • Importance of Molecular Biology: Having studied Molecular Biology and basic genetics, applications of these fields form the core of a concept like Recombinant DNA technology. Thus gene cloning, vectors, and sequencing techniques can be easily learned. After learning the techniques like PCR, applications of PCR like RAPD, AFLP, etc., become much easier.
  • Common Topics: Simultaneously biophysical techniques, radiolabelling techniques, histochemical and immune techniques, and microscopic techniques can be learned easily. While learning these techniques, students shall focus on the principle of each technique and its applications.
  • General Microbiology: General microbiology which includes the structure of prokaryotic cells, growth curves, and kinetics are also essential. Fermentation technology forms an important topic to study. However, applications of microbiology like food, water, and air microbiology are optional and thus not necessary.
  • Lastly, subjects like System Physiology, Ecology, and Evolution are more based on theory and can be learned directly by reading standard textbooks. Ecology and Evolution have to be given a special emphasis as traditionally more questions have appeared from these areas and are not part of a regular syllabus for many courses.

Thus by following a clear strategy, one can qualify for the CSIR NET exam with ease. Early preparation right from the first year of Post-graduation or third year of B.Tech or B.Pharma can be extremely rewarding.

Choose the Best Study Material

Candidates should refer to all the books that exam-planning professionals recommend. The CSIR NET Life Science Books will aid in simplifying and demonstrating concepts that would otherwise be challenging to understand. The following list includes some of the top books for CSIR NET life science courses.

CSIR NET Books for Life Science


Unit: Molecules and their Interaction Relevant to Biology

Subject: Biochemistry and Metabolism

Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry- Nelson, and Cox

Biochemistry: International Edition by Stryer, Berg and Tymoczko

Principles of Biochemistry by Voet

Plant Biochemistry by Walter

Unit: Cellular Organization

Subject: Cell and Molecular Biology

Cell and Molecular Biology: Concepts and Experiments by Gerald Karp

Molecular Cell Biology- Lodish

Cell And Molecular Biology / 8th Edition by Robertis De

Molecular Biology of the Gene by James D. Watson

Unit: Cell Signalling

Subject: Immunology

Kuby Immunology- Owen, Punt, Stanford,7th Ed

Essential Immunology by Ivan M. Roitt

Immunology (Schaum’s series) By Pinchuk

Immunology (Instant notes) by Lydyard

Unit: Microbiology

Microbiology by Prescott

Microbiology by Pelczar

Brock Biology of Microorganisms by Madigan

Unit: Developmental Biology

Developmental Biology by Scott F. Gilbert

Molecular Cell Biology- Lodish

Unit: System Physiology – Plant

Plant Physiology – Taiz and Zeiger

Plant Physiology by Ross and Salisbury

Introductory Plant Biology by Stern

Unit: System Physiology – Animal

Ganong’s Review of Medical Physiology

Human Anatomy and Physiology by Graaff

Animal Biology (Instant Notes) by Jurd

Unit: Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics by Baevanis and Oullette

Introduction to Bioinformatics by Lesk

Bioinformatics (Instant Notes) by Hodgman

Unit: Ecological Principles
Subject: Ecology

Ecology by Odum

Elements of Ecology By Smith and Smith

Ecology: Principles And Applications by JL Chapman and MJ Reiss

Genetics: A Conceptual Approach by Benjamin A. Pierce

Unit: Evolution and Behavior

Evolution by Strickberger

The Evolution Handbook by Vance Ferrell

Theory of Evolution by Dawkins and Maynard

Unit: Applied Biology
Subject: Biotechnology

Biotechnology – B D Singh

Genomes by T. A. Brown

Principles of Fermentation Technology by Stanbury

Unit: Methods in Biology
Subject: Molecular Biology and Recombinant DNA Methods

Principles of Gene Manipulation and Genomics – S.B. Primrose and R.M. Twyman

Principles and Techniques of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – Wilson and Walker

Biophysical Chemistry (Principles and Techniques) By Upadhyay

Strategic Time Allotment

Aspirants can create a strategy using the table below to learn how to manage their time for CSIR NET Life Science preparation. It is crucial to allot specific time to different activities like solving CSIR NET Mock Tests, revising the topics already covered, and note-taking.



1 Month

3 Months

6 Months 

Time Table

It is important to follow a strategic timetable

12-13 Hours Plan 

7- 8 Hours Plan 

6 Hours Plan 

Analyse Syllabus 

Candidates must be aware of both new developments in the field of life science and its practical applications.

30 Minutes 

15 Minutes

10 Minutes

Important Topic Coverage

Candidates must read and underline crucial Life Science topics

2-4 Hours 

2 Hours 

1 Hour

PYQs Analysis 

Candidates must use the previous year’s papers to help them understand the exam.

1 Hour 

2 Hours

1 Hour

Highlighted Notes 

Candidates must make notes to refer to while revising. 

1 Hour 

30 Minutes 

15 Minutes 


Candidates must find time during the weekend for a thorough revision of all the topics. 

3 Hours 

2 Hours 

1 Hour 

Solving Mock Tests and Quizzes

The best way for a candidate to comprehend the exam setting is to complete practice exams

2 Hours 

1 Hour

30 Minutes 

Best Apps for CSIR NET Preparation

Candidates can also rely on various mobile programs and applications to fast-track their preparation. The BYJU’S Exam Prep App is one of the top preparation tools that provides candidates with a one-stop learning solution. The app includes a number of practice exams that mimic the experience of taking an actual exam. Anyone studying for the challenging CSIR NET Life Science exam should consider using BYJU’S Exam Prep app. Candidates can feel confident about the study materials on this app because it was made by professionals in the science and technology fields. 

  • Daily Free Videos from the expert faculty member for Mathematical Science, Life Science, and Chemical Science.
  • Direct Interaction with Faculty Members and clearing of doubts.
  • Free study materials and CSIR NET Online Coaching cumulated by the subject experts.
  • Special workshops weekly, with surprise study material links
  • Instant notifications and updates on CSIR NET Exams.

In conclusion, self-discipline, tenacity, and dedication are necessary for CSIR NET Life Science preparation without coaching. If you stick to the advice given above, you’ll be able to pass the test with flying colors. The free BYJU Exam Prep App can be downloaded by candidates to learn more about the CSIR NET exam.

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