By Renuka Miglani|Updated : February 20th, 2021

Are you one of those students who has a dream to crack NTSE 2021? Are you the one who is studying in class 9th and want to get ready for the upcoming NTSE exam in 2021? If the answer to the above questions is YES, then you are at the right place. The National Talent Search Examination (NTSE), is one of the oldest and most prestigious national level scholarship exams conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) every year since 1961. It allows students who wish to climb the ladder of success from class X itself.

Let’s get to know some preparation strategies for NTSE 2021

1. Understand the Exam Pattern and Syllabus

It is very important for every NTSE aspirant to understand the nature of the National Talent Search Examination (NTSE), because if you want to conquer something, you must have in-depth knowledge about that particular thing. In this case, we are dealing with a national level competitive exam. Ensure that you have in-depth knowledge about the aspects such as important dates, format and syllabus of the exam.

     Exam Pattern

     The National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) is conducted in two stages :-

     Stage 1 – State-level exam.

     Stage 2 – National level exam.

     (Only if you qualify Stage 1, then you become eligible to appear for Stage 2)

Both stages of NTSE will have two parts, i.e. MAT and SAT. Take a look at the exam pattern of NTSE 2021-22 from the table below :

Paper 1 : Mental Ability Test (MAT)

No. of Questions


Exam Duration



2 hours



Paper 2 : Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)


No. of Questions


Exam Duration





2 hours




Social Science






 Exam Syllabus

Students must cover the entire syllabus of class 9 and 10 to prepare for NTSE 2021 exam as NCERT doesn't provide any specific syllabus for the test. The students willing to prepare for NTSE examination can generally refer to the standard syllabus of class 9 and 10 level. The first part of the exam i.e. MAT, involves questions from Mental aptitude while the second part of the exam i.e. SAT, involves questions from science, social science and mathematics.

Take a look at the tabular representation of syllabus being covered at both the stages of examination.


Important Topics

MAT (Mental Ability Test)

  It covers questions based on –

·   Analogies

·   Series

·   Classification

·   Blood Relations,

·   Coding-Decoding,

·   Venn Diagrams,

·   Distance and Direction,

·   Ranking and Arrangements,

SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)

This section of examination covers questions based on –

·   Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology)

·   Social Science (History, Geography, Civics)

·   Mathematics

2. Create a Study Plan

Before you begin your preparation for NTSE, you need to make sure that you have a plan ready for it. For making an effective plan, you should have a thorough knowledge of exam pattern and syllabus at each stage. Make a study plan of at least 15-16 hours per day, which includes, what various activities you are going to do in a particular frame of time, what to study (subject or topic), and last but not the least, total duration taken (particular topic/subject).

     A sample study plan for particular time-frame (11 am – 1 pm) is given below :-



What to study


11 AM – 1 PM

To study Science chapter 6 (class 9)

Prepare notes, solve as many as questions, watch videos for concepts, etc.

2 hours


3. Use Paper-Wise Preparation Strategy

It is always useful for an NTSE aspirant to use paper-wise strategy to ace the exam by knowing the nature of each paper.

     Paper-1 : Mental Ability Test (MAT)

The Mental Ability Test (MAT) conducted to analyze the individual’s mental ability to evaluate, discriminate and visualize the potential to solve questions in an easy and quick way. There are some strategies which needs to be followed while preparing for MAT exam are,

  •       Try to attempt and make notes of the topics that are easy and will take less time to solve, for example, Venn diagrams, Syllogism, Water image, Mirror image are relatively easy and will take less time.
  •       Now, you should consider the topics which will take more time and understanding such as Blood relation, Ranking test etc.
  •       The end part comprises of such topics which will take more time to read the question, may be twice or thrice and then you have to make a strategy to solve it.
  •   Focus on time management as most aspirants tend to spoil their paper despite knowing the answer, simply because of time shortness.

     Paper-2 : Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) conducted to analyze the academic knowledge of a student. This paper will test the student’s potential to answer questions based on Science, Mathematics and Social Science. The strategies which need to be followed while preparing for SAT exam are,

  •   It is highly recommended to start with Social Science or Biology section in order to save time. It will not only work as start-up material but also increases your understanding and boost your knowledge over the other areas of this exam.
  •   Make a time period on per day basis in which you have to solve direct questions of each subject of SAT.
  •   Make notes for lengthy questions and formulas of Mathematics and start revising them twice or thrice on per day basis.
  •   Yes, the key to preparing well for NTSE is practice. The more you practice the concepts, the more are your chances of getting things right

4. Solve Previous Year Question Papers

Once you have studied well all the syllabus that you need to cover for NTSE exam 2021-2022. You should start solving previous year papers which will not only give you a clear understanding about the type of questions that are being asked in the examination but it can also evaluate your speed and accuracy for each question. Based on this, you can develop your techniques and strategies to attempt maximum questions in the limited time provided to complete the test.


5. Tips and Tricks to Qualify NTSE 2021

As we all know, that the main aim of this exam is to identify the most talented, bright and skilled young minds and reward them with scholarships and financial rewards. Cracking it is not an easy task! And cracking it is not impossible either! With the right mindset, strategy and plan, a disciplined student will be able to clear this exam with flying colors!

Let’s check the most effective tips and tricks to crack NTSE 2021. Here it is –

  1.   Try to follow your study plan as strictly as you can because it will make you disciplined and oriented towards your goal to achieve this exam.
  2.   Take one mock test right after you complete one topic of particular subject. Let’s say, if you have just finished “Tissues” chapter of Biology of Class 9th, now, you should take one mock test of this particular chapter to get into the depth of each and every concept.
  3.   There’s no specific book that will help you to crack this exam. Many NTSE scholars will say that NCERT books are more than enough to prepare for this test but it’s actually NOT, you should refer 4-5 good books of great authors. The books like RD Sharma and RS Aggarwal are meant for Mathematics and Verbal and Non-Verbal reasoning, are one of the top books advised by experts to practice for competitive examinations.
  4.   Though every subject is important, pay attention to the preparation of Mental Ability and Social Science as they play a crucial role in your selection.
  5.   Practice mock tests, sample papers and previous year papers as much as you can, it is one of the best ways to check your progress and also finds out your weak areas for improvement.
  6.   Revision is the key to success, keep a hold on important topics from NTSE Syllabus and revise them regularly.
  7.   Having less time for NTSE 2021 doesn’t mean you will start neglecting your health. During this time, eat healthy food and take enough sleep.
  8.   Try not to panic if you do not know the answer to any question. Instead, skip the question for time being and move on by answering the next question.
  9.   Make notes of things you find difficult to remember such as the formulas, equations, etc.
  10.     Always be confident about the concept that you’ve studied, confidence is the foundation of success!


~ If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below.



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