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A Guide to NTSE, Olympiad and Science Talent Search Exams

There are so many examinations, school level students take to test themselves among the rest of the
world. This series of articles is an attempt to answer general queries about all such exams which
school students have in their minds: Why? Who? What? How? When? Where?
In this article post, we will see the why it is necessary for one to take such exams and who should
appear for what exam.
The CSBE or ICSE course exams do not study on in depth knowledge of the subjects being taught. So
for someone willing to test his/her potential, one needs to learn more and test his/her capability
against other brains to see where they stand. This is where competitive exams come into being. These
tests exploit the basic fundamental concepts of the subjects we read in our school textbooks and
examine our problem solving skills with some non-trivial question sets. That means that every student
is recommended to take these tests, irrespective of his/her grades, to help them determine if the
subject really interests him. Moreover, the benefits for writing such exams in the long run are many.
The kind of questions students face in such exams are quite intriguing and interesting that they force
the students to think beyond what has been taught, to apply what they have learnt to solve such
challenges. This leads to deeper understanding of the concepts and teach students how to apply their
knowledge in the real world scenario, which not only make the coursework easier but helps to
perform good in other examinations and courses.
For all the students who want to test themselves against the rest of the world, who wants to know
their strengths and weaknesses, and want some direction to help them determine their area of
interest should consider taking these tests. Clear understanding of basic concepts is a must to be able
to crack such exams, and hence students confident enough for their concepts with relatively good
scores in their school should not miss taking these exams. Students with 85% + scores have been
observed to ace such exams. Also, generally, exams like NTSE and NSTSE have much lower cut-offs
than that in KVPY.
There are a plethora of such school level examinations. These exams can be classified as:
General talent search exam: NTSE (National Talent Search Exam)
Science talent search exam: KVPY (Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana), NSEJS (National Standard
Examination in Junior Science), SSTSE (State Science Talent Search Exam), NSTSE (National Level
Science Talent Search Examination), NSO (National Science Olympiad), SLSTSE (State Level Science
Talent Search Examination), IOS (International Olympiad of Science)
Maths talent search exam: RMO (Regional Mathematical Olympiad), IMO (International Mathematical
Olympiad), IOM (The International Olympiad of Mathematics)

English talent search exam: IOEL (The International Olympiad of English Language), IEO (The
International English Olympiad)
Informatics or computer talent search exam: NCO (National Cyber Olympiad), UCO (Unified Cyber
Olympiad), ZIO (Zonal Informatics Olympiad), IIO (International Informatics Olympiad)
Other subjects talent search examinations such as physics, astronomy etc like NSEA (National
Standard Examination for Astronomy), NSEP (National Standard Examination in Physics), NSEB
(National Standard Examination in Biology), NSEC (National Standard Examination in Chemistry)
Tentative schedule of all these tests throughout the year can be found here:
NTSE 3rd Sunday of November
NSO 3rd week of November
IMO 2nd week of December
NSTSE 1st week of December
SLSTSE 1st week of February
SSTSE 1st week of November
KVPY last week of October
NSEP last week of November
NSEC last week of November
NSEB - last week of November
RMO 1st week of December
IOM November or December
IOS December
So, in this post, we saw why is it important for students to sit for various competitive examinations,
and what are these various kinds of examinations. Let us look at how one should prepare for these
examinations in our next posts- Plan your NTSE, Olympiad and Science Talent Search Exam
preparation. Till then, happy preparations!
Books: For Olympiads exposure to questions and solutions of previous year papers is best way. The
questions itself will be guide you to read from various sources. For the same, the few HBSCE
recommended books are listed below:

1. Indian National Physics Olympiad - Theory Problems and Solutions (2006 2009), Vijay A. Singh and
Praveen Pathak.
2. Indian National Physics Olympiad - Theory Problems (1998 2005), Vijay A. Singh and Shirish R.
3. Indian National Chemistry Olympiad - Theory Papers with Solutions (2002-2004), Savita Ladage and
Swapna Narvekar.
4. Indian National Chemistry Olympiad - Theory Papers with Solutions (2005-2007), Savita Ladage and
Swapna Narvekar.
5. Indian National Biology Olympiad - Theory Papers (2002 2004) Compiled by Rekha Vartak,
Anupama Ronad
6. Indian National Biology Olympiad - Theory Papers (2005 2007) Compiled by Rekha Vartak,
Anupama Ronad
7. Question Papers of Indian National Astronomy Olympiad (1999 2008), Compiled by: Aniket Sule,
Anand Ghaisas and Mayank Vahia.
8. Problem Primer for Olympiads, Author: C R Pranesachar, B J Venkatachala and C S Yogananda
9. Functional Equations, Author: B J Venkatachala
10. Title: Inequalities: An Approach Through Problems, Author: B. J. Venkatachala
11. Challenge and Thrill of Pre-College Mathematics, Author: V Krisnhnamurthy, C R Pranesachar, K N
Ranganathan, and B J Venkatachala.
12. Experimental Problems in Chemistry, Savita Ladage, Swapna Narvekar and Indrani Sen.

NSTSE: Advanced problems from RD Sharma, Fundamentals of Physics, Chemistry, Biology (HCV and
other authors).

KVPY: Arihant JEE prep books for Physics, Maths and Chemistry. For biology, CBSE Biology books will
suffice. In XII standard, you got to choose 3 out of these 4 subjects, so you can choose not to take
biology for XII standard KVPY, if you are studying PCM as your subjects. For science and maths JEE
preparation material and JEE practice papers are more than enough.

NTSE: Tata McGraw Hill Book for NTSE. The book has two parts: Part MAT (Mental ability test), Part
SAT (scholastic ability test). SAT has English, Science, Maths and Social Science. All subject course are
that of NCERT syllabus. So it is required to cover the whole syllabus of X beforehand. That requires
time. Also CBSE has some optional chapters for Social Science. Hence more time devotion to

completing the Social Science section is important, since this is a high scoring part due to the direct
answers type questions. Two rounds of Social Science, one round of maths, english and science is
sufficient. For MAT section, random practice would suffice.

Where? So, now you know, what and how, but where? Should you take online tutoring for the
preparation, or should you self-study according to your convenience? That depends! Depends on
student to student, many students are able to focus more while preparing on their own, while group
study works better for others. Some require dedicated tutors, which isnt possible in todays classroom
scenario. May be, an online tutor is something, you are looking for.
The success does introduce immense confidence in tackling a problem of the subject (science for
example) with more vigour and dedication. The goals like cracking various entrance examinations for
getting admission into ones dream college seem no longer very difficult since these successes give a
boost to ones confidence. Preparation for such examinations also help you learn required time
management skills which helps you throughout your life. Being selected as one among 500 in KVPY is
more competitive than JEE competition. A success in these fields actually gives you a sense of
confidence for future prospects in similar fields. In short these do give an edge to a student.
When dreams seem realisable, the effort for it also becomes significant.