As many as 3,910 students of Class 8 and 10 will take the Punjab State Talent Search Examination (PSTSE) to be held on January 18.
Of the number, 1,555 students belong to Class 10 and 2,365 to Class 8. Last year, 4,110 students took the examination. The deadline for applications was extended till December 22.
Those clearing the exam will get a stipend of Rs 200 every month till they complete Class 12. The State Institute of Science Education will conduct the exam.
District science supervisor Varinder Kaur, said, "There has been a rise in the number of students applying for the since the past few years. We will allot roll numbers to students in the first week of January. This time we may need to hold the exam in 12-14 examination centres."
The department has so far set up two centres in Ludhiana-Government (Multipurpose) Senior Secondary School for Boys for Class 8 students and for Government Senior Secondary School for Girls at Bharat Nagar of Class 10 students.
Last year, 55 students from Ludhiana, including 29 girls, cleared the exam. Five students from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Cemetery Road, including three girls, had cleared the test, the highest for any school in the district so far.
Students of Classes 8 and 10 who have secured at least 55% in Classes 7 and 9 can take the three-hour exam. For reserved categories, the eligibility criteria have been relaxed to 50%.
The test will comprise two parts: mental ability, which will account for 50 marks while Scholastic Aptitude Test will carry 130 marks. No exam fee will be charged.