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Sunday, Nov 17, 2019

NTSE Stage 2: Six weeks preparation strategy to crack the exam

NTSE Stage 2 preparation plan: Students who have been selected from Stage I exam will now compete for NTSE Stage II at the National Level to be held on 12th May, 2018 (Sunday), by NCERT.

education Updated: Mar 27, 2019 18:09 IST
Partha Halder
Partha Halder
NTSE Stage 2 strategy: As most of these students will experience a National Level competitive exam for the first time, chances are high they might be little anxious.
NTSE Stage 2 strategy: As most of these students will experience a National Level competitive exam for the first time, chances are high they might be little anxious. (Getty Images)

The National Talent Search Examination (NTSE), is country’s oldest, largest and the most prestigious talent search & competitive examination for school students. It has 2 stages, in both the stages; students are assessed on subjects like Mental Ability (MAT) & Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) comprising Science & Social Science.

Students who have been selected from Stage I exam will now compete for NTSE Stage II at the National Level to be held on 12th May, 2018 (Sunday), by NCERT. As most of these students will experience a National Level competitive exam for the first time, chances are high they might be little anxious. Although the Class 10 board exams are underway, students are expected to get into preparatory mode immediately after board exam. They are likely to get around six weeks for preparation and hence here are few preparatory tips from the experts:

Need for an important shift while approaching NTSE Stage II exam : Although the subjects and syllabi is same in Stage I and Stage II of NTSE, the actual difference lies in environmental factors and hence a close look at the fine print is desired. These must be factored in order to do well in Stage II exam.

* NTSE Stage I (a State Level exam) is a process through which students are selected state wise whereas NTSE Stage II (a National Level exam) is a selection process wherein best out of the best are selected. Hence the level of competition is going to be of the highest level. One must be adequately prepared for it.

* In NTSE Stage I, there is no time gap between MAT & SAT paper, so a student has the liberty to devote less time in one subject and devote more on the other but in Stage II exam there is a time gap between MAT & SAT paper, so the students will not be able to shuffle their time and this makes it really difficult to score.

* In Stage II exam, the questions are of higher difficulty level & it’s analytically based as compared to the Stage I exam.

The cumulative effect of all the above factors makes it really a tough proposition for the students to do well.


* Formulate a Concise Revision Plan of whole syllabus

Before starting anything, immaculate planning is required. So it applies here as well. Prepare a systematic revision calendar for the entire syllabi as per the number of days available. Planning should be such that the revision finishes at least 1 week ahead of the exam.

* Identify important Chapters/Topics

List out the important chapters or topics having more weightage in the exam i.e. the ones from which more questions are asked or they are of high level of difficulty. This should be captured while preparing the revision calendar.

* Prepare Strategic Notes for quick revision

Quick revision means covering substantial portion of the syllabi with thorough understanding in least possible time. That’s when strategic notes help. So, make sure to prepare good quality notes. After a quick revision follow it up by solving few representative questions for better understanding of a concept.

* Planned distribution of time for each subject and subject wise suggestions

Distribute available time to all the chapters of each subject. However important chapters will attract more time. Remember, revision should be followed by a series of tests.

Subject-wise inputs :

Mental Ability (MAT)

* NTSE Stage II aspirants are well aware of the syllabi and must be thorough with all the topics. So, in first 15 days, they must practice question sets of 50 questions from each topic as a part of revision.

* Next they should practice mixed-bag questions i.e. question sets from different topics. This should be done for almost 3 weeks maintaining the time limit.

* In last 15 days, solve test papers with 100 questions on every alternate day. This will help to optimize speed, accuracy & time.

* While solving a test paper, keep a check on the time devoted to each question. It should not be more than 45 seconds in the first round of attempt. Once all questions are attempted, revisit those questions which requires more time.

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)


* In first 15 days, revise comparatively easy chapter like statistics, linear equation in two variables, probability and mensuration.

* In next 3 weeks, focus on chapters which are difficult and carry more weight-age like trigonometry, number system, geometry, polynomials and quadratic equations.

* After finishing a chapter, practice previous year questions. If chapter/concept emerge that were not covered earlier, then do it now; prepare notes and solve few questions.

* In last 15 days, solve NTSE Stage II mock test papers (may be 2 or 3 per week) with fixed time limit.

* After every mock test, analyse the mistakes, its cause and ways to improve and/or prevent such mistakes.

Physics & Chemistry

* Here the target should be to complete the syllabi of Class 9th & 10th in 30 days. While doing so highlight the points for revision in last 7 days.

*After finishing the syllabus, practice questions for around ten days.

*Solve mock test papers, analyze the weaker areas and work towards improvement.

*In last week revise all the highlighted points, and avoid studying any extra concept.


In last 20 days revise already covered topics like motion, laws of motion, work energy and power, electric current and its effects, magnetic effect of electric current, light & human eye, gravitation and sound. Follow up by practicing previous year questions.

*Few topics cover numerical questions and hence should be given more attention. These topics are motion, laws of motion, electric current and its effects (magnetic and heating effects), light and work energy & power.

Chemistry :

* In last 20 days, revise already covered topics like carbon & its compounds, metal & non-metal, atoms & molecules, mole concept and practice the previous year questions.

* Practice numerical based questions from topics Like atoms, molecules & mole Concept; conversion reaction from topic (carbon & its compounds)


* There are about ten topics from class IX and X, which needs to be focussed.

* Study each topic for three days; highlight important points for revision; and on the fourth day revise; memorise and practice diagrams. In the last week revise important points once again and practice diagrams of human digestive system, human heart, human brain and human reproductive system from NCERT books.

* Devote around 10 days for detailed revision of few important topics covered already like life process, control and co-ordination, heredity and evolution, fundamental unit of Life and diversity in living organism.

* Follow it up by solving the previous year question papers, sample papers & mock test papers with fixed time limit.

Social Science

* Read NCERT thoroughly.

* Give sufficient time for important chapters of History and Geography. Questions are based on assertion/statement, so topics like nationalism in India, the rise of nationalism in Europe, physical feature of India and climate must be covered well.

* Solve more questions based on the chapters having more weight-age.

* History : prepare notes to learn and remember important dates and events.

* Geography : focus on the origin and the course of rivers of North India.

* Civics : pay more attention to the chapter like constitution design, working of institution and federalism.

* Economics : do not give much time as question are data driven w.r.t national income.

* In last 2 weeks, revise from notes and solve previous year question papers

* Attempt practice test papers & Mock Tests

As NTSE Stage II is a national level competition hence it is advisable to subscribe to a good national level mock test series to gain requisite exposure and competition several times before the actual exam.

* Self Performance Analysis and Corrective Measures/Steps

After every mock test, self analysis is of paramount importance. It will help to identify mistakes committed and the corresponding reason. The reason for un-attempted questions needs to be classified. List of all reasons should be analyzed to understand single biggest reason. Work on it to eradicate, apply the strategy in the next mock test and see if there is any improvement.

One Week before exam

* Rigorous study must be avoided.

* Revise from concise notes.

* Avoid studying anything new i.e. not studied before

* Stay calm and stress free

Personal Alignment

* Since there is no negative marking, make sure to attempt all questions

* Follow a healthy diet. Avoid junk food

* Good sleep is a must especially the night before the exam

* Organize your exam kit well in advance like admit card, pen/pencil, water bottle etc

* Stay focussed, avoid distractions.

(By Partha Halder is Centre Head, FIIT JEE, Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi. Views expressed here are personal)