NEST 2021: What and How to Prepare?

The National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), along with the Department of Atomic Energy Centre for Excellence in Basic Science (DAE CEBS) in the University of Mumbai, holds the National Entrance Screening Test (NEST).

NEST is a national-level test conducted in over 92 cities of India. After passing the online Computer-Based Test, students should be present for the counseling sessions held in the universities. There are, at present, 200 seats in NISER, Bhubaneswar, and 57 seats in CEBS, Mumbai.

The two universities offer a 5-year integrated course, M.Sc. in Chemical, Physical, Biological, Mathematical, Computer, and Environmental Sciences.

Important Dates.

  • The application form, released on 24th February, is now open till 15th July 2021.

  • The NEST 2021 will be conducted on 14th August in 2 sessions. The first session will be conducted between 9 AM to 12:30 PM, and the second session will be conducted between 2 PM- 5:30 PM. Candidates must be prepared to take in either session.

  • Candidates who correctly entered their details and submitted the application form would be allotted the admit card from 3rd August.

  • While applying for the examination, candidates must choose their test centres. After submission, there cannot be any changes in the information entered.


  • Candidates must have a minimum of 60% in their 10+2 board examination from recognized colleges. Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry or life science subjects are mandatory.

  • To be eligible for the NEST 2021, candidates must be born on or after 1st August 2001.

  • For SC/ST/PwD students, the minimum score for their 10+2 examination is 55%, and their limit of age is relaxed for around five years.

Exam Pattern and Syllabus.

  • The paper is for three hours and thirty minutes. The paper contains 230 questions in Multiple Choice Questions Type, where each question will carry one mark.

  • 50 questions each from Mathematics, Physics, Biology, and Chemistry will be included. In addition, 30 questions will test the students on general knowledge. The questions will be available in the English language only.

  • NEST 2021 paper will not have a general section. It will include only the four subject sections. Therefore, the total mark is 200.

  • Each question carries one mark. For each wrong answer, negative marking is applied only in the subject sections.

  • Candidates can expect questions from the topics they studied in Class 10+1 and 10+2.

Preparation Tips. Early preparation is a must, with limited seats in the universities and thousands of students applying for the integrated program.

  • Be thorough with the NEST 2021 syllabus.

  • Create a study plan with the syllabus in mind.

  • Stick to the study plan and practice for time management.

  • Candidates must have a clear understanding of all basic topics and fundamental concepts.

  • Attempt previous years’ question papers and mock tests to understand individual strengths and weaknesses. Students can find question papers and sources online.

  • Collect relevant books and materials.

  • With a thorough knowledge of the exam pattern, candidates can prepare well.

All the best!

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