Stage I: National Standard Examination in Physics (NSEP)

NSEP is the first stage of selection of students in the physics Olympiad Programme which is organised by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT). Every student aspiring to go through successive stages of the programme must enroll for NSEP. NSEP is held at a large number of centres in the country.


All Indian students who are born on or after July 1, 1993 and, in addition, are in Class XII or lower as of November 30, 2012, are eligible to appear for NSEP 2012 − 2013. A student may appear for more than one subject provided the examination schedule allows it. See information about the examination schedule under various subjects. Students who have passed Class XII are not eligible to enroll for NSEP.

It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the eligibility criteria are satisfied. In case at any stage of the programme it is found that the student does not satisfy the eligibility criteria, he/she may be disqualified from the programme.


The syllabus for NSEP is broadly equivalent to the senior secondary level (Class XI and Class XII) of CBSE Physics. This is only a rough guideline, and there is no detailed syllabus given for NSEP.

Question Paper

NSEP emphasizes comprehension of the subject, not rote memory. Its format is as follows:

Part A (180 marks): 50 multiple choice questions consisting of:

a1: 40 questions, each with only one of the four options correct

a2: 10 questions, each with one or more than one options correct. To get credit, all correct option (s) and no incorrect option (s) should be marked.

Part B (60 marks): 5 (or 6) questions which are problems or short-answer type. All questions carry equal marks.

Language: English (However, NSEP question papers may be available in Hindi, and some other regional languages provided there are more than 300 students for that language. Please check with IAPT.).

Qualifying for the Second Stage

The aim of the first stage examination is to have a wide reach, to progressively increase this reach and to attain nationwide representation for stage II without overly compromising on merit. Hence the selection to the stage II examinations i.e.. Indian National Olympiad Examinations (INOs) is based on the following scheme.

Eligibility Clause: A candidate must secure a score equal to or greater than a Minimum Admissible Score (MAS) to be eligible for the Stage II INO exam leading to the International Olympiad. The MAS for a given subject will be 40% of the maximum score in that subject.

Proportional Representation Clause: The number of students selected for Stage II (INO) in each subject is around 300. The number of candidates who appeared for NSE in 2011 − 12 in a subject from centers in each State or Union Territory (UT) will be considered the baseline for calculating the number qualifying from centers in that State or UT for that subject. Suppose this number in 2011 − 12 for centers in a given State in a given subject is S, and the total number that appeared in 2011 − 12 in that subject for the country is T, then the number selected to Stage II in that subject from that State would be S/T times 300, rounded off to the nearest higher integer. In the event of a tie at the last position in the list all students with the same marks at this position will qualify to appear for the Stage II examination. The selected students must nevertheless satisfy the eligibility clause laid out above. The total number to be selected from centers in each State for each subject will be displayed on the IAPT and HBCSE websites.

Minimum Representation Clause: Notwithstanding the proportional representation clause the number of students selected for INO from each State and UT must be at least one, provided that the eligibility clause is satisfied.

Merit Clause: Given the eligibility clause, it is conceivable that 300 students may not qualify for Stage II in a subject. Should this occur, the shortfall (from 300) will be selected based purely on merit without further consideration to proportional representation and minimum representation clauses. In the event of a tie at the last position in the list all students with the same marks at this position will qualify to appear for the Stage II examination.

There will be no other criterion or provision for selection to the Indian National Olympiad Examinations (INOs).

All students who qualify to appear for the INPhO get a certificate of merit from IAPT.

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