Stage I: National Standard Examination in Physics (NSEP)

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NSEP is the stepping stage for selection of aspiring and talented students in the physics Olympiad Programme. This exam is conducted by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT) at many centres all over the country. The student can move forward to other stages only after clearing this stage.


Only Indian citizens born on or after January 1, 1993 and are students studying in Class XII or lower as of November 30, 2012, can apply and appear for NSEA 2012 − 2013. Students who have passed Class XII are not eligible to enroll for NSEP. The student has to himself re-assure his eligibility. At any stage if the student is found to be not eligible for the exam, he/she may be disqualified from the program.


The syllabus for National Standard Examination in Physics (NSEP) is almost similar as the curriculum of senior secondary level (Class XI and Class XII) of CBSE physics. However, only basic guideline for the course is mentioned. No detailed syllabus is given for NSEP.

Question Paper

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

There are 2 parts:

Part A of 180 marks including 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 basic objective of conducting this test is not focusing on merit but to involve as many students from the country to participate in the exam and try to show and expose their talent. Hence the selection to the stage II examinations i.e.. Indian National Olympiad Examinations (INOs) is based on the following scheme.

Eligibility Clause: To be eligible to get to the next level, i.e.. The second stage, it is necessary that a stdudent scores atleast a Minimum Admissible Score (MAS) which is 40% of the maximum score in that subject.

Proportional Representation Clause: The maximum number of students that can get to Stage II (INO) in each subject is around 300. These many students are not selected only on the merit basis but also on proportionate basis. This proportion is decided on the base of the number of candidates who appeared for NSE in the previous year from that centre in each State or Union Territory (UT). In case there is a tie at the last position, then all the students competing for the last position will be eligible to move to stage II. However its necessary that the selected students fulfill 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: As stated above, approximately 300 students are to be selected for second stage. If this does not happen according to MAS, then after selection as per merit, the shortfall from 300 students 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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