Learn all about the NEST 2019 exam

Are you in class 12 and planning to appear for the NEST 2019 exam? Want to learn about the institutes, where you may seek admission on qualifying NEST? Learn all about NEST and the important details concerning this exam right here on this page.

NEST – a prestigious screening test for a career in science

NEST or the National Entrance Screening Test is an entrance cum screening test for entry into two prestigious institutions, namely the National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Bhubaneshwar and the Centre for Basic Sciences (CEBS), Mumbai. CEBS and NISER are two premier science institutions established by the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India. It is quite a prestige to study in these two institutes of national importance. Students who graduate from them are placed in institutions involved in scientific research in a number of technology fields, chiefly among them being atomic energy. Students are also placed the world over in top universities and organizations. The two institutes were set up in 2007 by the Government of India to foster the spread of scientific education in the country and to encourage students to take up research in the field of atomic energy and other cutting-edge technologies. The aim of such an endeavour is also to create a pool of scientists who will be able to take up research in a number of fields in science.

Details of the NEST 2019 can be had from the NEST website at www.nestexam.in.

Important dates – NEST

  • Application process opens on – 10:00 AM, 07 January 2019
  • Application process closes on – midnight of 11 March 2019
  • Downloading of admit cards – from 10:00 AM, 24 April 2019
  • Date of exam – 01 June 2019
  • Result announcement – 17 June 2019

The test is held in two sessions. You will be assigned with one of the sessions. The duration of the exam is 3 hours 30 minutes.
First session: 09:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Second session: 02:30 PM to 06:00 PM

Application fee details

General and OBC male applicants – Rs 1,200/-
SC, ST, PwD and all female applicants – Rs 600/-

Programs available in NISER and CEBS

Five-year integrated M.Sc programs in basic sciences in physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics.

Eligibility criteria

For admission to NISER or CEBS for the academic session beginning in 2019, there are four major criteria. They are listed as follows.
  1. The candidate should have been born on or after 01 August 1999. For candidates belonging to the SC, ST and the physically disabled (PD) category, there is a relaxation of 5 years in age limit.
  2. Candidates who have passed their 10+2 exam in 2017 and 2018 are eligible to appear for NEST 2019 exam. Candidates who are likely to appear their 12th in 2019 are also eligible.
  3. The candidate should have scored at least 60 per cent marks in aggregate in his/her class 12 or equivalent exam. For SC, ST and PD candidates, the minimum percentage required is 55.
  4. The candidate should qualify the NEST 2019 and his or her name should be in the merit list.

Reservation policy

Seats in both NISER and CEBS are reserved as per government norms. There are a total of 200 and 45 seats available in both the institutes. Candidates belonging to the OBC non-creamy layer category have 27% of the seats reserved for them. SCs and STs have 15% and 7.5% seats reserved for them. 5% of the seats in each category, including general are reserved for Persons with Disabilities (PwD). Additionally, 2 seats in each of the institute are exclusively reserved for candidates belonging to the state of Jammu & Kashmir.

About the screening test

NEST is a computer-based online test that is conducted as a screening for admission into the 5-year integrated M.Sc programs of NISER and CEBS. NEST 2019 will be conducted across 91 major Indian cities and towns. The list of cities is made available in the NEST website. Qualifying NEST makes you eligible for admission to NISER, Bhubaneshwar and UM-DAE-CEBS, Mumbai, where UM-DAE CEBS stands for the University of Mumbai – Department of Atomic Energy Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences.


Nest has five sections. The first one is the general section, which covers questions that test the candidate's ability to grasp the concepts in science. It checks the candidate's aptitude in a career in science and technology. The syllabus of this section not being restricted to any specific topic or subject, questions are drawn from a multitude of subjects including math, physics, biology, chemistry, astronomy, computers, environment and so on. Some of the questions are likely to be on important historical milestones in the above fields. There will be scientific passages that will test the ability of the student to analyse the concepts involved in them. The test will also check the ability of the students in analyzing graphical representations.

The remaining four sections are on biology, math, physics and chemistry. The questions that come in these sections are mostly based on the NCERT and CBSE syllabus of class XI and XII. for the syllabus in detail, one may refer the website.

Exam pattern

The test is objective based and is conducted online. Practice for the test can be done by attempting mock tests that will be available on the website two weeks before the conduct of the exam. There are five sections as enumerated earlier. The general section is of 30 marks and the remaining four sections of math, physics, chemistry and biology are of 50 marks each. The total marks for the complete test are 230 marks. However, for preparing the merit list, besides the general section, only three best subjects out of the four will be taken into consideration. The worst section or subject will be discarded. So effectively the total marks are 180. In section 2, 3, 4 and 5 some of the questions will have negative marking for answering wrongly. The details on the preparation of the merit list for both NISER and CEBS can be obtained from the information brochure in the NEST website.

How to apply

The NEST is to be applied online by visiting the How to Apply page on the NEST website. You will have to first register yourself at the site to take part in the online application process. You will need to keep certain things handy before registering into the portal. Those things are your 10th class mark sheet and pass certificate, a digital copy of your passport size photograph and a scanned image of your signature. You will also require a valid email id, where you will receive your login credentials. The email id is all the more essential, as through this email id NEST will be contacting you as and when required. Once logged in, you can fill up your particulars wherever required, upload the images of your photograph and signature and finally select the centre from the list provided in the portal. You will get the option to select any five cities of your choice. The centre will be granted based on the availability of a sufficient number of applicants for that centre.

Once the details are all submitted, you are taken to the payment gateway to pay the application fees as per your category. The payment can be effected online by using any of the methods like debit cards, credit cards or internet banking.


As is mentioned above NISER and CEBS are two premier institutes in the field of basic sciences. Established by the Department of Atomic Energy, both are residential institutes. They are equipped with the best of the infrastructure with state-of-the-art research laboratories, computer rooms, libraries and teaching aids. Among its teaching faculty are top scientists who have varied experience in the field of research. The students are kept in separate hostels for boys and girls. To encourage the students in pursuing a research-based education, they are offered with annual scholarship totalling around rupees 80,000. The top performers among the students are even offered a direct interview for admission to Bhabha Atomic Research Centre Training School.

Important points to remember

  • Reach the exam centre at least 30 minutes before the start of the exam.
  • Candidates reaching the centre beyond 30 minutes after the start of the exam will not be allowed to sit for the exam. That means for the morning session which starts at 9 AM, one should not reach later than 9:30 AM. The corresponding time in the second session will be 3 PM.
  • Candidates who may like to leave early may not do so before two hours have elapsed from the start of the exam. For the 1st session, the earliest you may leave the exam hall will be 11 AM and 4:30 PM for the 2nd session.
  • The candidates have to bring their own stationeries like pen and pencils.
  • Log tables, calculators, mobile phones, smart watches and other digital equipment and storage devises are strictly prohibited.
  • You should be in possession of your admit card and identity proof. The admit cards are to be downloaded from the NEST website itself.
  • Supporting documents are to be submitted only at the time of admission and not during the application process.

Queries if any

Any exam related queries can be addressed to the Chief Coordinator of NEST either through physical mail or through email. The emails can be sent to nest-exam@niser.ac.in and the postal mails at the address,

  • The Chief Coordinator,
    NISER Bhubaneshwar,
    P.O. Jatni, Khurda – 752050, Odisha

You may also visit the website of NEST for a quick resolution of your queries.

Article by Dhruv
Dhruv is an electrical engineer by profession. Apart from liking his job, he has a special love for writing and has often dabbled in writing scripts for skits and short plays. As a Content Developer at ISC, Dhruv is having a whale of a time, showcasing his writing skills.

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Author: Dhruv25 Apr 2019 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 1

Here is the latest update about the NEST 2019 exam. From 24th April onwards, the link for downloading the admit cards has been activated. The candidates need to visit the NEST website https://www.nestexam.in/ to access the download link and take a printout of the admit card.

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