The NEST Exam: A Comprehensive Guide

The NEST Exam
The NEST Exam

Are you passionate in Research or to pursue M.Sc. programmes [biology, chemistry, mathematics or physics]? Then, look no other than National Entrance Screening Test conducted by the Department of Atomic Energy! This competitive examination opens doorways to a gratifying profession in the researches & also providing stability, respect, and the possibility for career growth. NEST will offers admission into two renowned institutions:

  • National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Bhubaneswar
  • University of Mumbai, Department of Atomic Energy Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences (UM-DAE CEBS), Mumbai

Let’s dive into the blog to make certain your preparation!

Eligibility criteria for NEST

  • Passed or appeared for the Class 12 examination from any recognized board in India.
  • Secured at least 60% aggregate marks (or equivalent grade) in Class 12 exams.
  • There is no age limit or restriction based on the candidate’s category.

Exam pattern for NEST

  • Computer-based test (CBT) of 3 hours and 30 minutes duration.
  • There are five sections-> general, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and biology.
  • The general section is compulsory for all candidates (50 marks).
  • Candidates can choose any three of the remaining four subject sections (50 marks each).
  • 17 objective-type questions in each section.
  • Negative marking is applicable for incorrect answers.

Important dates for NEST

  • Online applications open-> January 2023
  • Application deadline-> February 2023
  • Test date-> May 28, 2023 (two sessions, morning and afternoon).
  • Declaration of results-> June 16, 2023
  • Counselling and seat allocation-> July 2023

How to prepare for NEST?

Understand the syllabus and examination pattern

It is very essential step, to make a clear concept regarding “what to study?” & “How it will be asked?”

Create a study plan-

Once you have get the perfect materials, you need to create a study plan. This will assist you to remain on track and make sure that you covers all of the crucial topics. Your study layout has to be realistic and achievable, and it is necessary to plan practical time for every analysis of a new topics and revising what you have already learned.

Self-Study or Coaching-

The most common question in students’ minds is how to prepare for the NEST exam and whether to take  coaching or not. The best decision will be a combination of both. Now,  NEST  is not something  you have included in your school curriculum. Therefore, coaching will guide you  in your preparation by providing you with relevant study materials and tests. Then you can  solve exercises and review materials to study on your own.

Work on fundamentals-

Developing fundamental concepts should be given top priority before moving on to  NEST exam level questions. So focus on studying basic concepts and practice easy questions  first. Then gradually move on to higher level questions.

Practice lots of questions-

After completing a topic, practice asking as many questions as possible on that  topic. Move from lower to higher difficulty  questions. Just reviewing the concepts a few times through practice can help you prepare for the NEST exam.

Analysis of test-

A practice test is a simulation of the real test. So, as the exam approaches, taking practice tests regularly should be a part of your NEST preparation strategy. Additionally, it is equally important to analyze the simulations you perform and identify your weaknesses.

Practice regularly-

One of the best approaches to put together for the NEST examination is to practice answering questions regularly. You can do this by solving exercise papers and taking mock tests. There are many special exercise papers and mock tests available on the Internet and also in books.

Stay motivated-

It is essential to be stable, active and motivated throughout your preparation.

Focus on your weak areas-

You can focus your studies on weak topics for better result. You will additionally need to get additional exercise material for these topics.

Syllabus of the NEST exam


  • Mechanics-> laws of motion, work, and energy; linear and rotational motion; gravitation; fluids; oscillations; waves.
  • Electromagnetism-> electrostatics, electric current, magnetism, AC and DC circuits, electromagnetic induction, electromagnetic waves.
  • Optics-> geometrical optics, physical optics, interference, diffraction, polarization.
  • Modern Physics-> Atomic Physics, Nuclear Physics, and the Special Theory of Relativity.


  • Physical Chemistry-> Chemical kinetics, chemical thermodynamics, chemical equilibrium, solutions, electrochemistry, surface chemistry.
  • Inorganic Chemistry-> Periodic properties, bonding, s-block and p-block elements, d- and f-block elements, coordination compounds.
  • Organic Chemistry-> Hydrocarbons, functional groups, alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alcohols, phenols, ethers, carbonyl compounds, carboxylic acids, amines, carbohydrates, amino acids, polymers.


  • Calculus-> Differential calculus, integral calculus, applications of calculus.
  • Algebra-> sets, relations, and functions; inequalities; permutations and combinations; binomial theorem; quadratic equations.
  • Coordinate Geometry-> Lines, circles, parabolas, ellipses, and hyperbolas.
  • Trigonometry-> trigonometric functions, identities, equations, and graphs.
  • Vector Algebra-> Vectors, operations on vectors, scalar and vector products, applications in geometry and physics.
  • Probability and Statistics-> Basic Concepts, Probability Distributions, Mean, Median, Mode, Standard Deviation, Correlation, and Regression.


  • Cell Biology-> Cell structure and function, cell cycle, cell division, transport across membranes, enzymes.
  • Genetics and Evolution-> Mendelian genetics, molecular genetics, evolution, origin of life, biodiversity, ecology.
  • Plant and Animal Kingdom-> morphology, anatomy, physiology, reproduction, and development of plants and animals.
  • Biochemistry-> carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, metabolism, photosynthesis, and cellular respiration.

Which books should I prefer for the NEST exam?


  • Concepts of Physics by HC Verma
  • Problems in Physics by IE Irodov
  • Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker


  • Modern’s ABC of Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry by OP Tandon
  • Organic Chemistry by Clayden, Warren, and Greeves
  • Inorganic Chemistry by JD Lee


  • Arihant Publications
  • Coordinate Geometry by S. L. Loney
  • Differential Calculus by Amit M. Agarwal


  • Biology by Dinesh
  • Campbell Biology-> A Global Approach
  • Objective Biology by Trueman

Common mistakes to avoid in NEST

  •  Not analysing the examination pattern, questions and syllabus-> it is important to make a clear concept regarding study programme and which type of topics to be focused. 
  • Not managing time effectively-> Time management is very essential in any competitive exam.
  • Not practicing regularly-> One of the excellent methods to put together for the NEST examination is to practice answering questions regularly.
  • Making common mistakes-> In any competitive exam, it is crucial to be concentrated and keep away from making careless mistakes.
  • Not focusing on weak areas-> As you practice answering questions, you will become aware of your weak areas

FAQs About NEST Exam:

Mention some tips to develop a strong time management skill for the exam?

  • Practice timed mock tests
  • Analyze past-year papers
  • Create a personalized schedule
  • Minimize distractions
  • Practice quick decision-making

Mention the organizations for financial help after qualifying for NEST.

Both NISER and CEBS provide a range of scholarships and economic resources for college students, primarily based on merit, financial need, and other factors.

What if I missed the application closing date for NEST?

Unfortunately, there is no provision for late application to NEST exam. The application window generally opens in December or January and closes in February. It’s necessary to continue to be up-to-date on the authentic NEST website and closing dates to keep from missing out.

Is there any reservation or quota for admissions through NEST?

Yes, each NISER and CEBS reserve seats for a variety of classes, like Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC), and Persons with Disabilities (PwD). 

What are some profession roles after completing a integrated M.Sc. application from NISER or CEBS?

Graduates from NISER and CEBS have a wide range of profession offers in research, academia, industry, and government institutions. Some famous roles consist of research scientists, professors, engineers, records scientists, clinical scientists, environmental consultants, and coverage analysts.


Cracking the NEST examination requires dedication, strategic preparation, and a sprint of perseverance. By understanding the syllabus, preparation with the proper resources, and correcting common mistakes, you can pave the way closer to a rewarding future in science at NISER or CEBS. Remember, continuous effort, a positive attitude, and the information from this blog will equip you to face the exam with self-belief and dedication. So, take a deep breath, agree with yourself, and triumph over the nest! The world of scientific discovery awaits your presence.

suraj verma

As a highly skilled and experienced content writer, I have a passion for creating engaging and informative content that connects with audiences and inspires them to take action. With over 1 year of experience in the industry, I have honed my writing skills to craft content that is both effective and SEO-friendly.

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