NEST Exam, Eligibility Criteria, And Paper Pattern

7 minute read

National Entrance Screening Test or popularly known as the NEST exam is for those candidates who want to study a 5 year integrated MSc program in Physical Sciences from the Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences in the prestigious University of Mumbai(UM-DAE-CEBS) and National Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhubaneswar (NISER). Set up by the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India, these institutes jointly conduct the NEST test every year. In this blog, we will discuss the important details pertaining to this exam. 

Latest News Updates

  • Due to the ongoing pandemic, the National Entrance Screening Test (NEST 2021) examination has been postponed and the new exam date will be announced shortly.
  • The registration date has also been extended till July 15, 2021. 
  • Candidates can apply for the examination online through the official site of NEST. 
  • The application process for NEST began on February 24, 2021, and the entrance exam was scheduled for June 14, and the earlier application deadline was June 7, 2021.
  • The minimum eligibility criteria for NEST 2021 is class 12 in the science stream with 60% marks (55% for SC, ST, PwD).


Here is a brief overview of NEST Exam for all aspiring Candidates.

Name of Exam National Entrance Screening Test
Bodies Conducting Exam University of Mumbai – Department of Atomic Energy Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences (UM-DAE CEBS)National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER)
Duration of Exam Three hours and thirty minutes
Mode of Examination Computer-Based Exam (Online)
Reservation  Available 
Seats Offered CEBS – 57NISER – 200
Programmes Offered Five years integrated M.Sc in Chemical, Physical, Biological, Computer, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences 


In an attempt to establish itself as the citadel for allied subjects and basic sciences, the Department of Atomic Energy established the NISER in Bhubaneswar. The institute offers more than 200 seats to candidates for different integrated programs of MSc including those in Chemical, Biological, Physical Sciences, and Mathematics. The Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI), which is considered to be a deemed university within the Department of Atomic Energy awards degrees to both the Indian and International candidates.  


The teaching staff of the autonomous Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences under the University of Mumbai come from various top-quality institutes in the city like BARC, TIFR, IIT, etc. The University of Mumbai is responsible for handing out the degree to the candidates of the different programs of the CEBS. You can read more about the seat allocation rules and regulations on the official website of the CEBS. 

NEST Exam 2021: Important Dates 

For all aspiring candidates, it is important to know and remember the important dates related to the exam. Have a look here:

Events Dates 
Application Forms Available From 24th February 2021
Last Date for Application  15th July 2021
Release of Admit Card TBA
Date of NEST 2021 TBA
Change of Exam Centre Facility  TBA
Release of Answer Key  TBA
Result Announcement  TBA
Cut off List Result Date  TBA
UM-DAE CEBS Counselling  Last week of October, 2021
NISER Counselling  Last week of October 2021

NEST Courses 2021

There are various courses under NEST where candidates can apply. Candidates can check the table here:

Name of School  Programmes (Integated 5 year)
School of Computer Sciences  M.Sc Computer Science
School of Physical Sciences  M.Sc Physical Science
School of Biological Sciences M.Sc Biological Science
School of Environmental Sciences M.Sc Environmental Science
School of Chemical Sciences M.Sc Chemical Science 
School of Mathematical Sciences M.Sc Mathematical Science

NEST Exam: Eligibility Criteria 

There are a few prerequisites that need to be fulfilled by the candidates who want to enroll in various programs offered by the two universities through the NEST exam. These eligibility criteria have been mentioned below: 

  • Candidates should have passed their 12th standard or equivalent exams with Science stream subjects from a recognized board in the year 2018, 2019 or 2020. 
  • The boards that award letter grades to the students are expected to accompany the grade with a certificate that specifies the equivalent marks or percentage. 
  • While General Category students are expected to have scored a minimum aggregate of 60% in their 12th standard, ST, SC, and PD Category candidates are expected to have scored a minimum aggregate of 55%. 
  • There is a quota of 15% for candidates who hail from the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and the Union Territory of J&K. 
  • The OBC and General Category candidates should be born on or after 1st August 2000.
  • Candidates of ST/SC/Physically Disabled Category should be born on or after 1st August 1995. For these candidates, there is also an age relaxation of 5 years.

Note: Apart from the above-mentioned criteria, the selection of the candidate is also based on the merit list of the examination. Only those students who clear their final exams move forward with their candidature.

NEST Application Form 2021

The expected date for the release of the application form for the NEST exam 2021 will be around the second week of January. 

  • To sit successfully for the NEST exam it is important to apply through the online registration form available on the official website.
  • After registering yourself successfully, continue to fill the rest of the NEST 2021 application form. Fill in all your academic and personal details.
  • Candidates must keep in mind that they should fill in the application form before the deadline set by the universities.
  • While filling out the application form candidates must make sure that they meet the eligibility criteria and are eligible to apply for the exam.

Points to Remember

Before filing out the NEST 2021 application form, it is important to check and make sure that they have the required documents with them. Check out the documents required here:

  • Marksheet of Class 10th
  • Marksheet of Class 12th
  • Valid Email Id
  • Valid Mobile Number
  • ID Proof (PAN Card, Aadhar Card, Voter id, Passport, Driving License, Ration Card)
  • Candidate’s signature scanned copy
  • Candidates coloured passport size photograph scanned copy
  • The format and signature scanned copy should be in JPEG format. The file size should be 80

NEST Exam: Steps to Fill Form

Candidates must be careful and fill the application form for the NEST Exam 2021 keeping everything in mind. Here is a checklist:

  • Go on the official website of NEST (
  • You will see the button ‘Apply for NEST 2021’. Click the button.
  • Give the required information and register yourself
  • Fill in the application form
  • Re-check the form once to see if you have not missed out on anything
  • Pay application fees. It can be paid via Credit Card/ Debit Card/ Netbanking
  • Print out extra copies for reference

NEST Exam 2021: Application Fees

The details of the NEST Exam 2021 application fees are tabulated below. 

Categories  Fees (in INR)
Female Candidates  600
General/ OBC  1200
SC/ST 600
PwD 600

NEST Exam Centres

  • NEST is a national level exam and is conducted in every state of India, candidates can select their preferred location while filling out the form.
  • Candidates can choose up to 3 preferred locations to give the exam.
  • The allocated exam centre is displayed on the admit card issued before the exam.

NEST Admit Card 2021

The NEST Admit card will be released after the application process is over and the exam date is out. All candidates are required to download the admit card for NEST 2021 from the official website.

NEST Exam Pattern

We have tabulated the NEST exam pattern so that candidates can get a brief idea about the structure of the question paper. The exam consists of multiple choice questions divided in five sections. Take a look here:

Types of Questions  Multiple Choice Questions
Duration of Exam  3.5 hours 
Total Marks 180
Sections in Exam 5
Marks of Each Section Section I – 30 marksSection II to V – 50 marks
Making Scheme There will be no negative marking for Section I

Syllabus for NEST 2021

  • Biology: Cell Biology, Genetics and Evolution, Ecology, Humans and Environment, Biotechnology, Biology of Animal systems, Developmental Biology, Diversity of Animal Life, Immunology, Biology of Plant systems and Systematics.
  • Chemistry: Physical Chemistry, Surface Chemistry and Organic Chemistry.
  • Mathematics: Algebra, Trigonometry, Analytical geometry, Differential calculus, Vectors and Integral calculus.  
  • Physics: General, Thermal physics, Modern Physics, Photoelectric Effect, Optics, Electricity and Magnetism.


What is the use of nest exam?

NEST exam is conducted for admissions to a 5 year integrated MSc program in Physical Sciences from the Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences in the prestigious University of Mumbai(UM-DAE-CEBS) and National Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhubaneswar (NISER).

What is NEST exam eligibility?

The minimum eligibility criteria for NEST 2021 is class 12 in the science stream with 60% marks (55% for SC, ST, PWD).

Is NEET or NEST harder?

NEET is tougher than NEST in terms of the number of candidates appearing annually, lengthy syllabus and the general competitiveness of the exams.

What is the syllabus for NEST 2021?

The General Section syllabus is not specific but tests the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the candidate’s knowledge in areas like Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Environment, Chemistry, Biology, and Astronomy. You can go through the detailed NEST exam syllabus from the official website. 

Hopefully, this blog has given you an insight into the NEST exam. If you are preparing for this exam but need guidance on how to proceed then the experts at Leverage Edu can guide you throughout the preparation process thus helping you ace the exam. You can also book a free 30 minutes career counselling session with our mentors. Hurry up, Book your free slot now!

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