NEST Exam, Eligibility Criteria, And Paper Pattern


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. 


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

Name of ExamNational Entrance Screening Test
Bodies Conducting ExamUniversity 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 ExamThree hours and thirty minutes
Mode of ExaminationComputer-Based Exam (Online)
Reservation Available 
Seats OfferedCEBS – 57NISER – 200
Programmes OfferedFive 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:

Application Forms Available FromSecond week of January, 2021
Last Date for Application Second week of June, 2021
Release of Admit CardFirst week of September, 2021
Date of NEST 2021Last week of September, 2021
Change of Exam Centre Facility Last week of June, 2021
Release of Answer Key First week of October, 2021
Result Announcement Second week of October, 2021
Cut off List Result Date Second week of October, 2021
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 SciencesM.Sc Biological Science
School of Environmental SciencesM.Sc Environmental Science
School of Chemical SciencesM.Sc Chemical Science 
School of Mathematical SciencesM.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

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 Marks180
Sections in Exam5
Marks of Each SectionSection I – 30 marksSection II to V – 50 marks
Making SchemeThere will be no negative marking for Section I

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 form 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 counseling session with our mentors. Hurry up, Book your free slot now!

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