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NEST 2018 Exam Pattern

Last Updated - May 31, 2017

NEST 2018 Exam Pattern will be decided by National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) and all details will be published at the official site.

  • The question paper consists of five sections.
  • The five sections in the NEST 2018 paper are- General Aptitude, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology.
  • Each section in the question paper is of 50 marks except General Aptitude which consists of 30 marks.
  • Candidates have the freedom to choose any one of the four sections- Mathematics, Biology, Physics and Chemistry
  • Maximum marks a candidate can score are 180 marks.
  • Only the three sections with highest scores are considered for merit calculation.
  • Section one of General Aptitude is mandatory for all the students.
  • NEST 2018 question paper will contain only Multiple-Choice Questions.
  • NEST syllabus contains 11th and 12th grade level Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology.
  • There is no fixed syllabus for the General Aptitude section.

NEST is the popular name for National Entrance Screening Test conducted by National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) and University of Mumbai-Department of Atomic Energy Center for Excellence in Basic Sciences (UM-DAE CEBS) for admission into post graduate science courses.

Highlights of NEST 2018 Exam Pattern

The table given below gives us an idea about the NEST examination.

Name of the examNEST 2018
Mode of the examPen and Paper based (offline) exam
Number of Papers1
Number of Sections5
Name of the SubjectsGeneral Ability, Physics, Chemistry, Maths, and Biology
Type of QuestionsMultiple Choice Questions (objective type)
Number of Questions230 (180 marks –Maximum)
Duration of the exam180 Minutes (3 hours)
Language of the examEnglish

NEST 2018 Exam Pattern Details

The sections in NEST question paper have different weightage. Let’s look at the paper details:

SectionNumber of questions
General Aptitude30

Questions in the NEST Exam are designed to check the analytic and understanding ability of the candidate in a subject.

NEST 2018 Marking Scheme

Marking scheme of NEST 2018 differs according to the sections. Also it depends on the type of questions.

  • Section 1-General Ability has no negative marking. No marks are deducted for any wrong answer.
  • All other subject sections- Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology have negative marking.
  • The exam website says that-Some questions may have one or more correct answers for which marks can only be earned by marking all correct answers and no wrong answer.
  • The Number of questions changes every year for NEST exam.

NEST 2018 Syllabus

There are five subjects to focus on for NEST 2018- General Ability, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Chemistry. Detailed syllabus for each subject is given below.

Syllabus of General Ability for NEST 2018: 

  • There is no specific syllabus prescribed for General Ability Section.
  • This section contains random questions from History, Geography, Science, Mathematics, English, General Knowledge, and Current Affairs.
  • There can be questions about history of Science and Mathematics.
  • Passage type science questions are also there.
  • It may include Class X mathematical ability.

Physics Syllabus for NEST 2018

  • General: Dimensional analysis, Units and dimensions , significant figures , least count, measurement of length, time, mass, temperature, potential difference, Methods of measurement (Direct, Indirect, Null) , current and resistance. 
  • Mechanics: Projectiles. Uniform circular motion. Relative velocity. Newton’s laws of motion. Inertial and uniformly accelerated (linear only) frames of reference, Kinetic and potential energy, Impulse, Systems of particles, Kinematics in one and two dimensions (Cartesian coordinates only).
  • Fluids: Rigid body, Stoke’s and Poiseuille’s law, Reynolds number, Buoyancy, Surface energy and surface tension. Pressure in a fluid, Dynamics of rigid bodies with fixed axis of rotation, Pascal’s law, capillary rise. Viscosity –Terminal velocity, Bernoulli’s theorem, Qualitative understanding of turbulence, Streamline flow, equation of continuity.
  • Rotational Dynamics: Moment of inertia, moment of inertia of uniform bodies with simple geometrical shapes. Angular momentum, Torque, Equilibrium of rigid bodies, parallel and perpendicular axes theorems, Young’s modulus.
  • Sound: Longitudinal and transverse waves, Resonance (qualitative understanding), superposition of waves. Progressive and stationary waves, Plane wave motion, Beats, Vibration of strings and air columns, Speed of sound in gases,Doppler Effect.
  • Thermal physics: Blackbody radiation - absorptive and emissive powers, liquids and gases. Calorimetric Problems, Stefan’s law, latent heat. Heat conduction in one dimension, Newton’s law of cooling.

12th Standard topics at a glance.

Electromagnetic InductionModern PhysicsX Rays
Ray OpticsWave OpticsSemiconductors

Mathematics Syllabus for NEST 2018

  • Algebra:  Algebra of complex numbers, addition, multiplication, conjugation, polar representation, properties of modulus and principal argument, triangle inequality, cube roots of unity, geometric interpretations.  
  • Quadratic equations with real coefficients, Logarithms and their properties, computation of probability of events using permutations and combinations, formation of quadratic equations with given roots, relations between roots and coefficients solutions of simultaneous linear equations in two or three variables , symmetric functions of roots.  
  • Arithmetic, Permutations and combinations, geometric and harmonic progressions, arithmetic, geometric and harmonic means, sums of finite arithmetic and geometric progressions, infinite geometric series.
  • Probability: Addition and multiplication rules of probability, conditional probability, Bayes Theorem, symmetric and skew-symmetric matrices and their properties, independence of events.
  • Binomial theorem for positive integral index, properties of binomial coefficients.
  • Matrices as a rectangular array of real numbers, equality of matrices, addition, multiplication by a scalar and product of matrices, transpose of a matrix, determinant of a square matrix of order up to three.

Chemistry Syllabus for NEST 2018

Physical and Organic Chemistry:

Mole ConceptAtomic StructureChemical Bonding
ThermodynamicsChemical KineticsSolid State
SolutionsSurface ChemistryColloids
Hydrogen ElementPeriodic Tables-block Elements
p-block Elementsd-block Elementsf-block Elements
Coordination CompoundsMetallurgyMetals and Non Metals

Organic Chemistry:

  • Hybridisations of carbon, hyper conjugation, Sigma and pi-bonds,  Representation of organic compounds, Shapes of simple organic molecules, electromeric effect, resonance effect, Inductive effect, Determination of empirical and molecular formulae.
  • Reactive intermediates: structure and stability of - carbocation, carbanion and free radical, Formation, Homolytic and heterolytic bond cleavages.
  • Isomerism: Geometrical isomerism, Racemic mixture, Chirality Structural and stereoisomerism, Conformations of ethane and butane (Newman projections), Optical isomerism of compounds.
  • Nomenclature: IUPAC of only hydrocarbons, mono- functional and bi-functional compounds, including benzene derivatives, IUPAC nomenclature of simple organic compounds. 
  • Alkanes: Wurtz reaction, Preparation, Combustion and halogenation of alkanes, properties and reactions, Idea of homologous series, Mechanism of photo-halogenation.
  • Alkenes and Alkynes: Acid catalysed hydration of alkenes and alkynes (excluding the stereochemistry), Ozonolysis, Markownikoff rule, Reduction of alkenes and alkynes, Addition reactions of alkynes, Isomerization.
  • Aromatic compounds: Friedel-Crafts alkylation and acylation (No mechanism) Huckel theory of aromaticity, Aromaticity, Structure of benzene, Isomerism in substituted benzenes.
  • Haloalkanes (Alkyl halides): Alcohols, Halogen exchange reaction, olefins, Nucleophilic substitution reactions of alkyl halides with different nucleophilic species, Grignard reagent and its reaction.

Biology Syllabus for NEST 2018 Exam

BiotechnologyHumans and EnvironmentGenetics
EvolutionBiology of Animal SystemsReproduction
EcologyBiology of Plant SystemsAnatomy
Human Health and DiseasesEcosystemsPhysiology

NEST 2018 Preparation Books

Here are some preparation books for candidates appearing for NEST 2018

S.NoBook NameAuthor
1.Problems in PhysicsA.A Pinsky
2.Practice Problems in Physics for Engineering and Medical Entrance ExamsS. Mishra
3.An Objective Approach to Organic ChemistryR.K. Gupta
4.Higher AlgebraHall and Knight

Important Exam Day Instructions

The following instructions maybe helpful for candidates on exam day:

  • All the answers are to be marked on the OMR sheet.
  • Candidates have to darken the bubble properly.
  • Use of Pencil is prohibited on the OMR.
  • Writing or stray marking is not allowed, neither on question paper nor the OMR.
  • Use only black or blue ball point pen to mark the answers.
  • Read the instructions on the first page of the NEST 2018 question paper.
  • Do not fold or damage the OMR Sheet.
  • Hand it over to invigilator after completion of the test.



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