NEST 2022 Exam pattern, selection criteria and procedure

The National Entrance Screening Test (NEST) is an entrance exam conducted for admission into prestigious Science research colleges – National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), and the Center for Excellence in Basic Sciences (UM-DAE CEBS) and Integrated Science Education & Research Centre (ISERC) of Visva-Bharati University.

Students who are very passionate about science research should definitely consider this exam. The exam is becoming competitive year by year as more students are showing interest towards Science research

Official website:


NISER – 5 years integrated M.Sc course in Biology or Mathematics or Physics or Chemistry

UM-DAE CEBS – 5 years integrated M.Sc course in Biology or Mathematics or Physics or Chemistry

Visva-Bharati University – 5 years integrated M.Sc course in Biology or Mathematics or Physics or Chemistry

Exam Pattern

The examination is a Computer Based Test (CBT)

The level of preparation for this exam has to be same as IIT-JEE (Mains).

The question paper will consist of 4 (four) sections of objective (MCQ) type questions. Each section is of 50 marks each and will contain subject specific questions from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics.

Important note: It is not mandatory to attempt all 4 sections. A student can choose any three out of these four sections. Even if a student attempts all the section, best 3 sections will be considered for the merit list.

Exam duration 3.5 hours
Total marks 200
Number of questions 68
Medium of Questions English


Each section consists of 17 questions – 12 Multiple choice questions(MCQs) + 5 Multiple Selection Questions(MSQs).

MCQs has only one correct option and MSQs can have multiple correct options.

Marking scheme

Subject Marks Questions Division of marks
Biology 50 12 MCQs + 5 MSQs MCQs –

+2.5 for correct answer.

-1 for wrong answer


MSQs –

+ 4 for correct answer

0 for wrong answer


Mathematics 50 12 MCQs + 5 MSQs
Physics 50 12 MCQs + 5 MSQs
Chemistry 50 12 MCQs + 5 MSQs


Selection Criteria

The score will be given in percentiles. The percentile score will be calculated on the basis of the relative performance of al the qualified candidates in the respective session. The highest score in each session will be 100th percentile. Merit list for each institute will be prepared separately. As merit list calculation will be performed on marks obtained in the best three sections, the ‘total’ marks for NEST 2022 becomes 150.

There are two cut-offs for NEST exam. Subject-wise cut-off and overall cut-off

Subject-wise cut-off

Cut-off marks for each section would be different for this exam. Cut-off marks or Section-wise Minimum admissible score (SMAS as NEST officially calls it) is calculated as follows:

For each section, 20% of the average of the top 100 scores in that section will be considered as cut-off (SMAS) for that section.

Example: In Mathematics, if average of top 100 scores is 45 out of 50 then 20% of 45 = 9 will be the cut-off (SMAS) for Mathematics section.

For OBC, cut-off would be 90% of General category cut-off(SMAS). Example: 90% of 9 = 8 (Rounded off) will be the cut-off

For SC/ST/Divyangjan, cut-off would be 50% of General category cut-off(SMAS). Example: 50% of 9 = 5 (Rounded off)

Overall cut-off

A candidate is required to score equal to or above a total Minimum Admissible Percentile (MAP), to get a merit rank. NEST 2022 overall cut-off is 95 percentile for general category candidates, 90 percentile for OBC and 75 percentile for SC/ST/Divyangjan.

For NISER merit list: A candidate must score equal to or greater than the respective SMAS in all four sections.

For CEBS merit list: Each of the best three section scores of the candidate must be equal to or greater than the respective SMAS scores for those sections.


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