Science Olympiad Foundation (SOF) – National Science Olympiad (NSO)

The National Science Olympiad (NSO) is a science competition for students in grades 1-12. It is organized by the Science Olympiad Foundation (SOF), an educational organization that aims to promote scientific temperament among students. The NSO is one of the most prestigious science competitions in India, and it has helped to nurture many future scientists, engineers, and technologists.


The official website of the NSO is The website contains information about the competition, including the syllabus, registration process, and past papers.


The NSO is a pen-and-paper test. It is conducted in three levels: school level, zonal level, and national level. The school level test is conducted in the school premises, while the zonal and national level tests are conducted in designated centers. During COVID-19 it was conducted online so you should check every year before applying for information regarding how it would be conducted in current year.

Application Process:

The application process for the NSO is online. Students can register for the competition on the SOF website. The registration fee starts from Rs. 150 and varies as per student class.


To be eligible to participate in the NSO, students must:

  • Be a citizen of India
  • Be enrolled in a school in India
  • Be in grades 1-12


The syllabus for the NSO is based on the NCERT curriculum for grades 1-12. The test covers a wide range of topics in science, including physics, chemistry, biology.

When it is conducted:

The NSO is conducted annually. The school level test is usually conducted in October, the zonal level test is usually conducted in December, and the national level test is usually conducted in February. Please keep an eye on school notification and websites as registration via school will generally start from the month of June.

How to participate:

To participate in the NSO, students must:

  • Register online on the SOF website or school. depending on the instructions as per SOF website.
  • Pay the registration fee
  • Appear for the school level test
  • Clear the school level test to qualify for the zonal level test
  • Clear the zonal level test to qualify for the national level test


The NSO offers a number of prizes, including:

  • Gold medals for the top 100 students at the national level
  • Silver medals for the next 100 students at the national level
  • Bronze medals for the next 100 students at the national level
  • Merit certificates for all students who clear the national level test

Various Levels & Test Pattern:

There are 2 levels

  • Level 1: The first level of the National Science Olympiad (NSO) is organized in the respective schools of the participants during school hours.
    • For classes 1 to 4, the test consists of 35 objective-type (Multiple Choice) questions.
      • Section-1: Logical Reasoning
      • Section-2: Science
      • Section-3: Achievers Section
    • For classes 5 to 12, the test consists of 50 objective-type (Multiple Choice) questions.
      • Section-1: Physics/Chemistry
      • Section-2: Achievers Section
      • Section-3: Mathematics/Biology
    • Test will be conducted English.
    • CBSE, ICSE/ISC and State Board syllabi are followed for setting the test papers.
    • The exam is conducted during school hours.
  • Level 2: The second level of the National Science Olympiad (NSO) is conducted for students of classes 3 to 12. The qualifiers to the second round include the following:
    • Top 25 rank holders class wise and zone wise.
    • Class topper where at least 10 students from a class appear in the exam and scores 50% qualifying marks. In case registration is received section wise, top rank holder, irrespective of section will qualify for the 2nd level. For section wise registrations, winner(s) of gold medal may not necessarily qualify for the second level.
    • Top 5% of candidates, class wise, who appear in the first level exam. In case of a tie of marks, due weightage to marks scored in different sections will be given. Each section is accorded separate weightage.


The NSO is an important competition for students who are interested in science. It provides students with an opportunity to test their knowledge of science and to compete with other students from across India. The NSO also helps to identify talented students who may be interested in pursuing a career in science.

In addition to the academic benefits, the NSO also provides students with the opportunity to develop their problem-solving skills, their critical thinking skills, and their communication skills. These are all important skills that will be useful in any career, not just in science.

Overall, the NSO is a valuable competition that can help students to develop their academic skills, their problem-solving skills, and their critical thinking skills. If you are interested in science, I encourage you to consider participating in the NSO.

Why should one participate:

  • The NSO is a great way to learn more about science and to meet other students who are interested in science.
  • The NSO can help you to improve your problem-solving skills, your critical thinking skills, and your communication skills.
  • The NSO can help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses in science.
  • The NSO can help you to prepare for other science competitions, such as the International Science Olympiad (ISO).

If you are interested in learning more about the NSO, please visit the SOF website or contact your school counselor.

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