How many marks do I need in NEST (in an average year) to get into NISER?

How many marks do I need in NEST (in an average year) to get into NISER?

Are you a 12th student, studying PCB or PCM? Do you want to pursue research? You must be preparing for NISER or CEBS. If so, you must know how much marks you should target to get selected in NEST. In this article, we will analyze what is the safe score to get selected in NEST.

What Is NEST?

NEST is also a national-level entrance exam conducted by NISER for admission into a 5-Year Integrated M.Sc. programme. For around 250 seats, there were around 50,000 candidates who appeared for NEST last year.

This exam is the key to getting into five-year Integrated MSc programs at NISER (Bhubaneswar) and UM-DAE CEBS (Mumbai). It usually happens in June and is a computer-based test that you need to take at the designated center.

NISER and CEBS open diverse career opportunities for everyone. You can either pursue higher education or can go for the industrial sector. You can also appear for a BARC interview if you maintain a good CPI. You can read more about career opportunities after NISER here.

What Is The Exam Pattern For NEST?

  • The question paper is divided into 4 sections, each of 50 marks, featuring objective (MCQ) type questions.
  • Sections cover subject-specific questions from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics.
  • Each subject section comprises 17 questions:
  • 12 questions are single correct answer MCQs.
  • 5 questions are multiple correct answer MCQs.

Scoring System-

  • For single correct answer MCQs:
  • Earn 2.5 marks for each correct answer.
  • Incur a penalty of -1 for each incorrect answer.
  • Unattempted questions receive 0 marks.
  • For multiple correct answer MCQs:
    • Earn full marks (4) by choosing all correct answers and no wrong answers.
    • Otherwise, receive 0 marks.

Merit List Preparation-

  • The merit list is derived from the best three qualifying scores out of four sections.
  • The section with the lowest score is excluded from the calculation.

Examination Details-

  • The examination is conducted as a Computer Based Test (CBT).
  • Candidates input all required details at the computer terminal.
  • Questions are displayed on the monitor, and answers are provided using electronic equipment.
  • Negative markings apply for incorrect answers in single correct answer MCQs.

Additional Information-

  • Applicants are advised to attempt all sections to enhance their chances of a better total score.
  • A mock test link is provided on the NEST 2023 web page for practice before the exam date.
  • Practice sessions on the computer-based test are available on the application portal after complete submission of the online application.
  • Access to the application portal is granted only with correct login credentials.

Eligibility Criteria For NEST 2024:

Academic Qualification-

  • Candidates must have cleared the 12th Standard examination or its equivalent in 2022, 2023, or be appearing for the same in 2024.
  • This criterion applies to candidates of all categories and age groups.

Minimum Percentage Requirement-

  • A minimum aggregate of 60% marks (or equivalent grade) in the Class XII examination is mandatory for eligibility.
  • For candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Divyangjan categories, the minimum requirement is relaxed to 55%.

Note that earlier, there used to be an age limit for NEST. But this criteria is no more applicable for NEST 2024.

What Is The Safe Score To Get Selected In NISER?

Now, let’s talk about the safe score. How much should I score to secure a seat in NISER or CEBS?

Note that the merit list for NEST is prepared using two scores: Sectional cut-off and overall cut off:

  • Sectional Cut-Off: This is the minimum number of marks that you must secure in each section to be eligible for merit litst
  • Overall Cut-Off: This is the normal cut-off marks as we know and is calculated based on your overall marks

Following table contains the sectional cut-off and overall cut-off for the year 2023:

Sectional Cut-Off-


Overall Cut-Off-


This year, due to an increased number of registration, the cut-off is expected to be a little higher. Hence, the safe score will be few marks more than the last year cut-off.

How To Prepare For NEST?

Know The Syllabus and Exam Pattern-

  • Although the syllabus for NEST and NEET is same except for the Mathematics section in NEST, the exam pattern is very different. See above to know this in detail.

Effective Strategies-

  • Go beyond rote learning: Build a strong foundation in core concepts and problem-solving skills.
  • Master Mathematics: Sharpen your mathematical skills for tackling NEST-specific problems.
  • Focus on deeper understanding: Develop a critical and analytical approach to scientific concepts.


  • Previous years’ NEST question papers and solutions
  • Books and study materials specifically designed for NEST preparation.
  • SciAstra’s best online courses specializing in IAT and NEST preparation
  • Download SciAstra app and browse our free and paid resources for preparation of NEST, IAT and competitive exams.


In this blog, we cover different aspects of NEST. NEST is JEE-Advanced level entrance exam conducted for admission into NISER and CEBS. Merit list is prepared using sectional cut-off and overall cut-off. For 2023, sectional cut-offs for general category students were around 4 to 6 marks in each subject. Overall cut-off was 90 percentile. This year, this cut-off is expected to be little more.


  • Where can I get more information on NEST and other competitive exams?

SciAstra is the hub for information and articles like this. At SciAstra, we help everyone with the right guidance. Also, SciAstra offers several courses that can help you prepare for exams like NEST, IAT, etc. Click here to know more.

  • What was the sectional cut-off and overall cut-off for NISER and CEBS in 2023?

Last year cut-offs are mentioned in the blog

  • What are NISER and CEBS?

NISER and CEBS are premium research institutes in India. To know more about NISER, click here. To know more about CEBS, click here.

  • What are the courses offered by NISER?

NISER offers 5-Year-Integrated-M.Sc. in various disciplines of basic science. Click here to know more about the courses offered by NISER.

  • What are the placement opportunities after NISER?

Read this blog to know this in detail.

About us: 

SciAstra is a team of scientists and research scholars from the top research institutes around the world, like Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge, and so on. Our vision is to promote critical thinking and scientific temperament by helping students pursue careers in science.

We offer many free and paid courses where our mentors from the top research institutes like IISER, NISER, IACS, CMI, ISI, IISC Bangalore, etc., teach students in live classes, with study materials,  mock tests, books, and everything needed. We have taught more than 10,000 students already since 2021 and achieved over 1000 selections with AIR 1, 7,10, 12, and 13 in  IISc Bengaluru, IISERs, NISER, IACS, and so on.  If you are looking to prepare for IAT / NEST 2024, you can check out our courses and get access to live classes, recorded lectures, study material, mock tests, doubt-clearing classes, and much more!

To know more about us, click here OR download the SciAstra App from the Play Store and App Store!

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