What is the minimum number of questions you should attempt to clear NEST?

What is the minimum number of questions you should attempt to clear NEST?

Are you preparing for the upcoming NEST 2024? If yes, then you might be worried about whether you will qualify the exam or not. What will be the cutoffs? How many questions should you attempt? It is common to have all such questions when the exam approaches. This blog will clear your confusion and help you concentrate on your preparations.

In this blog, we will discuss; 

  • NEST 2024 expected cutoff
  • How many questions should you attempt?

NEST 2024 expected cutoff:

This year the exam pattern of the NEST exam has changed. There will be the following new features in the exam:

Each section will have a total of 20 questions. The best three sections will be taken into account while deciding the merit. The multiple choice questions are single-option correct with the following marking scheme:

  • for a correct answer, you will be rewarded with +3 marks 
  • for an incorrect answer, a -1 mark will be deducted 
  • For unattempted questions, zero marks will be given.

The category-wise cutoff for the NEST 2024 depends on many factors, such as the number of applicants, the number of candidates appearing for the exam, the number of seats in NISER and CEBS, and the difficulty level of NEST 2024. The cutoffs for NEST 2024 expected by our experts using previous years’ records of NEST cutoffs are given below:

General 80-90 85-95
EWS 80-90 75-85
OBC 70-80 75-85
SC 50-60 55-65
ST 30-40 35-45

How many questions should you attempt?

There is no fixed number of questions that guarantee your qualification. You can try to attempt most of the questions if not all. The more questions you attempt correctly, the more chances you get a good rank. Try to be completely sure of the answers to the questions you attempt. With increasing competition and cut-off, you can attempt at least the following number of questions in each section:

  • Physics: Try to attempt at least ten out of twenty questions correctly.
  • Chemistry: Chemistry is relatively easy, so you must attempt at least 12 questions out of 20.
  • Mathematics: If you are a PCM or PCMB student, you won’t be thinking of leaving maths anyhow. However, maths in NEST is difficult so you must be very careful. Try to attempt at least ten questions correctly. If you are a PCB student, answer any questions only if you are completely sure.
  • Biology: Biology is sometimes scoring in NEST; hence, you must try to attempt at least fifteen questions if you are a PCB or PCMB student. If you are a PCM student, you will get a few questions you can attempt and then try to answer them correctly.

Thus, if answered correctly, you can easily score 90-100 marks. These statistics vary for different categories and require fewer questions for SC/ST and others. However, students can have their own strategies as well. The ultimate thing is to achieve a particular mark. So, the total number of questions attempted matters more than the sectional distribution of all the questions attempted.


NEST 2024 is an important exam for you if you are serious about a career in science. Getting into NISER or CEBS is considered prestigious by many. Focus on covering whatever you have learnt till now and revise them thoroughly. Practice lots of problems and attempt mock tests. If you need help with your last-minute preparations, you can join our courses designed to enhance your preparations in the final days. Check out the crash courses from here.

We wish you all the best!


Q: What are the eligibility criteria for NEST 2024?

A: Check out this blog to know more about eligibility criteria for NEST 2024.

Q: I’m weak in a particular section. What should I do?

A: Our courses and materials are designed to address individual weaknesses. Identify your weak points and utilise targeted resources to strengthen them.

Q: Can I appear for NEST more than once?

A: Yes, candidates can appear for NEST more than once if they meet the eligibility criteria for each attempt.

Q: Is there any age limit for appearing in NEST?

A: No, there is no specific age limit for appearing in NEST. As long as candidates meet the eligibility criteria regarding educational qualifications, they can apply for the exam.

Q: How can I stay motivated throughout my preparation?

A: Connect with our supportive community on the SciAstra app and Telegram channel. Find inspiration from success stories and share your own challenges.

Q: What should I do on the day of the exam?

A: Stay calm, focused, and confident. Remember all your hard work and trust your preparation.

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 in their 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!

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