Olympiads Program About Exam Pattern

Chemistry Olympiad in India has 5 levels or stages as follows :-

Stage I: NSEC- National Standard Examination in Chemistry,

Stage II: INChO- Indian National Chemistry Olympiad,

Stage III: OSC- Orientation cum Selection Camp in subject of chemistry,

Stage IV: PDT- Pre-departure Training Camp for IChO

Stage V: IChO- Participation in International Chemistry Olympiad


Stage I: NSEC- National Standard Examination in Chemistry

Examination Date :  November generally

Conducted By: Indian Association of Chemistry Teachers

The syllabus for National Standard Examination in Chemistry (NSEC) is broadly equivalent to the senior secondary level (Class XI and Class XII) of CBSE Chemistry. This is only a rough guideline, and there is no detailed syllabus given for NSEC.

Type Of Question paper: Objective

The question paper consists of 80 multiple choice questions and each one has four given options with 1 correct answer. The exam language is English. The exam duration is 2 hours. NSEX exam does not emphasize on rote memory, but the comprehension of the structure.

Previous years papers you can find here

Among the 30,000+ students who sit for the NSEC, only the top 1% are selected for the INChO.


All the Indian students born on or after July 1, 1997, also, in addition, those who are in Class XII or lower as of November 23, 2017, were eligible to appear for NSEC 2017– 2018. Students who have passed Class XII exams are not eligible to enrol for the NSEC .In NSEC a student can appear for more than one subject in the Olympiad provided the examination schedule allows it, i.e. there is no overlap.

It is entirely the student’s responsibility to ensure that his or her eligibility criteria is satisfied. During the course of programme at any given point of time if the eligibility criteria of any student would be found unsatisfactory, then he or she would be immediately rendered disqualified.


Stage II: INChO- Indian National Chemistry Olympiad (INChO)

Examination Date : End January – beginning February generally

Conducted By: Indian Association of Physics Teachers, HBCSE (Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education)

Type Of Question paper: Subjective

Previous years papers you can find here

The syllabus for Indian National Chemistry Olympiad (INChO) is broadly similar to NSEC but the difficulty level of the questions will be higher. Questions and problems in National Olympiads are usually non-conventional and of high difficulty level, comparable to International Olympiads.

All students who qualify to appear for the INChO get a certificate of merit from the IAPT.


  • Students selected from Stage I examination- NSEC are eligible to appear for INChO.
  • In addition, those students who have represented India in International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) in the previous year, need not appear for the first stage NSEC examination in chemistry. They may be allowed on special request to the National Coordinator for the respective subject, to directly appear for the second stage- Indian National Chemistry Olympiad (INChO) examination, provided they satisfy other eligibility criteria like as age, class, etc. applicable for the chemistry olympiad.

Qualifying for INChO:

NSEC is the stepping stone for all the INOs (Indian National Olympiads). NSEC is conducted in order to reach out the maximum number of deserving students from across the country. The selection to INO, however is based on the fulfilment of the following criteria-

  • Eligibility Clause: there is Minimum Admissible Score (MAS) to be attained in the NSEC so as to be eligible for any of the INO examinations (INChO here). Usually the MAS is 40% of the maximum score in chemistry .
  • Proportional Representation Clause (PRC): The number of students selected for Stage II (INO) in each subject is around 300.
  • Minimum Representation Clause (MPC): Anyhow the proportional representation clause the number of students selected for INO from each State and UT must be at least one, given that the eligibility clause is satisfied.
  • Merit Clause: Provided the eligibility clause, it is conceivable that 300 students may not qualify for Stage II in a subject. In case this occurs, the shortfall from 300 will be selected based purely on merit without further consideration to any proportional representation or minimum representation clauses. And in the event of a tie at the last position in the list all students with the same marks at this position will qualify to appear for the INOs.
  • Apart from this, will be no other criterion or provision for selection to the Indian National Olympiad Examinations (i.e., the INOs).


Stage III: OCSC- Orientation cum Selection Camp in Chemistry

OCSC in chemistry is organized by HBCSE somewhere betweenApril to June for 2-3 weeks each year. The exact dates are put up on the HBCSE site prior to or along with the announcement of the selection list of candidates for the OCSC.


Only the students selected from the merit list of INChO are eligible for this camp. There are no other criteria or provision for attending the same.


Stage V: International Chemistry Olympiad in Chemistry

About 55 students are selected from the written examination. Selected students have to then give a practical examination. A total of 30 students are selected from these to attend the International Chemistry Olympiad Training Camp (IChOTC), held at HBCSE, Mumbai.

The team for the International Chemistry Olympiad is selected based on a rigorous procedure of theory and practical examinations at the IChOTC.

The International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) has been conducted since 1968, and is a competition for students at the secondary and higher secondary school levels. The IChO boosts the level of chemistry education in the participating countries. It helps develop friendly relations between the young people from different countries.

India started participating in this event from the year 1999 at the 31st IChO held at Bangkok, Thailand. India hosted the 33rd International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) in its third year of participation in 2001 with whole-hearted support of all countries.

Syllabus for International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO)

Syllabus for the International Chemistry Olympiad can be found Click Here


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