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The astronomy Olympiad program follows the following 5 stages:

  • Stage I: National Standard Examination in Astronomy (NSEA).
  • Stage II: Indian National Astronomy Olympiad (INAO),
  • Stage III: Orientation cum Selection Camp (OCSC) in astronomy,
  • Stage IV: Pre-departure Training Camp (PDT) for IOAA,
  • Stage V: International Olympiad in Astronomy and  Astrophysics (IOAA).

Stage 1 is entirely the responsibility of IAPT. All the remaining stages are organized by HBCSE.

The detailed information about eligibility and structure of the stages is given below:

Stage I: National Standard Examination in Astronomy (NSEA)

NSEA is the first stage of selection of students in the astronomy Olympiad Programme which is organized by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT). Every student aspiring to go through successive stages of the programme must enroll for NSEA. NSEA will be held at a large number of centres in the country.

Date of NSEA 2013 :    24 November 2013 (Sunday) 

Time of NSEA 2013:     03:00 pm to 05:00 pm

Last Date for Enrollment for NSEA: 15th September 2013


All Indian students who are born on or after January 1, 1995 and, in addition, are in Class XII or lower as of November 30, 2013, are eligible to appear for NSEA 2013 – 2014. If they qualify in the NSEA they will be eligible for subsequent stages leading to participation in International Olympiad in Astronomy and Astrophysics 2014.


It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the eligibility criteria are satisfied. In case at any stage of the programme it is found that the student does not satisfy the eligibility criteria, he/she may be disqualified from the program.



The syllabus for NSEA is broadly equivalent to the senior secondary level (upto Class XII) of CBSE.

There will be greater emphasis on physics and mathematics (calculus not expected) and elementary astronomy.

This is only a rough guideline, and there is no detailed syllabus given for NSEA.


Question Paper:

NSEA emphasizes comprehension of the subject, not rote memory.  Its format will be as follows:

The question paper will consist of 80 multiple choice questions, each with only one of the four options correct.

Language   :   English.

Qualifying for the Second Stage:

The aim of the first stage examination is to have a wide reach, to progressively increase this reach and to attain nationwide representation for stage II without overly compromising on merit. Hence the selection to the stage II examinations i.e. Indian National Olympiad Examinations (INOs) is based on the following scheme.

  1. Eligibility Clause: A candidate must secure a score equal to or greater than a Minimum Admissible Score (MAS) to be eligible for the Stage II INO exam leading to the International Olympiad . The MAS for a given subject will be 40% of the maximum score in that subject.
  2. Proportional Representation Clause: The number of students selected for Stage II (INO) in each subject is around 300. The number of candidates who appeared for NSE in 2011-12 in a subject from centers in each State or Union Territory (UT) will be considered the baseline for calculating the number qualifying from centers in that State or UT for that subject. Suppose this number in 2011-12 for centers in a given State in a given subject is S, and the total number that appeared in 2011-12 in that subject for the country is T, then the number selected to Stage II in that subject from that State would be S/T times 300, rounded off to the nearest higher integer. 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 Stage II examination. The selected students must nevertheless satisfy the eligibility clause laid out above. The total number to be selected from centers in each State for each subject will be displayed on the IAPT and HBCSE websites (click here for the list).
  3. Minimum Representation Clause: Notwithstanding the proportional representation clause the number of students selected for INO from each State and UT must be at least one, provided that the eligibility clause is satisfied.
  4. Merit Clause: Given the eligibility clause, it is conceivable that 300 students may not qualify for Stage II in a subject. Should this occur, the shortfall (from 300) will be selected based purely on merit without further consideration to proportional representation and minimum representation clauses. 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 Stage II examination.


There will be no other criterion or provision for selection to the Indian National Olympiad Examinations (INOs).


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


For any queries or clarifications and for any difficulties regarding enrollment for NSEA please contact:


Prof. M. L. Oglapurkar


Co-ordinator (NSE)

IAPT Office, I.I.E. Campus,

128/2, J. P. Naik Marg, Kothrud, Pune - 411 038.

Tel : (Off.) 020 - 25420163.

(9:00 AM to 7:00 PM)

Email: iapt .AT. 


Stage II: Indian National Astronomy Olympiad (INAO)


INAO is organized by HBCSE at about 15 centres in the country.


Eligibility: Students selected from Stage I examination (NSEA) are eligible to appear for INAO. In addition those students who have been exempted as described in the Enrollment page are also eligible to appear for INAO. Besides these two, there is no other way by which a student becomes eligible to appear for INAO.


The tentative date and time of INAO 2014 is as follows:


February 01, 2014 (Saturday) :          09:00 am --- 12:00 noon (3 hours)


The confirmed date and schedule will be announced in the first week of January 2014 on this website and communicated by post to the eligible students.  Students appearing for INAO are eligible for TA/DA as per norms of the programme.


Syllabus : The syllabus for INAO is broadly similar to that for NSEA.

The syllabus is only a broad guideline. Questions and problems in National Olympiads are usually non-conventional and of high difficulty level, comparable to International Olympiads.


The number of students to be selected for OCSC Astronomy will be 35. In the event, there is a tie at the last position, all students with the same marks at the last position will qualify for OCSC at the respective level.


There will be no other criteria or provision for selection to OCSC astronomy.


Stage III: Orientation  Cum Selection Camp (OCSC) in Astronomy


OCSC in astronomy will be organized by HBCSE sometime in April to May 2014 for 2-3 weeks. The precise dates will be announced prior to or along with the announcement of the selection list for the OCSC.


Eligibility for OCSC : Only the students selected from the merit list of Stage II (INAO) are eligible. There will be no other criterion or provision.

The dates of OCSC - 2014 will be announced later.

The camps include several theoretical and experimental tests.  Orientation is provided to students especially in experiments. The camps conclude with a valedictory function where distinguished scientists are invited to speak to the students.

The merit list of OCSC in astronomy is prepared on the basis of the aggregated test scores over all the tests  in the camp, with 50% weightage for theoretical tests, 30% weightage for data analysis test and 20% weightage for observational tests. Performance in previous stages (NSEA and INAO) will not be a consideration for the merit list and awards of the OCSC astronomy.

The top 5 in the OCSC astronomy merit list will be special merit awardees and will be members of the Indian team for IOAA.

All the selected students will become part of the Indian teams only if they satisfy the eligibility criteria of age, Class, holding valid Indian passport, medical fitness, parental consent, etc. They will each get a special merit award of Rs. 5,000 each in the form of books and cash.


Stage IV: Pre-departure Training (PDT) Camps for IOAA

The selected Indian teams for IOAA will undergo a rigorous training programme at HBCSE in theory, data analysis and observational astronomy. Resource persons from HBCSE and different institutions across the country  train the students. The duration of training will be subject to IOAA regulations.


Stage V: Participation in IOAA

The 2 leaders and 1 observer (if any) for IOAA will accompany the Indian team.

The 8th IOAA will be held in Suceava, Romania from 1-10 August 2014.

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