The Astronomy Olympiad program follows the following 5 stages:

Exam Schedule:
Events Dates
Stage I: NSEA Last/second Last Sunday of November.
Stage II: INAO Last week of January
Stage III: OCSC April – June
Stage IV: PDT July - November
Stage V: IOAA July – December

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.


  • All Indian students who are in Class XII or lower are eligible to appear for NSEA. If they qualify in the NSEA they will be eligible for subsequent stages leading to participation in International Olympiad in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
  • 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.
  • The question paper will consist of 80 multiple choice questions, each with only one of the four options correct. Language will be in English.

Stage II: Indian National Astronomy Olympiad (INAO)

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 for the Stage II examinations i.e. Indian National Olympiad Examinations (INOs) is based on the following scheme.


  • To be eligible for the Stage II INO exam leading to the International Olympiad, a candidate must secure a score equal to or greater than a Minimum Admissible Score (MAS). The MAS for a given subject will be 50% of the average of the top ten scores in that subject rounded off to the nearest lower integer


  • 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 2015 for 2-3 weeks. The precise dates will be announced prior to or along with the announcement of the selection list for the OCSC.


  • Only the students selected from the merit list of Stage II (INAO) are eligible. There will be no other criterion or provision.
  • 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: IOAA -International Olympiad in Astronomy and Astrophysics

  • The 2 leaders and 1 observer (if any) for IOAA will accompany the Indian team. The 8th IOAA will be held in Semarang in Indonesia.

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