CSIR NET Chemical Science Important Topics & Reference Books

CSIR NET Chemical Science Important Topics & Reference Books & Syllabus

CSIR NET Chemical Science is a National Eligibility Test, conducted by CSIR. If someone wants to make his career in the field of teaching at university and college level or as a faculty in research institute to do independent research, then he must aspire this test. CSIR NET Chemical Science is a national level offline test conducted every year in 2 sessions- June and December. The exam is a gateway for candidates seeking admission to the post of Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and Lectureship. The syllabus for the exam as decided by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research is of higher secondary, graduation and master level.

CSIR NET Chemical Science Exam Pattern

The Test Booklet will contain three parts, (A, B & C) as per syllabus & Scheme of Exam. The test booklet for Chemical Sciences will consist of 3 Parts- A, B, and C. It will comprise multiple-choice questions type (MCQs). There will be 120 questions in CSIR NET Chemical Science paper according to the pattern of the exam. The maximum marks allocated to Part A are 30, Part B is 70 and for Part C it is 100. The total obtainable marks in the exam will be 200. Negative marking is also applicable.

Let’s us now understand what each section of CSIR NET Chemical Science exam comprises of:

Part ‘A’ is common for all subjects of CSIR NET Exam. In this part, there will be questions based on General Aptitude with emphasis on analytical, logical reasoning, graphical analysis, quantitative comparison, series formation, numerical ability, and puzzles, etc.

Part ‘B’ is subject based and shall contain conventional questions of 2 marks generally covering the units given in the syllabus. Each correct answer will be awarded 2 marks while 0.5 marks will be deducted for a wrong answer.

Part ‘C’ is very important & a scoring area in CSIR NET Chemical Science exam. Subject based and shall contain questions of high value (4 marks) that may test the candidate’s knowledge of scientific concepts and/or application of the scientific concepts. The nature of the questions is logical and here a candidate is expected to use his or her scientific knowledge to get the solution to the given scientific problem.

Sections No. of Qs. No. of Qs. to be attempted Total Marks Negative marking for each Q. Duration
PART A 20 15 30 -0.5 3 hrs
PART B 40 35 70 -0.5
PART C 60 25 100 -1.0


The syllabus for CSIR NET Chemical Science contains mainly three sections:

  •  Inorganic Chemistry
  •  Physical Chemistry
  •  Organic Chemistry

The syllabus is very lengthy, and it is not possible for the students to get ready for all the topics in a short duration. So, let’s get to know each unit with their weightages under Inorganic, Physical and Organic sections. It will be helpful for the students to prepare themselves by giving priority according to the weightages of each unit. Below the complete list of weightages and reference books to all the units under each of these three sections is mentioned.


Inorganic Chemistry

Inorganic Chemistry Important Topics from which questions can come is CSIR NET Chemical Science Exam are listed below:

Unit 1. Chemical periodicity: This is a very basic unit based on a 10/10+2 syllabus.

  • Reference book: Any elementary book (XI/XII standard).
  • Weightage: 2%

Unit 2. Structure and bonding in homo- and heteronuclear molecules, including shapes of molecules (VSEPR Theory).

  • Weightage: 7%
  • Reference book: Inorganic Chemistry: Principles of Structure and Reactivity by Huheey.

Unit 3. Concepts of acids and bases, Hard-Soft acid-base concept, Non-aqueous solvents.

  • Weightage: 6%
  • Reference book: General and Inorganic Chemistry by R. Sarkar, Fundamental Concepts of Inorganic Chemistry by Asim K. Das.

Unit 4. Main group elements and their compounds: Allotropy, synthesis, structure and bonding, industrial importance of the compounds.

  • Weightage: 10%
  • Reference book: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry by F. Albert Cotton, Concise Inorganic Chemistry by J. D. Lee.

Unit 5. Transition elements and coordination compounds: structure, bonding theories, spectral and magnetic properties, reaction mechanisms.

  • Weightage: 15%
  • Reference book: Inorganic chemistry by Shriver and Atkins, Advanced Inorganic Chemistry by F. Albert Cotton, Concise Inorganic Chemistry by J. D. Lee.

Unit 6. Inner transition elements: spectral and magnetic properties, redox chemistry, analytical applications.

  • Weightage: 8%
  • Reference book: General and Inorganic Chemistry by R. Sarkar, Concise Inorganic Chemistry by J. D. Lee.

Unit 7. Organometallic compounds: synthesis, bonding and structure, and reactivity. Organometallics in homogeneous catalysis.

  • Weightage: 15%
  • Reference book: The Organometallic chemistry of the Transition metals by Robert H. Crabtree.

Unit 8. Cages and metal clusters.

  • Weightage: 8%
  • Reference book: Inorganic Chemistry: Principles of Structure and Reactivity by Hueey.

Unit 9. Analytical chemistry- separation, spectroscopic, electro- and thermoanalytical methods.

  • Weightage: 8%
  • Reference book: Essentials of Analytical Chemistry by Shobha Ramakrishnan and Banani Mukhopadhyay, Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry by Douglas A. Skoog, Donald M. West, F. James Holler, Stanley R. Crouch.

Unit 10. Bioinorganic chemistry: photosystems, porphyrins, metalloenzymes, oxygen transport, electron- transfer reactions; nitrogen fixation, metal complexes in medicine.

  • Weightage: 7%
  • Reference book: Bioinorganic by Voet and Voet.

Unit 11. Characterisation of inorganic compounds by IR, Raman, NMR, EPR, Mössbauer, UV-vis, NQR, MS, electron spectroscopy and microscopic techniques.

  • Weightage: 8%
  • Reference book: Inorganic Spectroscopic Methods by Alak K. Brisdon, Modern Spectroscopy by J. Michael Hollas.

Unit 12. Nuclear chemistry: nuclear reactions, fission and fusion, radio-analytical techniques and activation analysis.

  • Weightage: 6%
  • Reference book: General and Inorganic Chemistry by R. Sarkar.


Physical Chemistry

Physical Chemistry Important Topics from which questions can come is CSIR NET Chemical Science Exam are listed below:

Unit 1. Basic principles of quantum mechanics: Postulates; operator algebra; exactly-solvable systems: particle-in-a-box, harmonic oscillator and the hydrogen atom, including shapes of atomic orbitals; orbital and spin angular momenta; tunneling.

  • Weightage: 10%
  • Reference book: Quantum Chemistry by Donald A. McQuarrie, Quantum Chemistry through Problems and Solutions – R.K. Prasad.

Unit 2. Approximate methods of quantum mechanics: Variational principle; perturbation theory up to second order in energy; applications.

  • Weightage: 4%
  • Reference book: Quantum Chemistry by Donald A. McQuarrie

Unit 3. Atomic structure and spectroscopy; term symbols; many-electron systems and antisymmetry principle.

  • Weightage: 4%
  • Reference book: Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach, D.A. Mc Quarrie and J.D. Simon.

Unit 4. Chemical bonding in diatomics; elementary concepts of MO and VB theories; Huckel theory for conjugated π-electron systems.

  • Weightage: 4%
  • Reference book: Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach, D.A. Mc Quarrie And J.D. Simon.

Unit 5. Chemical applications of group theory; symmetry elements; point groups; character tables; selection rules.

  • Weightage: 10%
  • Reference book: Chemical Applications of Group Theory – F. Albert Cotton.

Unit 6. Molecular spectroscopy: Rotational and vibrational spectra of diatomic molecules; electronic spectra; IR and Raman activities – selection rules; basic principles of magnetic resonance.

  • Weightage: 14%
  • Reference book: Fundamentals of Molecular Spectroscopy – Colin N. Banwell.

Unit 7. Chemical thermodynamics: Laws, state and path functions and their applications; thermodynamic description of various types of processes; Maxwell’s relations; spontaneity and equilibria; temperature and pressure dependence of thermodynamic quantities; Le Chatelier principle; elementary description of phase transitions; phase equilibria and phase rule; thermodynamics of ideal and non-ideal gases, and solutions.

  • Weightage: 14%
  • Reference book: Principles of Physical Chemistry – Puri, Sharma & Pathania.

Unit 8: Statistical thermodynamics: Boltzmann distribution; kinetic theory of gases; partition functions and their relation to thermodynamic quantities – calculations for model systems.

  • Weightage: 4%
  • Reference book: A textbook of Physical Chemistry (Vol-V) – K. L. Kapoor.

Unit 9. Electrochemistry: Nernst equation, redox systems, electrochemical cells; Debye-Huckel theory; electrolytic conductance – Kohlrausch’s law and its applications; ionic equilibria; conductometric and potentiometric titrations.

  • Weightage: 8%
  • Reference book: An Introduction to Electrochemistry – Samuel Glasstone.

Unit 10: Chemical kinetics: Empirical rate laws and temperature dependence; complex reactions; steady state approximation; determination of reaction mechanisms; collision and transition state theories of rate constants; unimolecular reactions; enzyme kinetics; salt effects; homogeneous catalysis; photochemical reactions.

  • Weightage: 14%
  • Reference book: A book of Physical Chemistry (Vol-III) – K L Kapoor, Chemical Kinetics – Keith J Laidler, Chemical Kinetics and Catalysis – Richard Mishel.

Unit 11. Colloids and surfaces: Stability and properties of colloids; isotherms and surface area; heterogeneous catalysis.

  • Weightage: 5%
  • Reference book: A Textbook of Physical Chemistry (Vol-V) – K. L. Kapoor, Surface Chemistry – A Goel.

Unit 12. Solid state: Crystal structures; Bragg’s law and applications; band structure of solids.

  • Weightage: 4%
  • Reference book: Solid State Chemistry: An Introduction by Lesley E. Smart, Elaine A. Moore.

Unit 13. Polymer chemistry: Molar masses; kinetics of polymerization.

  • Weightage: 4%
  • Reference book: A Textbook of Physical Chemistry (Vol-V) – K. L. Kapoor.

Unit 14. Data analysis: Mean and standard deviation; absolute and relative errors; linear regression; covariance and correlation coefficient.

  • Weightage: 1%
  • Reference book: Data Analysis for Chemistry: An Introductory Guide for Students and Laboratory Scientists by D. Brynn Hibbert and J. Justin Gooding.


Organic Chemistry

Organic Chemistry Important Topics from which questions can come is CSIR NET Chemical Science Exam are listed below:

Unit 1. IUPAC nomenclature of organic molecules including regio- and stereoisomers.

  • Weightage: 4%
  • Reference book:  Organic chemistry by Clayden, Greeves, Warren and Wothers.

Unit 2. Principles of stereochemistry: Configurational and conformational isomerism in acyclic and cyclic compounds; stereogenicity, stereoselectivity, enantioselectivity, diastereoselectivity and asymmetric induction.

  • Weightage: 5%
  • Reference book: Stereochemistry of Organic compounds: Principles and Applications by D. Nasibpuri.

Unit 3. Aromaticity: Benzenoid and non-benzenoid compounds – generation and reactions.

  • Weightage: 4%
  • Reference book: Organic chemistry by Clayden, Greeves, Warren and Wothers.

Unit 4. Organic reactive intermediates: Generation, stability and reactivity of carbocations, carbanions, free radicals, carbenes, benzynes and nitrenes.

  • Weightage: 4%
  • Reference book: Organic chemistry by Clayden, Greeves, Warren and Wothers.

Unit 5. Organic reaction mechanisms involving addition, elimination and substitution reactions with electrophilic, nucleophilic or radical species. Determination of reaction pathways.

  • Weightage: 10%
  • Reference book: A Guidebook to Mechanism in Organic Chemistry by Peter Sykes, Organic chemistry by Clayden, Greeves, Warren and Wothers, Advanced Organic Chemistry by Carey Sundberg.

Unit 6. Common named reactions and rearrangements – applications in organic synthesis.

  • Weightage: 14%
  • Reference books: Reactions, Rearrangements and Reagents by S. N. Sanyal.

Unit 7. Organic transformations and reagents: Functional group interconversion including oxidations and reductions; common catalysts and reagents (organic, inorganic, organometallic and enzymatic). Chemo, regio and stereoselective transformations.

  • Weightage: 14%
  • Reference book: Modern Methods of Organic Synthesis – William Carruthers, Iain Coldham.

Unit 8. Concepts in organic synthesis: Retrosynthesis, disconnection, synthons, linear and convergent synthesis, umpolung of reactivity and protecting groups.

  • Weightage: 2%
  • Reference book: Organic Synthesis: The Disconnection Approach by Stuart Warren and Paul Wyatt.

Unit 9. Asymmetric synthesis: Chiral auxiliaries, methods of asymmetric induction – substrate, reagent and catalyst controlled reactions; determination of enantiomeric and diastereomeric excess; enantio-discrimination. Resolution – optical and kinetic.

  • Weightage: 6%
  • Reference book: Asymmetric Synthesis by Garry Procter, Organic chemistry by Clayden, Greeves, Warren and Wothers

Unit 10. Pericyclic reactions – electrocyclisation, cycloaddition, sigmatropic rearrangements and other related concerted reactions. Principles and applications of photochemical reactions in organic chemistry.

  • Weightage: 14%
  • Reference book: Photochemistry and Pericyclic Reactions by Jagdamba Singh and Jaya Singh.

Unit 11. Synthesis and reactivity of common heterocyclic compounds containing one or two heteroatoms (O, N, S).

  • Weightage: 7%
  • Reference book: Heterocyclic chemistry by Raj K. Bansal.

Unit 12. Chemistry of natural products: Carbohydrates, proteins and peptides, fatty acids, nucleic acids, terpenes, steroids and alkaloids. Biogenesis of terpenoids and alkaloids.

  • Weightage: 4%
  • Reference book: Stereochemistry and the chemistry of natural products (vol 2) by I. L. Finar, Bioinorganic by Voet and Voet.

Unit 13. Structure determination of organic compounds by IR, UV-Vis, 1H & 13C NMR and Mass spectroscopic techniques.

  • Weightage: 12%
  • Reference book: Introduction to Spectroscopy by Donald L. Pavia, Organic spectroscopy by William kemp, Spectrometric identification of organic compounds by Robert M. Silverstein.


Interdisciplinary topics

In CSIR NET Chemical Science Exam few questions may come of any of the Interdisciplinary topics listed below:

  1. Chemistry in nanoscience and technology.
  2. Catalysis and green chemistry.
  3. Medicinal chemistry.
  4. Supramolecular chemistry.
  5. Environmental chemistry.

It’s true that there are no shortcuts to the destination called success. It can be only be achieved with the help of right preparation, consistent hard work, and learning from the heart. So, stay positive, work hard in a smart way and crack the exam. A big good luck wishes to all of you for your upcoming CSIR NET Chemical Science exam.

For any questions & assistance related to CSIR NET Chemical Science Exam please dial us on our Toll-Free Number @ 1800-1200-1818.

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About the Author:

This article was compiled by Dr. Tuluma Das who is associated with Biotecnika & Rasayanika. A PostDoc with an educational background in chemistry, she is an ardent reader & writer. Loves to impart knowledge to students. Being from a Chemical science research background she is well aware of the opportunities available and has hared the same in the above article. Stay tuned for more such interesting articles from her which will be helpful for your career.



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