Consequent upon the introduction of 10+2+3 pattern of education, the NSTS scheme also underwent a change in the year 1976. It was no longer confined to only basic sciences but was extended to social sciences, engineering and medicine as well. It was renamed as National Talent Search Scheme (NTSS). Since the education system in the country was undergoing a change, the scheme was made open to the students of Classes X, XI and XII and separate examinations were conducted for each class. The number of scholarships was raised to 500. The selection procedure was also changed. Now the candidates were subjected to two objective type written tests namely the Mental Ability Test (MAT) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). A stipulated number of candidates qualifying these two tests were subjected to face-to-face interview. The final awards were made on the basis of composite scores obtained in the MAT, the SAT and the interview.
The number of scholarships was again enhanced from 500 to 550 in the year 1981. These 50 scholarships were exclusively meant for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) candidates. The number of scholarships was once again escalated to 750 in the year 1983 with a provision of 70 scholarships especially for SC/ST candidates. This arrangement continued until the scheme was decentralised in the year 1985. In the year 2000, the number of scholarships was raised from 750 to 1000 with the provision of reservation for SC and ST candidates based on the national norms of 15 per cent and 7½ per cent respectively.
Yet another change in the scheme was made in the year 2006 wherein the NTS examination was held at the end of Class VIII.
From the year 2008 examination, a provision of 3 per cent reservation has been made for physically challenged students.