NDA Exam Pattern

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NDA Exam Pattern

Are you iron-willed and the person of principles? If you are known in your group as the bravest and the one who is ready to take challenges, then you have a career in defence. Every year a large number of students appear in exams to seek admission in defence academies. One such exam is for the country’s prestigious National Defence Academy. Conducted twice a year, the NDA is one of the most reputed and sought after exams. For those who seek to join the Armed, Naval and Airforce, the exam is the gateway. For the students who have qualified their 12th class examinations, the NDA exam opens doors to respected job profiles in various wings of Indian armed forces. In this blog, we will study the NDA exam pattern. 

Understanding NDA Exam

One of the premier training institutions in the world of military education, the National Defence Academy (NDA) trains the youth morally, mentally and physically to brave the toughest situations on the ground. Being a field where a candidate is tested in every aspect, the NDA ensures that the students it trains stand the test of real situations. The NDA exam is administered by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission).

Around 6 Lakh students appear in the exam out of which 30,000 make it to the list, which is further refined to select around 300 students for the various services in the academy. The exam is one of the toughest in the country but with a strategic plan, you can ace it. But before starting the preparations, you should be well-versed with the NDA exam pattern. Let’s have a look at it in detail. The exam is divided into two stages that include a Written Examination and SSB Interview

Stage 1 – Written Test 

Section Paper No. of Questions Maximum Marks Marks allotted to each Question Negative Marking for each Incorrect Response Duration
A Mathematics 120 300 2.5 -0.83 2 hours 30 minutes
B General Ability Test (GAT) 150 600 4 -1.33 2 hours 30 minutes

The GAT that forms the important component of the NDA exam pattern is further divided into two sub-sections:

Section Paper No. of Questions Maximum Marks
A English 120 200
2B General Knowledge: Physics, Chemistry, General Science, History, Geography and Current Events 150 400

Note: The language of the question paper for both the Mathematics and General Ability Test is available in English and in Hindi as well.

Stage 2 – SSB Test/Interview

This stage includes Psychological Aptitude Test and Intelligence Test that carries a total of 900 marks and is conducted over a period of 4-5 days. It is important for candidates to qualify both the levels of SSB test to get into NDA. The SSB/Interview is vital in the NDA exam pattern. The candidates who qualify the first round are cleared for the SSB Test. In this stage, the candidate is tested on various parameters and his performance is evaluated and later recommended for the selection in the academy. The SSB test further comprises of three stages which are explained below:

Screening Test: The test aims at filtering in the potential candidates to be cleared for the next round. The screening test consists of Verbal and Non-Verbal tests, and Picture Perception and Discussion Test.

Aptitude Test: The candidates who clear the screening test are allowed to sit for the aptitude test which consists of Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), Word Association Test (WAT), Situation, Reaction Test (SRT), Self Description Test (SD).

GTO: This consists of a series of outdoor tasks to check the performance, teamwork, coordination and confidence of the candidate. This includes Group Discussion, Group Planning Exercise, Progressive Group Task and Half Group Task.

NDA Exam Pattern Marking Scheme

To understand the NDA exam pattern in greater depth,  it is important for us to go through the marking scheme that is followed by UPSC while formulating the NDA exam answer sheets.  Tabulated below is the section wise marking scheme of this exam-

Section  Marks for Correct Answer  Marks for Inorrect Answer
GAT 4 1.33
Mathematics 2.5 0.83

NDA Exam Syllabus 

Now that we are familiar with the exam pattern of NDA,  let us now take a look at what all is included under each section of the exam- 

General Awareness  English  Maths 
-Current Affiars
-Physics 
-Chemistry 
-General Science 
-Geography 
-History  
-One Word Substitutions
-Homophones/Homonyms
-Active And Passive Voice
-One Word Substitution Questions
-Tenses
-Direct & Indirect Speech 
-Algebra
-Trigonometry
-Statistics and Probability
-Calculus
-Analytical Geometry Of Two and Three Dimension
-Vector Algebra
-Integral Calculus and Differential Equations
-Matrices and Determinants

NOTE: The above-mentioned table contains the syllabus for indicative purposes only. Candidates are requested to confirm the exam and detailed syllabus from the official website.

NDA Exam Cut Off 

Every year UPSC decides overall as well as sectional cutoff for the  NDA exam. However, it is not mandatory that sectional cut off will be released.  as NDA is held twice a year,  it’s time to separate cutoff are released by the official authorities. Mentioned below is the current final cut off as well as NDA 1 and NDA 2 cut off for the past few years-

NDA 2 2019 Final Cut Off

Minimum qualifying standard/marks at the written stage (out of 900 marks)  Marks secured by the last candidate in the merit order (out of 1800 marks) 
346 (With at least 25% marks in each subject)  709 

NDA 2 Cut Off 

Year Cut Off 
2018 325 (With at least 25% marks in each subject)
2017 258 (With at least 25% marks in each subject)
2016 229 (With at least 20% marks in each subject)

NDA 1 Cut Off 

Year Cut Off 
2019 342 (With at least 25% marks in each subject)
2018 338 (With at least 25% marks in each subject)
2017 342 (With at least 25% marks in each subject)
2016 288 (With at least 25% marks in each Subject)

Guidelines for Students

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Apart from knowing the NDA exam pattern, candidates should know the different terms and conditions of the examination. Follow the below-mentioned guidelines issued by NDA on the day of the exam:

  • Use of calculators, logarithmic and mathematical tables is strictly prohibited in the exam. Carrying these can lead to cancellation.
  • Pagers, mobile phones or any other type of communication devices are not allowed in the examination centre. If found anything, disciplinary actions will be taken.
  • You can carry your clipboard inside the examination hall.
  • Also, the invigilator will provide you with an HB pencil, eraser, sharpener and a blue or black pen.
  • Do not bring any valuables to the exam centre, if lost, the authorities are not responsible for it.
  • Unfair means in the exam centre are strictly prohibited.
  • Do not misbehave during the exam in any manner. If any such misconduct happens, you will be penalized.
  • Use ink or ballpoint pen in the answer sheet to fill the particulars in an empty circle. Carefully read the instructions mentioned on the answer sheet.
  • Don’t write anything on the answer sheet, instead, you will be provided with a rough sheet for the practice work.
  • Do not fold or damage or put any marking or write anything at the back of the answer sheet 
  • Read the instructions carefully before the exam commences.

The NDA exam can be tough to crack, but persistence along with smart work makes it easier.

The NDA exam pattern comprises various stages and each stage needs proper time to prepare. We at Leverage Edu understand hard work you put in realizing your dreams, which is why we ensure that the hard work of every student is paid off. A small confusion can distract you from the goal which you certainly would not wish for. Book a 30-minute free counselling session with our experts to reinforce your decisions and be confident about your choices.  

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