National Defence Academy (NDA)

What is NDA Exam?
NDA is one of the most sought after defence entrance exams in the country. NDA recruitment is conducted for admission to Army, Navy and Air Force wings of NDA and Indian Naval Academy Course (INAC). NDA is conducted twice a year. The exam is conducted two stages: written exam and SSB Interview. Around 4 lakh aspirants sit for NDA every year, out of which approximately 6000 are called for SSB Interview.

NDA Eligibility Criteria - Age Limit, Educational Qualification & Physical Standards

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) prescribes NDA eligibility criteria. According to the eligibility criteria of NDA, unmarried male candidates who have completed their Class 12 or equivalent examination can apply for the exam. NDA eligibility criteria are certain norms in terms of nationality, age limit, educational qualification and physical standards. Candidates need to meet these requirements to be considered for the exam. Candidates can check below the detailed NDA eligibility criteria

NDA Eligibility Criteria Nationality
To apply for NDA, candidates must be:

  • A citizen of India or
  • A subject of Nepal or
  • A subject of Bhutan
  • A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before January 1, 1962, with the intention of permanently settling in India or
  • A person originally Indian who have migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India Provided that a candidate belonging to categories 2, 3, 4 and 5 shall be person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by Indian government. Certificate of eligibility will not, however, be necessary in case of candidates who are Gorkha subjects of Nepal.

NDA Eligibility Criteria: Educational Qualification
The educational qualification prescribed for admission to the different academies is given below:

The Army wing of NDA

Passed class 12 or equivalent examination from a recognized board

The Air Force and Naval wings of NDA and 10+2 Cadet entry scheme at INA

Passed Class 12 or equivalent examination with Physics and Mathematics

Candidates who are appearing in Class 12 or equivalent examination can apply.
Candidates appearing in Class 11 exam are not eligible.

NDA Eligibility Criteria: Marital Status
Only unmarried male candidates can apply for the exam. Candidates should undertake not to marry until they complete their training. Candidates who marries during the training will be discharged and have to refund all expenditure spend on him by the government.

NDA Eligibility Criteria : Physical Standards
Candidates must be physically fit according to the physical standards for NDA exam. Height & Weight for Army and Air Force The minimum height prescribed is 157 cms (For Air Force it is 162.5 cms). Certain exceptions are applicable for candidates based on the region from where they belong.

For Gorkhas and candidates belonging to hills of North-Eastern areas of India, Garhwal and Kumaon, the minimum height will be 5 cms less than the figure mentioned above. For candidates belonging to Lakshadweep the minimum height standard is reduced by 2 cms.

Height and Weight requirements for Navy

Candidates who wish to be pilot need to fulfill the following requirements -

  • Leg Length: The minimum of 99 cms and maximum of 120 cms.
  • Thigh Length : Maximum of 64 cms.
  • Sitting Height: The minimum of 81.50 cms and maximum is 96 cms Visual Standards.
  • The distance vision (corrected) of candidates should be 6/6 in the better eye and 6/9 in the worse eye.
  • Myopia should not be more than 2.5 D
  • Hyper metropia not more than 3.5 D including Astigmatism.
  • Air Force candidates must not wear spectacles.
Candidates can check below the visual standards for Navy and Air Force-

Candidates must not suffer from any of the following minor conditions:

  • Wax (Ears)
  • Deviated Nasal Septum
  • Hydrocele / Phimosis
  • Condition of Overweight / Underweight
  • Under Sized Chest
  • Piles
  • Tonsillitis
  • Gynaecomastia
  • Varicocele
Guidelines regarding Tattoos
  • Candidate must ensure that any permanent body tattoos should be present only on their inner side of forearm.
  • Under no circumstances, UPSC accepts tattoos on the inside of elbow to the wrist and on the reverse side of palm/back (dorsal) side of the hand.
  • Permanent body tattoos on any other part of the body are also not acceptable.
  • In case a candidate belongs to a tribe where it is customary to have tattoo, acceptance will be granted considering the traditions involved. Spinal Conditions.
Candidates must not have the following diseases:
  • Granulomatous disease of spine
  • Arthritis / spondylosis (Rheumatoid arthritis and allied disorders / Ankylosing spondylitis / Osteoarthrosis, spondylosis and degenerative joint disease / Non articular rheumatism (e.g. lesions of the rotator cuff, tennis elbow, recurrent lumbago etc.) & Miscellaneous disorders including SLE, polymyositis, vasculitis.
  • Spondylolisthesis / spondylolysis.
  • Compression fracture of vertebrae.
  • SC Heuerman’s disease (Adolescent kyphosis)
  • Loss of cervical lordosis when associated with clinically restricted movements of cervical spine.
  • Unilateral / Bilateral cervical ribs with demon stable neurological or circulatory deficit.
  • Scoliosis more than 15 degree as measured by Cobb’s method.
  • Degenerative Disc. Disease.
  • Presence of Schmorl’s nodes at more than one level.
  • Atlanto-occipital and atlantoaxial anomalies.
  • Hemi vertebrae and/or incomplete block (fused) vertebrae at any level in cervical, dorsal or lumbar spine and complete block (fused) vertebrae at more than one level in cervical or dorsal spine.
  • Unilateral Sacralisation or lumbarisation (Complete or incomplete) at all levels and bilateral incomplete sacralisation or lumbarisation.
  • Any other abnormality if so considered by the specialist.
  • X-Ray Exam
Any of the following conditions will disqualify the applicant Armed Forces:
  • Granulomatous disease of spine.
  • Arthritis / spondylosis
  • Scoliosis more than 15 degree as measured by Cobb’s Method (10 degree for Army and Navy).


Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts NDA examination to select eligible candidates as Commissioned Officers. NDA selection process comprises two stages – written exam and Service Selection Board (SSB) interview. First, all candidates who fills NDA registration form need to appear in the written exam. Candidates qualifying the written exam need to appear for SSB Interview for Intelligence and Personality Test. NDA (2) written exam is scheduled to be conducted In November 2ND WEEK.
Read this article on NDA selection procedure to know more details –

NDA Selection Process – Written Exam
The written exam is the first stage of NDA selection procedure. The successful candidates of written exam of NDA recruitment will be called to appear for SSB Interview. The details regarding the written exam is given below –

  • The written exam comprises two subjects – Mathematics and General Ability Test (GAT)
  • Total marks of written exam is 900
  • The test will be held for 2 ½ hours
  • The test paper will have objective type questions
  • The language of question paper for both the subjects will be set in Hindi and English
  • Candidates must at least secure 25% NDA selection marks in each subject of written exam.
NDA Selection Procedure – SSB Interview
After conducting the written exam, UPSC prepares a list of candidates who obtain the minimum qualifying NDA selection process marks as decided by the commission. Such candidates are only called for SSB Interview. The candidates in SSB Interview are assessed on Officers Officers Potentiality. Candidates who applies for Air Force needs to qualify Computerised Pilot Selection System (CPSS).
  • SSB Interview consists of two-stage selection process - Psychological Aptitude Test and Intelligence Test
  • Selected candidates need to report to the Selection Centres/Air Force Selection Boards/Naval Selection Boards
  • Such candidates need to undergo stage-one test at the respective selection centres
  • Candidates qualifying the stage one test will be selected for the second stage
  • Candidates who qualifies stage two are required to submit the original certificates
Along with one photocopy of the following certificates –
1. Pass Certificate of Class 10 or equivalent certificate in support of date of birth
2. Pass Certificate of Class 12 or equivalent in support of educational qualification

NDA Selection Process – Final Merit List
  • To be accepted forArmy/Navy/Naval Academy and Air Force under NDA recruitment,
  • candidates need to secure NDA cut off marks separately in written exam and SSB Interview.
  • Candidates for Air Force, should separately qualify for Computerised Pilot Selection System (CPSS)
  • Final selection for admission to the Army, Navy, Air Force wings of NDA and 10+2 Cadet Entry Scheme of Indian Naval Academy will be done as per vacancies subjected to their NDA eligibility, medical fitness and merit-cum-preference of candidates.
NDA Selection Procedure – Reasons for disqualification
  • Candidates who have selected to NDA or 10+2 Cadet Entry Scheme of Indian Naval Academy earlier but has been removed due to lack of officer-like qualities or on disciplinary grounds will not be selected.
  • Candidates who were withdrawn previously from NDA or Indian Naval Academy on medical grounds or left voluntarily are eligible for admission provided they qualify the medical fitness test.

NDA Exam Pattern

NDA Exam Pattern is different for both the papers. It is necessary to qualify them in order to ensure admission to the National Defence Academy. NDA exam pattern for both the papers is given below:

Paper I- Mathematics
Subjects Code Duration Maximum Marks



2½ hours


General Ability Test


2½ hours






SSB Test/Interview




General Ability
Paper II- General Ability

Total Marks


Total No. of Questions


No. of questions in English Section


No. Of questions in General knowledge Section


Maximum Marks for English


Maximum Marks for G.K.


Marks for Correct Answer

4 marks in both sections

Marks for Incorrect Answer

-1.33 marks in both sections

Exam Duration

2.5 Hours

NDA Syllabus for Mathematics
Paper 1 in NDA is purely based on Mathematics. No change is observed in NDA Syllabus 2020 from the previous year. The questions will be asked from 10+2 level only. The sub-sections in this part are also of basic-level mathematics.

NDA Syllabus for Mathematics


Matrices and Determinants


Analytical Geometry of Two and Three Dimensions

Differential Calculus

Integral Calculus and Differential Equations

Vector Algebra

Statistics and Probability

NDA Preparation Tips by Toppers
NDA Syllabus for Mathematics
Toppers Preparation Tips

NDA 2019 Topper Piyush Thorve (AIR 16)

  • Candidates must have a strong determination.
  • Prepare questions from Mathematics, English and Science through NCERT books of class 6 to 12.
  • Read newspapers, magazines and also focus on basic grammar rules for English.
  • Do not overstress yourself before the exam.
  • Do not learn new topics before the exam rather revise the topics you have learned.
  • NDA Exam 2018 Topper, Sparsh Kankane (AIR 1)

  • Focus on understanding the syllabus and exam pattern of NDA exam.
  • Candidates must solve previous years' question papers.
  • Start preparing for the exam at Class 9 and 10 and do not wait for Class 11 an 12.
  • Read NCERT textbooks of class 6 to 10 because questions are directly asked from the same.
  • Trust in their own preparation.
  • Peace of mind is very important.
  • NDA Preparation Tips
    Candidates can prepare for NDA exam by following the tips given below.

  • To begin with, candidates must be clear about the subjects, pattern and types of questions.
  • The Mathematics section of NDA comprises questions from Algebra, matrices, trigonometry, calculus, statistics, etc. Candidates must clear their concepts from Class 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 NCERT books.
  • The GAT comprises a variety of subjects such as Chemistry, General Science, Geography, History and Current Affairs. This section also comprises a section on English.
  • Candidates must revise the topics they have studied.
  • Make short and simple notes as it will help candidates to revise properly and quickly.
  • Solve previous years' question papers and take a mock test.
  • Buy good books and question banks.

  • NDA FAQs
    Q. My area is containment zone, can I show the admit card to travel to the exam centre?
    A. Yes, your NDA admit card serves as a pass to travel to the exam centre.
    Q. Can girls appear for NDA exam?
    A. Only unmarried male candidates can apply for NDA.
    Q. Is there any travel arrangements made for candidates of UP since there is a weekend lockdown?
    A. Yes, Indian Railways are providing special train services for candidates belonging to UP, Bihar and Rajasthan.
    Q. Is it necessary to wear masks?
    A. Yes, wearing a mask is compulsory.
    Q. How NDA exam centres are allotted to candidates?
    A. The exam centres of NDA are allotted to candidates on the first-apply-first-allot basis.
    Q. When is NDA admit card released?
    A. NDA admit card is available now.
    Q. Can I carry sanitiser?
    A. Yes, you are allowed to carry a small sanitiser bottle.
    Q. What is the qualification for NDA?
    A. To be eligible for the exam, candidates must have passed class 12.
    Q. Will I get the answer key on the day of exam?
    A. Yes, unofficial answer keys are released on the day of exam.
    Q. What are the minimum qualifying marks for applying to NDA exam?
    A. There are no minimum qualifying marks for applying to the exam.
    Q. Does 12th marks matters in NDA exam?
    A. Yes, class 12 marks are important for applying to the exam.
    Q. Why NDA is conducted?
    A. The entrance exam is conducted to select candidates for admission to NDA and INAC.
    Q. How candidates are offered admission?
    A. Candidates are offered admission on the basis of their performance in the written exam and SSB Interview.

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