NDA 2020

NDA Exam Highlights

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the main conducting authority organizes a national level entrance exam known as National Defence Academy (NDA) Exam. This exam is conducted for providing an opportunity to the candidates to join any of the wings which include Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. Along with written test, the selection will be followed by intelligence and physical tests. UPSC releases its recruitment notification every year where it announces the vacancies under different posts. In this segment we will discuss details about NDA Exam Pattern that provides you the complete format in which the exam will be conducted.

NDA Exam Notification

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) releases official Notification for recruitment of various posts in Indian Navy, Army and Air Force from eligible candidates who must be citizens of India. Notification related to this exam contains all the relevant information regarding exam, eligibility criteria, age limit, nationality etc. Click Here Download Full Notification. 

Exam Pattern

  • Mode of exam will be offline. The question papers (test booklets) of mathematics part “a” and part “b” of general ability test will be set bilingually in hindi as well as english.
  • Type of questions will be objective type multiple choice.
  • For each wrong answer one-third of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted.
  • The written test will be of total 900 marks (Mathematics – 300; General Ability test – 600). SSB Interview will be of 900 marks.

Topics of exam will be as follow-

Written Exam Mark Alloted Duration
2 Hours 30 Minutes
General Ability Test*
2 Hours 30 Minutes


SSB Test/ Interview



  • Note :General Ability Test will comprise of two sections: English section carrying 200 marks and General Knowledge section carrying 400 marks.

NDA Qualification

Educational Qualification

  • For Air Force and Naval Wings (Cadet Entry Scheme) Applying candidates must have passed their 10th and 12th level exams from a recognized board or university with the main subjects of Physics and Mathematics.
  • For Army Wing of National Defence Academy candidates must have passed their 10th and 12th level exams from a recognized board or university.
  • Those who are in their last year of qualifying year are also eligible to apply.

Age Criteria

  • Applying candidate’s age must be between 16.5 – 19.5 years.Only males are eligible to apply.

Marital Status

  • Applying candidate must be unmarried. Candidates cannot marry until completing their training.


  • Candidates must be citizen of India/ subject of Bhutan/subject of Nepal or Refugee of Tibetan (came to India before 1st January 1962 with the intention to settle permanently in India).
  • Candidate of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and east African countries of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia or Vietnam with an intention of settling in India can also apply.
  • All the applying foreign nationals have to produce certificate of eligibility issued by the Govt. of India. Gorkhas (subjects of Nepal) need not required to produce this certificate.

Physical Eligibility

  • As per the physical standards set by the commission for admission into Naval Academy Examination and National Defence Academy, applying candidates must be physically fit.
  • Candidate resigning or withdrawing from any of the training academies of Armed Forces on disciplinary grounds will not be considered eligible to apply.


NDA cut off is calculated based on Number of test takers, Total vacancies and Exam difficulty.

Qualifying NDA Cut off for Written Exam – Past Exam Trends

Year NDA 1 NDA 2
342(With at least 25 % marks in each subject)
To be announced
338 (With at least 25 % marks in each subject)
325 (With at least 25 % marks in each subject)
342 (With 25 % in each subject)
258 (With 25% in each subject)
288 (With 25 % in each subject)
229 (With at least 20% marks in each subject)
306 (With at least 30% marks in each Subject)
269 (With 25% in each subject)

Final NDA Cut off – Past Selection Trends

Year NDA 1 NDA 2
To be announced

NDA Exam Syllabus

Paper 1 Mathematics

  1. Algebra

Concept of set, operations on sets, Venn diagrams. De Morgan laws, Cartesian product, relation, equivalence relation.

Representation of real numbers on a line. Complex numbers—basic properties, modulus, argument, cube roots of unity. Binary system of numbers. Conversion of a number in decimal system to binary system and vice-versa.Arithmetic, Geometric and Harmonic progressions. Quadratic equations with real coefficients. Solution of linear inequations of two variables by graphs.Permutation and Combination.Binomial theorem and its applications.Logarithms and their applications.

  1. Matrices and Determinants

Types of matrices, operations on matrices.Determinant of a matrix, basic properties of determinants.Adjoint and inverse of a square matrix, Applications-Solution of a system of linear equations in two or three unknowns by Cramer’s rule and byMatrix Method.

  1. Trigonometry

Angles and their measures in degrees and in radians. Trigonometrical ratios. Trigonometric identities Sum and difference formulae. Multiple and Sub-multiple angles. Inverse trigonometric functions. Applications-Height and distance, properties of triangles.

  1. Analytical Geometry of two and three Dimensions

Rectangular Cartesian Coordinate system. Distance formula. Equation of a line in various forms.Angle between two lines.Distance of a point from a line.Equation of a circle in standard and in general form. Standard forms of parabola, ellipse and hyperbola. Eccentricity and axis of a conic. Point in a three dimensional space, distance between two points. Direction Cosines and direction ratios.Equation two points.Direction Cosines and direction ratios.Equation of a plane and a line in various forms.Angle between two lines and angle between two planes.Equation of a sphere.

  1. Differential Calculus

Concept of a real valued function–domain, range and graph of a function.Composite functions, one to one, onto and inverse functions. Notion of limit, Standard limits—examples. Continuity of functions—examples, algebraic operations on continuous functions. Derivative of function at a point, geometrical and physical interpretation of a derivative—applications. Derivatives of sum, product and quotient of functions, derivative of a function with respect to another function, derivative of a composite function. Second order derivatives. Increasing and decreasing functions. Application of derivatives in problems of maxima and minima.

  1. Integral Calculus and Differential Equations

Integration as inverse of differentiation, integration by substitution and by parts, standard integrals involving algebraic expressions, trigonometric, exponential and hyperbolic functions.Evaluation of definite integrals—determination of areas of plane regions bounded by curves—applications.

Definition of order and degree of a differential equation,formation of a differential equation by examples. General andparticular solution of a differential equations, solution of first order and first degree differential equations of various types—examples. Application in problems of growth and decay.

  1. Vector Algebra

Vectors in two and three dimensions, magnitude and direction of a vector. Unit and null vectors, addition of vectors, scalar multiplication of a vector, scalar product or dot product of two vectors. Vector product or cross product of two vectors.Applications—work done by a force and moment of a force and ingeometrical problems.

  1. Statistics and Probability

Statistics : Classification of data, Frequency distribution, cumulative frequency distribution—examples. Graphical representation—Histogram, Pie Chart, frequency polygon— examples. Measures of Central tendency—Mean, median and mode. Variance and standard deviation—determination andcomparison.Correlation and regression.

Probability :Random experiment, outcomes and associated sample space, events, mutually exclusive and exhaustive events, impossible and certain events. Union and Intersection of events.Complementary, elementary and composite events.Definition of probability—classical and statistical—examples.Elementary theorems on probability—simple problems.Conditional probability, Bayes’ theorem—simple problems.Random variable as function on a sample space. Binomial distribution, examples of random experiments giving rise to Binominal distribution.


General Ability Test


The question paper in English will be designed to test the candidate’s understanding of English and workman like use of words. The syllabus covers various aspects like : Grammar and usage, vocabulary, comprehension and cohesion in extended textto test the candidate’s proficiency in English.


The question paper on General Knowledge will broadly cover the subjects : Physics, Chemistry, General Science, Social Studies, Geography and Current Events.- The syllabus given below is designed to indicate the scope of these subjects included in this paper. The topics mentioned are not to be regarded as exhaustive and questions on topics of similar nature not specifically mentioned in the syllabus may also be asked. Candidate’s answers are expected to show their knowledge and intelligent understanding of the subject.

Section ‘A’ (Physics)

Physical Properties and States of Matter, Mass, Weight, Volume, Density and Specific Gravity, Principle of Archimedes, Pressure Barometer.

Motion of objects, Velocity and Acceleration, Newton’s Laws of Motion, Force and Momentum, Parallelogram of Forces, Stability and Equilibrium of bodies, Gravitation, elementary ideas of work, Power and Energy. Effects of Heat, Measurement of Temperature and Heat, change of State and Latent Heat, Modes of transference of Heat. Sound waves and their properties, Simple musical instruments. Rectilinear propagation of Light, Reflection and refraction. Spherical mirrors and Lenses, Human Eye.

Natural and Artificial Magnets, Properties of a Magnet, Earth as a Magnet.

Static and Current Electricity, conductors and Nonconductors, Ohm’s Law, Simple Electrical Circuits, Heating, Lighting and Magnetic effects of Current, Measurement of Electrical Power, Primary and Secondary Cells, Use of X-Rays General Principles in the working of the following:

Simple Pendulum, Simple Pulleys, Siphon, Levers, Balloon, Pumps, Hydrometer, Pressure Cooker, Thermos Flask, Gramophone, Telegraphs, Telephone, Periscope, Telescope, Microscope, Mariner’s Compass; Lightening Conductors, Safety Fuses.

Section ‘B’ (Chemistry)

Physical and Chemical changes. Elements, Mixtures and Compounds, Symbols, Formulae and simple ChemicalEquations, Law of Chemical Combination (excluding problems).Properties of Air and Water.

Preparation and Properties of Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen and Carbondioxide, Oxidation and Reduction.Acids, bases and salts.Carbon—different forms.Fertilizers—Natural and Artificial. Material used in the preparation of substances like Soap, Glass, Ink, Paper, Cement, Paints, Safety Matches and GunPowder. Elementary ideas about the structure of Atom, Atomic Equivalent and Molecular Weights, Valency.

Section ‘C’ (General Science)

Difference between the living and non-living.Basis of Life—Cells, Protoplasms and Tissues.Growth and Reproduction in Plants and Animals.

Elementary knowledge of Human Body and its important organs.Common Epidemics, their causes and prevention.

Food—Source of Energy for man.Constituents of food, Balanced Diet.The Solar System—Meteors and Comets, Eclipses.Achievements of Eminent Scientists.

Section ‘D’ (History, Freedom Movement etc.)

A broad survey of Indian History, with emphasis on Culture and Civilisation.

Freedom Movement in India.Elementary study of Indian Constitution and Administration.Elementary knowledge of Five Year Plans of India.Panchayati Raj, Co-operatives and Community Development.Bhoodan, Sarvodaya, National Integration and Welfare State, Basic Teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.

Forces shaping the modern world; Renaissance, Exploration and Discovery; War of American Independence.French Revolution, Industrial Revolution and Russian Revolution.Impact of Science and Technology on Society.Concept of one World, United Nations, Panchsheel, Democracy, Socialism and Communism.Role of India in the present world.

Section ‘E’ (Geography)

The Earth, its shape and size. Lattitudes and Longitudes, Concept of time.International Date Line.Movements of Earth and their effects.Origin of Earth. Rocks and their classification; Weathering—Mechanical and Chemical,Earthquakes and Volcanoes. Ocean Currents and Tides Atmosphere and its composition; Temperature and Atmospheric Pressure, Planetary Winds, Cyclones and Anti-cyclones; Humidity; Condensation and Precipitation; Types of Climate, Major Natural regions of the World. Regional Geography of India—Climate, Natural vegetation. Mineral and Power resources; location and distribution of agricultural and Industrial activities. Important Sea ports and main sea, land and air routes of India. Main items of Imports and Exports of India.

Section ‘F’ (Current Events)

Knowledge of important events that have happened in India in the recent years. Current important world events. Prominent personalities—both Indian and International including those connected with cultural activities and sports.

NOTE : Out of maximum marks assigned to part ‘B’ of this paper, questions on Sections ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’, ‘E’ and ‘F’ will carry approximately 25%, 15%, 10%, 20%, 20% and 10% weight ages respectively.

Intelligence and Personality Test

The SSB procedure consists of two stage Selection process – stage I and stage II. Only those candidates who clear the stage I are permitted to appear for stage II. The details are :

  • Stage I comprises of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests are Picture Perception * Description Test (PP&DT). The candidates will be shortlisted based on combination of performance in OIR Test and PP&DT.
  • Stage II Comprises of Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks,Psychology Tests and the Conference. These tests are conducted

over 4 days.

The personality of a candidate is assessed by three different assessors viz. The Interviewing Officer (IO), Group Testing Officer (GTO) and the Psychologist. There are no separate weight age for each test. The marks are allotted by assessors only after taking into consideration the performance of the candidate holistically in all the test. In addition, marks for Conference are also allotted based on the initial performance of the Candidate inthe three techniques and decision of the Board. All these have equal weight age.

The various tests of IO, GTO and Psych are designed to bring out the presence/absence of Officer Like Qualities and their train ability in a candidate.

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