The National Defence Academy (NDA) exam is a prestigious and highly competitive examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in India. NDA Exam gives young aspirants a good opportunity to join the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force as officers. To be eligible, candidates must be Indian citizens or meet specific nationality criteria. The exam consists of two papers: Mathematics and General Ability Test (GAT), covering subjects like English and General Knowledge. Successful candidates are then invited for an interview by the Service Selection Board (SSB) and undergo a rigorous medical examination. NDA training is imparted at renowned institutions such as the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), and Air Force Academy (AFA). NDA Exam is held twice a year, opening doors for young individuals aspiring to serve their country in uniform.



The eligibility criteria for the National Defence Academy (NDA) exam are as follows:



Candidates must be Indian citizens, or Candidates must be subjects of Bhutan, Nepal, or Tibetan refugees who came to India before January 1, 1962, with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Age Limit:


For the Army Wing of NDA: Candidates must be between 16.5 and 19.5 years old.                                                                                      

For the Air Force and Naval Wings of NDA and Indian Naval Academy: Candidates must be between 16.5 and 19.5 years old.

Educational Qualifications:


For Army Wing of NDA: Candidates must have completed 10+2 education or its equivalent from a recognized board. 

For Air Force and Naval Wings of NDA and Indian Naval Academy: Candidates must have completed 10+2 education or its equivalent with Physics and Mathematics from a recognized board.

Marital Status:


Candidates must be unmarried at the time of applying for the NDA exam.



NDA exam is conducted by union public service commission (UPSC) in India. The exam consists of a written examination, followed by an interview process and medical examination. Here is the detailed exam pattern for the NDA exam:

1. Written Examination:

The written examination comprises two papers:


Duration: 2.5 hours

Total Marks: 300

Questions: Objective type questions from topics like Algebra, Matrices and Determinants, Trigonometry, Analytical Geometry, Differential Calculus, Integral Calculus, Vector Algebra, Statistics, Probability, etc.

General Ability Test (GAT):

Duration: 2.5 hours

Total Marks: 600


English: 200 marks (Synonyms, Antonyms, Reading Comprehension, Para Jumbles, Error Spotting, etc.)

General Knowledge: 400 marks (Physics, Chemistry, General Science, History, Geography, Current Events, etc.)

2. Interview Process (SSB Interview):


Candidates who qualify in the written examination are called for the SSB interview process, conducted in two stages:

Stage I:

Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) Tests

Picture Perception Description Test (PP&DT)

Stage II:


Group Testing Officer Tasks

Psychological Tests


3. Medical Examination:

Candidates who clear the SSB interview undergo a thorough medical examination to ensure they meet the physical and medical standards required for military service.


The written examination is conducted in pen and paper mode.

Both Mathematics and GAT papers are set in English as well as Hindi.

There are negative marks for wrong answers in the objective type questions in the written examination.


NDA EXAM syllabus

The NDA (National Defence Academy) test is organise by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for admission into the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. The syllabus for the NDA exam is designed to assess the candidate’s knowledge, understanding, and aptitude in various subjects. Here’s a detailed syllabus for the NDA exam:

1. Mathematics:


Matrices and Determinants


Analytical Geometry of Two and Three Dimensions

Differential Calculus

Integral Calculus and Differential Equations

Vector Algebra

Statistics and Probability

2. General Ability Test (GAT):

The GAT paper is consist of two sections:

Section A – English:

Grammar and usage


Comprehension and cohesion in extended text to test the candidate’s proficiency in English.

Section B – General Knowledge: 



General Science

History, Freedom Movement, etc.


Current Events

The detailed topics under each section include:

Physics: Physical Properties and States of Matter, Motion of Objects, Work and Energy, Sound Waves, etc.

Chemistry: Physical and Chemical Changes, Elements, Mixtures, Compounds, etc.

General Science: Biology, Chemistry, Physics (up to Class 10 level)

History: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern History of India

Geography: Physical, Geography of India and the World

Current Events: Matters of Everyday Observations, News on Science and Environment, etc.


The syllabus for Mathematics is based on the 10+2 level.

The GAT paper tests the candidate’s general awareness, including current events and basic knowledge in various subjects.

It’s essential for candidates to thoroughly study these subjects and practice previous years’ question papers to prepare effectively for the NDA exam. Additionally, candidates should stay updated with current events and general knowledge topics to perform well in the GAT paper.

Application Process:

Candidates need to apply online through the UPSC website when the notification is released. The application process involves filling out the application form, payment of the application fee, and uploading necessary documents.



Once selected, candidates undergo training in their respective academies:

Army Cadets: Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun

Navy Cadets: Indian Naval Academy (INA), Ezhimala

Air Force Cadets: Air Force Academy (AFA), Hyderabad

Important Dates:

The NDA exam is usually held twice a year, in April and September. Specific dates for the exam, application deadlines, and other details are announced through official notifications by UPSC.

NDA exam preparation



If you are preparing for NDA examination you can consider Indian defence academy. Indian Defence Academy in Dehradun provides the Best NDA Coaching in India. Indian Defence Academy was created by bringing together experts from different fields, with a wide experience teaching defence courses, to successfully guide aspiring candidates. IDA is considered by students as the Best Institute for the Defence exam coaching in India. It is the premier defence institute in India coaching young aspirants to be successful officers in Indian Defence Services and be an asset to the Nation. Indian Defence Academy has been a motivating force for the youth of India to join the Indian Armed Forces. The focus at IDA is on imparting good education to defence aspirants so that they succeed in the Armed Forces.

Also check :  Indian air force ranks, ranks in Indian navy, ranks in Indian army 

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