NDA and NA Exam

National Defence Academy (NDA) is a national level entrance exam conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to recruit candidates for the Indian Defence forces that includes Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.

UPSC NDA Exam Details: Introduction, Eligibility, Selection Procedure and Preparation Tips.


What is NDA Examination? 

The National Defence Academy (NDA) is a joint service academy of the Indian Armed Forces, where cadets from all the three sectors i.e. the Army, the Navy and the Air Force train together before they go on to for the  pre-commissioning training in their respective service academies.


What is the Frequency of the UPSC NDA Examination?

Incoming batches are accepted twice a year for semesters starting in July and January. The NDA exam is conducted twice in a year:

(I) In the month of April

(II)In the month of September.  


What is the Eligibility for NDA Entrance Exam?

These are the pre-requisites for being eligible for a life as an officer in NDA.

(a) Nationality for NDA Entrance Exam

A candidate must be either:
(i) A citizen of India, or

(ii) A subject of Bhutan, or

(iii) A subject of Nepal, or

(iv) A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before the 1St January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or

(v) A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

(b) Age limit, sex and marital status for NDA Entrance Exam

A candidate must be an unmarried male and must have attained the age of 16 ½ years and must not have attained the age of 19 years on the 1st January or 1st of July of the year of examination.

(c) Educational qualifications

(i) For Army wing of National Defense Academy, Class XII pass of the 10+2 Pattern of school education or equivalent examination conducted by a State Education Board or a University.

(ii) For Air Force and Naval wings of National Defense Academy and for the 10+2 (Executive Branch) Course at the Naval Academy, Class XII pass of the 10+2 pattern of school education of equivalent with physics and Mathematics conducted by a State Education Board or a University.


The candidates are selected on the basis of their score in the written test followed by the SSB interview which generally last for 4-5 days. The candidates who successfully qualify the written exam are called for the SSB interview and after clearing all the rounds in the interview, the final merit list is prepared and the selection is done after the medical process and document verification.

What are the Best NDA Preparation Tips/Strategy?

1. As the course is large, you have to give 2-3 hours study every day on a regular basis. Divide Course into small chapters & integrate it with a proper study plan and you will score better.

2. Previous Year Papers can help you understand the exam structure and pattern. 

3. Read NCERT books of 6th, 7th and 8th Standard for History, Geography, and Polity. NCERT Books covers most of your relevant syllabus. 

4. Make a habit of reading Newspapers, Download Onlintyari Mobile-App to stay updated on the current affairs. 

5. English can be a deciding factor for your selection into UPSC NDA Examination. A good understanding of PARTS OF SPEECH will be helpful in solving a lot of direct problems.  

UPSC NDA Entrance Exam Pattern:

UPSC NDA Examination is objective in nature. According to the latest syllabus described by UPSC, NDA Exam will be conducted in two parts, NDA Mathematics and General Ability Test. For NDA Mathematics paper one has to solve 120 questions in 150 minutes whereas, for General Ability Test, one has to solve 150 questions in 150 minutes



No. of Questions



Paper- I



150 minutes



English &General Ability


150 minutes





300 minutes




Allotment of Marks is different for both Papers in NDA Entrance Examination. 


For each correct attempt, you will get 2.5 marks and 0.83 (i.e. One-Third of allotted marks) will be deducted for each wrong answer.


For each correct attempt, you will get 4 marks and  1.33 (i.e. One-Third of allotted marks) will be deducted for each wrong answer. 

Details and Instructions for NDA Written Examination

1. The papers in all the subjects consist of Objective (multiple choice answer) Type questions only.

2. Part A of Paper 2 will be in English Language only, but Paper 1 and Part B of Paper 2 will be in both English and Hindi Language.

3. Candidates are not allowed to use calculators in the Examination. 

4. SI units will be used in the papers and Candidates should use only International form of Indian numerals (i.e. 1, 2, 3,4,5,6 etc.) while answering question papers.


UPSC NDA Mathematics Syllabus

1. Algebra

The concept of a 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. The 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. A solution of linear inequations of two variables by graphs. Permutation and Combination. Binomial theorem and its application. Logarithms and their applications. 

2. 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 by Matrix Method.

3. 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.

4. Analytical Geometry of two and three dimensions

Rectangular Cartesian Coordinate system. Distance formula. The equation of a line in various forms. The angle between two lines. The distance of a point from a line. The equation of a circle in standard and in general form. Standard forms of a parabola, ellipse and hyperbola. Eccentricity and axis of a conic.


Point in a three-dimensional space, the distance between two points. Direction Cosines and direction ratios. The equation of a plane and a line in various forms. The angle between two lines and angle between two planes. The equation of a sphere.

5. 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 of another function, derivative of a composite function. Second order derivatives. Increasing and decreasing functions. Application of derivatives in problems of maxima and minima.

6. 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 and particular solution of a differential equation, solution of first order and first-degree differential equations of various types – examples. Application in problems of growth and decay.

7. Vector Algebra

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

8. 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 and comparison. 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.


UPSC NDA General Ability Test Syllabus

Part A – English

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

Part B – General Knowledge

The question paper on General Knowledge broadly covers 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 as exhaustive and questions on topics of similar nature not specifically mentioned in the syllabus may also be asked. Your answers are expected to show your 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.

The 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 Non-conductors, 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 Chemical Equations, Law of Chemical Combination ( excluding problems ). Properties of Air and Water.

Preparation and Properties of Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen and Carbon dioxide, 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 Gun-Powder.

Elementary ideas about the Structure of Atom, Atomic, Equivalent and Molecular Weights, Valency.

Section C: General Science

The difference between the living and non-living.

The 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. Latitudes 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

The 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.


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% weightages respectively.

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