Maximizing Your Chances of Success in the NDA Selection Process

Mar 01, 2023, 16:45 IST

What is the National Defense Academy? The NDA (National Defense Academy) is a renowned organisation and a symbol of international excellence in the field of military education. Over time, it has developed into a distinctive Tri-Services military academy, drawing the brightest young people from our country and friendly other nations and moulding them into officers and gentlemen.

Maximizing Your Chances of Success in the NDA Selection Process

Read this article if you want to learn the essential advice and strategies that will maximise your chances of passing the NDA exam. Along with a guaranteed preparation method for passing the NDA written exam on your first try, you will also find essential information concerning the NDA exam that you should be aware of before starting your study process here.


The NDA test, one of the most prominent and difficult government exams in India, is administered by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to select candidates for the Indian Defence Forces. It is a difficult endeavour that demands effort, perseverance, and committed hard work to break the NDA on the first attempt.

This is a result of the thorough selection procedure that involves a written examination and an SSB interview. Both of these evaluations take into account a person's personality, IQ, and general aptitude. The NDA exam has a 0.1% success rate and often requires 2-3 tries for a candidate to pass. However, with the appropriate information, shrewd planning techniques, and persistent hard work, one can crack it.

Follow these strategies to maximise your success

  • Understand the exam format

Spend adequate time to comprehend the syllabus and exam structure.

There are two phases to the NDA exam pattern:

  1. Written Exam
  2. SSB-Service Selection Board

The written exam is further broken down into the following categories:

  1. Mathematics
  2. GAT (General Ability Test)

Both, last for a total of 2 and half hours. The GAT is worth 600 points, the mathematics is around 300 points, and the total for the SSB interview is 900 points.

The following is the GAT's mark distribution:

NDA-GAT Sections Marks
Part A-English - 200
Part B-General Awareness Physics 100
  History, the Freedom Movement, etc. 80
  Geography 80
  Chemistry 60
  General Science 40
  Current Events 40
  Total 600

The negative marking scheme goes as follows:

Written exam Marks for correct answer

Negative marking for

a wrong answer

Mathematics 2.5 0.83
GAT 4 1.33

The candidates will be qualified for the SSB interview if they have passed the written test.

The NDA-SSB interview pattern goes as follows:

Number of stages Tests conducted
Stage-1 Screening test
  1. Psychological Test (includes Word Association Test, Thematic Apperception Test, Situation Reaction Test, Self Description Test)
  1. Group Testing: Officers Test (includes group discussions, command tasks, individual lectures, a snake race or group obstacle race, etc.)
  1. Personal Interview
  • Plan

No matter how knowledgeable or skilled a person is, discipline is one of the key factors considered while evaluating them. You can keep your focus on your academic work by being disciplined. Unexpected events can be accommodated when you create a schedule for your studies. For instance, you won't have to stress if something unexpected occurs or consider finding the time to study.

Whatever the length of the preparation process—whether it takes 30 days or 365 days—planning is the first and most crucial phase. Make an actionable plan for your day. Take pleasure in the knowledge you are learning while pausing.

  • Be good at your basics

It is crucial to know the fundamental concepts of each topic in order to attain effective NDA preparation. Place an emphasis on each subject's fundamental ideas, especially those that relate to subjects that are trade-specific. To increase test performance and accuracy, make an effort to consistently complete the quizzes for each subject.

  • Recognize your strengths and weaknesses

You can easily identify your strengths and weaknesses if you take practise exams. Asking yourself why you committed the mistakes will help you better understand them. Determine what went wrong, whether it was a knowledge gap, a question comprehension issue, a time crunch, the forgetting of formulas, or a lack of time.

You should also take the time to learn from your mistakes in order to prevent repeating them. Make a plan to prevent these errors from occurring as well by carefully reading the question, comprehending math, and double-checking your responses.

It's also crucial to take your accomplishments and strengths into account. Use your skills to your advantage if you want to succeed, because they are what motivates you.

  • Select your study materials wisely

To fully understand each topic covered in the exam, it is imperative that you incorporate critical reading into your NDA exam preparation, as advised by subject specialists for each subject. Prepare at least one important textbook for each topic, as per the NDA Exam curriculum.

For the fundamental ideas, it is advised to use NCERT textbooks up to the 11th and 12th grades.

A number of relevant books include

Book Author
Objective General English S.P. Bakshi-Arihant Publication
National Defense Academy and Naval Academy R. S. Aggarwal
Objective GK Sanjiv Kumar-Lucent Publications

Indian Polity for NDA and NA with 1000 MCQs and PYQs

in English (PYQ: Previous Year’s Questions)

Chitra M. Parashar
Geography and Economics Book for NDA, CDS, and CAPF Exams Centurion Defense Academy
  • Make quick notes

One-liners and brief remarks may help with the NDA Exam preparation process. Always take brief notes on each subject to make the exam's revision process simpler.

As soon as you begin to plan, try to write down concise explanations of the problems. You can quickly review the full syllabus before the test using these quick notes. Don't forget to underline the key ideas that will come in handy while modifying your brevity notes.

  • Take several practice or mock exams

Try to finish the NDA practise exams after learning each topic to boost your confidence and get ready for the examination. By taking practise exams, you can improve your speed and accuracy. You can improve your time management skills while taking the test.

You could get a general idea of the exam's question format from this. You can make your preparation more productive by sectionally evaluating your performance.

Many students commit the error of taking practise exams, but they fail to evaluate them thoroughly enough to gain knowledge for their strategy. You can find important information, such as item-by-item analysis, commonly occurring errors, performance patterns, time-accuracy analysis, and so on, by carefully examining your performance. They will assist you in planning your revisions for the upcoming weeks.

  • Revise

Always give yourself time to fix things. When you finish your syllabus, allocate time in your calendar for productive revision. This is one of the best NDA exam preparation recommendations.

After covering the entire curriculum, make an effort to review each of the crucial subjects. While revising, make an effort to commit the concepts, key theories, and formulas to memory. Make an attempt to comprehend the key aspects of the question rather than just remembering the response.

Lastly, some advice

  • Stay optimistic and confident.
  • Avoid greasy foods and eat a nutritious breakfast.
  • Pay great attention to the little things and details.
  • Mathematical proficiency is essential.
  • If the paper is difficult, keep your composure and try to avoid making silly mistakes.
  • Review preparatory advice, make quick notes, and record any mistakes you made.


The UPSC NDA Exam requires unwavering attention and focus during preparation. If passing the NDA exam on your first try is your goal, you must first grasp the fundamentals of the test, including the syllabus, exam pattern, and types and degrees of difficulty of the questions that will be asked.

Your next goal should be to practise often and simulate test conditions while covering as many topics as possible that are covered in the syllabus. This will help you perform at your best in the NDA exam, help you reach your goal faster, and maximise your success rate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What will the 2023 NDA exam look like?

Ans. Math and GAT are the two papers that make up the written portion of the 2023 NDA exam pattern. Multiple-choice questions of an objective nature are included in both forms. 120 questions totaling 300 points are on the math test. There are 150 questions in the GAT paper, worth 600 points.

Q2. Who meets the NDA eligibility requirements?

Ans. Those between the ages of 16 and 19 who have finished or are presently enrolled in class 12 are eligible to apply for the NDA 2023 exam.

Q3. Can women take the NDA/NA exam?

Ans. Yes, female candidates are eligible to apply for the NDA exam, per the Supreme Court's ruling. Female candidates were previously prohibited from taking the exam. Permanent commissions in the armed forces will be given to female candidates.

Q4. In the NDA exam, what questions are asked?

Ans. Mathematics and the General Ability Test are the two portions of the UPSC NDA written test (GAT). Both papers will contain questions of an objective nature. There will be 270 questions overall, worth a total of 900 points. 120 math questions and 150 GAT questions

Q5. What is the application fee for the NDA?

Ans. Candidates must pay Rs. 100 to apply for an NDA.

Q6. NDA exam papers: how many will be there?

​Ans.There are two papers in the NDA exam.

Q7. How many points do you need to pass the NDA exam?

Ans. To pass the NDA Written Exam, candidates must receive a minimum of about 25% in each topic. Those who pass the written exam will receive a call to appear for the SSB interview.

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