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Considered the first tri-service academy in the world, the National Defence Academy (NDA) of Indian Armed Forces is the training center for Indian navy, army and air force. The NDA is located in  Khadakwasla near Pune.

To join the NDA, applicants has to start by clearing the UPSC NDA exam, followed by interview sessions conducted by Services Selection Board (SSB) that aims to test general aptitude, psychological testing, team skills, physical and social skills along with medical tests.

Approximately 4,50,000 appear for the first round of NDA exam. Though only 5000-6000 (approx) qualify for the interview round.

The NDA exam is conducted twice a year – April and September.

Eligibility criteria of NDA exam

The minimum age to apply for NDA exam is 16-years 6 months, up to a maximum age of 19-years 6months.

Only unmarried male candidates can apply for UPSC NDA exam. Also, NDA applicants can only marry after completing their respective training sessions.

Citizenship of applicants of NDA exam must be :

(i) a citizen of India

(ii) a subject of Bhutan

(iii) a subject of Nepal

(iv) a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before the 1st July, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India

(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 or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

For those belonging between ii and v, will require a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India. 

Educational qualification for NDA exam

Class – XII pass from any state board or a university.

(in 10+2 academic system)

Educational qualification for air force, Naval Wings of National Defence Academy and for the 10+2 Cadet Entry Scheme at the Indian Naval Academy 

Class – XII pass from any state board or a university. (in 10+2 academic system)

Candidates appearing for XIIth standard admission can apply for the above positions in NDA.

However, students of XIth standard cannot apply for NDA exam.

If previously debarred by the Ministry of Defence, India at any occasion – such applicants are not permitted to take up the NDA exam.

Failed students in INSB/PABT cannot apply for Indian airforce.

Physical criteria for NDA exam

National Defence Academy and Naval Academy examination sets the following physical health criteria for NDA applicants:

Before final medical test in military hospitals, candidates have to should treat all minor and common disorders like ear wax, deviated nasal septum, piles, overweight/underweight, undersized chest, gynaecomastia, tonsillitis, varicocele.

Only candidates declared fit by medical board are offered admission to NDA.

Permanent body tattoos are accepted only on inner face of forearm. However applicants from tribal communities with tattoo marks on the face or body as per their existing custom and traditions will be permitted. Comdt Selection Center takes final decision for candidates and their tattoos.

Physical height criteria: 157 cms(162.5 cms. for Air Force)

For Gorkhas and applicants from North Eastern India the physical height can be 5 cm less.

For candidates from Lakshwadeep, height can be 2 cm less.

Exam centers of NDA exam

Agartala, Ahmedabad, Aizawl, Allahabad, Bangalore, Bareilly, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cuttack, Dehradun, Delhi, Dharwad, Dispur, Gangtok, Hyderabad, Imphal, Itanagar, Jaipur, Jammu, Jorhat, Kochi, Kohima, Kolkata, Lucknow, Madurai, Mumbai, Nagpur, Panaji (Goa), Patna, Port Blair, Raipur, Ranchi, Sambalpur, Shillong, Shimla, Srinagar, Trivandrum, Tirupati, Udaipur, Vishakhapatnam

Official Website to apply for NDA exam

For queries candidates can contact UPSC’s facilitation counter near gate ‘C’ of its campus in person.

Telephone service: 011-23385271/011-23381125/011-23098543 on working days between 10.00 hrs and 17.00 hr

Documents required to apply for NDA exam 

  • Class 10th Board Passing certificate
  • Birth Certificate
  • Class 12th Board Passing certificate
  • Caste certificate (SC, ST, OBC etc.)
  • Photo and Address Proof

 Selection and exam procedure for applicants of NDA exam 

The UPSC publishes list of qualified candidates after the written exam, at their discretion.

Qualified candidates appear for interview (Intelligence and Personality Test) before SSB.

For air force candidates, PABT/INSB is mandatory.
To apply for Army/navy students have to qualify in

(i) Written examination

(ii) Officer potentiality test (as fixed by the Commission)


To apply for Air force students have to qualify in

(i) Written examination

(ii) Officer potentiality test

(iii) Pilot Aptitude Test (as fixed by the Commission)


Two stage selection procedure of NDA exam

All candidates has to undertake one test on first day of reporting at Selection Centers/Air Force Selection Boards. Those qualify the first stage, can go for the next series of tests.

On qualifying Stage II, candidates need to submit one photocopy of original matriculation pass certificate or equivalent in support of date of birth, (ii) original 10+2 pass certificate or equivalent documents.

For Stage I and remaining tests, candidates cannot claim compensation in case of accident or injury. Its at their own risk and guardians of each candidate has to sign a certificate prior to the beginning of test rounds.

In the NDA written exam, the paper wise time and marks division is:

Subject Marks Time Duration
Maths 300 2 hours 30 Minutes
General Ability Test 600 2 hours 30 Minutes

In the NDA General Ability Test, the paper wise time and marks division is:

Part Subject Marks
Part A English 200
Part B General Knowledge 400

NDA Maths syllabus:

  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Probability
  • Permutation Combination
  • Analytical question
  • Percentage
  • Profit and loss
  • Ratio and proportion

NDA General Knowledge syllabus:

  • Physics
  • History
  • Geography
  • Chemistry
  • General Science
  • Current events

Noteworthy Points:

  • In NDA exam, all papers contain objective type questions only.
  • For written exam, the question pattern in Multiple choice type where students have to answer in OMR sheets to record their answers. Candidates have to select from a given set of options.
  • Papers of NDA exam are available in Hindi, English and some other bilingual language.
  • Use of calculator is not allowed in NDA exam for maths section.
  • The candidates who qualify all the three merit lists (navy, army and air force) will be considered on the basis of their preferences and after final selection from one list, names will be cancelled from the other lists.
  • Those who apply for air force are permitted Pilot Aptitude Test only once. The grades secured by the candidates at the first test is considered for all subsequent rounds.
  • A candidate who fails Pilot Aptitude Test cannot apply for NDA (air force wing or General Duties (Pilot) Branch.
  • Candidates should only put one application for NDA exam. In case of applying more than once, the application with maximum details and supporting documents will be considered by UPSC.
  • Applications of NDA exam only happen online. On successful registration and fee payment, an e-Admit Card is issued three weeks before the commencement of the NDA exam.
  • Candidates who join Indian naval academy has to undergo 4-years B-tech course and permitted to join as executive or technical officers of navy, depending on vacancies. 

NDA Exam 2017 dates:

Date of Notification: 18th January 2017

Online Applications: 18th January 2017 – 10th February 2017

Last Date for Receipt of Applications:10th February 2017

Date of NDA examination: 23rd April 2017

NDA Exam Results will be declared in: July-Aug 2017 (tentative)

SSB Interview for the candidates qualified in Written Exam will be held between September and December.

Tips to crack NDA exam 

a) When appearing for NDA exam, students aim to solve many trial papers, study notes and so on. But the basic that they miss, is to follow the NCERT books thoroughly. NCERT books help to prepare better and is a good source when preparing for NDA exam.

b) NDA written exam includes negative marking. For each wrong answer. 0.25 marks is deducted from grand total. So carefully mark your answers on the OMR sheet, so that you get the best score.

c) As the use of calculator is not permitted in NDA exam, hence its recommended to learn maths short cuts for ease on the NDA exam day.

d) Current affair from television, newspaper, radio and internet should be given ample focus while preparing for NDA exam.

e) Before hitting the exam hall, make sure you have solved NDA question papers and is used to the time management required to solve the entire paper.

Books for NDA exam

Pathfinder for NDA & NA Entrance Examination National Defence Academy/Naval Academy Conducted by UPSC
This official book from UPSC is a must buy from the initial stage of NDA exam. It helps to understand the NDA exam question paper pattern and is clubbed with sample papers and notes.

Chapterwise-Sectionwise Solved Papers NDA & NA (Mathematics/English/General Ability) with Explanatory Solutions Paperback
Very vibrant to look at, this book has all the sections of NDA exam divided according to chapters for easy understanding of students. The book is an ideal guide and question-answers vividly explained for students to understand.

Pathfinder for NDA & NA Entrance Examination National Defence Academy/Naval Academy Conducted by UPSC by Arihant Experts
This NDA guide book by Arihant experts is an ideal pick for NDA aspirants. Study the book carefully to bag good score and placement in NDA exam.

Study Package for NDA Entrance Examination Paperback
Aimed for NDA students, this book offers a plethora of question-answer in each of the NDA subject to develop problem solving skills among students and help them understand each topic easily.

10 Practice Sets NDA & NA Entrance Exam
Its hard to get NDA practice papers online. As substitute simply order this book and you will get in one go, a lot of practice questions that you can try before hitting the exam center. Solutions to the problem are offered at the end of the book for your convenience.

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