What is NDA exam? All About NDA exam (2024)

Hello Aspirants! In this blog post, we will talk all about the NDA exam from Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Eligibility criteria, and age limit to tips to crack the NDA exam. Stay with the post till the end to know all about the exam.

All About NDA exam (2024)



What is NDA Exam?

NDA refers to National Defence Academy. National Defence Academy is a prestigious institution of the Indian Defence Forces to train future Indian defence officers also called Gentlemen Cadets or GC in NDA. The NDA exam is a 10+2 level exam conducted by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) for the selection of Gentlemen cadets into the National Defence Academy.

The exam consists of two papers, Paper I and Paper II. Candidates have to appear for both papers and also qualify for the cut-off in order to get selected for the SSB interview which is the next step for selection in the National Defence Academy.

Exam Pattern

The selection in NDA proceeds in two stages-

  1. NDA Written Exam
  2. SSB interview for the selected candidates

NDA written exam pattern

To get selected for the National Defence Academy candidates first have to apply for the NDA written exam which consists of two papers, Paper I is about Mathematics and Paper II is about General Awareness each paper is mandatory to attempt and clear.

SubjectTotal no of questionsTotal marks
General Awareness150600
*Note: There is a negative marking of 1/4 on each question in both papers

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Eligibility Criteria for the NDA Exam

The eligibility criteria for the NDA Exam are as follows:

  1. Nationality: Candidates must be citizens of India, or subject of Bhutan, or subject of Nepal, or a Tibetan refugee who came to India before January 1, 1962, with the intention of permanently settling in India.
  2. Age Limit: Candidates must be between 16.5 and 19.5 years old at the time of commencement of the course.
  3. Educational Qualifications:
  • Army Wing: Candidates must have passed 10+2 or equivalent examination from a recognized board or university.
  • Air Force and Naval Wings: Candidates must have passed 10+2 or equivalent examinations with Physics and Mathematics as compulsory subjects from a recognized board or university.
  1. Gender: Only male candidates are eligible to apply for the NDA Exam.
  2. Marital Status: Candidates must be unmarried and should not have entered into a marriage before the completion of the training.
  3. Physical Fitness: Candidates must meet the physical fitness standards set by the National Defense Academy.

It’s important to note that these eligibility criteria are subject to change, and candidates are advised to refer to the official notification or website for the most up-to-date information before applying for the NDA Exam.

Syllabus of NDA exam

The syllabus for the NDA exam is basically of 10-12th grade. The mathematics section is of 11-12th grade.

Mathematics Syllabus

The mathematics syllabus for the NDA Exam covers various topics from algebra, matrices and determinants, trigonometry, differential calculus, integral calculus, analytical geometry, statistics, and probability. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the mathematics syllabus for the NDA Exam:

  1. Algebra:
  • Sets and Venn diagrams
  • Quadratic equations
  • Logarithms
  • Binomial theorem
  • Permutations and combinations
  1. Matrices and Determinants:
  • Types of matrices
  • Operations on matrices
  • Determinants and their properties
  • Inverse of a matrix
  1. Trigonometry:
  • Trigonometric ratios and identities
  • Trigonometric equations
  • Heights and distances
  • Inverse trigonometric functions
  1. Differential Calculus:
  • Limits and continuity
  • Differentiation and its applications
  • Tangents and normals
  • Maxima and minima
  1. Integral Calculus:
  • Integration and its applications
  • Definite and indefinite integrals
  • Area under curves
  1. Analytical Geometry:
  • Straight lines and pairs of straight lines
  • Circles and family of circles
  • Conic sections (parabola, ellipse, hyperbola)
  • Three-dimensional geometry
  1. Statistics and Probability:
  • Measures of central tendency
  • Measures of dispersion
  • Probability concepts
  • Random variables and probability distributions

It is important to thoroughly understand these topics and practice solving a variety of problems from each area to perform well in the mathematics section of the NDA Exam.

GAT syllabus

The General Ability Test (GAT) syllabus for the NDA Exam covers a wide range of subjects to assess a candidate’s general knowledge, English language proficiency, and aptitude. Here’s a breakdown of the GAT syllabus:

  1. English:
  • Grammar and usage
  • Vocabulary and comprehension skills
  • Synonyms and antonyms
  • Spotting errors
  • Sentence completion
  1. General Knowledge:
  • Current events and affairs (national and international)
  • History (Indian and World)
  • Geography (Indian and World)
  • Economics
  • General Science
  • Physics, Chemistry, Biology (up to 10th standard level)
  • Environmental Science
  1. Physics:
  • Mechanics
  • Sound and wave motion
  • Heat and thermodynamics
  • Optics
  • Electricity and magnetism
  1. Chemistry:
  • Atomic structure
  • States of matter
  • Chemical reactions and equations
  • Acids, bases, and salts
  • Periodic table and chemical bonding
  1. General Science:
  • Biology (Human body, nutrition, diseases, plants, etc.)
  • Physics (Mechanics, optics, electricity, etc.)
  • Chemistry (Basic concepts, elements, compounds, etc.)
  1. History, Freedom Movement, etc.:
  • Indian independence movement
  • World history
  • Indian cultural and political history
  1. Geography:
  • Physical geography (Earth, landforms, climate, etc.)
  • Economic geography (Agriculture, industries, etc.)
  • World geography and important geographical features
  1. Current Affairs:
  • National and international events
  • Government schemes and policies
  • Sports, awards, and honors

It is advisable for candidates to stay updated with current affairs through newspapers, magazines, and online sources.

Regular reading and practice will help improve general knowledge and English language skills, which are crucial for the GAT section of the NDA Exam.


The NDA Exam holds great significance for those aspiring to pursue a career in the defense forces. We have explored the essential aspects of the exam, including eligibility criteria, exam pattern, syllabus, and preparation tips.

By understanding the requirements and dedicating themselves to thorough preparation, candidates can enhance their chances of success. Best of luck with your beautiful journey to NDA.