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Know more about the NDA Entrance Exam

The National Defence Academy (NDA) Entrance Exam is held twice a year to recruit candidates to the army, navy and air force wings of the NDA. Successful candidates go on to become commissioned officers in the Indian Armed Forces. The exam is generally held in the months of April and September. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the examination.

Candidates who qualify the written test are called by the Services Selection Board (SSB) for a personality and intelligence assessment test. The selection procedure comprises two stages and only those who qualify the first stage are allowed to appear in the second one. The second stage of selection is followed by medical tests.

Candidates are required to give their preferences for the service they want to join. However, the allotment of service depends upon the ranks they secure in the merit list. The candidates are also required to indicate their preferences between the NDA and the Naval Academy (Executive Branch).

On completion of training, a bachelor's degree in computer science, science, or arts is awarded by the NDA. Those who join the technical stream are offered graduate and post-graduate degrees in engineering. Candidates selected for the Defence Services Staff College course are awarded M.Sc degrees in Defence and Strategic Studies.

Examination pattern

The pen-and-paper-based examination is conducted in two sessions, morning and afternoon. The duration of each session is 2 hours and 30 minutes. All questions are in the multiple choice formatand available in English and Hindi. There are 120 questions pertaining to Mathematics and 150 questions pertaining to General Ability. Separate weightage is not given to each test and candidates are evaluated on the total score.

The standard of the questions varies from matriculation to class 12. The metric system of weights and measures is used, wherever required, in the question papers.

The details are as follows:

Subjects No. of Questions Marks Duration
2 hours and 30 minutes
General Ability
2 hours and 30 minutes

The SSB test, which follows the written test, carries 900 marks and includes an intelligence test and a psychological aptitude test.

Important dates for NDA Exam (I) 2018

Events Dates
Notification and invitation for applications
15 January 2018
Application form available
15 January 2018
Last date for filling the application
5 February 2018 (6:00 PM)
Admit card availability
27th March 2018
Exam date
22 April 2018

Important dates for NDA Exam (II) 2018

Notification published
6th June 2018
Application form available
6th June 2018
Last date for filling the application
2nd July 2018
Admit card announced
1 or 2 weeks before the exam
Exam date
9th September 2018
Issuance of call letter for interview and allotment of SSB centres
October 2018 (date to be announced)
Declaration of final merit list
November 2018 (date to be announced)


  • The topics for the Mathematics exam include algebra, statistics and probability, matrices and determinants, vector algebra, trigonometry, integral calculus and differential equations, analytical geometry of two and three dimensions, and differential calculus.
  • The General Ability test includes questions based on English as well as general knowledge. Questions on general knowledge cover subjects such as current affairs, geography, history and general science, besides chemistry and physics.

Eligibility Criteria

Some of the most important conditions that candidates must meet are:

1. Age criterion

Candidates have to be unmarried males - not older than 19 years and 6 months and not younger than 16 years and 6 months

2. Nationality

  • They have to be citizens of India, Nepal, or Bhutan
  • Tibetan refugees whose families moved to India before January 1, 1962, are also eligible

3. Educational requirements

  • For the army wing of the NDA, candidates should have passed class 12 or an equivalent examination conducted by a university or state education board
  • For the air force or naval wing of the NDA, candidates should have passed class 12 or an equivalent examination conducted by a university or state education board, with physics and mathematics as subjects
  • For the Naval Academy (Executive Branch), candidates should have passed class 12 or an equivalent examination conducted by a university or state education board, with physics and mathematics as subjects
  • Candidates appearing for class 12 or equivalent exams can also apply

Examination fee

The application form has to be filled online. Unreserved and OBC candidates have to pay an examination fee of Rs. 100, while candidates from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes do not have to a fee. Children of ex-servicemen, non-commissioned officers, junior commissioned officers and servicemen of other ranks are also exempted from paying the fee. Candidates can submit the fee through State Bank of India, either in the form of a challan generated online or through net banking. Payments can also be made using any credit/ debit card.

Admit card

The admit cards are made available online, approximately 21 days before the examination date and have to be downloaded by the candidates. Candidates can use their registration numbers and passwords to login and download the admit cards.

Examination centres

In 2017, the NDA entrance exam was held in 41 cities across the country. Candidates were allotted examination centres according to their preferences indicated in the NDA application forms. They had to carry valid admit cards, along with photo identity cards, black ball point pens and two copies of their photographs. The candidates were advised to reach the exam centres 30 minutes ahead of the exam commencement.

Answer key

The UPSC releases the answer key to the NDA entrance examination within three months after the examination.


Results are declared only for candidates who score the qualifying marks. The UPSC decides the qualifying marks for the written exam based on its discretion, after considering the difficulty level of the questions asked and the marks scored by the candidates. The NDA (I) results are declared in May/June and the results for NDA (II) are declared in November/December. The qualified candidates are called for the SSB test.

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