NDA Eligibility Criteria, Exam Pattern and Syllabus 2023

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Hey Cadets, aspiring defence personnel! Are you prepared to move forward and work towards your ultimate goal? Then let’s get started on your NDA application process. This step-by-step guide will take you through everything you need to know to submit your application with ease. So put on your thinking cap and let’s get into it!

What is NDA?

The National Defence Academy (NDA) is a special training institute in Khadakwasla Pune, Maharashtra, where cadets from the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force train together before continuing their respective service-specific training. It is the first academy in the world that trains candidates for all three defense services.

The NDA has a prestigious alumni network, including recipients of the Param Vir Chakra and Ashoka Chakra, which are the highest military honors in India. Many former NDA cadets have also gone on to become Chiefs of Staff in the armed forces. The NDA allows friendly foreign countries to send cadets for training as well.

In August 2021, the Supreme Court of India made a ruling that permits female candidates to appear for all future NDA entrance examinations. This decision opened up opportunities for women to join the prestigious academy.


About Campus.

The NDA (National Defence Academy) campus is located about 17 km southwest of Pune city in India. It covers a vast area of 7,015 acres (28.39 km2) out of the 8,022 acres (32.46 km2) donated by the Government of the former Bombay State. The site was chosen for its scenic surroundings, with the Sinhagad Fort providing a beautiful backdrop and the nearby Khadakwasla Lake. The Bombay State contributed the largest amount of land, including the lake and the hilly terrain.

The main office building of the NDA is known as the Sudan Block. It is named after the Indian soldiers who bravely fought in Sudan during the East African campaign. The building, inaugurated in 1959, is a three-storey structure made of basalt, granite, and Jodhpur red sandstone. It has a distinctive architectural design with arches, pillars, verandahs, and a dome. Inside, the foyer has white Italian marble flooring and paneling on the walls.

The NDA has excellent facilities for the training of cadets, including spacious classrooms, well-equipped labs, multiple swimming pools, gymnasiums, football fields, polo grounds, a cricket stadium, and various squash and tennis courts. The academic year is divided into two terms, Spring (January to May) and Autumn (July to December). Cadets undergo training for six terms before graduating from the NDA.

Eligibility Criteria for NDA Application.

Do you think you have what it takes to be a part of the National Defence Academy?

Well, before you start dreaming of wearing those snazzy military uniforms, let’s run through the eligibility criteria for the NDA application process. First things first, you must be an Indian citizen to be eligible for NDA. As for age, you should be between 16.5 to 19.5 years old (form filling Age is 15.5 to 18.5 years). So, if you’re still waiting for that sweet sixteen to hit or have already blown out nineteen candles on your last birthday cake, then you’re golden! But wait, that’s not everything you have to do. There are additional steps involved. You must also have passed your Class 12th examination or its equivalent from a recognized board. This is an important criteria, so make sure you have your educational qualifications in check before applying.



16.5 to 19.5 15.5 to 18.5 12 Appearing Or 12 Passout

PCM Stream can go

(Army/, A/F ,Navy)

Any other stream can go

 (only Army)

Now, let’s talk physical standards. You need to meet certain parameters set by the NDA, such as minimum height and weight requirements. So, hit the gym or go for a run if you need to bulk up or lose weight to meet these standards. Remember, meeting the eligibility criteria is just the first step in the NDA application process. But, hey, no pressure! If you meet these requirements, you’re already ahead of the curve.

Exam Pattern.

The NDA Exam pattern is divided into two sections- Mathematics and General Ability Test (GAT). Mathematics has 120 questions worth 300 marks and GAT has 150 questions worth 600 marks, totalling to 900 marks. The duration of the exam is 2 and a half hours for Mathematics and 2 and a half hours for GAT. There is a negative marking of 0.33 for each incorrect answer.




Exam Mode


Number of Papers

Paper -1 : Maths

Paper -2 : GAT

Duration of Test

Maths – 2 Hours 30 Minutes

GAT – 2 Hours 30 Minutes

Language of Question Paper

Hindi and English

Total Marks

Written Exam – 900 Marks

Paper-1 Mathematics :  300 Marks

Paper -2 GAT : 600 Marks

SSB Interview : 900 Marks

In Mathematics, the questions are based on Algebra, Matrices and Determinants, Trigonometry, Analytical Geometry, Differential Calculus, Integral Calculus, and Vector Algebra. GAT is further subdivided into two sections- English and General Knowledge. The English section covers grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, and cohesion. General Knowledge, on the other hand, is more diverse, containing topics like Physics, Chemistry, General Science, Social Studies, Geography, and Current Events.



Paper -1

Mathematics 120 300 2.5 0.33

2 hours 30 minute

Paper -2

GAT 150 600 4 0.33

2 hours 30 minute

TOTAL   270 900    

5 Hours

To crack the exam, one must know how to strategize and manage time effectively. Solving previous year papers, regularly practicing mock tests, and referring to relevant books can help improve time management and understanding of concepts. The key to cracking this exam is to remain calm, focused, and confident. Good luck!


NDA Application Process.

So, you have decided to apply for NDA, and it’s time to go through the NDA Application Process. Don’t worry! We are here to guide you through each step of the process.

 Step 1: Online Registration

The first thing you need to do is sign up or register online.  You need to visit the official website and click on the “Apply Online” button. After filling in all the necessary details, the system will generate a unique registration ID that you have to keep safe for future reference.

Step 2: Filling of NDA Application Form

After receiving the registration ID, you need to fill the NDA application form with accurate personal and educational details. Make sure to fill in the correct information as even a minor mistake can lead to application rejection.

 Step 3: Uploading Scanned Images of Required Documents

The next step is to upload scanned images of all the required documents, including your passport-sized photograph and signature. Ensure that all the uploaded documents are in the prescribed format and size.

Step 4: Payment of NDA Application Fee

After submitting the application form, the next step is to pay the NDA application fee, which can either be done online or offline. Don’t forget to keep the payment receipt as proof of payment.

Step 5: Printing of NDA Application Form

Once you have completed all the above steps, you need to print the NDA application form and keep it safe for future reference. The printed application form will contain all the details, including the registration ID and payment receipt number. We hope this step-by-step guide to the NDA application process helps you successfully apply for the exam. Remember, accuracy is key! Make sure to re-check all the details before submitting the application.

Tips for a Successful NDA Application.

So, you’ve figured out the eligibility criteria and now it’s time to fill out your NDA application form. Here are some tips for a successful application: Firstly, read all instructions carefully. Trust us, you don’t want to miss any important details. Secondly, make sure you fill out the application form CORRECTLY. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people make mistakes. Next up, UPLOAD your documents in the prescribed format. We know this can be frustrating, but it’s an important step to ensure that your application is considered. And last but not least, submit your application fee ON TIME to avoid any last-minute stress. Making mistakes with any of these steps could result in your application being delayed or rejected. So, take your time and ACES it!

NDA Selection Process.

So, you’re interested in joining the NDA?

Well, buckle up! The selection process isn’t a piece of cake. There are three stages:

  • Written Exam
  • SSB Interview
  • Medical Exam

Written Exam :

The written exam tests your knowledge in maths and general ability. To succeed in the written exam, you need to be quick and accurate with numbers and have a knack for solving complex problems.

SSB Interview :

The SSB interview is a grueling five-day marathon that tests your physical and mental abilities. The interview panel scrutinizes everything from your communication skills to your leadership qualities. So, make sure you’re on top of your game!

Medical Exam :

The medical examination is the last hurdle between you and your dream of becoming an NDA cadet. Any physical defects or chronic illnesses may put an end to your ambitions. So, there you have it – the selection process for the NDA. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but with the right attitude and dedication, you can conquer it. Good luck!


Don’t miss out on any step while applying for NDA. Check eligibility, read instructions, fill the form carefully, and submit the fee on time. Good luck

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