National Defence Academy (NDA)

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National Defence Academy (NDA) 🇮🇳

The National Defence Academy (NDA) is the joint defence service training institute of the Indian Armed Forces, where cadets of the three services i.e. the Indian Army , the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force train together before they go on to the respective service academy for the further pre-commission training. The NDA is located in Khadakwasla, Pune, Maharashtra. It is the first tri-service academy in the world.

The alumni of NDA include 3 Param Vir Chakra recipients and 12 Ashoka Chakra recipients. NDA has also produced 27 service Chiefs of Staff till date. The current Chiefs of Staff of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force are all NDA alumni from the same course.

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Service Before Self

The Motto of National Defence Academy is - सेवा परमो धर्मः which means Service Before Self.


Why You Should Join National Defence Academy (NDA)?

NDA offers a great opportunity for aspirants to join the Indian Armed Forces as Officers to become a part of the Indian Army, Air Force, or Navy and serve the nation with loyalty and dignity.

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Chiefs of Staff from NDA
NDA Honour Code

"I Believe that a Cadet must be Loyal, Truthful, Trustworthy, Honest & Forthright under all circumstances. I will not Lie, Cheat or Steal, Not will I mislead or deceive anyone. I undertake to Faithfully Live Up to this code & continuously encourage my comrades to do so."

A Brief About NDA Exam:

The cradle of Military Leadership, NDA is a tri services training establishment where Army, Air Force and Navy cadets train before they proceed to their respective service academy for post commission training. Conducted twice in a year by UPSC and hailed as one of the toughest exams in India, the exam consists of 120 MCQs from Mathematics and 150 from General Ability. Candidates must prepare for Class XII level Mathematics, Physics,Chemistry, Basic Geography, History, Current Affairs and general awareness about India to succeed in this exam.

In the six days SSB test; they have to pass from general skills, psychological, group, physical, mental, social and emotional test. Every year there are about 4 lakh candidates sit for this written exam. NDA’s headquarter located at Pune, Maharashtra. It is an iconic institution, which emerged as a military academy.

According to the eligibility criteria of NDA, unmarried male candidates who have completed their Class 12 or equivalent examination can apply for the exam. NDA eligibility criteria include nationality, age limit, educational qualification and physical standards which candidates need to fulfill in order to be eligible for the exam.

Common Eligibility:

  • The candidate who is wishing to attempt the NDA exam must be a citizen of India. 
  • The candidate must be unmarried male.
  • Permanent Body tattoos are not permitted whether it is only on inner face of forearm.
  • The average height is required for NDA is 157cm (5.1 ft.).


  • ARMY : 10+2 (Any Stream) Complete or Appearing in 10+2 Exam
  • Air Force : 10+2 (Non-Med) Complete or Appearing in 10+2 Exam
  • NAVY: 10+2 (Non-Med) Complete or Appearing in 10+2 Exam


  • 16.5 Years to 19.5 Years. The Candidates still need to Cross check exact age eligibility at the time of Notification.

NDA Exam Pattern is set by the UPSC. There is a written exam that the candidates need to pass. Then the qualified candidates have to pass the SSB interview. Candidates who qualify both the written test and the interview will be eligible to enroll themselves into the National Defence Academy (NDA).

NDA Written Exam Pattern:

Sr. NoSubjectNo. of QuestionsTimeMarks
1.Mathematics120 Questions2 Hr 30 Min300
2.General Ability150 Questions2 Hr 30 Min600
    900 Marks

SSB Interview Procedure:

The SSB Interview Procedure comprises of two stage selection process: Stage I & Stage II. Candidates, those qualify the Stage I, only they are permitted to appear for Stage II. The complete procedure is given below:

Stage 1: This stage consists of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests and Picture Perception & Description Test (PP & DT). Stage 1 is a screening test. Candidates will be shortlisted on the basis of combined performance in OIR Test and PP & DT.

Stage 2: This stage is conducted for four (4) days. Stage II consists of Psychology Tests, Group Testing Officer Tasks (GTO Tasks), Interview & Conference.

 Paper I: Mathematics

Set TheoryDefinite IntegralsBinary SystemRelations Functions
AP-GP-HPLimit ContinuityMatrices & DeterminantsDifferential Equations
DifferentiationBinomial TheoremComplex NumbersPermutations & Combination
IntegrationQuadratic EquationVector Algebra2D & 3D Geometry

Paper II : General Ability TEST​

Part A: 50 Questions

English Language



Para Jumbles




Finding Errors

Idioms & Phrases

Part B: 100 Questions



Everyday Science

Awards & Honours




Current Affairs


The cut offs of last four years of NDA written exams are as shown below:


NDA I Cut Offs

NDA II Cut Offs


342 Marks out of 900

346 Marks out of 900


338 Marks out of 900

325 Marks out of 900


342 Marks out of 900

258 Marks out of 900


288 Marks out of 900

229 Marks out of 900

Below are the Important Dates for NDA Exams 2021:

Sr. NoExamNotification DateLast Date to ApplyExam DateConduction Body
1.NDA – I 202130-12-202019-01-202118-04-2021UPSC
2.NDA – II 202109-06-202129-06-202105-09-2021UPSC


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There are almost 13 Different Officer Level Entries available to Join Indian Armed Forces?