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India has various world-renowned military academies. India has a separate academy for every three wings of its defence i.e. Army, Navy and Air Force. Apart from Indian cadets, a large number of cadets from India’s friendly foreign countries are trained in these academies. For getting selected in any of these services you need to get selected in NDA, admissions to the NDA are done by written exam held by the UPSC which is then followed by extensive personality tests/interviews based on candidate’s general aptitude, psychological testing, team-building skills along with physical and social skills and medical tests. Thus, the NDA selection process is tough and rigorous.
Apart from military training these academies also impart leadership qualities, moral values, mental and physical toughness in cadets. In this article, find all you need to know about NDA Selection Process!

UPSC conducts NDA (National Defense Academy) Exam in two stages:

  1. Written Examination
  2. Interview

Written Examination:

  • The exam includes 2 subjects, Mathematics and General Ability.
  • Every subject is given the time limit of 2½ Hours
  • Total allocated marks for Mathematics is 300 & General ability is 600

Qualified aspirants in the written examination are invited for Interview held by SSB (Services selection board)

Army, Navy Wings and 10 +2 Entry Scheme aspirants have to undergo an Intelligence Test & Personality Test. For Air Force Wing the aspirants must attend a Pilot Aptitude Test.

The Interview includes both Intelligence and Personality Test. In the interview, aspirants will be put through both Verbal and Non-Verbal tests to assess their intelligence.
They would also have to undergo group tests like Group Discussions, Group Planning, Outdoor Group Tasks, and asked to give Brief Lectures on Specified Subjects.

Educational Qualification

  • For Army Wing of NDA: The cadet should have passed class XII of the 10+2 pattern of School Education or equivalent examination conducted by a State Education Board or a University
  • For Air Force and Naval Wings of NDA and for 10+2 (Executive Branch) Course at Naval Academy:
  • The cadet should have passed class XII of the 10+2 pattern of School Education or equally treated exam organized by a State Education Board or a University with physics and mathematics as main subjects.

Age Qualification

The aspirant should be of age between 16 and half to 19 years as on 1st January of the year the examination.


The entrance examination for NDA is organized by UPSC every year. To apply an aspirant should register online and pay the fees by Credit/Debit card or by way of Bank Challan. The application form is easy to fill and could be filled on the official website of the UPSC.

NDA Selection Process

  1. Apply for the exam by filling out the NDA application form and paying the prescribed exam fees.
  2. Attend the examination.
  3. If you qualify for the next round – you would be
  4. SSB is one the toughest interview process designed to thoroughly check the candidate in and out.
  5. Qualified candidates appear for SSB.
  6. Only a fraction make it through and get the recommendation to join the NDA or NA.
  7. You have to undergo a medical examination. This again is an elimination stage. If found with any abnormality in the medicals. You’re eliminated.
  8. Merit list, a final merit list is prepared for those who qualify all these stages.
  9. You would then receive the joining letter.

If you make it through all these stages, you’re all set to join the National Defence Academy and would be soon on your way to becoming an officer with one of the Armed Forces!

Check out our article on NDA Preparation Tips here.

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