How to Join NDA 2021 (National Defense Academy)

National Defense Academy is the training academy that is situated in Pune, Maharashtra. This is the only academy in the world that trains the candidates to become an officer in the Indian Army, Indian Airforce and Indian Navy, etc. Candidates who have passed class 12th with PCM (Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics) are eligible to apply for this entry and only male candidates are eligible to apply for NDA.  Here in this article, I am going to share with you the complete details about the National Defense Academy and How to Join NDA, etc. We will get to know the Eligibility Criteria that is required, Educational Qualification and complete selection process, etc.

How to Join NDA
The NDA entry can be the best in order to become an officer into the Indian Navy, Indian Airforce, or Indian Army, etc. To join the NDA One will have to clear the NDA Selection Phase. NDA Written Exam is conducted by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) twice a year (April and September).  After the Written Exam, there are two more exams that are needed to be cleared to be a part of the academy as a cadet. Let’s start with the eligibility criteria and after that, we will see the complete Selection Process to join NDA.

Eligibility Criteria Required to Join NDA:

In order to appear for the National Defense Academy selection, here is some required eligibility that is mandatory to have:

  • A candidate must have passed class 12th with PCM from any recognized Board (Central Board or State Board).
  • Candidates appearing in class 12th are also eligible to apply for Written Examination.
  • Candidate age should not be less than 16.5 years old and it should not be more than 19 years old. (Age Limit 16.5-19 years old).
  • There is no age relaxation has been given to any caste, community or religion, etc.
  • A candidate must be fit in terms of medical and physical. A minor mistake in the medical or physical can be a reason for rejection.
  • Minimum Height should be 157cm.
  • There is some relaxation in height that has been given to the candidates who belong to hilly areas.
  • Expansion of chest should be at least 5cm.
  • You must not carry any genetic Problem like Night Blindness or color blindness etc.

These are the eligibility required to have to apply for an NDA vacancy. Relaxation criteria keep changing. Must visit the official website of UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) before applying.

NDA Selection Procedure:

Selection Phase consists of:

Written Examination

The Written Examination is conducted by the UPSC. In the Written Exam, There are two papers, Mathematics and GAT (General Ability Test). It is mandatory to pass Mathematics and GAT papers individually. The exam will be conducted offline on the OMR sheet.

The mathematics paper will be for 300 marks. Each question will be carrying 2.5 marks and 0.83 marks will be deducted for each wrong answer. GAT paper will be for 600 marks and each question will be carrying 4 marks and 1.25 marks will be deducted for each wrong answer.

SSB Interview

After clearing the Written Exam, All the candidates will be called for the SSB Interview. The interview is conducted by the Service Selection Board that commonly known as SSB Interview. Clearing SSB Interview is not an easy task. This Interview is completely different. This is 5 days long interview and each day will be different. A candidate will be examined through the different types of tasks and activities.

The reason behind this activity is to check the officer like the quality of the candidates. There are around 16 OLQs (Officer Like Quality) that one must have to become an officer in the Indian Armed force either its Army, Navy, or Airforce.  A Candidate who would clear the Written Exam and SSB Interview will proceed for the Medical Exam that will be conducted by the Military Hospitals under the guidance of Military Doctors.

Medical Exam

This test can be tough for you if you are not physically and medically fit. In the Medical Exam, the Complete body will be examined under the supervision of the Military Doctors. If you have any minor problems that can correct, you may get a temporary rejection of 3-6 months. You can make that correct and re-appear for a medical exam.

If you have any major problems that cannot be corrected. You may get permanent rejection. Once you get a permanent rejection, there is no way to get back. You might have an option to apply for a re-medical exam to the medical board. In most the cases, Medical Board does not allow for re-medical examination.

Read Also- Join Military Nursing Service

NDA Written Exam Syllabus:

It is not easy to join NDA because of the increasing competition. One will have to prepare so well to crack the written Examination.

  • Mathematics
  • GAT (General Ability Test)


  • Algebra
  • Matrices and Determinants
  • Trigonometry
  • Analytical Geometry Of Two and Three Dimensions
  • Differential Calculus
  • Integral Calculus and Differential Equations
  • Vector Algebra
  • Statistics and Probability

General Ability Test (GAT)

  • English
  • General Knowledge
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • History
  • Indian Polity
  • Geography
  • Current Affairs etc

The syllabus of the NDA Written Exam is a bit broad and hard to cover. There are many online as well as offline books available that may help you a lot in covering the entire syllabus in an easy manner.

How to Prepare for NDA Written Exam:

To Join NDA is not an easy task. You will need to prepare better for each phase of selection. For the written exam, if you are completely new to the competitive exams. You must join the coaching Institutes to get an idea about the preparation. In the competitive exams, you would always have less time to finish the paper as compared to the other exams. Learn the tips, tricks, Time management, and how to attend maximum questions in a short period of time. Here are some points to remember while preparing for any competitive exam.

  • Make proper time for study.
  • Do not study over. Keep taking breaks after every 1.5 to 2 hours.
  • Solve the previous year papers, Unsolved papers, Sample papers and model papers, etc.
  • Solving papers can give you real experience and you will also learn to manage time.
  • Make sure that you have the right to study Material.
  • Always make short notes while studying to revise that later.

The examination may be a bit easy but the competition is tough. You just to prepare better than other candidates. Prepare in a better manner and give your best in the examination.

NDA Training and Duration:

After you join NDA, All the candidates will be trained for three years. The training includes Basic Military Training and Advance Military Training etc. The training is completely different, Cadets will be taught different language and different skills like Hand combat, How to tackle the physically challenging situation. Cadets learn to live a disciplined life. This is the academy that makes a Boy to Gentlemen. In these three, you will be completely transformed.

Cadets live the best life in the academy. They are asked to join different types of sports, Indoor games and also do formal parties, etc. Few days of beginning in the Academy can be tough. On the very first day, you will be allotted to rooms and will learn the basic rules and regulations of the academy. The training starts with the morning PT and it will be all about your fitness and diet. You will be also educating with Military Subjects. The cadet’s life at the academy is not easy as it seems like but they enjoy it a lot while learning new skills.

After the completion of three years of training, Cadets will be awarded the Bachelor’s degree by JNU (Jawahar Lal Nehru) University, New Delhi. Cadets are also free to choose the subjects for their graduation.  After the 3 years of training, Cadets will be sent to their respected wings like Air force academy, Indian Military Academy, or Indian Naval Academy, etc for their training regarding their duties and responsibilities.

UPSC NDA Notification 2021:

I hope you got the answer to How to join NDA. National Defense Academy is the dream of many youngsters. You will have to be the best to join the academy. To get the exact date of the NDA Exam and Vacancies. Check out the official website of UPSC. In the UPSC Exam Calendar, you will get the exact date of the NDA-I and NDA-II examinations.  UPSC releases the Notification and the application form will be also filled online on the UPSC website. Keep checking the websites for updates. I will also update you as soon as UPSC releases the notification 2021.

FAQs For How to Join NDA

No, The Minimum Qualification that is required to apply for NDA Entry is class 12th with PCM. You can apply for NDA entry if you are appearing in class 12th. There is no officer level vacancy available in the Indian Armed forces after class 10th.

Yes, your eyesight must be 6/6 with glasses or without glasses. There are some restrictions in the posts like A person with glasses can not apply for the front-line soldier post, Fighter pilot, helicopter pilot, etc.

No, only male candidates are eligible to apply for NDA entry. To join the Indian Armed force for female candidates, they can apply for CDS Examination after graduation.

About the author

Dasharath Maurya