NDA Counselling 2020

NDA Entrance Exam Counselling 2020

NDA counselling differs from other competitive and entrance exam counselling. When it comes to the NDA exam, there is only one academy where the cadets can get enrolled, that is, the National Defence Academy. It is the institute that serves as the gateway to the Indian Armed Forces- the top security forces of the Republic of India. That explains the significance of this exam and its counselling process. This article explains how NDA counselling works and why should you not be worried about the NDA counselling 2020. 

What is NDA Counselling? 

Technically speaking, there is no such thing as NDA counselling. The UPSC notification regarding NDA exam does not talk about NDA Counselling, in the first place. NDA exam will only help you to get admission to the National Defence Academy. There is no other institution that you can enrol in if you pass the entrance exam. Therefore, there is no use of counselling whatsoever. 

NDA Exam Score Matters 

The score that you get in the NDA exam will matter a lot. This score will determine if you get to enter the hallowed grounds of the National Defence Academy. The NDA score is all that matters. The total marks that you get after taking into account your written exam test score and the SSB interview score will decide if you can enrol in NDA. The NDA counselling is just the synonym for this. 


The same applies to NDA Exam and NDA Counselling 2020. 

Are There Different Cutoffs For Army, Navy and Airforce 

Yes, there are different cut off marks for Army, Navy and Airforce. Generally, the vacancies in the Navy or the Airforce are too low. Hence, the competition is fierce. As a result, the cut off marks in the Navy and Airforce are higher than those in the Army. So, if you fail to attain the cut off marks for Navy or Airforce despite them being the first choice, you can choose to join the Army training at NDA (if you have reached the necessary cut off marks). So, this can be termed as NDA counselling.

Physical Fitness As A Deciding Factor 

If you want to join the Airforce or Navy, you need some special physical fitness. For example, if you wear glasses, you cannot join the Indian Airforce. This type of special physical fitness criteria is not there in the Army. Yes, the people in the Army also need to physically fit, but not as extreme as in the Airforce or Navy.

Details About The NDA Exam 

Now that you know that there is nothing called NDA counselling, let us discuss the nature of the NDA exam. 


NDA exam is a two-part assessment consisting of a written test and SSB interview. The written test will have two papers - Maths and GAT. The Maths paper will have 120 questions. Each of these questions will carry 2.5 marks. That means the total marks for the Maths paper is 300. You will lose 0.83 marks for every incorrect answer. This negative marking can cost you dearly. So be extra careful while marking the answer. The GAT paper will be 150 questions long. Each of these questions carries a mark of 4. So the total marks are 600. Each incorrect answer will cost you 1.33 marks. The total marks for the whole of the written exam are 900. You will be given 2 and a half hours each to attempt the questions of the two papers.


If you qualify the written NDA test - the first leg, you will be called for the SSB interview. The interview will be 5-days long. The interview will consist of psychological tests like Picture Perception, DT, and Thematic Apperception test, etc. There will be a group physical fitness test, individual physical test, personal interview and conference with the entire board of the SSB. This is the actual vital part of the whole of the NDA exam. Passing the written exam is easy- you just need to prepare hard. But passing the interview requires calmness of mind, intelligence, clear brain, good manners and physical as well as mental agility.

Pro-Tip 

There is a high chance that you get fewer marks in the interview. This can affect your final NDA result. So you need to score in the written exam as high as possible to compensate for the low marks in the interview. This will make your final score look good despite your average performance in the interview. Of course, you have to get a certain minimum qualifying mark in the interview too. More than the NDA counselling, this is important for you to know. 

Some Key Information At A Glance 

  • There is no such thing as NDA counselling. The UPSC has never mentioned this in its notification.

  • You will only get admission to the National Defence Academy if you pass the NDA exam.

  • There are separate cut off marks for Army, Navy and the Airforce.

  • If you don’t reach the necessary cut off marks for Navy or Airforce, but you have reached the cutoff marks for Army, you can enrol in the Army.

  • Even if you reach the cutoff marks for Navy or Airforce, you can change the department if you like.

  • NDA exam is of two parts - written and interview.

  • The written exam is of 900 marks

  • The interview is of 900 marks

  • Follow the NCERT books if you want to pass the written test.

  • Be calm, honest, sincere, and alert if you want to pass the SSB interview.

  • Score as high in the written test as possible to compensate for the low marks (that you are likely to get) in the interview. - This is not a caveat in any form. SSB interview is tough and unlike written exam, one cannot predict the questions that one may get asked in it. Hence, the tip. 

NDA 2020 Exam 

The NDA (I) exam 2020 could not be held due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The commission will conduct a common NDA exam for both the NDA 1 and NDA 2 aspirants on 6th September 2020. So, this year’s NDA exam is going to be fiercely competitive. The students must prepare with great zeal and stay focused until it is time for the so-called NDA counselling or rather, taking admission into the prestigious National Defence Academy. 


So, we hope that now it is clear why there is no such thing as the NDA counselling. More than the NDA counselling, what’s important is whether you get the cut-off marks needed for the entry into the NDA. Hard work for the written exam and honesty and agility in the interview - these are all that is needed!

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What actually is NDA counselling?

There is nothing called NDA counselling. The candidate passing the NDA exam can only enter into the NDA. So there is no purpose of counselling.

2. What will decide your entry into the NDA?

Ans. Your score will decide if you can enter the NDA or not. Based on the turnout, the difficulty of the question and vacancy, UPSC will come up with a cutoff mark. You need to attain that cut off mark or score more than that in order to be eligible for NDA training.

3. Are there different cutoff marks for Army, Navy and Airforce?

Ans.  Yes, there will be different cut off marks for Army, Navy and Airforce. Generally, the cutoff marks for Navy or Airforce is higher than that for Army.

4. Can I enrol in the Army if my first choice is Navy?

Ans. If your first choice is Navy, but you failed to enrol into Navy - either because of the failure to get the cut-off marks or because of lack of special physical fitness, you can join the army provided your score is equal to or more than the cut-off marks.

5. Can I change my department?

Ans. If you enrol into the Navy or Airforce but decide to change your mind, you can shift to the Army.

6. When will the NDA 2020 exam be conducted?

Ans - NDA 2020 will be held on 6the September 2020. The date can change if the situation forces the UPSC to do so.

7. How many NDA exams will happen this year?

Ans. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there will only be one NDA exam that will happen this year. This will be a common NDA exam that will be held for both the NDA 1 and 2 candidates.

8. What are the total marks of the NDA exam?

Ans. The total marks of the NDA exam are 1800 - 900 for the written test and 900 for the interview. The cut off marks will be against this total mark.

9. Do I need to get the qualifying marks for both the papers?

Ans. Yes, there will be a minimum qualifying mark that you will need to get in both the papers. Sometimes it is 25% and sometimes it is 30%.

10. How hard is the NDA exam?

Ans. The written exam is not that hard. It follows a strict UPSC framework. NCERT books, R.S Agarwal, Manorama Yearbook, School level Geography or History book and a keen interest in the current affairs will help you much. However, the interview is tough. There will be both the mental and physical tests in the interview.