NDA Selection Process 2020

NDA Entrance Exam Selection Process 2020

NDA selection process is a robust, organised and fair process. There are many aspects involved in it. The students have to first give a written exam. Then there is the interview process. You have to prepare well if you want to pass through the NDA selection process. After all, it selects candidates who are then trained at the National Defence Academy for joining the very prestigious Indian Armed Forces. Here is a detailed discussion of the selection process. Read on…

NDA Selection Process: A Brief Overview 

Steps in the selection process

Written Test and SSB Interview

Written test will be based on 

Maths and General Ability Test

Total Marks of the written test


Interview will be based on

Psychological test, physical test and personal interview

Full marks of the interview


Total weightage of the selection process test


NDA Selection Process: Details 

NDA selection process has two parts- the written test and the SSB interview. You will only be called to the interview if you pass the written test. The written test is conducted by the UPSC. The interview will be conducted by the Service Selection Board. The NDA application form which you need to fill out first to kick start the entire process is available online on the UPSC’s website.  

Note - NDA selection process also factors in the NDA eligibility criteria. You have to satisfy all the criteria put forth by the UPSC and the NDA officials. We will also discuss that below in this article.

NDA Written Test

The first aspect of the NDA selection process is the written test conducted by the UPSC. NDA written test has two papers -Maths and General Ability Test. The Maths paper will have 120 questions. Each question will have  2.5 marks. So, the total marks for the Maths paper are 300. Be very careful while choosing the answers -  there will be negative marking. Each incorrect answer will cost you ⅓ of 2.5 - that is - 0.83 marks.The syllabus for the Maths paper will be based on Maths topics of up to Class 12. So, you need to read and practise from the NCERT Maths books thoroughly. As per the UPSC circular, the syllabus for the Maths paper will include:

  • Algebra

  • Operations on Matrices, The Determinants of a Matrix

  • Trigonometry

  • Analytical Geometry of Two and Three Dimensions

  • Differential Calculus

  • Integral Calculus and Differential Equations

  • Vector Algebra

  • Statistics and Probability

The GAT or General Ability Test will have 150 questions. Each question will carry 4 marks. Therefore, the paper will have a total of 600 marks. There will be negative marking. Each incorrect answer will cost you ⅓ of 4 - that is - 1.33 marks. You have to be aware of the current affairs. You need to have a thorough knowledge of History and Geography of up to class 10 standards. There will be general science questions too. So start bringing out your old NCERT books and brush up your knowledge. 

Thus, you see that the total marks of the written test are 300 + 600 = 900. The UPSC will give you 2½ hours for each of the papers. Therefore, the total duration of the exam is 5 hours.

This year, a common NDA exam will be held on the 6th of September instead of NDA 1 and NDA 2. This is as per the latest announcement on 5th June. The original date had to be postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. 

SSB Interview 

If you pass the written test, you will be called for the SSB interview. The interview will be of 5 days. It is a gruelling test. This will not be like any usual interview process. You will be tested psychologically as well as physically. 

In the SSB interview, at first, all the candidates will be screened. There will be psychological tests known as the PPDT test. Many of the candidates will be rejected in this very first step. After the screening test, there will be a host of psychological and physical tests. This is one of the vital aspects of the NDA selection process. The tests that the candidates have to undergo in this stage is mentioned below -

  • Thematic Apperception Test 

  • Word Association Test

  • Situation reaction Test

  • Self Description Test

In the Thematic Apperception Test, you will be shown 11 picture slides. The last slide will be blank. Each picture will only last for 30 seconds. After the picture goes away, you will be given 4 minutes to write a story based on the scenario indicated in the picture. Then after 4 minutes, another slide will come up and remain for 30 seconds. This will continue like this. 

In the Word Association Test, you will see words on the screen. Each word will be there just for 15 seconds and in that 15 seconds, you need to make a sentence based on the word. There will be a total of 60 words.

In the Situation Reaction Test, you will be presented with 60 situations. You will have to write down how you would respond to these situations. You will be given 30 minutes to complete the whole test.

In the Self Description Test, you will have to write about your personal life, your success, your failure, your friends, family etc.

Then after this stage, there will be a stage where you have to work in groups. The steps involved in this test are mentioned below:

  • Group Discussion

  • Group Planning - Here you will first write about how you would plan your action to solve a problem. Then the group will discuss the problem and the plans of each of the members. The group members have to unanimously come to an agreement about the optimal plan.

  • Progressive Group Task - Here you will be crisscrossing your way through hurdles and obstacles using ropes, wood, nets etc. All the group members will be there

  • Half Group Task - Here you will be doing the same tasks as the PGT, however, the group members will be halved.

  • Individual Obstacles Task - Here you will be individually overcoming 10 obstacles. 

  • Command Task - This will test your leadership quality. You will command 2 or 3 people in your task of overcoming obstacles.

  • Group Obstacle Race - Here your group will compete with other groups.

  • Lecture - You have to give a 3-minute lecture on a given topic.

The next stage of the NDA selection process is Personal Interview. This is a vital part of the interview. This part of the NDA selection process will decide if you have it in you all that it takes to enrol in the NDA. You must remain courteous, calm and confident. You should be honest and sincere in front of the Interview Officer. Answer all his questions in a confident tone with no haughtiness and fear.

If you pass through the personal interview, you will be interviewed by all of the SSB board members. This is similar to the personal interview - only more intense.

NDA Eligibility Criteria 

Before thinking about the NDA selection process, you must see if you satisfy all the selection criteria put forth by the UPSC. Here is a basic summary of the NDA eligibility criteria: 

  • Candidates must be Indian. Or, he must be a subject of Nepal or Bhutan. Tibetian refugees who came to India before 1st January 1962 are also eligible. Indian origin people who returned to India (with an intention of permanent settlement) from Pakistan, Srilanka, Burma, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Egypt are also eligible.

  • You must be 16 to 19 year of age

  • You must be 10+2 pass if you want to join the NDA army wing.

  • You must be 10+2 pass with Maths and Science in class 12 if you want to join NDA Naval or Air Force Wing.

  • You must satisfy the physical ability criteria as mentioned by the UPSC in its notification which you will find here.

NDA selection process is a fair and transparent process. The uniqueness of the NDA selection process is it will not lower its standards even if there is a shortage of new recruits. The NDA thus brings in only the best and the able candidates who will be the future heroes of the country.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How Can I Enter the National Defence Academy?

Ans. You need to pass the selection test that consists of a written test and SSB interview.

2. What Will Be Asked in the Written Test of NDA?

Ans. The written test will have questions from Maths and General Knowledge, General Intelligence.

3. What Will Be Asked in the SSB Interview?

Ans. The interview will have psychological tests and physical tests. You will have to work in groups as well as individually.

4. What are the Total Marks of the NDA Written Test?

Ans -The total marks for the NDA written test is 900. 300 for Maths. 600 for GAT.

5. What are the Total Marks for the SSB Interview?

Ans. The total marks for the SSB interview are 900. 

6. When Will the NDA 2020 Be Held?

Ans. NDA exam 2020 will be held on 6th September.