NDA Exam (I) 2019: How to Crack in Two Months

The focus of the present article is to provide some tips to help candidates qualify the written examination of NDA which is conducted twice a year by the UPSC.

Created On: Jan 10, 2019 14:44 IST

One of the most prestigious, glorious and respected careers in our country is to join defence forces. Youngsters can fulfil all their professional expectations by choosing a career of challenges, excitement and adventure as a ‘Commissioned Officer’ in defence.

The National Defence Academy (NDA), which is located at Khadakwasla near Pune, Maharashtra is the first tri-service academy in the world where cadets of three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) get training together before their commissioning training in respective service academies. The recruitment of applicants to the NDA is done by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) by conducting the written exam followed by extensive interviews. After clearing all rounds in the interview, the final merit list is prepared and the selection is done after the medical process and document verification.

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Here are the guidelines and strategies to prepare for the NDA exam:

1. Motivation:Keep yourself motivated which is the internal drives to accomplish a goal and it makes people to work. Points which motivate a candidate to join armed forces may be the personal satisfacton and pride, professional advancement, job security and economic stability, postretirement benefits etc.

2. Know the Syllabus: The first point to be followed by knowing the syllabus thoroughly. A glimpse of syllabus is given below:

•Paper I (Mathematics): Trigonometry, Algebra, Integral Calculus, Differential Calculus, Analytical Geometry, Probability, Statistics, Matrices and Vector Algebra.
•Paper II: 
  Part A (English): Basic knowledge of English, skills in comprehension, mistake spotting, synonyms, antonyms, article writing, grammar related questions etc.
. Part B (General Knowledge): Includes Physics, Chemistry, history, general science, geography, current affairs, social studies etc.
Note: the detailed syllabus can be seen from the official website of UPSC.

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3. Know the Pattern of Written Exam: The knowledge of pattern of any examination is also important to prepare well. The written examination is Multiple Choice Question(MCQ) type. Candidates have to use OMR sheets to record their answers. One has to select the right answer from a set of options given with each question. The brief pattern of both papers is given below:
Papers I: The mathematics paper is of 300 marks (120 MCQs) of duration 2.5 hr.
Paper II: This paper comprises of two section i.e. Section A and Section B. The section A is of English (200 marks, 50 MCQs) and Section B (400 marks, 100 MCQs) is of general knowledge.
All questions are multiple choice questions type and contain negative marking for the wrong answers.

4. Make Notes: Always prepare in advance. After knowing the syllabus, collect books and notes and start preparing. One has to be disciplined and show dedication towards studies in order to pass NDA exams.  One can also refer preparation sources like e-books, online preparation, online groups, blogs, social networking (Facebook, twitter, WhatsApp etc.). Make your personal point-wise notes which will help you for understanding the subject and these can be referred whenever required.

5. Solve Previous Year’s Question Papers: Once you feel that you are prepared, refer to previous year’s question papers of NDA exam and find out where you are lacking and again focus on those topics. So, start well in advance, work hard, be determined and dedicated towards studies which will ensure greater success. Solving mock question papers also works.

Top 8 NDA Preparation Tips

The strategies given above are common to all subjects. Subject wise preparation tips are given as follows:


The paper of mathematics may be considered as a scoring one where you cannot go with the attitude of last minute reading or glance. Only practice can make candidates competitive here. General topics to be covered in this paper are:

  • number system,
  • HCF/LCM,
  • decimal fractions,
  • percentage, average, ratio and proportions,
  • problems on Ages
  • time and distance,
  • Simple and Compound Interest,
  • profit and loss,
  • probability,
  • mensuration,
  • mean, median & mode,
  • algebra,
  • geometry,
  • trigonometry

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In the general pattern of English, the topics are:

  • antonyms/synonyms,
  • comprehensive passages,
  • spotting the errors,
  • jumbled sentences, ordering of sentences,
  • sentence improvement,
  • fill in the blanks

By following a planned approach, one can easily clear the examination. Apart from studying English grammar books, regular reading of English newspapers, watching English news channels helps a lot. Synonyms/antonyms of words must be practised to score marks in English Section.

General knowledge

As far as paper of general knowledge is concerned, students of all streams have equal opportunities here. Usually, it consists of:

  • science,
  • current affairs,
  • geography,
  • polity,
  • history

Clear your basics of science (Physics, chemistry and biology) by using any basic science books. Thoroughly read the basic books of geography (Physical features of India- Mountains, Rivers, their deltas and estuaries etc.), polity (Indian constitution), economics (5 year plans, economic terms, Census etc.) and history (Ancient, Medieval and Modern) which are very interesting too.  For, Current affairs, use all resources like magazines, internet, TV and newspapers and always prepare notes, systematically. One should make point wise notes on major economic/budget news, science & technologies news, inventions and discoveries, who is who, sports, currencies, books and authors, awards and honors, abbreviations, important days, organizations (national and international), government schemes etc.

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Last Minute Tips/Guidelines

Following tips may help the students at the last minute:

•Undue stress at the last time can be your biggest enemy which may negatively impact your performance. So, be motivated but stress free and just stay calm. 
•It is important to take care of yourself for your brain to function at its best on test day. It is important to be well rested. Make sure to get a good night's sleep before the test to perform at your best. 
•Be confident before the exam. If you are well prepared for the exam you will have confidence. It is also related to the stress. Your confidence/good preparations will remove the stress.
•Revision is necessary at the last minute. A wise student will have his own prepared notes on all subjects. Revise you note before the examination. Go through the formulas and tricks again. Revise GK/current affairs notes to just brush up on your points. Remember to take breaks between your revisions to study better and do a lot more revision.
•Get plenty of rest the night before, good sleep is necessary. Eat a healthy and light meal. 
•Get to the exam room with time to spare, get settled in and have time to relax before the test starts. 
•Time management and planning to solve the question paper is very important to succeed in any exam, so, don’t waste your time on a question which is not known to you; switch to next question and attempt it at last. 
•Also, one should read statements of choices carefully before writing the correct option in the box. 
•For managing speed, attempt easier questions first and mark the tougher ones for later time. 
•If time permits, revise the answers.
Most importantly, be positive, be focused and believe in yourself. Prepare strategically and put in a lot of hard work. You will perform well in the exam and the day will be yours.

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