The Indian army is the world’s third largest and its soldiers are considered best, especially in high altitude battles. The management of the armed forces rests with the Union Ministry of Defence.
The National Defence Academy (NDA), which is located at Khadakwasla near Pune in Maharashtra, is the first tri-service academy in the world. Here, the cadets of the three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) get training together before their pre-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. Applicants to join the Air Force go through a Pilot Aptitude Battery Test.
The focus of the present article is to provide some tips to help candidates to qualify the written examination of NDA which is conducted twice in a year.
Point wise guidelines/ strategies to prepare for the exam are as follows:
1. Motivation: Keep yourself motivated always. It is essential to accomplish a goal and it makes people to work. Points which motivate a candidate to join armed forces may be the personal satisfaction and pride, professional advancement, job security and economic stability and postretirement benefits.
2. Know the Syllabus: The first point to be followed is knowing the syllabus thoroughly. A glimpse of syllabus is given below:
• Paper I (Mathematics): It consists of questions from Trigonometry, Algebra, Integral Calculus, Differential Calculus, Analytical Geometry, Probability, Statistics, Matrices and Vector Algebra.
• Paper II: It has two parts – Part A (English) and Part B (General Knowledge).
Part A (English): It has questions from basic knowledge of English, skills in comprehension, spotting errors, synonyms, antonyms, etc.
Part B (General Knowledge): This section includes questions from Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Indian History, Geography and Current Affairs.
3. Know the pattern of written exam: Knowing the pattern of the examination is also important to prepare well. The written examination is MCQ (Multiple Choice Question) type. Candidates have to use OMR sheets to record their answers. One has to select the right answer from a set of options given to each question. The brief pattern of both papers is given below:
Papers I: The mathematics paper is of 300 marks (120 MCQs) and of 2.5 hr duration.
Paper II: This paper comprises of two sections 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.
The candidates should note that a negative answer attracts 1/3rd of the allotted marks to the given question.
4. Preparation & making 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 online resources like e-books, online exam groups, blogs, social networking sites like Facebook, etc.
And, make your personal point-wise notes. The notes will help you in understanding the subject and these can be referred whenever required.
5. Follow subject wise preparation tips -
Mathematics: 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, etc.
The weightage of Trigonometry and Mensuration is generally more followed by statistics. Learn the shortcuts, when it comes to Mathematics.
English: In the general pattern of English, there are antonyms, synonyms, comprehension passages, spotting the errors, jumbled sentences, ordering of sentences, sentence improvement and fill in the blanks with appropriate words.
By following a planned approach, one can easily clear the examination. Apart from studying English grammar books, regular reading of English newspapers and watching English news channels helps a lot. Synonyms and antonyms of words must be practiced to score high marks in English Section. Extensive reading is the way to score in English section.
General knowledge: As far as paper of general knowledge is concerned, students of all streams have equal opportunities here. Clear your basics of science (Physics, chemistry and biology) by using basic science books like NCERT and NIOS.
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 prepare notes systematically. One should make point wise notes on major economic, science and technology news, inventions and discoveries, sports, currencies, books and authors, awards and honors, abbreviations, important days, organizations (national and international), government schemes, persons in the news, persons died, etc.
5. Solve previous year’s question papers: Once you feel that you have reached a certain level of preparation, refer to previous year’s question papers of NDA exam and find out where you are lacking. Solving mock question papers also work.
6. Revision is the Key: The aspirants should understand the importance of revision in one’s preparation. It is not important how much you studies for the whole year, but how much you revise decides the probability of recollection of facts in the exam hall. So, spare some time for revision every day. As the exam date approaches, increase the time for revision.
6. Last minute tips/guidelines: Following tips may help 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 and well planned preparation will remove the stress.
7. Plan your exam day: It is important to plan your day of exam. The following tips will be helpful for the aspirants.
- Get plenty of rest the night before the exam. Good sleep is necessary. For sound sleep, eat a healthy and light meal.
- Get to the exam room with time to spare, get settled in advance 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 you don’t know. Switch to the 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 a 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.