NDA Exam Pattern 2023-24: Marking Scheme, Question Distribution

NDA Exam Pattern 2023-24: Marking Scheme, Question Distribution

ByNaveen Singh  |  Updated on: Sep 22, 2023
NDA Exam Pattern for Maths and GAT is released by UPSC. Check the latest NDA Exam Pattern for the written exam and interview, NDA Marking Scheme, distribution of marks, etc., here.

NDA Exam Pattern comprises two papers, Mathematics and General Ability Test, which have to be completed in a duration of 2.5 hours each. Understanding the paper pattern is one of the first steps in ensuring greater success rates in any exam. It will help you prepare for the upcoming exam competitively and secure a good rank. By going through the NDA exam pattern provided here, you will understand the entire structure of the recruitment process, including the written exam and interview process, negative marking, if any, NDA marking scheme, etc.

The Union Public Service Commission conducts the National Defence Academy recruitment exam twice every year. Get a complete overview of how many parts the paper will be divided into, the marking scheme for each section of the paper, and more by going through the NDA exam pattern given below.

NDA Exam Pattern 2024

With an understanding of the NDA Exam Pattern, you will get a clear picture of the paper format. This will help you realize the subject-wise relevance of topics, which will consequently help you with your exam preparation. The NDA 2024 paper pattern consists of two stages, which are as follows:

  • Stage 1: Written Test (Mathematics and GAT)
  • Stage 2: Intelligence and Personality Test (SSB)

A thorough understanding of the NDA exam pattern is an extremely crucial milestone on the road to clear the exam. One must be well versed with the NDA paper pattern for both papers to strengthen their core and ace each stage of the exam. Find the details about the exam duration and marks in the given scheme as mentioned in the official notification:


Exam Name


No. of Questions

Maximum Marks



2 ½ hours




General Ability Test

2 ½ hours






SSB Interview






NDA Paper Pattern: Overview

Take a quick glance at the overview of the NDA exam pattern below, consisting of the number of sections, mode of the exam, paper type, etc:



Exam Mode and Medium

Offline (Pen Paper Based) in English and Hindi

Number of Sections


Question Paper Type

Objective or MCQ

Total Number of Questions

270 Questions (120 from Mathematics and 150 from GAT)

Total Marks for Entrance Test

900 Marks (300 Marks for Mathematics and 600 Marks for GAT)

Negative Marking

- 0.83 marks for Mathematics and - 1.33 marks for GAT

Exam duration

2.5 hours (Each Section)

NDA Written Exam Pattern

NDA exam pattern for written tests will consist of two subjects, Mathematics and GAT. The paper is going to be conducted on 21 April 2024. This papers will be in written mode (pen & paper format). You can get an in-depth insight into the NDA exam pattern for both subjects below.

NDA Maths Exam Pattern

Mathematics paper of NDA comprises various important topics like Matrices and Determinants, Statistics & Probability, Differential calculus, and more. The exam is for 300 marks and the maximum time allotted for you to attempt it is 2.5 hours. The table given below illustrates a detailed NDA exam pattern for the Mathematics paper:

NDA Exam Pattern for Maths

Total Marks

300 Marks

Total No. of Questions


Correct Answer

2.5 marks

Marks deducted for each wrong answer


Total duration of Mathematics Paper 

2 Hours 30 Minutes

NDA GAT Marking Scheme

As per the NDA exam pattern, the General Ability Test (GAT) holds the maximum weightage in terms of marks. Hence, you should be thoroughly prepared to answer a good number of questions for this paper. The NDA exam pattern for GAT will comprise the following subjects:

  • English - The candidate must be thorough with English Grammar and Usage, Vocabulary, Comprehension, and Cohesion.
  • General Knowledge - For this paper, the candidate must have subject knowledge of Physics, Chemistry, General Science, History, Freedom Movement, Geography, and Current Affairs.

Take a look at the table below for a detailed overview of the NDA exam pattern of GAT:


Total Questions

Total Marks


150 Questions 

600 Marks


50 Questions

200 marks


100 Questions

400 marks

Marks for Correct Answer

+ 4 marks in each section

Marks for Incorrect Answer

- 1.33 marks in each section

Total Duration of GAT Paper - 2 Hours 30 Minutes

NDA Exam Pattern for SSB Interview

According to the NDA exam pattern, the SSB Interview is the last stage of the NDA Selection Process. Only the candidates who obtain the required cut-off marks in the written exam will be eligible for the interview round. Given below is a detailed depiction of the NDA exam pattern 2024 for the SSB Interview:

NDA Exam Pattern for SSB Interview

Stage 1

Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) through Picture Perception & Description Test (PP & DT).

Stage 2

- Interview

- Group Testing Officer Tasks

- Psychology Tests

- Conference

Here are some key points about the NDA paper pattern for the Interview that every candidate must know: 

  • The SSB Interview Stage 2 tasks are conducted over a span of 4 days. 
  • For assessing a candidate’s personality, a Group Testing Officer (GTO), Interviewing Officer (IO), and a Psychologist will interact with the candidate. 
  • All the interview tests have equal weightage in terms of determining the candidate’s final selection.

NDA Marking Scheme

Along with the NDA Exam Pattern, you would want to know the maximum marks awarded for each of the papers. The NDA marking scheme for the written exam is as follows:




Total Questions



Total Marks



Marks allotted to each correct answer



Negative marking for each incorrect response



Also, check:

FAQs on NDA Exam Pattern

  • NDA exam pattern 2024 comprises an offline pen and paper-based test which consists of objective-type questions. It is divided into 2 stages, a Written Test (Mathematics and GAT) and Intelligence and Personality Test (SSB). In the NDA paper pattern, the written test is divided into two exams of mathematics and GAT for 300 and 600 marks, respectively. SSB is the last phase in the selection process. It comprises a PP & DT test and a group discussion/interview round.

  • As per the NDA exam pattern, the SSB Interview is the last stage of the exam. Candidates who will obtain the cut-off marks in the written exam will only be eligible to appear for the interview round. The NDA paper pattern for the SSB round comprises a PP & DT test and a group discussion/interview.

  • No, there is no official communication from the UPSC regarding any changes in the NDA exam pattern. The exam will be held according to the usual pattern, comprising of a written test, and an interview conducted by the SSB.

  • The NDA GAT Paper comprises two subjects, English and General Knowledge. The NDA exam pattern for GAT is as follows:

    • Candidates will have to attempt 150 questions for 4 marks each in the GAT exam.
    • For every wrong answer, 1.33 marks will be deducted.
    • The English Section will have 50 questions for 200 marks and the GK Section will have 100 questions for 400 marks.
    • The total marks for the GAT paper would be 600.
  • According to the NDA exam pattern, the candidate will have to appear for the written test and the SSB Interview. The written exam will be objective type and will assess the candidate’s mathematical, language, and General Knowledge. Only those candidates who pass the written exam with marks not less than the NDA Cut Off will be allowed to proceed to the further rounds of selection.

  • The NDA exam pattern for Maths is as follows:

    • Candidates will have to attempt 120 questions for a total of 300 marks.
    • For every correct answer, the candidate will be awarded 2.5 marks.
    • For every incorrect answer, 0.83 marks will be deducted. 
    • Time allotted for the maths exam would be 2.5 hours.
  • There is a negative marking of 1.33 marks in each section of GAT based on the NDA paper pattern. So, candidates must be careful while attempting questions in the exam and avoid making wild guesses. Also, the applicant should remember that no marks will be given for an unattempted question.

  • Going by the NDA exam pattern, for every correct answer in mathematics, you will get 2.5 marks. And in the GAT paper, 4 marks will be awarded for each correct response marked. There will be no marks for unattempted questions.

  • There is no sectional time limit for any paper in the NDA exam pattern 2023. You will get a total of 2 hours 30 minutes for each paper. You have to finish the exam in the set time so make sure you practice enough NDA Previous Year Papers to be quick in finishing the exam in the given time.

  • According to the NDA marking scheme, for every wrong answer ⅓ of the marks assigned to the question will be deducted. The unattempted questions will not be given any mark. For every correct answer, you will get 2.5 and 4 marks in mathematics and GAT papers respectively.


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