How to Prepare NDA Exam after 12th: Expert Preparation Tips

By Dhruv Kumar|Updated : July 11th, 2021

India boasts of one of the most massive standing armies in the entire globe. It goes without saying that to be capable of manning the borders in the extreme temperatures of Siachen Glacier or the Thar desert, the soldiers must be extraordinarily hardworking and must also undergo strenuous training regimen. 

This training for the soldiers who wish to join any one of the military wings of India, that is, the Army, the Air Force or the Navy, undergo training at the National Defence Academy. This institute is situated in Pune, Maharashtra. 

Admission to this very prestigious institute is done through a two-tier entrance exam. The NDA exam is conducted by the UPSC or the Union Public Service Commission twice a year. The two exams consist of a written test and a personality interview which is generally known as the SSB. When a candidate is successful in both the written and personality test, he or she is then shortlisted as a candidate in the final merit list.

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The candidates who are shortlisted in the final merit list are then called for a medical and physical fitness test. On clearing this test, the candidates are admitted as Junior cadets in the NDA. Here, these cadets are trained rigorously for being combat-ready, and they also have to study military subject, science and technology. 

After completing three years, the candidates are awarded a Bachelor’s degree from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Now, the candidates choose their specialisation areas like those who wish to join the army join the India Military Academy in Dehradun, those who wish to join the Indian Air Force, join the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad and those who wish to join the Indian Navy join the India Naval Academy in Ezhimala. 

After going through a further 1 year of specialised training, the cadets become officers who are then commissioned in the various military stations across the nation. 

Now, one can very well assume that preparing for NDA after 12th is certainly not an easy task. However, with some preparation and practice, one can certainly join this highly esteemed institute. 

NDA after 12th: Things to Remember

The very first thing that all aspiring candidates must remember is that if you wish to join NDA as a Junior Cadet, then you must begin your preparation as early as possible. Waiting for your Class 12 th Board exams to get over to begin the preparation for the NDA entrance exam would only be foolish. So, class 12 students aiming to join NDA must commence the preparation very much on time, preferably, when they are in Class 12. 

The first criteria for preparing for the entrance exam is to know the NDA syllabus and exam pattern very well. This helps the candidate in having an idea about what he can expect in the exam. So, here follows the syllabus for the NDA entrance exam for candidates who wish to join the NDA course after 12th





General Ability Test (Section-1: English)


General Ability Test (Section-1: General Knowledge)


Total Marks


SSB Interview


Grand Total


The entire exam duration is 2 hours 30 minutes, and the exam is conducted through offline mode. There is negative marking where for every wrong answer, the candidate loses 0.33 marks.

How to Join NDA after 12th

Many candidates who wish to join the Indian Defence Services spent numerous sleepless nights thinking about how to join NDA after 12 . Thus, here follows a detailed suggestion for those aspiring students:

Subject-wise preparation ideas

Once you are well versed with the syllabus for NDA entrance exam, now it’s time that you gear up for subject- wise preparation. 

Subjects and how you need to prepare for them:

  • Mathematics:

The most feared of all the subjects for the students is undoubtedly Mathematics. However, once you start preparing for the entrance exam, you will soon realise that the subject is not difficult at all. In the case of the NDA entrance exam, the candidate is required to answer 120 questions. 

The syllabus for Mathematics is mostly from class 12 curriculum, so the students of class 12 with Mathematics as one of the subjects will find no difficulty in solving the questions. 

There are certain books that you can follow to improve your Mathematical and numerical solving skills. 

Useful books:

1- Mathematics book by RS Aggarwal

This book is extremely popular and is very good for students who wish to know how to join NDA after completing 12th. The best thing about the book is that the ideas are explained with several examples. These examples help the candidates in understanding the concepts better. 

Moreover, the exercises at the end of every chapter are very vast, and they cover all aspects and all types of problems that might come. Answers are also given at the back of the book, and the book is highly genuine which the candidate can trust.

2- Practice Sets by Manjul Tyagi and Amit Rastogi

This is yet another great book which the students can use safely for their preparation for NDA entrance exams. The book comes with an exhaustive number of sample papers and also has the previous years’ question papers. Some are solved while others are unsolved. 

The desiring candidate must first solve the solved papers to gain confidence and then he or she must go for the unsolved question papers.

  • General Ability Test:

The General Ability Paper is very vast, indeed. Here the candidate has to prepare English as well as General Knowledge and Current Affairs. For English, there are many books in the market. However, the Objective English Book by Arihant Publishers and the English Grammar Book by Tata McGraw Hill are very good. These books have all the grammatical concepts explained with examples. 

The number of exercises is vast and extensive. Apart from these, the candidate has to be updated about the current affairs

Useful books:

The best way to be updated about current affairs is to go through the daily newspapers.

Some other NDA Preparation Tips for Class 12 Students

NDA Course After 12th: Tips for SSB

SSB is tier 2 of the NDA entrance exam. The candidates who pass the written exam are then asked to appear for the SSB test. The SSB test has two categories of tests, namely,  Psychological Aptitude Test and Intelligence Test. To qualify these tests, the candidates should focus on the development of their personality. The test aims to assess the candidates’ essential qualities that might be required to be present in an army officer. 

Tips to prepare for the Medical Exam

Candidates who are successful in the SSB test are called for the Medical Exam. All candidates must correct if they have any minor defects like eye power. Stay fit and

healthy by regularly exercising. 

So, we hope that the tips mentioned above and suggestions would help you to prepare for one of the toughest entrance exams of the country, the NDA entrance test. All candidates must remember that preparation is the key to success in case of any kind of entrance test. Also remember that the entrance test for NDA is, after all, an entrance exam to one of the noblest and lucrative careers in the country. So, be positive and prepare well.

Important Links
Know about 5 Days SSB Interview Procedure


Sahi Prep Hai Toh Life Set Hai

Posted by:

Dhruv KumarDhruv KumarMember since Feb 2020
Cleared Defence Exams
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Raghvendra Dubey
Priyanshu Raj
Thanku so much sir
What preparation should be done when I am in 10 class

AbhishekApr 23, 2021

Not mentioned about TES and 10+2 entry navy

ShreyanshApr 23, 2021

Thanks - a future cadet of NDA - Shreyansh 😎
Ritik Singh

Ritik SinghApr 23, 2021

Thank you sir👍
Arpit Dadhwal
Nk Priyadarshani
Sir NDA related aur details Chahiye tha plz guide me. Sir
Vivek Kumer

Vivek KumerJun 10, 2021

NDA 1 result kab aayaga
Vishal Kumar

Vishal KumarJun 10, 2021

Sir GAT (sec2 general knowledge) me konse subject ata hai please Tell Me sir.
Ujwal Tajane

Ujwal TajaneJul 11, 2021

Thank you sir


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  • No, class 11th student is not eligible for NDA. To apply for NDA you must be appearing in class 12th or must have completed class 12. The age of the candidates must be 16.5 to 19.5 years of age.

  • Candidates must be physically fit according to the physical standards for the NDA exam. The minimum height prescribed is 157 cms (For Air Force it is 162.5 cms). Certain exceptions are applicable for candidates based on the region from where they belong.

  • Mathematics book by RS Aggarwal

    This book is extremely popular and is very good for students who wish to know how to join NDA after completing 12th. The best thing about the book is that the ideas are explained with several examples. These examples help the candidates in understanding the concepts better. 

  • The entire exam duration is 2 hours 30 minutes, and the exam is conducted through offline mode.

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