NDA 2020 National Defence Academy & Naval Academy Exam
Last Updated: 4th Sep, 2020
19th Apr 2020

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NDA 2020 Exam Pattern

By: Shreyansh Shrivastava on September 13, 2017

NDA exam pattern is a well-defined pattern by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission). The NDA Examination pattern is set in such a way so that the required standards of the National Defence Academy can be fulfilled. With a focused preparation and strategy, a candidate can clear the NDA exam in one go.

There are two stages of the NDA exam:

  • NDA Written Exam
  • NDA SSB (Intelligence and Personality Test)


Subject  Max. Marks Duration Code
Mathematics 300 150 minutes 01
General Ability Test 600 150 minutes 02
Total  900 5 hours  
SSB Interview 900 5 Days  
1) NDA Witten Test:
NDA written test comprises of two sections, i.e. Mathematics and General Ability Test.
Mathematics- The total marks of the mathematics section is 300. The mathematics section is of two and a half hour duration. Mathematics subject comprises of topics from the 11th and 12th syllabus like Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus, etc. 
NDA written test consist of sectional cutoffs. NDA sectional cutoff for Mathematics section is 33%. That means the candidate has to score atleast 90 marks out of 300 marks in mathematics to clear the sectional cutoff.
General Ability- The total marks of the General Ability section is 600. The General Ability section is of two and a half hour duration. General Ability section comprises of two parts.
  • Part 'A' (English)- In this part, the candidate's English language ability through Grammar, Vocabulary and Comprehension is checked. 
  • Part 'B' (General knowledge)- In this part, the candidate's General Knowledge is checked from the topics like General Science, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, History, Political Science, Current Affairs, etc. 
NDA Sectional Cutoff for General Ability section is 33%. The candidate has to score atleast 180 marks out of 600 marks in the General Ability section.
2) SSB (Intelligence and Personality Test):
SSB is a Personality based test in which the SSB Board checks the candidate's OLQs (Officer Like Qualities). SSB is a 5 days process in which 4 tests are conducted. The first test is conducted on the first day which is known as Screening Test. It is the most competitive test among all the test as 75% of the candidates are filtered out on the first day itself. The other three tests are conducted in the remaining 4 days. The details of the tests are-
(a) Screening Test- 
In the screeing test, two papers are conducted. First, Intelligence test in which questions from reasoning and basic maths are asked. Second, PPDT (Picture Perception and Description Test) in which the candidates are shown a blurred picture on the screen and the candidates have to write a short story on it. The story must contain the following conditions-
  1. What Led To The Situation?
  2. What Is Going On In the Story?
  3. What Is the Outcome of the Story?
The candidates have to mark the number of characters, their sex and mood of the characters in a separate space provided. 
(b) Psychological Test-
The Psychological Test contains 4 papers-
  • TAT (Thematic Apperception Test)- In this test 11+1 pictures are shown to the candidate with a gap of 4 minutes. The candidate has to perceive the picture and has to write a short story back to back. The last slide shown is blank and the candidate can write any story of his choice.
  • WAT (Word Association Test)- In this test, 60 words are shown to the candidates back to back with a gap of 15 seconds. The candidate has to write a sentence using the word shown in the given time span.
  • SRT (Situation Reaction Test)- In this test, the candidates are given a booklet which contains 60 situations. The time allotted to the candidates is 30 minutes. The candidate has to write the first reaction of maximum SRTs within 30 minutes of time on the answer sheet provided to the candidate.
  • Self Description Test- In this test, the candidates are given 5 questions on which the candidate has to write the answers in the answer sheet within 15 minutes of time.
The five questions are-
  1. What You Think About Yourself?
  2. What Your Parents Think About You?
  3. What Your Teachers Think About You?
  4. What Do Your Friends Think About You?
  5. What Do You Want To Improve in Yourself?
(c) GTO (Ground Task)-
GTO tasks are conducted for two days. In GTO tasks the group dynamics, team work, leadership qualities, stamina and courage of a candidate are checked. The GTO tasks comprise of Group Discussion (GD), Group Planning Exercise (GPE), Progressive Group Task (PGT), Half Group Task (HGT), Snake Race, Individual Obstacles, Lecturate, Commanding Task and Final Group Task (FGT).
(d) SSB Interview-
Every candidate who passes the screening test has to appear in the interview. The interview is taken by the Interviewing Officer. Interviewing Officer is the senior most officer among the other two testing officers i.e. Psychologist and GTO. Generally, every candidate is interviewed from 40-70 minutes duration. The questions in the interview are based on the information provided by the candidate in the PIQ (Personal Information Questionnaire).
SSB (Service Selection Board) sends the call-up letter to the selected candidates of the NDA Written exam. The call-up letter is sent by the respective SSB to the e-mail ID of the candidate. There are various SSB centres in India and the candidate can be called to any SSB Center for the Interview.

NDA 2020 Syllabus

The NDA Syllabus composes of two parts - Mathematics and General Ability. The General Ability consists of a lot of questions from English, General Knowledge, Chemistry, Physics and General Science. Candidates can prepare for the same from the topics mentioned under Syllabus for NDA Exam.

The features of the NDA exam are as explained as follows:

  1. Both NDA 1 and 2 consist of two papers first being Mathematics and the second General Ability Test.
  2. The Mathematics section is marked for a total of 300 and is designed to have MCQs relating to Grade 10, 11 and 12.
  3. General Ability Section has two parts - One English marked 200 and the other General Knowledge marked for 400.
  4. The Paper would be Multiple Choice Based where the candidates would have to choose the right option.
  5. Marks for the interview would be set for 900.

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