All You need to know about NDA: A complete guide

National Defence Academy (NDA): The National Defence Academy (NDA) is a premier tri-service military training institute in India. It is located in Khadakwasla, near Pune, Maharashtra. The NDA is a joint services academy where cadets from the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force undergo training together before they go on to their respective service academies for further training.

The NDA conducts a rigorous three-year training program, where candidates are selected through a competitive entrance examination and subsequent interviews conducted by the Services Selection Board (SSB). After completing their training at NDA, successful cadets go on to join the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Naval Academy (INA), or Air Force Academy (AFA) for specialized training in their chosen service.

Foundation Courses:

Foundation courses generally refer to preparatory courses or coaching programs designed to help aspirants prepare for competitive exams like the NDA entrance examination. These courses are meant to build a strong foundation in subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, English, and general knowledge, which are important for the NDA entrance exam.

Foundation courses can be offered by various coaching institutes, educational centers, or online platforms. They aim to provide candidates with a comprehensive understanding of the syllabus, regular practice through mock tests, and expert guidance to improve their chances of success in the competitive exam.

To join the National Defence Academy (NDA) in India, candidates need to go through a two-step selection process, which includes a written examination and the Services Selection Board (SSB) interview. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how a candidate can join the NDA academy:

Step 1: Check Eligibility Criteria Before applying for the NDA exam, candidates should ensure they meet the eligibility criteria:

Nationality: The candidate must be a citizen of India, a subject of Nepal, or a subject of Bhutan.

Age Limit: The candidate must be between 16.5 to 19.5 years old. Note that the age limit may vary slightly depending on the date of commencement of the course at the NDA.

Educational Qualification: The candidate should have passed the 10+2 (12th) examination from a recognized board or university.

Step 2: Apply for the NDA Exam The NDA exam is conducted twice a year by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Candidates need to apply online through the UPSC official website ( during the specified application period.

Step 3: Written Examination The NDA examination is divided into two papers:

  1. Mathematics: This paper tests the candidate’s mathematical ability and understanding of concepts in subjects like Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, etc.
  • General Ability Test (GAT): The GAT includes sections on English, General Knowledge, Physics, Chemistry, General Science, History, Geography, and Current Affairs.

Step 4: SSB Interview Candidates who qualify in the written examination are called for the SSB interview. The SSB interview is a comprehensive selection process that evaluates the candidate’s personality, intelligence, and potential as an officer in the Indian Armed Forces.

The SSB interview is conducted in two stages:

  1. Stage 1: This stage includes Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests and Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT). Candidates who qualify in Stage 1 proceed to Stage 2.
  • Stage 2: This stage involves a series of psychological tests, group tasks, an interview, and a conference. The assessors evaluate the candidate’s leadership qualities, communication skills, decision-making ability, and overall personality.

Step 5: Medical Examination Candidates recommended by the SSB undergo a thorough medical examination to ensure they meet the medical standards required for joining the Armed Forces.

Step 6: Merit List and Final Selection Based on the performance in the written examination, SSB interview, and medical examination, a final merit list is prepared. Candidates who clear all the stages and make it to the merit list are offered admission to the NDA.

Step 7: Training at NDA Selected candidates undergo a rigorous three-year training program at the National Defence Academy, where they receive training in military, academic, and physical aspects. After successful completion of the NDA training, they join the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Naval Academy (INA), or Air Force Academy (AFA) for specialized training in their chosen service.

It’s important to stay updated with the latest notifications and information from the UPSC and official websites for any changes in the application process or eligibility criteria.

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