The abbreviation NDA stands for National Défense Academy. Every year, the NDA examination is conducted twice by UPSC. Established in the year 1954, the National Défense Academy aims to train young cadets to recruit candidates for different divisions of the military services. This includes the Army, Navy, or Air Force wings of NDA.
After completing class 12, candidates can join NDA after qualifying for the exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission.
The candidates aspiring to join NDA must be at least 16 years of age during the commencement of the NDA training. The maximum age limit is 18 years. Therefore, candidates over the age of 18 will not be eligible for the course.
Candidates aspiring to join the Army must have completed grade 12th or equivalent examination in any stream from a recognized board.
Candidates aspiring to join other forces except the Army must have completed 12th Class with Physics and Mathematics as core or additional subjects from a recognized board or university.
NDA Exam Pattern
The exam pattern for NDA is the same for all candidates irrespective of which forces they want to join. The NDA exam is divided into two stages, the written examination, and the interview. The interview is conducted by the SSB, i.e., the Service Selection Board. The written examination is in itself divided into two papers i.e., Mathematics and the General Ability Test.
The General Ability Test comprises two sections, i.e., English language and General Awareness, commonly called General Knowledge which consists of questions from Social Studies i.e., History, Geography, Politics, etc. It also consists of questions from general science and subjects like Physics and Chemistry.
The mathematics exam consists of 120 questions for 300 marks. In contrast, the GAT consists of 2 parts, English and GK Papers of 200 & 400 marks respectively with 150 questions.
The total duration of each paper is 2.5 hours.
NDA Interview Pattern
The NDA interview is also called the SSB interview and consists of 2 stages.
A.) The first stage is divided into 2 components, namely the Screening Test and the Psychological Test. The screening test consists of verbal and non-verbal reasoning. Non-verbal reasoning includes pictures, patterns, and diagrams, also called visual reasoning. The other part of the screening test is the PPDT which stands for Picture Perception and Discussion Test.
B.) The second stage consists of a Psychological Test which comprises the following 4 tests -:
- Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) – This is a type of test which is projective in nature and involves describing ambiguous pictures or scenes to assess one’s underlying emotions, motivations, and personality.
- Word Association Test (WAT) – In this test, a candidate will be randomly assigned 60 words, with each word on the screen for 15 seconds. In these 15 seconds, the candidate will have to come up with meaningful sentences.
- Situation Reaction Test (SRT) – As the name suggests, the candidate will be spontaneously given an unfamiliar and stressful situation. Marks will be given on the basis of the candidate’s reaction.
- Self-Description Test (SD) – In this type of test, a candidate will be asked to describe themselves with respect to their strengths and weaknesses as well as their surrounding environment.
After completing all the rounds, the candidate will have to take the Group Testing Officers Test which comprises the following -:
- GD – It stands for Group Discussion in which a group of 5 candidates will be formed. The invigilator is going to provide the group with 2 topics from which the group has to choose only 1. After this, the next topic provided won’t have any option to choose from.
- GPE – It stands for Group Planning Exercise in which the candidate will be made a group leader. The GTO will narrate a hypothetical story on the basis of which the leader will have to come up with the right course of action or plan depending upon the scenario. Here, the leadership and problem-solving skills of the candidates are tested.
- PGT – It stands for Progressive Group Task in which a group will be provided with obstacles as well as helping materials like rope, plank, wooden log, etc. The candidate along with the team will have to utilize the helping materials to get through the obstacles.
- HGT – It stands for Half Group Task and is similar to the Progressive Group Task. The only difference between both is that the half-group task consists of half the number of candidates with respect to the Progressive Group Task.
- IoT – It stands for Individual Obstacles Task in which the candidate will have to perform long jumps, zig-zag balance, and cross over other obstacles in the shortest amount of time.
- During the Command Task, candidates are given a scenario in which they should be the leader and take integral decisions without asking for permission from their subordinates. Here, the ability to make decisions and use logic along with how effectively one can handle pressure is tested.
- Snake race/Group Obstacle Race – Here, the candidate will carry weight. It is their responsibility to carry a load or weight on their back, cross obstacles coming their way, and reach their destination as quickly as possible.
- Individual lecture – In this, the candidate’s speech delivery and confidence will be tested. It is similar to an extempore in which a topic will be given and the candidate will have to speak on it for 3 minutes.
- FGT– It stands for Final Group Task, which is similar to the PGT, with some modifications regarding which parts and colours of the obstacles can and cannot be touched.
- After completing all the tasks, the candidates will have to proceed through the final stage which is the personal interview and the conference.