Candidates must prepare for the UPSC NDA exam, as the selection process requires two phases. Written exams and an interview by the Examination Committee.  Both stages are further divided into two stages. 

This article will help you to understand the UPSC NDA exam pattern 2021 in detail.  

Separation of grades, topics, and tests performed during the selection round.  With the help of this article, candidates can plan the curriculum accordingly. 

In this article, the latest NDA Exam Pattern and Syllabus will be mentioned. For more information on the 2021 UPSC NDA test pattern, please read:

The total duration of the test GAT: 2 ½ hours

Mathematics: 2 ½ hours

Total number of questions asked GAT: 150

Mathematics: 120

Time of the Exam GAT: 10 am to 12.30 pm

Mathematics: 2 pm to 4.30 pm

The language used in the exam English and Hindi
Total number of papers GAT and Mathematics
Total marks for the exam Written Exam: 900 (600 for GAT and 300 for Mathematics)

SSB Interview: 900

Mode of the Exam Offline

NDA Exam: Syllabus

The NDA selection process has two phases. Written exam and SSB exam/interview. The written test has 900 points and consists of two subjects: mathematics and general grade test. Read the full curriculum of both subjects.

UPSC NDA Mathematics Syllabus
Chapters Topics
Analytical Geometry of Two & Three Dimensions
  • Rectangular Cartesian Coordinate system. 
  • Distance formula. 
  • Equation of a line in various forms. 
  • The angle between the two lines. 
  • The distance of a point from a line.
  • Equation of a circle in standard and a general form. 
  • Standard forms of parabola, ellipse, and hyperbola. 
  • Eccentricity and axis of a conic. 
  • A point in a three-dimensional space, the distance between two points. Direction Cosines and direction ratios. 
  • Equation two points. Direction Cosines and direction ratios.
  • Equation of a plane and a line in various forms. 
  • The angle between two lines and the angle between two planes. Equation of a sphere.
  • Concept of set, operations on sets.
  • Venn diagrams.
  • De Morgan laws, Cartesian product, relation, equivalence relation. Representation of real numbers on a line. 
  • Complex numbers—basic properties, modulus, argument, cube roots of unity. Binary system of numbers.
  • Conversion of a number in the decimal system to binary system and vice-versa.
  • Arithmetic, 19 Geometric and Harmonic progressions. 
  • Quadratic equations with real coefficients. The solution of linear inequalities of two variables by graphs. 
  • Permutation and Combination.
  • Binomial theorem and its applications. Logarithms and their applications.
  • Angles and their measures in degrees and radians. 
  • Trigonometric ratios. 
  • Trigonometric identities Sum and difference formulae. Multiple and Sub-multiple angles. 
  • Inverse trigonometric functions.
  •  Applications-Height and distance, properties of triangles.
Matrices & Determinants
  • Types of matrices, operations on matrices. 
  • The determinant of a matrix, basic properties of determinants. 
  • Adjoint and inverse of a square matrix, Applications-Solution of a system of linear equations in two or three unknowns by Cramer’s rule and Matrix Method.


UPSC NDA General Ability Test Syllabus
Part Topics
English The question paper in English will be designed to test the candidate’s understanding of English and workman-like use of words. The syllabus covers various aspects like Grammar and usage, vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, and cohesion in extended text to test the candidate’s proficiency in English.
Physics (Section A)
  • Physical Properties and States of Matter, Mass, Weight, Volume, Density, and Specific Gravity, Principle of Archimedes, Pressure Barometer. 
  • The motion of objects, Velocity and Acceleration, Newton’s Laws of Motion, Force and Momentum, Parallelogram of Forces, Stability and Equilibrium of bodies, Gravitation, elementary ideas of work, Power and Energy. 
  • Effects of Heat, Measurement of Temperature and Heat, change of State and Latent Heat, Modes of transference of Heat. 
  • Sound waves and their properties, Simple musical instruments. Rectilinear propagation of Light, Reflection, and refraction. 
  • Spherical mirrors and Lenses, Human Eye. Natural and Artificial Magnets, Properties of a Magnet, Earth as a Magnet. 
  • Static and Current Electricity, conductors and Nonconductors, Ohm’s Law, Simple Electrical Circuits, Heating, Lighting and Magnetic effects of Current, Measurement of Electrical Power, Primary and Secondary Cells, Use of X-Rays. General Principles in the working of the following: Simple Pendulum, Simple Pulleys, Siphon, Levers, Balloon, Pumps, Hydrometer, Pressure Cooker, Thermos Flask, Gramophone, Telegraphs, Telephone, Periscope, Telescope, Microscope, Mariner’s Compass; Lightning Conductors, Safety Fuses.
Chemistry (Section B)
  • Physical and Chemical changes. Elements, Mixtures and Compounds, Symbols, Formulae and simple Chemical Equations, Law of Chemical Combination (excluding problems). Properties of Air and Water. 
  • Preparation and Properties of Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen and Carbon dioxide, Oxidation and Reduction. Acids, bases, and salts. 
  • Carbon—different forms. 
  • Fertilizers—Natural and Artificial. 
  • The material is used to prepare substances like Soap, Glass, Ink, Paper, Cement, Paints, Safety Matches, and GunPowder. 
  • Elementary ideas about the structure of Atom, Atomic Equivalent and Molecular Weights, Valency
General Science (Section C)
  • Difference between the living and nonliving. Basis of Life—Cells, Protoplasms, and Tissues. 
  • Growth and Reproduction in Plants and Animals. Elementary knowledge of the Human Body and its vital organs. 
  • Common Epidemics, their causes, and prevention. 
  • Food—Source of Energy for man. Constituents of food, Balanced Diet. 
  • The Solar System—Meteors and Comets, Eclipses. Achievements of Eminent Scientists


NDA Exam: Marks Distribution

The dissertation consists of only objective questions. The questionnaire consists of two subjects: mathematics and general proficiency test. A typical proficiency test consists of two parts. NS. English and general knowledge. 

The “General Knowledge” section covers the current situation, history, and general science. This part also consists of five different sections. The duration of each work is 2.5 hours. The maximum score is 300 and 600, respectively.

In summary, the UPSC NDA exam template for written exams is shown in the table below. One-third of marks will be deducted for each wrong answer.

Sr. No. Subjects Duration Maximum Marks
1 Mathematics 2.5 hours 300
2 General Ability Test 2.5 hours 600


NDA Exam: Interview

Candidates who have a cut-off grade for the written exam will be invited to the SSB interview round. To prepare better, candidates should review NDA preparation tips. Candidates for an SSB interview will be evaluated for potential executive officers. 

Candidates applying to the Air Force must apply to the computerized pilot selection system CPSS &  get a qualification. 

  • The SSB interview round consists of two tests: a psychological aptitude test and an intelligence test. 
  •  Qualified applicants will be presented to the selection centre for the exam on the first day of reporting. 
  • For the rest of the exams, only candidates with Level 1 qualifications will be called.
Days Events
Day 1 Picture Perception* test and Description Test
Day 2 Psychology Tests
Day 3 Group Testing Officer’s Task
Day 4 Interview
Day 5 Conference


NDA Exam: Interview Tips

The application process is carried out to maximize the pool of Army, Navy, and Air Force candidates. The interview will be conducted in two stages. Applicants must qualify for both phases of the interview for final selection. 

The governing body evaluated the candidate’s skills and put them on the candidate list based on their interview performance. Check out the tips below to crack an NDA SSB interview:

Practice and Test wise preparation: You can also download study materials online in preparation for the interview. Candidates should be familiar with each test/phase of the interview. 

In-depth knowledge of a particular topic: The SSB interview focuses on several well-known topics such as India, Indian politics, and the Indian army. Detailed knowledge of these topics is an advantage for applicants coming to the introductory round.

Be careful about climate and practice time management:  Interviews may take place in extreme climates. Candidates need to know the climatic conditions and practice accordingly.

Improving Language Skills: Confidence helps candidates perform face-to-face interviews, group discussions, group assignments, and more.

Current Affairs: Good general knowledge and current knowledge will help applicants in personal referral rounds.


We hope you now have a clear idea regarding the NDA Exam, its syllabus and pattern. Study meticulously and follow the tips and tricks to ace the exam.

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