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NDA 2020 Exam Guide: Pattern, Syllabus, Result & Cut Off

Updated on 13 October 2020
6 min read 3 views
Updated on 13 October 2020

If you want to join the defence forces of India, the NDA Exam is a entry-gate to the same. It is held twice a year by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Candidates, after selection, are trained at National Defence Academy or Naval Academy for 3 or 4 years, respectively. Here we will cover the complete NDA 2020 Exam guide.

NDA Exam Date 2020:

The initial events for the NDA exam 2020 were conducted successfully. However, the final dates for exams are yet to be released due to the corona pandemic. The table below consist of all the important dates.



NDA 1 2020 Notification Release Date

8th January 2020

NDA 1 2020 Application Start Date

8th January 2020

NDA 1 Exam Date 2020

19th April 2020 (Postponed)

NDA 2 Exam Date 2020

6th September 2020 (tentatively)

NDA 2020 Eligibility Criteria:

The eligibility criteria for NDA exam can be divided into nationality, age, educational qualification, marital status, gender and physical fitness. Following are details of each criteria:


Candidates need to be one of the following:

1) A citizen of India

2) A subject of Nepal

3) A subject of Bhutan

4) A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before January 1, 1962, with the intention to settle in India permanently.

5) A person originally Indian who have migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention to settle in India permanently.


Candidate should be born between 2nd July 2001 and 1st July 2004.

Educational Qualifications:


Educational Qualification

For Army wing of NDA

12th Class pass or equivalent exam 

For Air Force and Naval wings of NDA and 10+2 Cadet entry scheme at INA

12th Class pass or equivalent, with Physics and Mathematics.

Physical Fitness:

The candidate must be physically fit as per standards defined.

Marital Status and Gender:

Only unmarried males can apply for NDA.

Total Vacancies:

Vacancy as per notification for NDA Exam 2020 is as follows: 



National Defence Academy (Indian Army)


National Defence Academy (Indian Navy)


National Defence Academy (Indian Air Force)


Indian Naval Academy Course




NDA 2020 Application Process:

Candidates have to follow a simple process to apply for the online NDA examination:

  1. Visit the official website www.upsconline.nic.in
  2. Check the latest NDA notification, read all instructions and press “Yes
  3. Register for the exam by filling Part I of the NDA application form 2020.
  4. Upload your scanned photo along with your scanned signature in Part II of NDA application form 2020.
  5. If applicable to you, submit the application fees. The fees for general and OBC candidates is Rs. 100/-, while SCs, STs, and sons of JCOs, NCOs, ORs are exempt from the fees.

NDA 2020 Admit Card:

Admit card for the NDA exam is released three weeks before the exam. The admit card for this year is yet to be released. Please wait for the notification for the same. Once released, kindly download and print the same.

Salary Structure:

During training, trainees get a stipend of Rs. 21000, and after joining the forces, the starting salary is around Rs. 55000 to Rs. 56000. The salary increases with increase in rank successively.

Selection Process:

The selection process for NDA takes place is three stages i.e. three tired process, consisting of a pen and paper test (written exam), an SSB Interview, followed up by a medical examination.

NDA 2020 Syllabus 2020:

Syllabus for the written exam is as follows:

Paper I: Mathematics

  1. Algebra
  2. Matrices & Determinants
  3. Trigonometry
  4. Geometry of 2 & 3 dimensions
  5. Differential Calculus
  6. Integral Calculus
  7. Vector Algebra
  8. Statistics & Probability

Paper II:

  1. English
  2. General Knowledge - 400 Marks

1. Physics

2. Chemistry

3. General Science

4. History Freedom Movement

5. Geography

6. Current Events

Detailed syllabus is provided in annexure I.

NDA 2020 Exam Pattern:

The NDA 2020 Exam pattern is given below.

Written Exam:

The written exam consists of 2 papers, containing 3 sections in total. Both exams are 2.5 hours in duration each and are conducted in offline mode. The total marks for the written exam are 900.




Paper I: Mathematics (300 Marks)

2.5 hours

300 marks

Paper-II: General Mental Ability (600 Marks)

Section 1: English

Section 2: General Knowledge (GK)

2.5 hours

600 marks ( English- 200 marks, GK- 400 marks)

Under GK, following is the weightage for various topics:

1. Physics: 25% weightage

2. Chemistry: 15% weightage

3. General Science: 10% weightage

4. History Freedom Movement: 20% weightage

5. Geography: 20% weightage

6. Current Events: 10% weightage

SSB Interview:

SSB interview is for 900 marks. It contains the following components: 



Stage 1 

Screening Test

Verbal and non-verbal tests.


Stage 2

Psychological Test

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

Word Association Test (WAT)

Situation Reaction Test (SRT)

Self Description Test (SD)

Group Testing Officers Test

  1. GD
  2. GPE
  3. PGT
  4. HGT
  5. IOT
  6. Command Task
  7. Snake race/Group Obstacle Race
  8. Individual lecture
  9. FGT

Personal Interview




NDA 2020 Cut Off:

Cut off for written examination for past NDA exam have been: 

NDA Exam

Cut off for written exam

NDA 1 2018

338 (With at least 25% marks in each subject)

NDA 2 2018

325 (With at least 25% marks in each subject)

NDA 1 2017

342 (With at least 25% marks in each subject)

NDA 2 2017

258 (With at least 25% marks in each subject)

NDA 1 2016

288 (With at least 25% marks in each Subject)

NDA 2 2016

229 (With at least 20% marks in each subject)

Cut off for final selection in past NDA exams have been: 


NDA Exam

Cut off for final selection

NDA 1 2018


NDA 2 2018


NDA 1 2017


NDA 2 2017


NDA 1 2016


NDA 2 2016



Annexure I: Refer to the complete NDA 2020 Exam Syllabus below.

Paper-1: Mathematics (300 Marks)






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, Geometric and Harmonic progressions. Quadratic equations with real coefficients. Solution of linear inequations of two variables by graphs. Permutation and Combination. Binomial theorem and its applications. Logarithms and their applications.


Matrices and Determinants

Types of matrices, operations on matrices. 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 by Matrix Method.



Angles and their measures in degrees and in radians. Trigonometric ratios. Trigonometric identities Sum and difference formulae. Multiple and Sub-multiple angles. Inverse trigonometric functions. Applications-Height and distance, properties of triangles.


Analytical Geometry Of Two and Three Dimensions

Rectangular Cartesian Coordinate system. Distance formula. Equation of a line in various forms. Angle between two lines. Distance of a point from a line. Equation of a circle in standard and in general form. Standard forms of parabola, ellipse and hyperbola. Eccentricity and axis of a conic. Point in a three dimensional space, 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. Angle between two lines and angle between two planes. Equation of a sphere.


Differential Calculus

Concept of a real valued function–domain, range and graph of a function. Composite functions, one to one, onto and inverse functions. Notion of limit, Standard limits—examples. Continuity of functions - examples, algebraic operations on continuous functions. Derivative of function at a point, geometrical and physical interpretation of a derivative-application. Derivatives of sum, product and quotient of functions, derivative of a function with respect to another function, derivative of a composite function. Second order derivatives. Increasing and decreasing functions. Application of derivatives in problems of maxima and minima


Integral Calculus and Differential Equations

Integration as inverse of differentiation, integration by substitution and by parts, standard integrals involving algebraic expressions, trigonometric, exponential and hyperbolic functions. Evaluation of definite integrals—determination of areas of plane regions bounded by curves—applications.

Definition of order and degree of a differential equation, formation of a differential equation by examples. General and particular solution of differential equations, solution of first order and first degree differential equations of various types—examples. Application in problems of growth and decay.


Vector Algebra

Vectors in two and three dimensions, magnitude and direction of a vector. Unit and null vectors, addition of vectors, scalar multiplication of a vector, scalar product or dot product of two vectors. Vector product or cross product of two vectors. Applications—work done by a force and moment of a force and in geometrical problems.


Statistics and Probability

Statistics: Classification of data, Frequency distribution, cumulative frequency distribution - examples. Graphical representation - Histogram, Pie Chart, frequency polygon—examples. Measures of Central tendency—Mean, median and mode. Variance and standard deviation determination and comparison. Correlation and regression.

Probability: Random experiment, outcomes and associated sample space, events, mutually exclusive and exhaustive events, impossible and certain events. Union and Intersection of events. Complementary, elementary and composite events. Definition of probability—classical and statistical—examples. Elementary theorems on probability—simple problems. Conditional probability, Bayes’ theorem—simple problems. Random variable as function on a sample space. Binomial distribution, examples of random experiments giving rise to Binomial distribution.

Paper-2: General Ability Test (600 Marks)




Section A

(200 Marks)


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, comprehension and cohesion in extended text to test the candidate’s proficiency in English.

Section B

(400 Marks)

General Knowledge(GK)

The question paper on General Knowledge will broadly cover the subjects: Physics, Chemistry, General Science, Social Studies, Geography and Current Events.

- The syllabus given below is designed to indicate the scope of these subjects included in this paper. The topics mentioned are not to be regarded as exhaustive and questions on topics of similar nature not specifically mentioned in the syllabus may also be asked. Candidate’s answers are expected to show their knowledge and intelligent understanding of the subject.

Part B

(100 Marks out of 400 Marks)

Section ‘A’ of GK (Physics)

Physical Properties and States of Matter, Mass, Weight, Volume,

Density and Specific Gravity, Principle of Archimedes, Pressure Barometer.

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


Static and Current Electricity, conductors and Non-conductors,

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

Part B

(60 Marks out of 400 Marks)

Section ‘B’ (Chemistry)

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. Material used in the preparation of substances like Soap, Glass, Ink, Paper, Cement, Paints, Safety Matches and Gun-Powder. Elementary ideas about the structure of Atom, Atomic Equivalent and Molecular Weights, Valency.

Part B

(40 Marks out of 400 Marks)

Section ‘C’ (General Science)

Difference between the living and nonliving. Basis of Life—Cells,

Protoplasms and Tissues. Growth and Reproduction in Plants and


Elementary knowledge of Human Body and its important 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


Part B

(80 Marks out of 400 Marks)

Section ‘D’ (History, Freedom Movement etc.)

A broad survey of Indian History, with emphasis on Culture and

Civilisation. Freedom Movement in India. Elementary study of Indian Constitution and Administration. Elementary knowledge of Five Year Plans of India. Panchayati Raj, Co-operatives and Community Development. Bhoodan, Sarvodaya, National Integration and Welfare State, Basic Teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.

Forces shaping the modern world; Renaissance, Exploration and Discovery; War of American Independence. French Revolution, Industrial Revolution and Russian Revolution. Impact of Science and Technology on Society. Concept of one World, United Nations, Panchsheel, Democracy, Socialism and Communism. Role of India in the present world.

Part B

(80 Marks out of 400 Marks)

Section ‘E’ (Geography)

The Earth, its shape and size. Latitudes and Longitudes, Concept of time. International Date Line. Movements of Earth and their effects.

Origin of Earth. Rocks and their classification; Weathering-Mechanical and Chemical, Earthquakes and Volcanoes. Ocean Currents and Tides Atmosphere and its composition; Temperature and Atmospheric Pressure, Planetary Winds, Cyclones and Anticyclones; Humidity; Condensation and Precipitation; Types of Climate, Major Natural regions of the World. Regional Geography of India—Climate, Natural vegetation. Mineral and Power resources; location and distribution of agricultural and Industrial activities. Important Sea ports and main sea, land and air routes of India. Main items of Imports and Exports of India.

Part B

(40 Marks out of 400 Marks)

Section ‘F’ (Current Events)

Knowledge of Important events that have happened in India in the recent years. Current important world events. Prominent personalities—both Indian and International including those connected with cultural activities and sports.

This was the complete NDA 2020 exam guide that one should know. Candidates should follow a good preparation strategy and tips to clear the NDA Exam. Good luck to all the aspirants!

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