NDA Exam Pattern

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the conducting body of the National Defence Academy Exam (NDA Exam). The exam pattern is designed to recruit the best candidates to serve as officers in the Indian Armed Forces.

This exam is conducted in two stages in a year. The first stage of the NDA Exam will be conducted on April 16, 2023 while the second stage will be conducted on September 3rd.

This article will give details about the exam pattern, which will be useful for the candidates when they attempt the NDA Exam in the above mentioned dates.

Candidates preparing for the other Defence Exams can find the following like useful

Exam Pattern for NDA 2023

The NDA Exam Pattern is divided into two stages:

  1. Written Examination
  2. SSB Interview (Service Selection Board)

The written exam in itself is further divided into the following:

  1. Mathematics
  2. GAT (General Ability Test)

The duration for both are 2 ½ hours long. The Mathematics marks is about 300  and the GAT is at 600 marks while the total marks for the SSB Interview is 900.

The General Ability Test is divided into two:

  1. English
  2. General Awareness and General Knowledge Test

The marks distribution for the GAT is as follows:

NDA General Ability Test Sections Maximum marks
Part A – English 200
Part B – General Awareness Physics 100
History, Freedom Movement, etc. 80
Geography 80
Chemistry 60
General Science 40
Current Events 40
Total 600

As per the marking scheme formulated by the UPSC, no marks are deducted if a question is left unanswered but there is a provision of negative marking for wrong answers.

The negative marking scheme is as follows:

NDA Exam Pattern  2023 – Negative Marking Scheme
Written Exams Marks for each correct answer Marks deducted for each incorrect answer
Mathematics 2.5 0.83
GAT 4 1.33

Pattern for NDA SSB Interview

Once the candidates pass the written exam, they will be eligible for the SSB interview. The pattern for the SSB interview is as follows

NDA – SSB Interview Pattern 2023

Stage 1 Screening Test
  1. Verbal and non-verbal tests.
  2. PPDT
Stage 2 Psychological Test
  1. Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
  2. Word Association Test (WAT)
  3. Situation Reaction Test (SRT)
  4. 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 & conference

Frequently Asked Question about NDA Exam Pattern


What is the pass mark in the NDA exam?

Candidates are required to score a minimum of around 25% marks in each subject to clear the NDA Written Examination. Candidates clearing the Written Exam will be called in for the SSB Interview.

How many papers are there in the NDA exam?

The NDA exam consists of 2 papers. Mathematics and General Ability. Total Marks: The Mathematics paper contains 300 marks while the General Ability test holds 600 marks. The written test will be of total 900 marks.

Find more links related to the NDA and other Defence Exams in the links given below:

Related Links
NDA Final Result NDA Salary
NDA eligibility criteria NDA admit card
UPSC CAPF Eligibility CAPF preparation
CAPF recruitment AFCAT Exam Dates



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