NDA Preparation 2023, Check How To Prepare for NDA With Top Tricks and Right Strategy

Safalta Expert Published by: Deepesh Mehra Updated Sat, 29 Jul 2023 09:57 PM IST


Check how to prepare for NDA Exam. Get a complete strategy to clear the NDA Exam.

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Lakhs of candidates appear for NDA/NA Exam every year. The level of competition is only increasing for a limited number of seats announced for NDA Exam. Candidates preparing for this exam must have a detailed strategy and schedule to prepare. You must know the selection process and NDA syllabus to understand the demand of the exam. Here in this article we have provided some important tips that you can follow to prepare for NDA Exam. Check our NDA 2023 Video Course to boost your preparation for NDA II 2023 Exam.
NDA GAT And Maths E-Book: Download Now

How To Prepare For NDA: Top Tricks

1. Know the NDA Exam syllabus and pattern:

While preparing for the NDA exam the first thing you need to do is make yourself acquainted with the NDA syllabus and NDA exam pattern.

Source: safalta.com

 For example,
  1. How many sections are there in the exam?
  2. Which section carries how many marks?
  3. What is the syllabus for each section?
  4. Time in which you need to finish the exam and much more.

NDA Exam Pattern 

There are two sections in NDA Written Exam- Mathematics and General Ability Test. The exam is conducted in offline mode.  The detailed exam pattern for NDA is as follows:
Subject Paper Total No. Of Questions Exam Duration Maximum Marks
Mathematics 1 120 2.5 Hours 300
General Ability Test 2 150 2.5 Hours 600
Total   270 5 Hours 900


Mathematics Paper:
  • Each right answer will fetch 4 marks, while for the wrong answer 1.33 marks shall be deducted.
  • The total time duration for this section is 2.5 hours.
Paper I- Mathematics
Total Marks 300 Marks
Total No. of Questions 120

The General Ability Test (GAT) comprises of the following subjects:
  • General English
  • General Knowledge
  • There are 50 questions in the English section.
  • While the GK section has 100 questions.
  • Each right answer will fetch 4 marks, while for the wrong answer 1.33 marks shall be deducted.
  • The time duration for the GAT Section is 2.5 hours.
The distribution of marks for these subjects is as follows:
Paper-II- General Ability Test
Total Marks 600 marks
Total No. of Questions 150
No. of questions in English Section 50
No. Of questions in General knowledge Section 100

This information will help you to plan your preparation schedule. You will get to know about the topics you are confident about and the topics you need to focus more on.

You can also find all this information about NDA on the official website of NDA. 

2. Make A Schedule:

  1. Prepare your study plan keeping in mind the number of days you are left with before appearing for the NDA paper.
  2. Divide topics into easy and difficult ones. Assign no of days to learn concepts and practice based on the difficulty level of topics.
  3. Also, set your weekly and monthly goals to keep a track of your performance and to make sure that you cover the entire NDA syllabus in time.
  4. Keep last few days for revision. Do not learn any new things in these days.

3. Keep your basics clear:

  1. Some of you must already be clear with basics if you had studied well in your 11th and 12th.  So, you can directly jump to solving previous year papers. If you face any issues, you can go back and revise those topics. This will be a time-saving approach.
  2. But for those, who are not confident about their basics, I would suggest you to follow the “Concept to Questions” approach. In this, you need to start building your concepts about topics relevant to the NDA syllabus rather than jumping to direct formulas and cramming them.
  3. Try to understand the Why and how of things. Once done with that, try solving some examples to understand the application of concepts you have learned so far. Once you feel your concepts are clear, try practicing yourself. Do not be afraid to solve questions! Solve as many as possible.
Get to know what are the Best Books for NDA

4. Make notes of important topics:

  1. Always maintain a separate notebook to note down important concepts and formulas. Go through it time and again until you have memorized them by heart.  You can also refer to this notebook for your last-minute revisions as well.
  2. Most of the questions in the exam are repeated and require a similar approach to be followed to get solved. Keep a note of such questions and tricks to solve them. This will help you save time on the final exam.

5. Mock tests and previous year question papers:

  1. Solve as many mock tests as possible. This will help you to analyze your progress, help you to identify your weaknesses, etc.  
  2. Time Management is the key to cracking the NDA exam. While solving previous year's papers try to note the time taken by you. It should be less than the maximum time allotted in the actual exam.  Improve your question-solving speed. 
  3. Moreover, you will also get an idea of the level of questions that come in the exam. Practice makes perfect. Hence, solve different questions related to similar topics.
 Join Now- NDA Free Mock Test Series for best questions and test your preparation.

6. Bouncer Questions:

  1. Most of NDA applicants are not able to pass the exam despite their knowledge. It is because they waste a lot of time trying to solve bouncer questions and are hence left with very little or no time to solve other questions.
  2. Bouncer Questions are the ones that require more time to think on the concept involved in the question rather than solving the question. 
  3. So, the trick here is that if any question takes more than2 minutes to solve leave it! Solve other questions and if you are left with some extra time at the end of the paper then go for such questions.

7. Improve your General Knowledge:

Read newspapers, articles, journals, etc to keep yourself updated on current affairs. This will also help you to improve your English which in turn will not only help you to clear exam but also your Service Selection Board interview.

8. Revise:

Revision is very important. Do not waste time studying unnecessary topics because this may lead you to forget what you have learned earlier. A few weeks before the examination, just revise whatever you have learned so that you do not forget those concepts in the final NDA exam.

9. Be Consistent and stay focused:

There may be times when you might feel bored or think that you cannot make it. Do not panic in such situations. It is the time when most candidates go out of the race. 
Be consistent in your studies and believe in yourself. Avoid negative people and always stay motivated.

10. Exam day:

On the day of your test, be calm! Peace of mind is very important. Don’t worry if you are not able to solve any questions. Without wasting time move to the next one. Solve questions you have strong command on first. Keep a track of time while solving questions so that you are able to finish exams well in time.

You can also join our course for NDA coaching and to get access to a wide range of relevant study material, mock tests, and previous year question papers. Under this course, you will get the opportunity to be taught by the best faculty having years of experience in training students appearing for government exams.

Get To know:

How To Prepare For NDA - Subject Wise Strategy 

How To Prepare For NDA- Maths 

In the recent NDA II Paper 2021, the maths paper was the most difficult section. Hence, how to prepare Maths for the NDA examination is must be clear to candidates.
  1. Knowing the syllabus and understanding every word of it is essential.
  2. The next important step is to go through the previous year's questions.
  3. It is important that candidates must choose a good book for the Mathematics section of NDA. 
  4.  Candidates should take brief notes of all the important formulas and tricks and review them on a frequent basis. 
  5. Practise is essential to perform well in the examination.

Best Books for Maths 

Name of Book Author & Publication Remarks
National Defence Academy and Naval Academy R S Aggarwal This book will help you in your Mathematics Preparation to get a high score on a maths paper.

How To Prepare For NDA- English 

1- Strengthen your Grammar

One of the most basic and generalized but important tips for the NDA exam is to strengthen your grammar. Major parts of the questions are the grammar only. There are many books available specifically for this purpose that may help you with it. Just practice and get familiarised with the basics.

2- Read, Read and READ!

No other way to emphasize this point. Comprehension is the easiest part of the English section of the NDA exam and practising your reading abilities will not only help you with solving comprehension a lot faster but also help you with vocabulary and new phrases.

3- Schedule your study plan

This is a very generalised plan (yet again) but to crack exams like NDA, one needs to schedule their study plans to not complete the syllabus but also to give extra time to the weaker portions.
To know Daily Routine of NDA Cadet: Click Here

Best Books For English 

Name of Book

Author & Publication


Objective General English

S. P. Bakshi
(Arihant Publication)

This book is very good to prepare for the English section for the NDA exam. Detailed notes, proper examples, and exercises will help you better understand this section's topics.

Wren & Martin’s High School English Grammar & Composition

S. Chand

This book will help you to understand the basic grammar rules, exceptions, and applications that are quite effective.

Word Power Made Easy

Norman Lewis
(Goyal Publishers)

For all students who are struggling with vocabulary, this book is effective.


4- Give a LOT of mock tests

There are a lot of mock tests available for the NDA exam, especially for the English sub-section. One needs practice and smart thinking abilities to get adhere to the pattern. Try to give as many tests as possible to set your goals right.  

How To Prepare GK For NDA

The simplified tips on of how to prepare GK for NDA and CDS examination is as follows:

  1. Know the syllabus and exam pattern well in advance.

  2. Sort out resources and most essential books for the examination.

  3. Do an analysis of the previous year's paper and most asked topics.

  4. Follow standard text and resources and rely on the most known books.

  5. Get your concepts clear for Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

  6. Master grammar for English and practice comprehension.

Best Books For GK 



Best Books 


Class 9 and 10 

Lucent GK 


Class 9 and 10

Lucent GK


Class 9 and 10

Lucent GK

History, Freedom Movement, etc.

NCERT by Satish Chandra
If not available candidates may follow books of Tamil Nadu Board 

Lucent GK 
Path finder by Arihant Publication


NCERT - Constitution at Work 

Candidates preparing for CDS can go through M. Laxmikant 
Lucent GK - Factual Aspects 


NCERT - Macro- Economics - Class 12th 



NCERT - 9 To 12 

Lucent GK For facts
Pathfinder if time premits 

Current Events

Reading Daily newspaper - preferably The Hindu or The Indian Express.

Our Coverage of Currents Affairs in form Of Monthly Magzine.

Get all the details here How To Prepare GK For NDA And CDS: Get Expert Tips Here!


Read More

General Studies/Knowledge: Time to be devoted daily- 2 hours to 2.5 hours 

The daily schedule of candidates must have time for the GS section. They should look to work on mistakes that they have made in the previously given mock tests. Revise the NCERTs and also refer to the explanation of answers to questions in the mock test. Special focus must be given to science sections NCERTS from class 9 and 10 are very helpful in this exam. Candidates must glance through the factual information given in these books.

Math: Time to be devoted daily- 3 to 4 Hours 

A lot of time during these last 30 days must be invested in Math sections. This section has a very high return and candidates score well here as compared to the GS Section of the NDA Examination. Candidates must revise the most important topics, most important questions and focus on the previous year's questions as well.

UPSC often repeats questions which might save time in the examinations for those who are well versed with previous year's questions. The most important topics that candidates must focus on are - Trigonometry, Algebra, and Calculus.

English: Time to be devoted daily- 2 hours

Focus on solving Previous Year questions and revising rules and tricks.

Candidates must have a plan of action ready. They need to make sure that each day and each week of these last 30 days is accounted for

Also Read :

How To Prepare For SSC CGL  How to prepare English for UGC NET
Best Books For SSC CGL: Get Complete List Here! NDA vs CDS: Know difference between CDS and NDA here

Is NDA Exam tough?

No, NDA Exam is not tough provided you have prepared well for the exam.

Is there negative marking in NDA Exam?

Yes, there is negative marking in NDA Exam. 1.33 marks are deducted for each incorrect answer.

Are female candidates eligible to appear for NDA Exam?

Yes, female candidates are eligible to appear for NDA Exam.

Is 320 a good score in NDA Exam?

Yes, 320 is a good score in NDA Exam. NDA cut off lies between 300-350 marks.

Is NDA Exam conducted online?

No, NDA Exam is conducted offline.

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