What Next? How to Join NDA After 12th (Commerce, Arts, Science)?

What Next? How to Join NDA After 12th (Commerce, Arts, Science)?

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The National Defense Academy (NDA) is a highly esteemed institution in India and serves as the joint services academy of the Indian Armed Forces. If you have completed your 12th in Commerce, Arts, or Science, you have the opportunity to join the NDA. The NDA offers various courses and opportunities for students from these streams, making it a sought-after career option in India. By joining the NDA, you can serve the nation and become a part of the defense forces. To join the NDA, aspirants need to meet specific eligibility criteria and clear various tests conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

The National Defense Academy (NDA) Exam

The National Defense Academy (NDA) exam is one of India’s most popular and competitive exams. Conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), it serves as a direct entry point for Indian male candidates into the Indian Defense Forces. It is a highly competitive examination that many 10+2 students aspire to take in order to serve the country as future army officers.

Things to Know Before Joining NDA

Candidates aspiring to join the prestigious armed forces through the National Defense Academy should start preparing for the exam as early as possible. Waiting until your Class 12 examinations are finished is not advisable. Beginning your preparation early will give you an advantage over your competitors and improve your chances of selection. Therefore, students who are appearing for their Class 12 exams and plan to join the NDA should start their preparation as soon as possible, preferably at the beginning of the 12th grade. The first and most crucial step in preparing for the NDA exam is to thoroughly understand the exam structure, curriculum, and eligibility requirements. This will help candidates gain a better understanding of the test and provide guidance for their preparation. Below, you will find essential details about the NDA.

NDA Preparation Alongside 12th Board Examinations

Balancing NDA preparation with the 12th board exams can be challenging, but it is achievable with proper time management and organization. The following advice can be helpful: Establish a schedule and study plan that allows enough time for both NDA and 12th board exam preparation. Prioritize your studies and focus on your 12th board exams since they are crucial when applying for the NDA exams. Both aspects need to be balanced.

Not an Engineer? No Problem! How to Join the NDA After 12th (Commerce, Arts, Science)?

Joining the NDA after 12th grade is an excellent way to serve the nation and build a successful career. It presents young students with a prestigious opportunity to join the National Defense Academy (NDA). By becoming a part of the NDA, cadets have the chance to serve their nation while also gaining invaluable skills and experiences that will contribute to their future success in life.

Also Read: What Next? Best Course After 10th Class – Arts, Science or Commerce?

Guide to Help You Join the NDA After 12th

Eligibility Criteria: To join the NDA, you need to meet certain eligibility criteria. The eligibility criteria for joining the NDA are as follows:

  • You must be an Indian citizen. If not, you must have a certificate of eligibility issued by the Indian government, except for Gorkha candidates from Nepal.
  • Your age should be between 16.5 and 19.5 years on the date of registration. However, the upper age limit varies depending on the branch you are applying for: Army wing – 19 years, Navy wing – 19 1⁄2 years, Air Force Wing – 20 years.
  • You must have completed your 10th and 12th in Commerce, Arts, or Science from a recognized university.
  • Students in their final year of 12th standard can also be considered eligible for the NDA exam, provided they can submit proof of passing the exam by the last date of application.
  • Physics and mathematics must be compulsory subjects for you.
  • You must have a minimum of 60% marks in your 12th.
  • You should hold a valid Indian passport.
  • You must be physically and mentally fit according to the standards set by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission).
  • Only unmarried male and female candidates can apply for the exam as per NDA eligibility. Candidates should not marry until they complete their training. If a candidate marries during the training, they will be discharged and will have to refund all expenditures incurred by the government.
  • Candidates must ensure that any permanent body tattoos are only accepted on the inner side of the forearm and not on any other part of the body, except in special cases like tribes where it is customary to have a tattoo. Acceptance will be granted considering the traditions involved.
  • Since 2021, female candidates are also eligible for admission to the National Defence Academy (NDA).

Application Process: Once you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply for the NDA exam. The NDA application form is released online by UPSC. The application fee is INR 100 for General/OBC candidates, while SC/ST/Sons of JCOs, NCOs, and ORs are exempted from paying any fees. The application process for the NDA exam is as follows:

  • Visit the official website of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
  • Register for the exam by entering the required details
  • Choose your preferred branch
  • Verify the details
  • Generate the registration ID
  • Select the exam center
  • Fill in the application form and submit it along with the required documents, including:
  1. Matriculation pass certificate or an equivalent document to support your date of birth
  2. Original 10+2 pass certificate or equivalent document as proof of educational qualification
  • Upload the scanned images of your photograph and signature
  • Pay the application fee
  • Submit the application form
  • Take a printout of the application form for future reference

Entrance Exam Preparation Tips

Start your preparation early as the competition level is very high. Focus more on Mathematics as it carries maximum weightage. Regularly practice previous year’s papers to understand the exam patterns well. Read newspapers daily to keep yourself updated about current affairs happening around the world.


The NDA written examination consists of two papers – Mathematics and General Ability Test (GAT). The exam is conducted offline and is available in two languages: English and Hindi. The duration of the exam is 5 hours. Candidates who qualify in the written examination are called for the SSB interview, which includes a series of psychological, group testing, and personal interview tests.

Exam Pattern

The UPSC conducts the NDA exam twice a year. The exam consists of two papers – Mathematics and General Ability Test (GAT). The Mathematics paper is worth 300 marks, and the GAT paper is worth 600 marks. The duration of the exam is two and a half hours.

NDA exam: Subjects and Marks

General Ability Test (Section 1: English)                     200

General Ability Test (Section 1: General Knowledge) 400

Mathematics                                                                300

Total marks                                                                  900

SSB interview                                                              900

Grand total                                                                  1800

Exam Attempt Limitations

There is no limit on the number of attempts for the NDA exam. The exam is open to applicants who fall within the specified age range. Candidates must be between the ages of 16 and 19.

Selection Process

Written Exam for NDA: To join NDA after the 12th, candidates have to appear for the written tests conducted twice every year by UPSC – once during the April-May session and second during the October-November session. There are no passing marks in the NDA exam; however, candidates must score above the cut-off marks. 

Physical Fitness Test (PFT): If you qualify for the written exam, you need to clear the PFT that tests your physical ability and endurance. Medical Examination: After passing the PFT, you will undergo a thorough medical examination to check your medical fitness. Some medical standards include:

  • Good physical and mental health, free from any conditions that could impede military training.
  • Minimum height requirement of at least 157 cm (162.5 cm for the Air Force).
  • Chest measurements of less than 81 cm, with a minimum range of expansion of 5 cm after full inspiration.
  • Vision standards include myopia not greater than -2.5D (including astigmatism) and astigmatism plus evident hypermetropia not exceeding +3.5D. The color vision standard will be CP-III (Defective Safe). 

Also Read: Education in crisis: Exam cancellations leave students uncertain about their future

Interview: This is the final stage of the selection process. Based on the marks obtained in the written test, a merit list is created, and only those candidates are selected for the SSB interview. The SSB Interview includes Psychological Aptitude Test & Group Tests, along with a personal interview round , before the final selection is made into respective wings (Army Wing/Air Force Wing/Naval Wing, etc.) through the NDA exam. There are 395 seats available for the intake of new candidates in the year 2023. Training: Once you have cleared the NDA exam, you will be called for a training program. The training program is divided into three phases – Basic Military Training, Pre-Commission Training, and Commissioning Training. The duration of the training program is three years.


Candidates who complete the NDA training will be commissioned as Lieutenants and receive a monthly salary ranging from INR 56,100 to INR 1,77,500. During the training period, they will receive a stipend of Rs. 15,600.

Ineligibility for the UPSC NDA 2023 exam

Candidates will be ineligible to take the UPSC NDA exam if they do not meet the NDA eligibility criteria for the following reasons:

  • Married candidates are not permitted to take the exam
  • Candidates who quit their jobs for disciplinary reasons during training are ineligible
  • Candidates who failed the PABT/CPSS examination are ineligible
  • Candidates in Class 11 who have been disqualified by the Defense Ministry are not eligible
  • Candidates who have previously failed the INSB or PABT will not be considered

How Joining the NDA After 12th Can Shape Your Future

Are you dreaming of a purposeful, disciplined, and adventurous career? Consider the National Defence Academy (NDA) after your 12th standard. As India’s first tri-service academy, NDA grooms young minds to become future officers in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Choosing the NDA path shapes your future in remarkable ways:

  1. World-Class Education & Rigorous Training:
  • Immerse yourself in a top-notch academic curriculum that equips you for success in various disciplines.
  • Undergo rigorous military training that builds exceptional physical fitness, mental toughness, and combat skills.
  • Develop leadership qualities through practical exercises and theoretical lessons, preparing you to command and inspire others.
  1. Skills for Life:
  • The NDA experience goes beyond just military expertise. You’ll hone a strong work ethic, instilling discipline that translates to excellence in all aspects of life.
  • Learn to thrive in high-pressure situations, developing quick thinking and problem-solving skills that benefit you throughout your career.
  • Sharpen your strategic thinking through wargames, simulations, and tactical planning exercises.
  1. Lifelong Camaraderie & Patriotism:
  • Forge lifelong bonds with fellow cadets from diverse backgrounds, fostering an unwavering sense of camaraderie.
  • Develop a deep sense of patriotism and dedication to serving the nation with honour and integrity.

If you’re an individual from India eager to dedicate yourself to the country, seeking excitement and striving for success. In that case, the National Defence Academy (NDA) can be a remarkable platform for your journey ahead. While it may present challenges, embarking on this path ensures a career, significant personal development, and the deep gratification of playing a role in safeguarding our nation.

NDA: Where Education Meets Adventure

Ever dreamt of defending our nation’s honour while pushing your limits on a daily basis? The National Defence Academy (NDA) offers an experience unlike any other in India. Forget the stereotypical classroom setting. Here, you’ll delve into challenging academic subjects like physics, mathematics, and military history, all while embarking on thrilling adventures. Imagine mastering battlefield tactics in the morning and then rappelling down mountains in the afternoon or honing your leadership skills on obstacle courses that test your physical and mental grit. NDA isn’t just about memorizing facts and figures; it’s about applying them in real-world scenarios, building resilience, and fostering a spirit of camaraderie. It’s about transforming you from a student into a well-rounded, courageous leader capable of taking charge in any situation. So, if you crave a life beyond textbooks, where intellectual pursuits seamlessly blend with physical challenges that push you to your limits, then NDA might be the perfect launchpad for an extraordinary adventure – an adventure that serves your nation and shapes you into the hero you’ve always dreamed of being.


With hard work and dedication, anyone can join this esteemed organization. It all takes commitment! So start preparing now if joining the NDA after completing your twelfth-grade education has been your dream!


1. How can I get admission to NDA after 12th commerce?

Unfortunately, the National Defence Academy (NDA) exam currently requires Mathematics and Physics at the 12th standard level for admission into any branch (Army, Navy, Air Force). However, commerce graduates can still consider the Combined Defence Services (CDS) Exam conducted by the UPSC, which offers entry into the Indian Military Academy (IMA) for the Army.

2. What are the subjects for NDA for arts students?

Arts students can apply for the NDA exam, but only for the Army branch. The exam subjects for NDA are:

  • Mathematics (compulsory)
  • English (compulsory)
  • The General Ability Test (GAT) covers subjects like physics, chemistry, general knowledge, history, geography, etc.

3. What is the salary of an NDA officer?

The salary of an NDA officer depends on their rank, experience, and service branch. It starts at around ₹56,100 per month for a Lieutenant in the Army and increases with promotions. You can find detailed pay scales on the official website of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

4. Can I join NDA without Maths?

No, Mathematics is a compulsory subject for the NDA exam at present.

5. Is art good for NDA?

An Arts background itself isn’t a disadvantage for the NDA Army entrance exam. However, since the exam has a compulsory Maths section, you’ll need to be prepared in that area. Your Arts background can be an asset in the General Ability Test (GAT) section, which covers a wide range of subjects.