NDA Syllabus & Paper Analysis for Mathematics & General Ability Test

Updated On -

May 3, 2021

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Sudeshna Bhar

Exams Prepmaster

UPSC has prescribed NDA 2021 syllabus. NDA examination is divided into two papers – Mathematics and General Ability. It aims to judge a candidate on his logical ability and general awareness. NDA I 2021 is scheduled to be conducted on April 18, 2021.

  • The Mathematics paper contains 300 marks while the General Ability test holds 600 marks. The written test will be of a total of 900 marks.
  • For every incorrect response, 0.33 marks will be deducted as negative marking in the examination.
  • Refer to Piyush Thorve’s (AIR 16, 2019) Preparation Strategies for the exam.
  • After clearing the written test, candidates have to go through the SSB Interview. The interview process will have a total of 900 marks.
  • The question paper of Mathematics and PART B of the General Ability test will be available in both English and Hindi languages.

Check NDA 2021 Exam Dates

Exam Pattern

NDA 2021 Exam Pattern

NDA 2021 is scheduled for April 18, 2021 and NDA II will be conducted September 5, 2021. It is an offline examination i.e. pen and paper-based test with objective type questions.

NDA 2021 Exam Pattern is different for both the papers. It is necessary to qualify them in order to ensure admission to the National Defence Academy. NDA exam pattern for both the papers is given below:

NDA Mathematics Exam Pattern

Paper I: Mathematics




Maximum Marks



2½ hours


General Ability Test


2½ hours






SSB Test/Interview




NDA General Ability Exam Pattern

Paper-II: General Ability
Total Marks 600 marks
Total No. of Questions 150
No. of questions in English Section 50
No. Of questions in General knowledge Section 100
Maximum Marks for English 200 marks
Maximum Marks for G.K. 400 marks 
Marks for Correct Answer 4 marks in both sections
Marks for Incorrect Answer -1.33 marks in both sections
Exam Duration 2.5 Hours

Mathematics Syllabus

NDA 2021 Syllabus for Mathematics

Paper 1 in NDA is purely based on Mathematics. No change is observed in NDA Syllabus 2021 from the previous year. The questions will be asked from 10+2 level only. The sub-sections in this part are also of basic-level mathematics.

Here are all important topics in NDA Syllabus 2021 for Paper 1 i.e. Mathematics:

NDA Syllabus 2021 for Mathematics
Algebra Matrices and Determinants
Trigonometry Analytical Geometry of Two and Three Dimensions 
Differential Calculus Integral Calculus and Differential Equations
Vector Algebra Statistics and Probability

NDA Syllabus

Best Books for NDA 2021 Preparation

For Paper 1 in NDA i.e. Mathematics, it is always a better approach to put in some extra effort. For this, you will need to refer to some books other than NCERT of class XI & XII.

  • These books are a great mix of theoretical knowledge and their practical application, in the form of questions.
  • We advise you to practice with them as much as possible.

Here are some of the best books for the NDA Preparation for Mathematics paper:

NDA Books
Book Name  Author/ Publisher
Mathematics for NDA and NA: National Defence Academy and Naval Academy R S Aggarwal
Quantitative aptitude for competitive examinations R S Aggarwal

Study Package MATHEMATICS NDA & NA Entrance Exam

NDA Mathematics (Hindi) RPH Editorial Board

NDA Sample Questions for Mathematics

NDA Math

NDA Exam Paper Analysis for Mathematics

NDA Paper 2 in November 2019 had maximum questions from Algebra, Matrices, and Determinants, Trigonometry, Calculus, Probability, complex number, and Quadratic equation.

  • The mathematics section was comparatively easier than the previous year.
  • The exam was for 300 marks in total.

Here is the topic-wise distribution of questions as per the previous question paper trends:

Topic No. of questions
Calculus 20-25
Quadratic equation 20-15
Matrices & Determinants  30
Probability 10
Trigonometry 30
Complex number  10-15

General Ability Test Syllabus

NDA 2021 Syllabus for General Ability Test

Paper 2 in NDA i.e. the General Ability Test judges a candidate’s basic awareness and English proficiency. This section is further divided into two parts, English and General Knowledge.

  • Total marks awarded to Paper 2 are 600.
  • This paper must be completed in 2.5 hours.
  • Here is the subject-wise NDA Syllabus 2020 for Paper 2:

Part A English

  • The English portion of the entrance test is designed in a way to judge a candidate's knowledge of basic grammar and vocabulary.
  • It judges a candidate’s ability to form correct sentences and use of words.
  • The syllabus of the English paper ranges from various aspects like the knowledge and usage of grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, and his mental ability to remember and place the meaning of words in their proper places.
  • Marks allotted to this section are 300.

NDA English Syllabus

English question paper in the NDA exam is framed in such a way that the aspirant’s understanding and their in-depth knowledge of English can be examined. In the following, the NDA 2020 English syllabus has been highlighted in a detailed manner:

  • Grammar and usage
  • Comprehension and cohesion
  • Spotting of errors
  • Para Jumbling
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Synonyms and antonyms
  • Vocabulary
  • Cloze test
  • Sentence correction and improvement
  • Idioms and proverbs
  • Completion of Sentence and para

Part B: General Knowledge (Marks 400)

The question paper on General Knowledge will cover current affairs, questions from Physics, Chemistry, General Science, Social Studies, Geography, and Current Events. NDA syllabus 2020 of each topic is given below. The paper aims to check knowledge and intelligent understanding of the subject.

NDA Physics Syllabus

The table below includes the important topics asked in the Physics section of the General Ability Test:

NDA Syllabus 2020 for Physics
States of Matter and its properties Light and Sound (properties)
Motion and Laws of Motion Magnet and its properties
Work, Energy, and Power Current and Electricity
Modes of Transfer of Heat and its effect General Principles of Working of Simple Pendulum, Pulleys, Siphon, Levers, Balloon, Pumps, Hydrometer, Pressure Cooker, Thermos Flask, Gramophone, Telegraphs, Telephone, Periscope, Telescope, Microscope, Mariner’s Compass; Lightening Conductors, Safety Fuses

NDA Chemistry Syllabus

The basic knowledge of Chemistry and various chemicals are tested in the chemistry section. The topics to be considered for preparation are given below:

NDA Syllabus 2020 for Chemistry
Physical and Chemical Changes Properties of Oxygen, Hydrogen, etc. with Oxidation and Reduction
Air and Water (properties) Carbon and its forms
Chemical equations and Laws of Chemical Combination Atom and its structure (details)
Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures Fertilizers
Acids, Bases, and Salts Use of materials for the preparation of different chemicals

NDA General Science Syllabus

The topics for general science are tabulated below. The candidates must prepare according to the NDA Syllabus 2020 to obtain a good score in the NDA exam.

NDA Syllabus 2020 for General Sciences
Basic Unit of Life: Cell Reproduction in Plants and Animals
Living and Non-Living Things Human Body and Life processes
Epidemics: causes and preventions Food and Balanced Diet
Solar System Achievement of Eminent Scientists

NDA History Syllabus

The important topics covered in the history section of the general ability test in NDA is given in the table below:

NDA Syllabus 2020 for History
Indian History: Culture and Civilisation Constitution and Administration of India
Nationalism in India Government of India at various levels
Five Year plans of India Renaissance and Discovery
French, Russian, and Industrial Revolution United Nations and the Concept of one world
Democracy in India Teachings of Mahatma Gandhi

NDA Geography Syllabus

Candidates must prepare the following topics thoroughly for the Geography section in NDA 2020:

NDA Syllabus for Geography
Earth and its Origin and Movement (latitudes and longitudes) Tides and Oceanic Currents
Rocks and Its classification The atmosphere and Atmospheric Pressure
Types of Climate Regional Geography of India
Agricultural and Industries Transportation and Trading routes of India
Imports and Exports of India

NDA Current Affairs Syllabus

Candidates must follow the latest newspapers and magazines with information about the current events across the country and the world both. The topics to be prepared to qualify in this section with good marks are tabulated below:

NDA Syllabus for Current Affairs
Important and Recent Events in India Current and Important World Events
Important Indian or Non-Indian Personalities related to Cultural Activities and Sports -

Intelligence and Personality test

The SSB process is containing two stages and are stage I and stage II. Only the qualified aspirants from stage I will get permission to take the stage II process. Read the following content to understand the detailed information of two stages:

NDA SSB Personality Test
Stage I
  • Picture Perception Description Test (PP&DT)
  • Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR).
Stage II
    • Interview (IO)
    • Psychology Tests (Psych)
    • Group Testing Officer Tasks (GTO)
    • Conference

The absence/presence of officer liked features and characteristics of an aspirant can be highlighted with the help of the GTA, IO, and Psych tests. 

Best Books for NDA 2021 Preparation

There is no set syllabus for Paper 2 as the questions challenge a candidate’s vigilance for current and recent events around the globe. Along with it, the basic knowledge of various subjects is tested.

  • For NDA Preparation, go through books, magazines, newspapers, archives, news channels, etc. to be able to score well in this paper.
  • Candidates must have a basic knowledge of the subjects that are tested in NDA.
  • Other than newspapers and class XII books, there are plenty of NDA Preparation Books available in the market that can help you with the General Ability Section. Here are a few of them:
NDA Books
Book Name  Author/ Publisher
History Of Modern India (History) Bipan Chandra
Science and Technology in India (Science and Technology) Kalpana Rajaram : Spectrum
Oxford School Atlas (Geography) Oxford 
Social Problems In India (Indian Society – GS1) Ram Ahuja

Objective General English for Competitive Exams

S.P. Bakshi

Manorama Yearbook 2020

Mammen Mathew

NDA Sample Questions for General Ability Test

General Ability

NDA Exam Paper Analysis for General Ability Test

Paper 2 in NDA 2019 had 150 questions. Marks allotted to this paper were 600.

  • Questions in English were from the prescribed NDA Syllabus.
  • From Section B, science had the toughest questions.
  • Questions from the remaining subjects were moderate in difficulty level.

Here is the analysis for NDA 2018 held in April:

PART A: English

Topic No. of Questions No. of Marks
Spotting Errors 5 20
Comprehension 6 24
Selecting Words 10 40
Ordering of Words in a Sentence 9 36
Sentence Improvement 10 40
Antonyms 5 20
Synonyms 5 20
Total 50 200

PART B: General Knowledge

Topic No. of Questions No. of Marks
Physics 23 92
Chemistry 16 64
General Science 11 44
History & Freedom Movement 16 64
Geography 17 68
Current Events 17 68
Total 100 400

;Preparation Tips

NDA 2021 Preparation Tips

Here are some useful NDA Preparation Tips to score better in the exam:

  • Make sure you are thorough with the NDA 2020 Syllabus and exam pattern.

  • Do not forget to refer to class 11 and Class 12 NCERT books.
  • You must know the basic formulae/ concepts from Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry.
  • Plan a preparation schedule and practice as many NDA Practice Papers as possible.
  • For the English section, focus on reading comprehension, basic grammar, and vocabulary. You must revise the basic grammar rules from a reliable source.
  • Be well aware of current affairs and events that are making news.
  • Make sure the political and historical scenario of India is on your tips.
  • Take help from coaching centers if required, but make sure they hold a good record.


NDA Exam Pattern FAQS

Ques. Are NCERT Books are enough for the NDA exam?

Ans. NCERT Books are best to cover the basic concepts. For in-depth learning, get the list of books here

Ques.  In which medium of language UPSC NDA (1) 2021 exam will be conducted?

Ans. The question papers (test booklets) of mathematics and Part “B” of the General Ability Test will be set bilingually in Hindi as well as English. Part-1 will be English Paper.

Ques. Does the NDA syllabus changes every year?

Ans. No, the NDA Syllabus remains the same. 

Ques. Can I get the NDA syllabus in PDF?

Ans. The PDF format of the NDA syllabus is provided in the official notification. Download now

3 Months Crash Course

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.


arushi thankur
What all comes in the English NDA paper?
jaya garg

Hi. The syllabus of the English paper include different aspects like the knowledge and usage of grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, and candidate’s mental ability to remember and place the meaning of words in their proper places. The overall weightage of this section is 300.

uma goenka
Are there any changes in NDA 2021 Syllabus for Mathematics?
jaya garg

Hi. Paper 1 in NDA exam is purely based on Mathematics. There are no changes in NDA Syllabus 2021 from the previous year. The questions will be asked from 10+2 level only even the sub-sections in this part include basic-level mathematics. So candidates need to prepare accordingly.

surabhi s
Is it true that both patterns of NDA exam are the same?
jaya garg

Hi. NDA 2021 Exam Pattern is different for both the papers and in order to take admission to the National Defence Academy, it is important to clear both levels. Check NDA exam pattern for both the papers by tapping here.

vishal sharma
how to prepare maths for nda exam?
jaya garg

Hi Vishal. Candidates must do more mock tests and last year papers to do well in the exam. Also, candidates must revise important chapters like Arithmetic, Mensuration, Algebra, Geometry, etc. to get a good score.
Refer here to get more details.

krit ruhil
Sir, I am a 11 class student. In next year I am applicable to give NDA exam so from where I have to start my preparations. Please guide me. I had taken PCM
gurpreet singh

HI Krit

You need to be minimum 16 years old to be eligible to apply for the NDA exam and the maximum age is 19 years. You can visit on our official website of NDA Eligibility to check to whole criteria for the exam. and how you can prepare for the exam.

deepak pal
can we use our past all three books for history
aditi arun

Hello Deepak,

Yes, if you are thorough with all the three books, you can prepare well for history in NDA.

sachin chouhan
What is the best book for nda GS part From exam point of view
swati srivastava

Hi Sachin, objective general knowledge & current affairs by disha experts is one of the best books for NDA. For more details visit: NDA PREPARATION

rashid iqbal
What about medical students
swati srivastava

Hi Rashid, medical students can appear for the exam provided they fulfill the eligibility criteria. For more details visit: NDA EXAM

charu sharma
I m in class 12th now. What I have to do after 12th to clear NDA exam ?
swati srivastava

Hi Charu, you must prepare thouroghly for the exam in order to clear it. For more details visit: NDA PREPARATION

gaurav chauhan
How to prepare NDA maths for Airforce wing?
aniket ranjan

Hii Gaurav. Start preparing the important topics of math's first. Topics like Algebra,Trigonometry, Differential Calculus Integral Calculus and Differential Equations, Vector Algebra, Statistics and Probability are more importants. You can get help from some of the best books for NDA Preparation for Mathematics paper like Mathematics for NDA and NA by R.S agrawal. Also, You must solve previous year question papers to get an idea about the type of questions asked in the exam. You can follow this link for previous year questions:- NDA EXAM

kartik rajak
how many marks are needed in class 9 to join nda ? and 12 also.
swati srivastava

Hi Kartik, there is no specific marks you need in class 9 or 12. For more details visit: NDA EXAM

ashish kumar
Is a arts student can also eligible for NDA exam????
devnath tiwary

Dear Ashish

Greetings from Collegdunia. We hope well for your health. We are glad to inform you that NDA is one of the prestigious examinations for Defence hiring organized by UPSC every year. For Army Wing – Candidates must pass 12 in any relevant subjects from any recognized Board. For Air Force and Naval Wing – Candidates must pass 12 with Physics and Maths subjects from any recognized board. You can apply if you have not passed 12 with Physics and Maths subjects for Army Wing. Kindly refer this link – NDA Eligibility and Syllabus

sheetal chib
How can a commerce student without math join the NDA army wing? Is the math paper based only up to class 10?
jaya garg

Hi Sheetal. NDA is a prestigious exam taken by UPSC for the officer rank in Defence. So the questions in the NDA UPSC maths are from the class 11th and 12th. You can apply if you have not studied maths in calss 11th and 12th.

shubham sharma
Is the maths paper performance given more preference over the GAT in the NDA exam?
jaya garg

HI Shubham. As per the rules laid by the UPSC, candidates need to get a minimum of 30% in NDA exam mathematics paper. The NDA exam mathematics cut off mark is 30% of 300 which means 90 marks. The Cut off marks for NDA exam general ability test is also 30% of 600 marks.

huzaif shabir khanday
Can a diploma in civil engineering apply for nda?
aniket ranjan

Hii Shabir. No, diploma candidates can't apply for NDA exam. Candidates who have completed or studying in class 12th from a recognized board or equivalent exam are eligible for NDA exam. You still can join Defence services after completion of your graduation through CDS. For more details follow this Link :- CDS EXAM.

nafisa khatoon
What are the NDA exam portions taught in class 11?
jaya garg

Hi Nafisa. Mostly the NDA exam syllabus consists of class 11 maths and it holds 40–50% of weightage in the maths paper. So if you clear all your concepts and doubts while studying in school only.  Some of the topics that are taught in calss 11 and comes in the NDA exam include Trigonometry, Determinants and Matrices, Analytical Geometry, etc.

abhinav yadav
I am in 11 now, should I take chemistry lightly to focus more on mathematics
swati srivastava

Hi Abhinav, Greetings from Collegedunia. You should focus on the subjects according to the syallabus. For more details click here.

rohan bharti
I have completed my whole NDA syllabus twice and now the last 30 days are remaining for the exams. How should I sum up all that I have studied to get a good AIR?
jaya garg

Hi Rohan. Doing more last year NDA question papers is the best possible way to boost up your preparations. Manage your time smartly so that you can do solve even the big questions within the minimum amount of time.

What are the best alternatives to reading newspapers for current affairs for the UPSC exams and NDA so that you can cover the syllabus at an efficient, shorter duration of time?
jaya garg

Hi Taniksha. While preparing for the current affairs for the NDA, you can go through the Monthly magazines or can refer to the many online sources that are easily available on the internet. Also, many institutes upload the material online so that it can help the students.

bunty kohli
What are the other exams which have similar syllabus as NDA? And we can give while studying in class 12?
jaya garg

Hi Bunty. Candidates who have not cleared NDA exam can give SSC CHSL exam, whose minimum eligibility criteria is 12th.