15- Days Preparation Tips for NDA 1 2020- Best Books, Study Time Table, Mock Tests

Updated On -

Apr 13, 2020

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Abanti Pramanik

Exams Prepmaster

NDA or National Defence Academy Exam is designed to select cadets for Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. Though based on 10+2 education, the exam is not as easy as it sounds. To crack the written test, you must have a thorough study plan and stick to it. NDA Form 2020 has already been published and even the admit cards are scheduled to be issued soon. There is roughly a little more than 15 days left to the exam date, which is April 19, 2020.

Latest highlights:

  • Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in India, the April 19, 2020 NDA 1 written test has been postponed until further notice. Hence, the candidates need to regularly keep tab of the UPSC website for updates.

  • The issuance of NDA 1 2020 Admit card has also been delayed because of the exam being postponed. It is usually issued three weeks before the exam.

However, it is best to make the most of the available time and not relax hoping that the exam would be postponed to a much later date and you will get more time.

Prepp Test Series

NDA Syllabus & Marks

NDA 1 2020 Syllabus and Marks Breakdown

The exam has two tiers- the written test and the SSB interview only if you have qualified the test. The written test further comprises two papers whose syllabus is equivalent to your 10+2 CBSE syllabus for all subjects, except for regional languages. 

Paper 1 is for mathematics and Paper-2 is General Ability Test and English. The Syllabus for both is provided as follows.

The Syllabus of Mathematics paper is entirely based on Class 12 topics.

Topic Expected number of questions
Algebra  25-30
Trigonometry 15-20
Determinants and matrices 8-10
Vector algebra 7-10
Statistics and probability 6-10
Analytical geometry 15-20
2-D, 3-D analytical geometry 5-10
Differential and integral calculus 15-20

The syllabus and question division for GAT paper.

Topic Marks allotted Number of questions
English 200 50
Physics 100 15-20
Chemistry 60 12-15
General science 40 10-12
History 80 15-20
Current affairs 40 8-10
Geography 80 15-20

If you carefully note the marks allotted to each section and the average number of questions you get from them, you can quickly determine the sections that should be prioritized while studying. For the mathematics paper, algebra, trigonometry and geometry should be emphasized, while in the GAT, English, physics, history and geography hold more authority.

NDA Exam Pattern

Exam Pattern for NDA 1 2020

If you keep the exam pattern in mind, you can determine the study schedule that is ideal for your preparation. Here are a few key pointers that you must note:

  • The exam is held at a stretch for 5 hours on a single day. You can be allocated a morning or afternoon shift which will be mentioned in your admit card.

  • This means, you must finish the entire syllabus for the written test within the two weeks left- though the exam has been postponed, it is best to plan your study schedule eliminating that factor from your mind.

  • Both papers are in MCQ format but the questions call for extensive rough work which means, you will be hard-pressed for time if you do not improve your calculation speed.

Exam Pattern Highlights
NDA I 2020 Mathematics General ability test
Exam Duration 2 hours and 30 minutes 2 hours and 30 minutes
No. of sections 1 2 (English and General Knowledge)
Total no. of questions 120 150
Total marks 300 600 (English (200) + GK (400))
Marking scheme 2.5 for correct and -0.83 for incorrect 4 for correct and -1.33 for incorrect
Medium English and Hindi English for English section. English and Hindi for GK section
Type of questions Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

2-weeks Study Plan

2-weeks Study Time Table to Crack UPSC NDA 1

If you eliminate the fact that the NDA 1 2020 written test has been postponed till further notice from its original date- April 19, 2020- then, there is a little more than 15 days available to study. In such a situation when there is uncertainty regarding a date all of a sudden, it is better to study keeping the original date in mind to keep yourself motivated and focused. We have created a study time-table for these 2 weeks topic-wise so that you can revise the entire syllabus at least once. Furthermore, we have also created a subject-wise plan of action to ensure that the theoretical concepts will be clear before the exam commence. Daily study hours- 10 hours in an average

Week 1

Day Morning Shift Evening Shift
1 Concepts and formula of algebra and trigonometry- 2hours Math mock test practice on Algebra and trigonometry- 2hours Practice English comprehension- 1 hour Concepts and formulas of physics in brief- all chapters in class 12- 3hours Mock test for physics- 2hours
2 Determinants, vector algebra, matrices- concept and formula- 2hours Mock test- 2 hours Current affairs- 1 hour Concept and formulas in organic chemistry- class 11-12- 3 hours Mock test- 2 hours
3 Statistics and probability- 2 hours Mock test on the same- 2 hours Mock test on English- 1 hour Concepts and theories in inorganic chemistry- class 11-12- 3 hours Mock test- 2hours
4 Analytical, 2-D, 3-D Geometry- 2 hours Mock test- 2 hours Current affairs- 1hour Formulas and concepts in class-11 physics- 3 hours Mock test on the same- 2hours
5 Differential and integral calculus- 2 hours Mock test-2 hours General science- 1hour History and freedom movement- all important dates and events covered in class 11-12- 3 hours Mock test- 2hours
6 Mock test on entire math syllabus- 2.5 hours Geography- class 11- 2.5 hours mock test on geography- 2 hours Geography- concept and topics in class 12- 3hours
7 Current affairs- 1hours General science- 2hours Mock test on general science- 2hours Revise all the scientific formula in physics and math that you have studied so far- 3 hours Revise topics of your choice from history- 2 hours

Week 2

Day Morning Shift Evening Shift
1 Mock test 2 for math- 2.5 hours Mock test for GAT- 2.5 hours Evaluate the test performances- 1 hour Determine the weak and strong points- 1hour Revise the math formulas you have learnt so far- 3hours
2 Revise a section you are still weak at- 2hours Mock test on the same- 2 hours Current affairs- 1hour Revise a section of choice that you are moderately strong but still have scope to improve- 3 hours Mock test- 2 hours
3 Solve mock tests on entire history syllabus- 2.5 hours Solve mock tests on Entire geography syllabus- 2.5 hours Solve mock tests on entire physics syllabus- 2.5 hours Solve mock test on entire math syllabus- 2.5hours
4 Revise the chemistry formula and concepts you have learnt so far- 3 hours Mock test on chemistry entire syllabus- 2hours English grammar, synonyms- 2.5 hours Practice mock test from previous year question papers on English- 2.5 hours
5 Mock test 3 for math- 2.5 hours Mock test 2 for GAT- 2.5hours Mock test on current affairs you learnt so far- 2hours Mock test on general science- 3 hours
6 Mock test on entire math syllabus- 2.5 hours Geography- class 11- 2.5 hours mock test on geography- 2 hours Geography- concept and topics in class 12- 3hours
7 Current affairs- 1hours General science- 2hours Mock test on general science- 2hours Revise all the scientific formula in physics and math that you have studied so far- 3 hours Revise topics of your choice from history- 2 hours
  • In the last 2 weeks, focus more on practicing mock tests and making than spending too much time on reading theories.

  • Do not spend too much time on any topic that is entirely new for you- instead, revise the topics which you are already familiar with.

  • While you are studying the concept, especially in physics, chemistry and math, make notes of all the formulas you find in a single notebook to revise them time to time before the exam starts.

Preparation Tips

Subject-wise Preparation Tips for NDA 2020

Once you have decided on your daily study time table for these 14-15 days, plan your course of action according to the subjects. Each subject requires a different approach and you can easily plan the time table according to the subject as well. Emphasis more on those subjects which carry major marks weightage for the exams. 

Preparation tips for Math in UPSC NDA

  • Focus more on the concepts and make sure you understand the concepts behind topics like statistics and probability, matrices etc.

  • Memorize all the formulas for algebra, cube roots and square roots as you will get the majority of the questions from these sections.

  • Recognize your weak areas and work on them on a regular basis. Spare at least 1 hour of your math practice time to the sections which you are not confident about.

  • Avoid using calculators while practicing at home to improve your calculation speed.

  • Use previous year questions as mock test papers apart from the mock tests you find online. You may even get a few common questions in the long run.

Preparation for English

  • Read the daily newspapers to improve your vocabulary and current affairs at the same time. Sit with a dictionary if needed to learn the exact meanings of the words you are coming across.

  • Solve the previous year papers for English and practice these comprehensions and the question patterns to get a better idea of what you can expect from this subject.

  • Practice grammar on a regular basis every time you study English in these two weeks.

Preparation for General Ability in NDA 2020

  • At least read through the chapters in your NCERT books for class 11-12 for all the subjects listed under GAT.

  • In case of history, geography, economy and political science, refer the NCERT books for class 6-12.

  • Give mock tests from previous year papers and familiarize yourself with the question pattern for each and every section.

5 Effective Steps To Boost Your Concentration and Crack NDA 2020 in First Attempt

The primary problem that candidates face while preparing for the UPSC NDA exam in a short time span, is inability to focus for long hours consistently every day. However, to pull off revising such a vast syllabus, an average 10 hour per day routine must be followed. Here are a few tips which will help you to improve your concentration and even as a first-time aspirant, cracking the exam will not seem that difficult.

  1. Determine a fixed study time every morning and evening and make it a habit to sit with your books at the allotted time. Make note of your daily progress and also whether you managed to finish the topics scheduled for the day.

  2. Give more time to self-study rather than going to tuitions during these last two weeks. This will automatically make sure you have more time for studying and revising.

  3. Set daily goals to achieve and with each day keep increasing the limit slowly but steadily. This way, you can improve your speed as well as ability to focus.

  4. For the time being, avoid spending too much time on irrelevant things like TV shows and your smartphone addiction. Unknowingly, you often spend hours every day at these things and letting them go for the time being, will make more time for studies and less distractions.

  5. Give your brain some rest too. Take short breaks in between different subjects you are studying. During these breaks do things that help you to relax better.

Check NDA 2020 Selection Process

NDA Best Books

Best books to Prepare for NDA Written Exam- Subject-wise

We have listed some reference books that you can invest in for each subject, apart from the NCERT books.

Best Books for NDA Math Paper

Name of Book Author’s name
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 Arihant
NDA Mathematics (Hindi) RPH Editorial Board

Best Books for English

Name of Book Author’s name
Objective General English for Competitive Exams S.P. Bakshi
Manorama Yearbook 2017 Mammen Mathew
English Grammar and Composition Wren and Martin

Best books for history and social science

Name of Book Author’s name
History Of Modern India (History) Bipan Chandra
Social Problems In India (Indian Society – GS1) Ram Ahuja

Best books for Science and geography

Name of Book Author’s name
Science and Technology in India (Science and Technology) Kalpana Rajaram: Spectrum
Oxford School Atlas (Geography) Oxford- Publisher

The preparation for NDA 2020 becomes easier even in such limited time when you have a proper study plan. There is still more than two weeks left for the exam and as it has been postponed, you can make the most of the extended preparation time at your advantage. So, instead of relaxing because you have all the time in the world now that the exam has been postponed, start making a study table and make sure you are adhering to it thoroughly.

NDA 2020 FAQs

FAQs on UPSC NDA 2020

Question: What is the selection procedure of UPSC NDA?

Ans. The candidate has to qualify with the minimum cut-off marks in the written test to be eligible for the SSB Interview. Those meeting the minimum cut-off for the written test and SSB interview separated and as well as the minimum combined cut-off are selected after several rounds of rigorous physical fitness tests as well.

Question: How many books do I really need to prepare for the exam?

Ans. If you have the NCERT books for all the subjects from 11 and 12 and 6-12 for social science subjects, you can easily improve your concepts with them. However, for practice purposes, you can invest in a couple of reference books which have more questions to practice.

Question: What is the average study hours to follow to cover the entire syllabus?

Ans. Depending on the number of days you have at hand, you must make a habit of studying at least 10-12 hours every day. If you are unable to meet the daily hours one day, try to compensate for it on the next. Also, do note that more than the hours you spent, the topics you have covered in any span of time is more important.

Question: Which are the most scoring sections in the written tests?

Ans. Math, physics and chemistry can be very scoring if your conception is clear and you know the formulas by heart and can calculate fast. Since it is entirely logic-based, these sections can either be right or wrong. Questions related to important dates in history and current affairs are also scoring if you have a good memory.

Question: If I am from State-boards or ICSE, how difficult will it be to manage the NDA Syllabus?

Ans. There is not much difference in the 10+2 syllabus of ICSE, state boards and CBSE. However, the wisest thing will be to check the entire CBSE syllabus from their website when you are applying for the NDA exam to make notes of topics that are extra and need to be prepared.


Question: Is there any difference in the syllabus of NDA 1 and NDA 2? 

Ans. No, the syllabus and exam pattern of NDA 1 and NDA 2 are the same. The exam is conducted every six months to give more opportunities to the aspirants.

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