All You Want to Know on How to Join NDA

All You Want to Know on How to Join NDA

National Defense Academy (NDA) is India’s topmost academy for training cadets as officers in the Defence Services. Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. Many youth aspire to join NDA to serve their motherland with pride. This guide will help you understand how to join NDA. Several questions may arise in your mind as you grow up, especially when you are still in school. These queries shall be addressed step by step.

All About Joining NDA

Is It Possible to Join NDA Right After Xth?

Are you wondering how to join NDA after 10th? According to eligibility criteria, a minimum of 12th is required. But if this question occurs in your mind while you are at Xth level, do not worry because what matters most is that the fire in the belly has already started burning within you. Therefore, just go ahead and put yourself into training for the same right from there. Besides this, it’s good news that there is enough time left for preparation before appearing for the written examination and participating in the SSB interview, which we will discuss later.

How to Join NDA After 12th?

If you are studying in class 12th and wish to join the National Defence Academy immediately after completing your schooling, this article is aptly written for you. It will tell you how to join NDA after 12th. May I go ahead and say, can I join NDA after my 12th? Yes! You sure can. So here they are, but note that this section explains some eligibility requirements; please look into it. You have to work hard for the written examination and SSB Interview. Not all individuals can be considered fit for military service. However, only a few candidates with merit and exceptional qualities are deemed suitable for defense forces.

Eligibility Criteria

Now, let us go through the eligibility criteria.

Eligibility For 12th Students

Age: Between 16½ years and 19½ years

Nationality: Indian nationals, including those of Nepal/Bhutan or Tibetan refugees, settled in India before January 1, 1962

Marital Status: Must be Unmarried

Educational Qualification: Class XIIth or equivalent from a recognized Board

How is the selection process done for NDA?

Here we go, explaining the selection process of NDA after 12th.

The NDA & NA(I) Examination conducted by UPSC twice a year has two papers:

The NDA exam after 12th has a rigorous process. For the written exam, the following is the breakup.

Mathematics (300 marks) – Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, etc. 

General Ability Test (400 marks) – English, Physics, Chemistry, History, Geography, Current Affairs, etc.

SSB Interview: Candidates who qualify for the written examination undergo an SSB interview for five days at any of the Selection Centres, where they will be evaluated on Officer Like Qualities (OLQs).

Medical Examination: After that, the selected candidates shall appear for a thorough medical examination. This checks if they can join the military based on physical fitness.

Final Merit List: A Meritorious list is prepared for the NDA exam after 12th as per their performance in the written exam, SSB and medical exam lists are prepared, and admission is offered in NDA accordingly.

Critical Discussion on SSB Interview

This chapter extensively discusses one of the most crucial parts of the SSB interview. In the end, many candidates feel surprised about why they are not recommended. Let’s also find out what sort of officer-like quality they look for.

Qualities of an Officer (OLQs):

During the SSB interview for leadership positions in the Armed Forces, fifteen officer-like qualities (OLQs) are screened. Some of these attributes include:

Physical fitness levels: performing well in challenging conditions and enduring physical stress.

Intelligence factor: sharp thinking, acute logic, quick mental arithmetic.

Leadership: ability to act first, motivate and move others, and make intelligent decisions.


Sociability: social adaptability and building lasting relations with people from different social backgrounds.


Honesty: This trait includes a solid moral compass, honesty, and truthfulness.


Persistence: The power of facing risks and difficulties head-on with courage and determination.


Independent thinking: The ability to act on one’s initiative or original thoughts.


This is where your cognitive ability is assessed: It measures your capacity to weigh options, analyze information, and make wise choices under duress.


Planning abilities: Capacity to organize, juggle, and assign work efficiently.


Written communication skills and succinctly expressing ideas in writing and orally are essential for any candidate desiring a highly responsible position at NDA. Communication Skills Synonyms for written communication skills are crucial when applying for any high-responsibility NDA job opportunity. 


Self-confidence is defined as your level of belief in your own talents. Your level of confidence in your ideas and choices is quantified.


This is being able to endure tough times without quitting quickly. 


Group Cooperation The attributes of cooperation within a group that works towards common goals.


That is, one should be able to quickly and successfully adjust to new circumstances and challenges. 


Begin Early: Start early in your preparation. Must be thorough with the syllabus and format of the test.


General knowledge, English, and maths are foundational subjects for almost all competitive exams. Have a good hold on the concepts.


Solving past year’s question papers and completing practice tests that increase accuracy and speed can help you practice as much as possible.


Run frequently, swim frequently, or perform push-ups to achieve the necessary fitness level for the physical test.


Develop initiative, bravery, leadership, honesty, and teamwork traits. Stay current with national security issues & affairs of the State.


Enroll in NDA coaching in Delhi. You can get group classes or individual guidance from experts for focused preparation.

How to Join NDA After Graduation? IS NDA For Graduates?

Unfortunately, joining NDA directly after graduation is not feasible. As per the eligibility criteria for NDA, a candidate must either be studying at the 12th standard or should have passed their 12th class exams. But this is not the end. If you can not join NDA after graduation, there are other ways that university graduates can join the Indian Armed Forces.

Additional Notes:

Opportunities to join NDA after graduation exist both in technical and non-technical areas. One can make a remarkable career in NDA after graduation.

For more details regarding these schemes, please visit respective service websites.


This privilege is exclusively for engineering graduates in India interested in joining the Indian Army through the Direct Short Service Commission.


Age Limit: Below 26 years

Academic Qualification: BE/BTech degree from a recognized University/Institute with a minimum of 60% marks


Interview by Special Selection Board.

Medical Examination

No written exam is required. If you want information about the Indian Army, check their website.

Judge Advocate General (JAG) Department:

Entry for law graduates to be officers in charge of all legal matters affecting the Armed Forces.


Age: Up to 30 years.

Education: The minimum qualification is an LLB degree with marks at least specified per the requirements.

Selection Process:

The UPSC conducts a written examination.

A separate interview by a Special Selection Board.

Additional notes:

Different exam from CDS. Full information is available on UPSC’s official website.

Territorial Army (TA):

It is military service in which individuals serve part-time alongside their civilian careers.

Eligibility: Varies depending on the chosen unit and role.

Selection Process: Mostly, it involves application, interview, and medical checkup if necessary.

Additional notes:

It is not a full-time career option. Full information is available on TA’s website.

This is how you can explore all options to make a career in NDA after graduation. The question is, is  NDA for graduates? It can have an indirect answer, not NDA, but CDS and other avenues exist for graduates.

Tip: Start your training as early as possible. Select the best defense coaching academy for yourself and join it.


There are various ways to join defense forces. It would help if you chose your path wisely. Through this information, you can create your career path. But it is always good to start early. Get a hold of the NDA syllabus. You would have surely found good information here. Start preparing early, take the first opportunity to crack NDA, and enjoy an enriching employment life.


Can I Join NDA After 10th?

Unfortunately, no, as the minimum qualification criteria is 12th pass or appearing for 12th. But you may kick start your preparation for your career path by joining a good defence coaching academy

Can a Person With Spectacles Join NDA?

Yes, even if you are wearing spectacles, you can join NDA. However, there could be restrictions in a few branches or cores like flying, etc. You can check at UPSC or the respective service websites.

Can I Join NDA Without Maths?

The good news is yes, but your option will be restricted to only the Army Wing. For the Air Force and Navy, you are required to have Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics.

What is The Age Limit to Join NDA?

It is 16.5 to 19.5 years of age.

Can A Graduate Apply for NDA?

As a graduate, you can not directly apply for NDA; however, there are many other options to enter the forces, like CDSE, etc.

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