NDA Syllabus 2020 – Written Test & Detailed Analysis

National Defence Academy (NDA) is one of the greatest places in the world where “Men” are turned into “Men of Honour, Valour and Exceptional Courage.” “Fearlessness” is imbued in them. They exude the feeling of service for their country and are ready for the ultimate sacrifice. The cadets of the three services namely the Army, the Navy and the Air Force train together in the academy and then they depart to their respective service academy for further pre-commission training. The NDA is located in Khadakwasla, Pune, Maharashtra. Before discussing the NDA syllabus with you let me ask you one question. Have you heard of the Sudan Block?

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Majestic in form, it is the iconic symbol of the Tri-service Academy. In 1941, Lord Linlithgow, then Viceroy of India, received from a grateful Sudanese Government a donation of £100,000 for constructing a war memorial in memory of the Indian troops’ sacrifices in the East African Campaign during World War II. The academy was established using this fund.

Image source: NDA website

How to get into the academy?

UPSC conducts the NDA exam twice a year for admission to Army, Navy and Air Force wings of NDA and Indian Naval Academy Course (INAC). The exam is conducted in two stages:  written exam and SSB Interview. You are eligible for the exam if you have passed your 12th. The following sections will discuss the NDA syllabus and the pattern of the exam.

Pattern of the exam

The exam has two sections. Paper I (Mathematics) and Paper II (General Ability Test). The Mathematics papers has 120 questions whereas the General Ability test or GAT contains 50 questions of English and 100 questions of General knowledge.

Subject Duration Number of questions Positive marking Negative marking Maximum marks
Paper I (Mathematics) 2½ hours 120 2.5 per question -0.83 per question 300
Paper II (GAT)
(50Q English, 100Q GK)
2½ hours 150 4 per question -1.33 per question 600
Total marks for both exams –   900
SSB Test/Interview 900


NDA Syllabus for Mathematics

Let us now discuss NDA syllabus. Two things that will be most helpful for an aspirant is the syllabus mentioned in the official notification and then the previous years’ papers. The NDA syllabus in the official notification will tell you what topics to focus on and what topics to ignore. While the previous years’ paper will guide you as to which topic has more weightage and importance assigned to it.

The NDA Syllabus section of the official notification for 2020 reads:

Topics Concepts to be covered
ALGEBRA    Concept of set, operations on   sets, Venn diagrams. De Morgan laws, Cartesian product, relation, equivalence   relation. Representation of real numbers on a line. Complex numbers—basic   properties, modulus, argument, cube roots of unity. Binary system of numbers.   Conversion of a number in decimal system to binary system and vice-versa.   Arithmetic, Geometric and Harmonic progressions. Quadratic equations with   real coefficients. Solution of linear inequations of two variables by graphs.   Permutation and Combination. Binomial theorem and its applications.   Logarithms and their applications.
Matrices and Determinants    Types of matrices, operations   on matrices. Determinant of a matrix, basic properties of determinants. Ad joint   and inverse of a square matrix, Applications-Solution of a system of linear   equations in two or three unknowns by Cramer’s rule and by Matrix Method.
TRIGONOMETRY    Angles and their measures in   degrees and in radians. Trigonometrical ratios. Trigonometric identities Sum   and difference formulae. Multiple and Sub-multiple angles. Inverse   trigonometric functions. Applications-Height and distance, properties of   triangles.
ANALYTICAL GEOMETRY OF TWO AND THREE DIMENSIONS Rectangular Cartesian   Coordinate system. Distance formula. Equation of a line in various forms.   Angle between two lines. Distance of a point from a line. Equation of a   circle in standard and in general form. Standard forms of parabola, ellipse   and hyperbola. Eccentricity and axis of a conic. Point in a three dimensional   space, distance between two points. Direction Cosines and direction ratios.   Equation two points. Direction Cosines and direction ratios. Equation of a   plane and a line in various forms. Angle between two lines and angle between   two planes. Equation of a sphere.
DIFFERENTIAL CALCULUS    Concept of a real valued   function–domain, range and graph of a function. Composite functions, one to   one, onto and inverse functions. Notion of limit, Standard limits—examples.   Continuity of functions—examples, algebraic operations on continuous   functions. Derivative of function at a point, geometrical and physical   interpretation of a derivative—applications. Derivatives of sum, product and   quotient of functions, derivative of a function with respect to another   function, derivative of a composite function. Second order derivatives.   Increasing and decreasing functions. Application of derivatives in problems   of maxima and minima.
INTEGRAL CALCULUS AND   DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS    Integration as inverse of   differentiation, integration by substitution and by parts, standard integrals   involving algebraic expressions, trigonometric, exponential and hyperbolic   functions. Evaluation of definite integrals—determination of areas of plane   regions bounded by curves—applications. Definition of order and degree of a   differential equation, formation of a differential equation by examples.   General and particular solution of a differential equations, solution of   first order and first degree differential equations of various   types—examples. Application in problems of growth and decay.
VECTOR ALGEBRA  Vectors in two and three   dimensions, magnitude and direction of a vector. Unit and null vectors,   addition of vectors, scalar multiplication of a vector, scalar product or dot   product of two vectors. Vector product or cross product of two vectors.   Applications—work done by a force and moment of a force and in geometrical   problems.
STATISTICS   Classification of data,   Frequency distribution, cumulative frequency distribution—examples. Graphical   representation—Histogram, Pie Chart, frequency polygon— examples. Measures of   Central tendency—Mean, median and mode. Variance and standard   deviation—determination and comparison. Correlation and regression.
PROBABILITY   Random experiment, outcomes and   associated sample space, events, mutually exclusive and exhaustive events,   impossible and certain events. Union and Intersection of events.   Complementary, elementary and composite events. Definition of   probability—classical and statistical—examples. Elementary theorems on probability—simple   problems. Conditional probability, Bayes’ theorem—simple problems. Random   variable as function on a sample space. Binomial distribution, examples of   random experiments giving rise to Binominal distribution.

NDA Syllabus for Mathematics – Decoded


NDA Syllabus _ Algebra



NDA Syllabus_Matrices











7) VECTOR ALGEBRAvectoralgebra_NDAsyllabus8)STATISTICS


9) ProbabilityProbability_NDa


NDA Syllabus for General Ability Test Paper

NDA Syllabus for English

Subject Topics to be covered
English The question paper in English   will be designed to test the candidate’s understanding of English and workman   like use of words. The syllabus covers various aspects like : Grammar and   usage, vocabulary, comprehension and cohesion in extended text to test the   candidate’s proficiency in English

NDA English section – Decoded

Based on the previous years’ paper, breaking these down into broad topics:


NDA Syllabus for General Knowledge

The question paper on General Knowledge will broadly cover the subjects : Physics, Chemistry, General Science, Social Studies, Geography and Current Events. – The syllabus given below is designed to indicate the scope of these subjects included in this paper. The topics mentioned are not to be regarded as exhaustive and questions on topics of similar nature not specifically mentioned in the syllabus may also be asked.

Subject Topics
Section ‘A’ (Physics):    
Physical Properties and States   of Matter, Mass, Weight, Volume, Density and Specific Gravity, Principle of   Archimedes, Pressure Barometer. Motion of objects, Velocity and Acceleration,   Newton’s Laws of Motion, Force and Momentum, Parallelogram of Forces,   Stability and Equilibrium of bodies, Gravitation, elementary ideas of work,   Power and Energy. Effects of Heat, Measurement of Temperature and Heat,   change of State and Latent Heat, Modes of transference of Heat. Sound waves   and their properties, Simple musical instruments. Rectilinear propagation of   Light, Reflection and refraction. Spherical mirrors and Lenses, Human Eye.   Natural and Artificial Magnets, Properties of a Magnet, Earth as a Magnet.   Static and Current Electricity, conductors and Non-conductors, Ohm’s Law,   Simple Electrical Circuits, Heating, Lighting and Magnetic effects of   Current, Measurement of Electrical Power, Primary and Secondary Cells, Use of   X-Rays. General Principles in the working of the following: Simple Pendulum,   Simple Pulleys, Siphon, Levers, Balloon, Pumps, Hydrometer, Pressure Cooker,   Thermos Flask, Gramophone, Telegraphs, Telephone, Periscope, Telescope,   Microscope, Mariner’s Compass; Lightening Conductors, Safety Fuses.
Section ‘B’ (Chemistry)   
Physical and Chemical changes.   Elements, Mixtures and Compounds, Symbols, Formulae and simple Chemical   Equations, Law of Chemical Combination (excluding problems). Properties of   Air and Water. Preparation and Properties of Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen and   Carbondioxide, Oxidation and Reduction. Acids, bases and salts.   Carbon—different forms. Fertilizers—Natural and Artificial. Material used in   the preparation of substances like Soap, Glass, Ink, Paper, Cement, Paints,   Safety Matches and Gun- Powder. Elementary ideas about the structure of Atom,   Atomic Equivalent and Molecular Weights, Valency.
Section ‘C’ (General   Science)
Difference between the living   and non-living. Basis of Life—Cells, Protoplasms and Tissues. Growth and   Reproduction in Plants and Animals. Elementary knowledge of Human Body and   its important organs. Common Epidemics, their causes and prevention.   Food—Source of Energy for man. Constituents of food, Balanced Diet. The Solar   System—Meteors and Comets, Eclipses. Achievements of Eminent Scientists.   
Section ‘D’ (History,   Freedom Movement etc.)   
A broad survey of Indian   History, with emphasis on Culture and Civilisation. Freedom Movement in   India. Elementary study of Indian Constitution and Administration. Elementary   knowledge of Five Year Plans of India. Panchayati Raj, Co-operatives and   Community Development. Bhoodan, Sarvodaya, National Integration and Welfare   State, Basic Teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. Forces shaping the modern world;   Renaissance, Exploration and Discovery; War of American Independence. French   Revolution, Industrial Revolution and Russian Revolution. Impact of Science   and Technology on Society. Concept of one World, United Nations, Panchsheel,   Democracy, Socialism and Communism. Role of India in the present world.
Section ‘E’ (Geography)
The Earth, its shape and size.   Lattitudes and Longitudes, Concept of time. International Date Line.   Movements of Earth and their effects. Origin of Earth. Rocks and their   classification; Weathering—Mechanical and Chemical, Earthquakes and   Volcanoes. Ocean Currents and Tides Atmosphere and its composition;   Temperature and Atmospheric Pressure, Planetary Winds, Cyclones and   Anti-cyclones; Humidity; Condensation and Precipitation; Types of Climate,   Major Natural regions of the World. Regional Geography of India—Climate,   Natural vegetation. Mineral and Power resources; location and distribution of   agricultural and Industrial activities. Important Sea ports and main sea,   land and air routes of India. Main items of Imports and Exports of India.
Section ‘F’ (Current Events)   
Knowledge of Important events   that have happened in India in the recent years. Current important world   events. Prominent personalities—both Indian and International including those   connected with cultural activities and sports.

In short, the official NDA syllabus and the previous years’ paper will be your best guide while preparing for this reputed exam.

That brings us to the end of the article, we hope the information provided will be useful to plan your preparation efficiently.All the best. Stay tuned for more information about defense exams.

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