NDA Syllabus for Mathematics & General Ability Test

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NDA Syllabus is decided by Union Public Service Commision (UPSC) each year. The exam is divided into two sets of papers (Mathematics and General Ability) that a candidate must clear. There are various topics and sub-topics that come under the syllabus for Mathematics and General Ability. It aims to judge a candidate on his logical ability and general awareness.

The first paper in NDA is Mathematics which holds a weightage of 300 marks. The second part is a General Ability Test which is for 600 marks. Paper 2 is sub-divided into English and General Knowledge (Physics, Geography, Chemistry, History etc.). Both the papers in NDA are of 2 hours and 30 minutes each. 

The exam for National Defence Academy (NDA) is held twice a year (April and September) in offline mode. It helps select some of the best candidates for the Indian National Army or Navy. Now, the second phase of NDA 2017 is scheduled in September. First phase of NDA 2017 was successfully held on April 23, 2017.

A candidate is required to sit for both the parts of the exam to ensure admission to the desired course. Post these written exams, an interview round will be held as a part of NDA Selection Process. For April session this year, approximately 2.5 lacs candidates competed for 390 seats.

NDA Exam Pattern

NDA 2017 is set to conducted on September 10, 2017. It is an offline examination i.e. pen and paper based test with objective type questions. NDA exam pattern is different for both the papers. It is necessary to qualify them in order to ensure admission in the National Defence Academy. NDA exam pattern for both the papers is given below:


The first paper is Mathematics and is aimed to test candidates’ skill with numbers and calculations. The question paper would be set in both Hindi and English. The Structure for Paper I is indicated in the below table:

Paper I- Mathematics
Total Marks 300 Marks
Total No. of Questions 120
Marks awarded for Correct answer 2.5 marks
Marks deducted for wrong answer -0.85
Exam Duration 2.5 Hours

General Ability

Paper II of NDA is the General Ability Test which comprises questions from English Language and General Knowledge. It is also a bilingual paper except for the English section. The structure and pattern for paper II is indicated in the below table:

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

Read detailed NDA Exam Pattern

NDA Syllabus for Mathematics

Paper 1 in NDA is purely based on Mathematics. There will not be any change from last year’s NDA Syllabus. The questions will be asked from 10+2 level only. Students of any board can attempt this section with ease as long as they are acquainted well with NDA Syllabus for Mathematics. The sub sections in this part are also of basic-level mathematics that should not be hard to prepare.

It must be noted that candidates are not permitted to use calculator or Mathematical or logarithmic table for answering objective type papers (Test Booklets). They should therefore not bring the same inside the Examination Hall.

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

NDA Syllabus 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

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Best Books for NDA Preparation

For Paper 1 in NDA i.e. Mathematics, it is always a better approach to put in some extra efforts. 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 advice you to practice from them as much as possible.

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

NDA Mathematics
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
Read  How to Prepare Mathematics for NDA?

NDA 2017 Paper Analysis for Mathematics

NDA Paper 1 in April 2017 carried a large number of questions from Algebra, Matrices and Determinants, Trigonometry, Calculus, Probability, complex number and Quadratic equation. Mathematics sections was comparatively easier than last year. The exam was for 300 marks in total. Here is the topic-wise distribution of questions in NDA 2017 Paper 1:

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

NDA 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 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 the 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.

Part B- General Knowledge

The question paper on General Knowledge will not limit itself only to the general knowledge and current affair but will be further divided into the following subjects: Physics, Chemistry, General Science, Social Studies, Geography and Current Events. NDA syllabus of each of the following subjects is given below and detail and it charts the total scope of the paper for the candidate. Candidate’s answers are expected to show their knowledge and intelligent understanding of the subject.

Physics Section

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

NDA Syllabus 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
Read  How to prepare Physics for NDA?

Chemistry Section

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

NDA Syllabus 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
Acid, Bases and Salts Use of materials for preparation of different chemicals

General Science Section

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

NDA Syllabus 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

History Section

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

NDA Syllabus 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 Concept of one world
Democracy in India Teachings of Mahatma Gandhi

Geography Section

Candidates must prepare the following topics thoroughly for Geography section in NDA 2017:

NDA Syllabus for Geography
Earth and its Origin and Movement (latitudes and longitudes) Tides and Oceanic Currents
Rocks and Its classification 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  

Current Affairs Section

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 -

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Best Books for NDA 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 as well his basic knowledge for various subjects. There is a need to go through books, magazines, newspapers, archives, news channels etc. to be able to score well in this paper.

Candidates must have the 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 General Ability 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 2017 Mammen Mathew

NDA Sample Questions for General Ability Test

General Ability

NDA 2017 Paper Analysis for General Ability Test

Paper 2 in NDA 2017 carried 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 this year’s NDA 2017 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

NDA Preparation Tips

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

  • Make sure you are thorough with the NDA Syllabus and exam pattern.
  • Do not forget to refer to class XI-XII 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.

Read more  NDA Preparation Tips