Join forces with the defence

Tips to ace the gruelling exam to join the armed forces

April 04, 2021 12:26 am | Updated 12:26 am IST

For those who dream of joining the Defence Forces, the first step is to join the National Defence Academy (NDA), the first tri-service institution in the world. Here, cadets from the Army, Navy and the Air Force train together before they are commissioned and leave for their respective service academies. For aspirants, the recruitment is through a written exam and extensive interviews conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) over a rigorous five-day schedule.

Get, set, so

The national exam is conducted twice annually for those who have completed their class XII board exams. In both the written exam and the interviews, the board assesses your academic performance and your personality to see whether you will fit the services. This year, the exam is scheduled to be held on April 18. Here are some tips to get ready.

Written Exam: The section has one paper on Maths and another that includes English, Sciences, Humanities and Current Affairs. Apart from negative marking, there is also a sectional cut-off, which means that a candidate has to pass in both papers. Therefore, focus on important and specific topics. Ensure your basics are clear and your approach is well-defined. Solve previous years’ papers and attempt mock exams. Vocabulary has 40% weight in the English section of Paper II. So learn new words and read newspapers regularly. For other subjects like Geography, Economics, and the Sciences, sharpen your interpretative skills and ensure you have all the facts, data and figures handy. Stay updated on current affairs whether it is politics, technology, sports or government schemes.

Interview: The Service Selection Board (which conducts the interview) studies the candidate’s behaviour and personality. Over five days, psychological tests, personal interviews, group discussions and more will be conducted. Therefore, learn what the procedures are and practise through mock interviews. Be yourself and ensure you make time for your hobbies as well.

For those who get through this gruelling test, a life as an officer in the Armed Forces awaits.

The writer is Director and Founder, Centurion Defence Academy.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.