For those aspiring to serve the country by being part of its prestigious defence forces, the first step is clearing the National Defence Academy (NDA) exam. Conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for admission to the Army, Navy and Air Force wings of the NDA for the 135th course and the 97th Indian Naval Academy course, the next edition of the exam would be held on April 19, 2015. The paper comprises two sections to be attempted in two-and-a-half hours.The mathematics section is of 300 marks and the general ability test carries 600 marks. Candidates who clear the written test qualify for the Services Selection Board (SSB) stage which carries 900 marks. The written exam consists of objective-type questions.
According to Colonel DJS Chahal, who has served the Army for over 25 years, studying for the NDA exam requires special preparation. “As it is a multiple-choice exam, it will contain many questions which will force the students to be familiar with a broader range of material.”
Multiple-choice exams tend to focus on details, and you cannot retain too many things in a short span. Divide the topics in parts and allow plenty of time for reviews.
Recapitulate important points after reading. Understand the concepts thoroughly as questions are mostly application based. Pay particular attention to fundamental terms and concepts that describe important events or features, or that tie related ideas and observations together. Use the process of elimination while attempting the paper. The paper includes math, general English and general studies (history, geography, polity, economics, science, current affairs). Prepare your favourite subjects first and spend more time on the subjects having greater weightage proportionately. Brainstorm possible questions with other students who are also preparing for the exam.
Candidates who have cleared the written exam successfully suggest that those taking the test this year should get their basics right. “I started preparing for the NDA exam very early. Getting the basics right helps one tackle the tough chapters.”
With less than a week left for the exam, topics on modern history and Constitution of India should be studied properly. Physics, chemistry biology of Class 10 should be revised thoroughly. For math, the NCERT books of Class 11 and 12 are ­sufficient.
The key to crack the NDA exam lies in acing English .One should practise putting together sentences, improving sentences and spotting errors etc. On the day of the exam, as soon as you get the question paper, don’t start solving in a rush. Read the questions for five minutes and categorise them as easy, those that take time or are difficult. Category one should be attempted first followed by category two. Time management is very important. “Remember your first aim is to clear the cut-off and then consolidate your position,” says Rahul Kumar, who is preparing for the SSB.
For Samrath Singh Grewal, choosing the armed forces as a career was an obvious choice since both his grandfather and great grandfather had served the Army and his maternal grandfather was associated with the Air Force. Recalling how he prepared for the NDA exam last year, Grewal says, “I was confident about math. I was able to do well in the general ability test thanks to my interest in history. Make sure you read newspapers regularly, and browse the internet.”