NDA Syllabus – Topics in Maths & GAT, Exam Pattern, SSB Test/Interview

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has released the NDA syllabus 2020 along with the official notification. The NDA & NA (National Defense Academy & Naval Academy) examination is divided into two papers of 2.5 hours each. Paper I is conducted for Mathematics, carrying a total of 300 marks whereas Paper II is the General Ability Test (GAT), which holds a maximum of 600 marks. 

Syllabus for NDA Paper II or GAT is divided into two parts – Part A comprises topics from English language and Part B is all about General Knowledge. The General Knowledge Section (Part B) of the NDA GAT question paper encompasses six major subjects including Physics, Chemistry, General Science, History, Geography and Current Affairs. Candidates can refer to this article to gain comprehensive knowledge about important topics and chapters as per the NDA syllabus 2020. 


NDA Syllabus 2020 – Overview

1. UPSC conducts NDA exam in two different papers, namely

  • Paper I – Mathematics
  • Paper II – General Ability Test

2. As per the NDA syllabus 2020, Mathematics paper will broadly have eight sections

3. Paper-II of NDA will have two parts:

  • Part A – English
  • Part B – General Knowledge

4. As defined in official NDA syllabus 2020, the General Knowledge section of NDA Paper II will have questions from the six subjects mentioned below:

  • Section A – Physics
  • Section B – Chemistry
  • Section C – General Science
  • Section D – Social Studies
  • Section E – Geography
  • Section F – Current Events

5. NDA syllabus 2020 for Paper I and Paper II will include chapters from the NCERT textbooks of class 10th, 11th and 12th. 

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NDA Syllabus 2020 for Paper I – Mathematics

The chapter-wise topics as per the NDA syllabus 2020 are available in the table below:

NDA Syllabus 2020 for Mathematics

Name of Chapter Topics
Algebra Representation of Real Numbers on a Line 
Complex Numbers—basic Properties
De Morgan Laws
Concept of Set
Operations on Sets
Venn Diagrams
Cartesian Product
Equivalence Relation
Cube Roots of Unity
Binary System of Numbers
Conversion of a Number in Decimal System to Binary System and Vice-versa
Geometric and Harmonic Progressions
Quadratic Equations with Real Coefficients
Solution of Linear Inequalities 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
Basic Properties of Determinants
Applications-solution of a System of Linear Equations in Two Or Three Unknowns by Cramer’s Rule and by Matrix Method
The determinant of a Matrix
Adjoint and Inverse of a Square Matrix
Trigonometry Angles and Their Measures in Degrees and in Radians
Trigonometric Ratios
Trigonometric Identities Sum and Difference Formulae
Multiple and Sub-multiple Angles
Inverse Trigonometric Functions
Applications-height and Distance
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
Eccentricity and Axis of a Conic
Point in a Three Dimensional Space
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
Ellipse and Hyperbola
Distance Between Two Points
Differential Calculus Concept of a Real-Valued Function–domain
Composite Functions
Notion of Limit
Continuity of Functions—examples
Derivative of Function at a Point
Derivatives of Sum
Second Order Derivatives
Increasing and Decreasing Functions
Range and Graph of a Function
One to One
Onto and Inverse Functions
Standard Limits—examples
Geometrical and Physical Interpretation of a Derivative—applications
Algebraic Operations on Continuous Functions
Product and Quotient of Functions
Derivative of a Function with Respect to Another Function
Derivative of a Composite Function
Integral Calculus and Differential Equations Definition of Order and Degree of a Differential Equation
Integration as Inverse of Differentiation
Integration by Substitution and by Parts
Standard Integrals Involving Algebraic Expressions
Exponential and Hyperbolic Functions
Evaluation of Definite Integrals—determination of Areas of Plane Regions Bounded by Curves—applications
Formation of a Differential Equation by Examples
The solution of First Order and First Degree Differential Equations of Various Types—examples
General and Particular Solution of a Differential Equations
Application in Problems of Growth and Decay
Vector Algebra Vectors in Two and Three Dimensions
Magnitude and Direction of a Vector
Addition of Vectors
Scalar Multiplication of a Vector
Scalar Product Or Dot Product of Two Vectors
Unit and Null 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 and Probability Graphical Representation—histogram
Classification of Data
Frequency Distribution
Cumulative Frequency Distribution—examples
Pie Chart
Frequency Polygon— Examples
Median and Mode
Measures of Central Tendency—mean
Variance and Standard Deviation—determination and Comparison
Correlation and Regression
Random Experiment
Outcomes and Associated Sample Space
Mutually Exclusive and Exhaustive Events
Impossible and Certain Events
Elementary and Composite Events
Bayes’ Theorem—Simple Problems
Examples of Random Experiments Giving Rise to Binomial Distribution
Union and Intersection of Events
Random Variable as Function on a Sample Space
Binomial Distribution
Definition of Probability—classical and Statistical—examples
Elementary Theorems on Probability—simple Problems

NDA Syllabus 2020 for Paper II – General Ability Test (GAT)

The General Ability Test (GAT) has two parts – Part A i.e. English carries a maximum of 200 marks. On the other hand, Part B i.e. General Knowledge consists of a total of 400 marks. Find comprehensive details of NDA syllabus 2020 for both the parts of GAT below. 

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NDA Syllabus for GAT – English (Part-A)

This part of NDA Paper II helps in analysing the overall English proficiency of candidates. The questions will be framed as per NDA syllabus 2020 mentioned below.

NDA Syllabus 2020 for English 

S.No Topics
1 Grammar and Usage
2 Vocabulary
3 Comprehension
4 Cohesion

NDA Syllabus for GAT – General Knowledge (Part-B)

UPSC NDA notification has elaborated the NDA syllabus 2020 for all the six sections (Physics, Chemistry, General Science, Social Science, Geography and Current Events), which is as follows.


Newton’s Laws of Motion Physical Properties and States of Matter Modes of transference of Heat Volume
Force and Momentum Mass Sound waves and their properties General Principles – Balloon
Parallelogram of Forces Weight Simple musical instruments Principle of Archimedes
Stability and Equilibrium of bodies General Principles – Hydrometer Rectilinear propagation of Light Pressure Barometer
General Principles – Pumps Elementary ideas of work Reflection and refraction General Principles – Telephone
Measurement of Temperature and Heat Power and Energy Spherical mirrors and Lenses Velocity and Acceleration
Human Eye Earth as a Magnet General Principles – Mariner’s Compass; Lightning Conductors General Principles – Telegraphs
Natural and Artificial Magnets Static and Current Electricity Simple Electrical Circuits Primary and Secondary Cells
General Principles – Simple Pendulum General Principles – Simple Pulleys Heating, Lighting and Magnetic effects of Current General Principles – Siphon
Properties of a Magnet Conductors and Non-conductors General Principles – Levers Density and Specific Gravity
Use of X-Rays Effects of Heat Gravitation General Principles – Pressure Cooker
Motion of objects General Principles – Thermos Flask General Principles – Gramophone Measurement of Electrical Power
General Principles – Periscope General Principles – Telescope Ohm’s Law General Principles – Microscope
General Principles – Safety Fuses


Preparation and Properties of Carbon Dioxide Physical and Chemical Changes Preparation and Properties of Nitrogen Oxidation and Reduction
Preparation and Properties of Hydrogen Fertilizers—Natural and Artificial Elements Preparation and Properties of Oxygen
Mixtures and Compounds The material used in the preparation of different substances Elementary ideas about the structure of Atom Symbols, Formulae and simple Chemical Equation
Acids, bases and salts Carbon— different forms Atomic Equivalent and Molecular Weights Law of Chemical Combination (excluding problems)
Valency Properties of Air and Water


Achievements of Eminent Scientists Food—Source of Energy for man
Constituents of food  Difference between the living and nonliving
Elementary knowledge of Human Body and its important organs Common Epidemics, their causes and prevention
Balanced Diet Basis of Life—Cells, Protoplasms and Tissues
The Solar System—Meteors and Comets, Eclipses Growth and Reproduction in Plants and Animals


Role of India in the present world Freedom Movement in India Co-operatives and Community Development Elementary study of Indian Constitution and Administration
Forces shaping the modern world; Renaissance Elementary knowledge of Five Year Plans of India Bhoodan, Sarvodaya, National Integration and Welfare State Concept of one World
A broad survey of Indian History, with emphasis on Culture and Civilisation Exploration and Discovery; War of American Independence Basic Teachings of Mahatma Gandhi A broad survey of Indian History, with emphasis on Culture and Civilisation
Panchayati Raj United Nations, Panchsheel, Democracy, Socialism and Communism Impact of Science and Technology on Society French Revolution, Industrial Revolution and Russian Revolution


Latitudes and Longitudes Concept of time Condensation and Precipitation
Location and distribution of agricultural and Industrial activities Main items of Imports and Exports of India Humidity
Movements of Earth and their effects Major Natural Regions of the World Important Sea ports and main sea, land and air routes of India
Ocean Currents and Tides Atmosphere and its composition Mineral and Power resources International Date Line
Origin of Earth. Rocks and their classification Regional Geography of India—Climate, Natural vegetation The Earth, its shape and size
Temperature and Atmospheric Pressure, Planetary Winds, Cyclones and Anticyclones Weathering-Mechanical and Chemical, Earthquakes and Volcanoes Types of Climate


S.No Topics
1 Knowledge of Important events that have happened in India in recent years
2 Current important world events
3 Prominent personalities—both Indian and International including those connected with cultural activities and sports

NDA Syllabus – Section-Wise Weightage in General Knowledge

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) designs the NDA question paper for General Knowledge (Part B of GAT) by providing a certain weightage to all the six sections. Candidates can check the table below to know the section-wise weightage in the general knowledge paper of UPSC NDA.

NDA General Knowledge Paper – Section-Wise Weightage 

Section Name of Section Weightage
A Physics 25%
B Chemistry 15%
C General Science 10%
D Social Science 20%
E Geography 20%
F Current Events 10%

NDA Exam Pattern 2020 

Apart from the NDA syllabus 2020, it is also wise to understand the exam pattern of NDA written exam. It is really helpful in preparation of a smart study plan. 

Overview of NDA Exam Pattern

 Particulars  Details
Mode of exam Offline i.e., Pen & Paper Based 
Medium of exam English or Hindi
Number of Papers 2 (Mathematics and General Ability Test)
Type of questions MCQs
Total questions 270 (Mathematics – 120 and General Ability Test – 150)
Paper-wise marks Mathematics – 300 and General Ability Test – 600 
Total marks 900
Time duration 2.30 hours (for each paper)

Highlights of NDA Marking Scheme

Particulars  Marking pattern
Mathematics 2.5 marks for every right answer
General Ability Test 4 marks for every right answer
For an incorrect answer in both Paper I and II s 0.33% marks will be deducted
For unattempted questions Zero marks
For picking more than one answer 0.33% marks will be cut

NDA Syllabus – Intelligence and Personality Test

  1. Final selection of candidates is based on their total NDA score out of 1800 marks. NDA Written Exam (Paper I & II) carries a maximum of 900 marks whereas SSB Test/Interview also holds the same weightage i.e. 900 marks. 
  2. SSB Interview procedure consists of two stages. Candidates, who qualify the first stage of SSB Interview, are eligible for participation in stage II
  3. SSB Interview Stage I includes  Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR), Picture Perception and Description Test
  4. SSB Interview Stage II consists of an interview followed by Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests and a Conference
  5. Stage II of the Intelligence and Personality Test is conducted in a stretch of four days

NDA 2020 – Tips to Prepare

  1. Get the hang  of NDA exam pattern and syllabus around which you need to devise your NDA preparation plan
  2. Make it a daily habit to read newspaper/s to keep a track of current events
  3. For the GAT Part A (English), read as many recommended books as possible and watch English news channels & movies as a leisure pursuit 
  4. While preparing for GAT Part B (General Knowledge), you need to have a basic understanding of topics covered in each section 
  5. Do not dig deep inside the topics while preparing for Part B of GAT as it is a General Knowledge paper and requires only the basic understanding of the concepts 
  6. Practise as many sample papers and previous year question papers as possible. This will help you in recognising the most important topics and chapters
  7. Prepare a plan in sync with a daily calendar, set targets and meet the deadlines religiously
  8. Create short notes while studying. This will help in last-minute revision

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NDA Previous Years’ Question Papers 

Solving previous years’ papers is immensely helpful in understanding the nature of questions and the paper pattern of the NDA written test. The table below comprises the NDA question papers of last three years that candidates can refer to:

Subjects 2019 2018 2017
General Ability Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here
Math Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here

Most Recommended Books for NDA Preparation 

NCERT textbooks from class 10th to 12th are considered to be the best for NDA preparation. Still, aspirants can refer to other expert-recommended books for a foolproof NDA preparation. 

Important Books for NDA Paper I (Mathematics) Preparation 

  1. Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations by RS Aggarwal
  2. NDA Entrance Exam by ES Ramasamy
  3. Mathematics for NDA/NA: National Defence Academy and Naval Academy by RS Aggarwal

Important Books for NDA Paper II (General Ability Test) Preparation 

Section Books
  • Objective General English by SP Bakshi
  • Wren & Martin High School English Grammar and Composition
  • Word Power Made Easy by Norman & Lewis
  • NCERT 10th to 12th Books 
  • NCERT Exemplars 
  • NCERT 10th to 12th Books 
  • NCERT Exemplars 
General Science, History, Geography
  • Objective GK by Sanjiv Kumar
Current Affairs 
  • Pratoyogita Darpan 
  • Manorama Yearbook

NDA Syllabus – Frequently Asked Questions

✔️ How many papers do I need to appear for while taking the UPSC NDA exam?

UPSC NDA written exam is divided into two papers - Mathematics and General Ability Test (GAT). General Ability Test is further divided into two parts - Part A comprises questions on English language and Part B is about General Knowledge.

✔️ Do I need to prepare for other topics beyond NDA syllabus 2020?

Yes, while preparing for a particular section, candidates must study all the topics that can be covered under it. UPSC NDA evaluates the basic understanding of the candidates for a particular subject. Thus, any topics beyond NDA syllabus 2020 may also surprise you.

✔️ What is the difficulty level of the UPSC NDA exam?

Union Public Service Commission designs the question paper of NDA after considering all the topics covered in the NCERT syllabus of class 10th, 11th and 12th broadly. Candidates must have an understanding of all the topics they have been taught at secondary and senior secondary level.

✔️ Is the syllabus for NDA and NA similar to each other?

Yes. The syllabus for NDA and NA is the same. Candidates have to follow a similar preparation strategy as test structure and the syllabus are similar to each other.

✔️ In NDA Paper II, how are the marks divided between English and General Knowledge sections?

As per sectional marks distribution in NDA Paper I & II, English section holds a maximum of 200 marks and General Knowledge consists of a total of 400 marks.

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