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How to Prepare For NDA Exam at Home

by Vijay Garg
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The National Defence Academy is one of the most reputed military academy in the world for recruitment in the Armed forces. The NDA exam is held twice a year. The candidates are chosen for the armed forces, Indian Navy, and Air force branches. The candidates have to go through a two-stage process. The first stage is the written stage and the second stage consists of the five days interview process conducted by the (Services Selection Board)  Candidates who pass both rounds will be selected for the defence forces.
As per the data, Over 3 lakh aspirants appear for the NDA exam every year. Out of that 3 lakh, only 8 to 9 thousand candidates clear the exam. So, it is not an easy exam. And hence, it requires utmost dedication and hard work from the aspirants.
Due to the Corona pandemic, the dates of the NDA exam have earlier been postponed. However, this year UPSC is scheduled to take this exam on 14 November 2021. Things have not been easy for anyone in this pandemic, the aspirants preparing for the NDA exam are also facing the deprivation of motivating factors, offline coachings, and other preparatory stuff. Many aspirants are preparing for the NDA exam at their homes. This might sound like another hurdle but one should always remember to transform adversities into opportunities. We got you covered here!
NDA Exam Pattern and Syllabus
Before moving to tips, let’s first Understand the NDA exam pattern and syllabus that opens doors to success in the exam. The written exam of NDA consists of two papers. Paper 1 is of Mathematics which carries 120 questions out of 300 marks. Paper 2 is the General Ability Test (GAT), which contains 150 questions of 600 marks. Each paper lasts for 2.5 hours. For selection, candidates are judged out of 1800 marks, where 900 marks are assigned to the written test and 900 marks to SSB.
Be consistent with the studies
It is very important for the aspirants who are preparing for the NDA exam to be consistent with their studies. As you can see, two papers consist of maths and GAT. both the paper require a consistent study approach. That is why it’s important to have a consistent approach towards study. Preparing from home has its benefits whereas some disadvantages as well. There can be many distractions and laziness accompanying when you study. But it’s important to have a focused mind and disciplined nature towards studies. Time is limited and the syllabus has to be completed in the same limited time frame. So, the aspirant should not be wasting their time.
Even if you are not good at some subject or topic, consistent practice will make you better eventually in the subject. With a positive and disciplined approach, the candidates can be consistent with their studies.
Tip 2:- Divide the syllabus and accomplish the goal
Divide the syllabus and chapters into sub-parts and then achieve them in the decided time. Accomplishing small goals will further motivate the aspirants to complete their next goals. For this, one needs to break the big chapters and topics into sub-topics within the desired time frame. Now, focus on accomplishing the sub-topics one by one. This will ensure that all topics are covered and nothing is left out of sight.
Follow the 80/20 rule and go for the topics which hold major value(80%) in the NDA exam and then focus on the rest of the little topics. This will help in completing the important part of the syllabus easily and in the desired time frame.
Tip 3:- Time management
Time management is the most vital thing during the preparation and the exam. During the preparation, the candidates need to manage their time. Since it is a preparation from home so, there won’t be many hassles of offline coachings but there will be ample distractions and various subjects to be managed and completed within the meantime.  There should be a proper and realistic timetable to be made by the aspirants with proper allocation of time to different subjects. Paper 1 and paper 2 of the NDA exam consist of 120 and 150 questions respectively which are to be solved in 2.5 hours each. This means that candidates should also be prepared to solve the paper in the stipulated time. And that’s why time management is necessary.
Tip 4:- Practice previous year papers
Previous year’s papers are the best source of preparation at home. Solving previous year’s papers can help the candidates in finding their weak and strong areas. It also helps them to get an actual feel for the NDA exam. Solving the previous year’s papers will help the candidates in boosting their preparation and creating strategies to score more in the NDA exam. The candidates should solve the previous year’s papers 3-4 months before the actual exam.
Tip 5:- Revision is the key
It is human tendency to forget things which they read or write after a certain time. The solution for this problem is timely revision. Revision helps the mind to consolidate the learnings. Most aspirants read and study a lot but do not revise the contents and that is where they get it all wrong. Limiting the study materials and revising the studied content is the key to cracking the NDA exam.
Every candidate should weekly revise the content that they have studied in the past week. This will make the preparation journey a lot easier and will help me retain good marks in the NDA exam.
Tip 6:- Create a list of basic books and standard books
The candidates must first finish all the basic 11th-12th books, especially physics and mathematics. NCERTs are the basic source for this exam,  hence they must be completed first. But to mention the NCERTs are not enough to crack this exam! Some extra standard books need to be studied to complete the syllabus of the NDA exam. 
For extra sources, candidates can take the help of the internet, . So, do not just be dependent upon books but try to expand your knowledge and clear your concepts via online sources as well.
The NDA exam is one of the most difficult exams that is conducted by UPSC. around 2.5 lakh candidates have appeared for the exam since 2020. This shows the high competition level for getting into the Armed forces. Due to the ongoing pandemic, many candidates are preparing for the NDA exam from home. The candidates who are preparing from home must now be more focused and dedicated as the NDA exams will be near.

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