We all want to build good and successful careers, don’t we? A career in Armed Forces of India is one such glorious, much respected and much sought after career in India. Especially the post of a ‘Commissioned Officer’ is being dreamt of by many Indian youngsters! But getting this dream job is not that easy. First of all, the sheer number of aspirants is too high! Add to that the limited number of seats across various Defence related Academies in India like- NDA (National Defence Academy), IMA (Indian Military Academy), NA (Naval Academy) and AFA (Air Force Academy), you have cut throat competition for seats as a result! Like any other premier academic seat in India, to get into the above mentioned ones and to become an Officer, a candidate has to clear competitive exams! Here, I will share some tips that’ll help you clear the written examination part associated with NDA and CDS (Combined Defence Services) entrance tests.
What exactly is the written exam of NDA like?
First of all, let me tell you what the written exam is all about. To get selected to the training program, a candidate has to go through a two phase selection process.
The first phase is written examination and the second phase is an SSB (Services Selection Board) Interview. I’ve already written and shared an article about some useful tips to crack SSB Interview. So, I’ll be only dealing with the written examination part in this article.
Blueprint of the written examination
The written examination is MCQ (Multiple Choice Question) styled. Candidates have to use OMR sheets to record their answers. One has to select the right answer from a set of options given with each question.
The examination can be said to be consisting of broadly 3 main parts- Mathematics, English and General Knowledge. Let us see some important facts about these main sections-
Includes topics that you’ve faced in 12th standard like- Algebra, Trigonometry, Probability, Permutations and Combinations, Analytical question, Percentage, Profit and Loss, Ratio and proportion etc.
This section is all about testing your English language skills. Expect questions related to mistake spotting, synonyms, antonyms, article writing, grammar related questions, comprehension etc.
General Knowledge section-
Covers variety of topics ranging from science to current affairs! Some of the topics are- Indian history, World History and events, Physics, Chemistry, Biology etc.
Now that we have gone through the blueprint and the various different sections of the examination, let us focus on the tips and tricks that will help you score the maximum marks.
Useful NDA written exam tips to help you clear the examination
#1 Solving previous years’ question papers will help much
If you are really serious about passing the written exam and scoring well in it, consider solving as many question papers that you can lay your hands upon. The trend so far has been that the blueprint of the written examination has not changed significantly over all these years.
The figures in different years’ question papers may be different, but the style of the questions asked each year are the same! Upon solving previous years’ question papers, you’ll come across the ‘style of the questions’. Since the same styled questions are asked in the exam, you won’t have much trouble solving them! This is also a good way to get the necessary ‘exam practice’!
#2 Buy NDA written exam guides
I said before that solving question papers helps. But how would you learn stuff that you come across on the question papers that you don’t know? In such circumstances, guide books, tailor made for NDA aspirants, comes handy!
One of the best guide book is the one published by Arihant Publication house. It usually covers each and every topic associated with the written examination. Also, as an added bonus, it also contains question papers from previous years and the solutions to those papers too in it!
#3 Learn the shortcuts, when it comes to Mathematics
The mathematics part of the exam is a bit tricky. The questions asked in it are analytical and needs to be worked upon to find the solution. As long as you don’t know the shortcut method, it will for sure take much time and efforts to find the right answer. This often results in waste of time and marks!
Learning the shortcut methods using the guide book will help you save time. This will eventually help you attend all the questions asked in the paper.
#4 Time management is of key importance
It is all about managing the time that has been allotted in a good manner. Try mastering the shortcut methods and save time. Don’t waste time solving a question that you don’t have any idea about. Instead of that, move on to the next question. Always keep an eye on your wrist watch.
#5 Beware of negative marking
Like almost all the MCQ styled entrance tests, this examination also has the ‘negative marks’ system. As per this system, each wrong question attempted by the candidate will result in 0.25 marks being deducted from the grand total!
This means that 4 wrong answers can get 1 mark deducted from your score! Thus, keeping this negative marking system in mind, never go for wild guesses while answering the question paper.
Leave the questions that you are not quite sure about. To an extent, intelligent guessing can be used. But never attempt wild guessing. It may end up ruining your final score.
#6 Work on your space management skills
Wondering what space management is all about? Well, when it comes to mathematics, to solve questions, some or the other sort of rough work is involved. Such rough work requires blank space. You may do such stuff in your mind too, if you are exceptionally smart!
But almost all of us will need to do rough work on the blank spaces provided. But the problem is that the amount of blank space provided is not too much. It is quite limited, to be honest. So, in order to tackle this issue and to prevent ourselves from running out of blank space, we must practice space management.
Learn to do calculations and rough work in as limited space as possible. Also, do much of the task using mental arithmetic rather than written work.
#7 TV and NEWS Paper can be of help
As mentioned above, Current Affairs forms an integral part of this examination. To clear the exam and score well, this section must be well attended to!
The best way to do this task is by making use of Television and NEWS Papers. Make use of them to stay up to date on topics associated with Current Affairs as well as National and International NEWS. Guide books alone won’t help you master Current Affairs. That’s when TV and NEWS Papers comes handy!
#8 Extensive reading is the way to score in English section
If you are naturally strong in English since your school days, you won’t have much problem dealing with the English section of the examination. Otherwise, you’ll have to polish your skills.
The best way to do this is by reading. Reading English story books, novels, NEWS Papers etc will help you improve your language as well as build vocabulary at the same time. Believe me, it will also improve your grammar and writing skills to an extent.
#9 History of India: Don’t ignore it
It may well be boring to prepare history section. But at least don’t skip the part associated with the history of our country! Lots of questions are asked, which are related to Indian history. Skipping this section will prove to be a costly mistake! Prepare this section well.
Taking care of the above aspects will make sure that you’ll pass the written part with flying colors! If necessary, you may also go for Coaching classes and programs. They’ll ensure that your learning process is complete and an accelerated one! And remember to practice. The more you practice, the better will be your speed and time management skills! Best of luck!