Lessons From Lieutenant Colonel
Col. PL Jayram B
Deputy Commandant, Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre
1. Why should a student join NDA??
NDA (National Defence Academy) gives a bright future to students who have graduated from higher secondary school in India. It is above par when compared to other fields such as Chartered Accountancy, Medicine, and Engineering. Moreover, NDA is one of the elite institutes in India. If a student is very passionate about defence, NDA is an apt choice for education and career growth. It’s a platform to join the Indian Army, Indian Navy or Indian Air Force. After clearing the NDA Exam, one gets a competitive salary package, facilities for the future, and opportunities to take part in tasks outside India.
2. What sort of preparation is needed to crack the entrance exam?
The students who wish to join National Defence Academy (NDA) must give exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). They must have a smart and well-organised study plan to score good marks. Firstly, the students must analyse the complete syllabus and highlight topics that need more importance. Along with written test and interview, health also plays a vital role as part of the selection process. Hence, NDA aspirants must be fit and healthy.
3. What is the syllabus that must be covered?
NDA Exam is conducted twice a year through offline mode. NDA Exam pattern includes two sections — Mathematics and General Ability. Students must prepare as per the syllabus prescribed by UPSC. Mathematics paper consists of topics related to Trigonometry and Analytical Geometry while General Ability makes up of Physics, General Science, History etc.
4.Can you describe the different interview rounds? How can students do well during the extensive interviews by the SSB?
Services Selection Board (SSB) under the Ministry of Defence conducts SSB Interview to evaluate candidates for recruitment in the Navy, Army, and Air Force. The interview process includes Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR), Picture Perception and Description Test (PP and DT), Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests, Conference and Result Declaration. The students must prepare well-in-advance by keeping a positive frame of mind.
5.What are the different undergraduate programmes at NDA?
After the successful completion of NDA Exam and three years of study, the students either choose Science stream or Humanities stream affiliated to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). The Science stream offers Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry while the Humanities stream offers subjects such as History, Political Science, Languages, and Geography. Additionally, cadets must pursue a Compulsory Course, Foundation Course, and Optional Course.
6.How is life at NDA?
The training period at NDA is beyond one could ever imagine. It is a lot more than mere academics. However, the three years of rigorous training consists of six terms with five months for each term. Cadets face endless tests that include swimming, horse riding, firing, drilling, tactic, navigation etc. During the training period, the higher authority or senior management look at the comprehensive set of qualities like courage, confidence, and medical fitness.
7.Can you give us a brief about the squadrons and battalions and what it really means?
After entering NDA, a cadet is placed in one of the 18 Squadrons that becomes his team for the next three years. The Squadrons are called as Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hunter, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Panther, Quebec and Romeo, and Alpha. They are further divided into Battalions. Both Squadrons and Battalions help NDA in classifying for the training purposes.