What are the Indian Army Defence Exams in India?


Last Updated: August 30, 2022
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Welcome back! We hope you enjoyed our last article where we spoke to you about the many career opportunities available to you in the defence sector. This time, we’d like to give you further insights into how you can go about pursuing those careers. We’ve put together a list of exams you would have to pursue, institutions you could join and everything else in between. So, get a pen and paper ready and take notes!

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Common Entrance Exams

1. NDA and NA (National Defence Academy and Naval Academy)

If you’re interested in joining the Defence Forces, you will need to appear for the NDA/NA exam. Once you have completed Class 12, you will be eligible for this exam. It is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) twice a year.  

This test will be conducted offline and will be followed by a Service Selection Board (SSB) interview. There is a three-year course you can get into at the NDA, Pune. This course is a Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) certified bachelor’s degree. Post these three years, you will undergo a one-year training programme based on the specialisation you choose. After which, you will officially join the Army/ Navy/ Air Force as an officer. 

Subjects Covered: English and General Knowledge – Sections for GK include physics, chemistry, general science, history and freedom movement, geography, and current events.

Look out for the next exam. It will be held on 10th April 2022. For further details, visit this website.

2. Combined Defence Services Exam

Another way for you to get into the defence forces is through the Combined Defence Services Exam. This exam is held for graduates or students in their last year. The exam is conducted twice a year by the UPSC. This exam is divided into two papers i.e. Paper-I and Paper-II. It has a written exam and an SSB interview, as well. After which, students who meet the CDS Cutoff can join the academy (allotted to you) for Permanent Commission (PC) or Short Service Commission (SSC). Female candidates can only apply for the SSC post. Here, you will undergo a one-year training. 

Subjects covered: English, GK and Elementary Mathematics

Look out for the next exam. It will be held on 10th April 2022. For further details, visit this website.

Academy Specific Exams


1. Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT)

This exam is conducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) twice a year. Through this exam, they recruit candidates for their Flying branch or Ground Duty (Technical / Non-Technical branch). You will need to be a graduate to be eligible for this exam. If you’re applying to the Technical Branch, you will need to clear their written test and Engineering Knowledge Test. 

Subjects covered: 

General Test: maths, GK, reasoning, english and military aptitude.

Engineering Knowledge Test: computer science engineering, electrical and electronics engineering, mechanical engineering

Look out for the next exam. It will be held from 9th – 14th February 2022. For further details, visit this website.

2. Indian Coast Guard

If you wish to join the Indian Coast Guard, you can join them as an officer at the entry-level post. For this, you must get through a written test followed by an interview. You will need to be a graduate in order to qualify for this exam.

Subjects covered: Mathematics, chemistry, GK and current affairs, physics, english, quantitative aptitude, and reasoning.

Look out for the next exam. It will be held between 28th January 2022. For further details, visit this website.

Discover your strengths and aptitude with Mentoria’s holistic career assessment test! We help you find the ideal career for you based on your unique interests, strengths and personality. 

3. Central Armed Police Forces


Conducted by the UPSC, this exam is a gateway to the various paramilitary forces. You will need to have a graduate degree to qualify for this test. The test comprises a written, physical, and medical fitness assessment followed by a personal interview. 

Subjects covered: 

Paper 1: General ability and intelligence

Paper 2: General studies and english & comprehension. 
Look out for the next exam. It will be held on 7th August 2022. For further details, visit this website.

4. Indian Air Force

For recruitment to Group X (airmen working in tech-related fields) and Y (Airmen working in non-tech-related fields – logistics, accounts, etc.), the IAF conducts an exam for students who have successfully cleared Class 12. 

Subjects covered: English, physics, general awareness, mathematics and reasoning.

Look out for the next exam. The date of this exam is expected to be released by October 2022. For further details, visit this website.

The exams and the training involved might seem like a herculean task, but it’s a no-brainer to take this path if it’s what you’ve always dreamt of. Remember: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. As a little slice of motivation, we got in touch with Deepak George Skaria, a member of the Indian Navy to give you a little insight into what a career in defence holds for you. Here’s what he had to say: 

“During my school days, I came to realise that people in defence were always able to handle themselves in a calm and steadfast manner in any and every situation. I aspired to be like that. And this sparked my interest in the armed forces.  My father was a retired naval officer, and therefore, I was brought up well aware of the Navy. As I learnt more about them, my drive to serve the Navy only grew stronger. I got in through the usual way: Applied for the UPSC exam, and got through the Services Selection Board and medical examination to make it to the merit list. Since I was from Kochi, I trained at the Southern Naval Command, the bastion for naval training. After clearing my exams, I was placed in the Indian Naval Academy. Other than providing you with service knowledge, the Academy grooms you in many ways. From etiquette to leadership, it makes you ready to take on responsibilities. Apart from giving you a sense of belongingness and security, naval life ensures you are a well-developed individual. It exposes you to different cultures and nationalities, and more importantly, gives you an opportunity to positively contribute to your country. It leaves you feeling accomplished, both as an individual and as a citizen.”

We hope Mr Skaria managed to give you a little insight into what life in the defence forces could give you. He asked us to convey his best wishes to all of you young and budding citizens who wish to serve their country. If you need any more help with how you can go about pursuing your career in defence, let us know. Until then, Jai Hind!

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