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The Combined Defence Services (CDS) and National Defence Academy (NDA) exams are held every year to recruit candidates for the Indian Armed Forces. Both the exams are conducted Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) twice a year. Thousands of candidates appear for the examination every year, but only a few hundred are selected for SSB interviews.

Let us look at the key similarities and differences in CDS SSB and NDA SSB Interview process, selection ratio, and post list for CDS.

Criteria 1: Eligibility for NDA SSB and CDS SSB Interview

The table below highlights the key differences in the eligibility criteria between NDA SSB and CDS SSB Interview:

Parameter NDA CDS
Age 16 ½ – 19 ½ years 19 to 25 years
Eligibility Men and Women both Men and Women
Educational Qualification Class 10 Graduation

Criteria 2: NDA and CDS Exam Pattern

The following table highlights the key differences in the exam pattern of NDA and CDS:

Parameter NDA CDS
Number of Papers Two ●        IMA, AFA and INA: Three

●        OTA: Two

Subjects ●        General Ability Test

●        Mathematics

●        IMA, AFA & INA: English, General knowledge and Elementary Mathematics.

●        OTA Chennai: English and General Knowledge

Exam Duration Each Paper is for 2 ½ hours Each Paper is for 2 hours
Number of Questions ●        General Ability: 150

●        Mathematics: 120

●        Elementary Mathematics: 100

●        English: 120

●        General Knowledge: 120

Total Marks ●        Written Test: 900

●        SSB Interview: 900

●        For Correct answer in GAT = 4 marks

●        For Correct answer in Mathematics = 2.5 marks

●        Written Test for IMA, AFA & INA: 300

●        SSB Interview for IMA, AFA & INA: 300

●        Written Test for OTA: 200

●        SSB Interview for OTA: 300


NDA SSB 2021 Selection Process

Stage 1: The candidates need to report at the following centers for their NDA SSB Interview. UPSC or SSB can advise any of the options mentioned in the table to the candidate:

Division Center List
Army Services Selection center (EAST) Allahabad (UP), Selection center (CENTRAL) Bhopal (MP), Selection center (SOUTH) Bangalore (Karnataka)
Air Force AFSB Dehradun (Uttarakhand), AFSB Mysore (Karnataka), AFSB Gandhi Nagar (Gujarat), AFSB Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)
Navy Services NSB Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), 12 SSB at SCS Bangalore (Karnataka), 33 SSB at SCC Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh)

Stage 2: Day-Wise Schedule

Day Description
Day 0 Verification of Documents
Day 1 ●        Officer Intelligence Test

●        Picture Perception & Description Test

Day 2 ●        Thematic Appreciation Test

●        Word Association Test

Day 3 & 4 ●        Group Testing Officers Task

●        Candidates are divided into different groups and they have to accomplish several tasks.

Day 5 ●        Conference

●        30 minutes session taken by board examiners, psychologists, GTOs and Technical officers.

  • At the end of every day, candidates who are unable to pass the parameters are declared disqualified. They do not take further part in the NDA SSB Interview.
  • The candidates who can clear all the tests are allowed to stay for medical examination.
  • Personal Interviews can take place on any day after Day 1. The candidates should always be prepared for it.

NDA SSB and CDS SSB Selection Ratio

NDA SSB and CDS SSB Interviews are the toughest among all the interviews conducted for Government Jobs. Many candidates have the potential to clear the NDA and CDS written exam but have failed multiple times in the SSB Interviews. Thus, it is better to start your preparations under expert guidance at BYJU’s Exam Prep.

Many candidates face rejection on Day1 of the selection process itself and are declared disqualified in the process. The rate of selection is just 6 to 10 percent in the NDA SSB Interview. The final selection in the CDS SSB Interview is even less at 5 to 6 percent.

Even at stage 1 of SSB Interview, OIR Test, and PPDT, SSB aims to clear out 60 percent of the shortlisted candidates from the written examination.

Good Luck!

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