Defence Exams After 12th For Indian – 2024

Almost every citizen in the world wishes to protect and safeguard their country. However, only some get to make this dream come true by choosing to be a defense professional. It is a rigorous yet fulfilling process and starts with an entrance exam.

In this article, we will look at the various entrance exams for a student to qualify for the Indian Army and the next steps that come with it.

If you are someone who is planning to join the prestigious Indian army and contribute to the nation’s well-being and safety, read on.

Benefits of Joining the Armed Forces

Before we start this journey and look at the various courses, let us first look at the benefits that will welcome you as a part of the job. Indeed, the love for your motherland is always going to be your one true motivation. But, in case you are wondering what your career will look like once you join the army, here is a glimpse of it.

Apart from the immense pride and honor that comes with serving the country, the job of an army personnel comes loaded with benefits. National safeguarding is a serious matter and a demanding job, So, you get equitable perks with the job. You will be a part of a well-knitted community of fellow servicemen and their families that span all across the country along with the below perks.

  • Job Security: The Indian armed forces not only ensure job security but also offer you several perks along with a pension after retirement.
  • Career Growth: The hierarchy in the army is perfectly structured, you can advance by working your way up the ranks with dedication and hard work. However, to give you an idea you can earn up to 2,50,000/- per month, depending on your position.
  • Housing and Healthcare: An Army professional is entitled to have housing and healthcare benefits for themselves and their family members.
  • Allowances: You will be rewarded with various allowances depending on your position along with your salary.
  • Travel and Recreation: You will be eligible to stay at Indian army-facilitated resorts depending on your travel.
  • Post Retirement: You will still be given any kind of support after your retirement, known as veteran support.

I can understand all these perks as a student seem too good to be true. But, serving the nation is the highest form of duty and this is how you will be rewarded if you wish to be a part of this brave community.

Top Defence Exams After 12th

Now let us quickly look at all the various entrance exams you can sit for as a student to be a part of a career where you can make a real difference.

1. National Defence Academy (NDA)

The NDA has been one of the most iconic and prestigious institutes in our country for the last seventy years. It is the first tri-service academy in the world that trains cadets of the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force together before they go to their designated pre-commission training.

Exam Overview

The NDA requires a candidate to sit for an entrance exam, which is held in April and September of every year. It is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission of India and the notification comes out in January and June each year. The test is called NDA-I and NDA-II, respectively.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be an unmarried male/ female candidate aged between 16½ to 19½ years.
  • You are required to pass 10+2 from any recognized board. However, if you wish to join the Air Force or Navy it is mandated to have Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics as your subject.
  • In case you are not a citizen of India, you can check out the citizenship criteria here for your assistance.
  • As an army aspirant, you have to be physically and mentally fit, devoid of any disease or syndrome that can hinder your daily duties on the job.
  • It is critical that you, as a candidate, do not require frequent usage of any medical drugs.

Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The entrance test is divided into three parts, where an Intelligence and Personality test follows a written test. The syllabus is as follows:

  • Mathematics
  • The General Ability Test
  • Test/Interview

Top 5 NDA Coaching Institutes In India

  • Target Defence Academy, Lucknow
  • Doon Defence Academy, Dehradun
  • Baalnoi Academy, Delhi
  • Minerva Academy, Chandigarh
  • Major Kalshi Classes, Allahabad

2. Technical Entry Scheme (TES)

It is an entrance exam conducted by the Indian Army to recruit technical officers and permanently commission them in the army. The TES is different from NDA since you will only be recruited for the Indian Army and not the Navy or Air Force. A selected candidate will have to go through four years of military and basic training to be commissioned.

The training is divided into two parts which will be conducted in CME, Pune/MCTE, Mhow/MCEME, Secunderabad for three years and the final year will be in IMA, Dehradun or designated PCTA (Pre Commission Training Academy),

Exam Overview

There is no specific written exam for TES. If you are an eligible candidate you will be getting a call for the interview directly. However, you must appear in the JEE mains in order to be considered eligible. You can check the Indian Army’s Website for the exam dates and the online application process.

Eligibility Requirements

There are certain eligibility criteria, apart from being a JEE Main Applicant to qualify for an interview, which are as follows

  • The TES is only catered to male candidates
  • It is mandatory to have Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics and score 60% in 10+2.
  • A candidate should not be born before 02 Jul 2005 and after 01 Jul 2008.
  • For any other relevant details on acceptable medical fitness, you can visit the Indian Army’s Website.

3. CDS Exam

The Combined Defence Service Exam is conducted by UPSC every year to recruit for the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Airforce Academy. It is conducted twice a year and is a one-day exam that fervently encourages women candidates to apply too. Ideally, it is held between April to September and more than 300 vacancies were announced in 2024.

Eligibility Requirements

  • A candidate must be unmarried and aged between 19–24 years.
  • Women candidates are eligible for OTA (Officer’s Training Academy).
  • Candidates must be Indian citizens or meet certain nationality/citizenship criteria as listed in the official notification.
  • A bachelor’s degree is mandatory to apply for CDS. Hence, you can always start preparing early along with your graduation degree.

Exam Pattern and Syllabus

  • It is a six-hour exam consisting of three papers.
  • The syllabus includes English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics.
  • There is a deduction of 1 mark per every three negative answers.
  • Once you pass the written test, a personality test and interview will be followed by medical and document verification.

Top 5 CDS Coaching Institutes In India

  • Tara Institute (Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Kolkata).
  • Centurion Defence Academy, Lucknow.
  • The Cavalier, Bangalore
  • Parmanu Defence Academy, Dehradun
  • Minerva Academy, Chandigarh

4. AFCAT Examination

The AFCAT or the Air Force Common Admission Test is a test designed for students who wish to join the Indian Air Forces. It is conducted twice a year in February and August. The purpose of this exam is to recruit officers for various branches of the air force.

Exam Overview

The posts that you will be applying for are Flying Branch and Ground Duty respectively. This year the exam will be conducted on 09, 10 and 11 Aug. It is a hundred-question paper test with negative markings for each incorrect answer. The exam is conducted in English language only and consists of matriculation and graduation level difficulty.

Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The AFCAT exam syllabus consists of English, General Awareness, Numerical Ability, Reasoning and Military Aptitude Test. It is a two-hour test with no marks for unattempted questions.

Eligibility Requirements

It is mandatory for you to complete your graduation to sit for AFCAT. For the rest of the details on eligibility, you can check the Indian Air Forces’s website.

Top 5 AFCAT Coaching Institutes In India

  • Olive Greens Institute, Chandigarh
  • Force Defence Academy, Lucknow
  • Target Defence Academy, Lucknow
  • The Lakshya Academy, Delhi
  • Minerva Academy, Punjab

5. CAPF Examination

The Central Armed Police Forces (Assistant Commandants) Exam is an exam admisnistred by UPSC to recruit grade A officers for the Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).

Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The selection of this exam is based on three rounds consisting of a written test, a physical ability test and an interview. The first round is divided into two papers that constitute both objective and descriptive questions. It is a five-hour test spread across two sessions in one day, Paper I (Objective) is two hours and Paper II (Descriptive) is three hours.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Both male and female candidates are welcome to apply for this examination.
  • A candidate is required to have a bachelor’s degree and must be an Indian National.
  • Candidates must meet specific physical standards such as height, chest, and weight as prescribed by the CAPF.
  • The age limit is between 20-25 years however certain relaxations are given to specific candidates which you can check here.

Top 5 CAPF Coaching Institutes In India

  • AVKS Academy, Hyderabad and Delhi
  • The Cavalier Academy, Delhi
  • NCA Academy, Chandigarh
  • Chandigarh Academy, Chandigarh
  • Surbhi Academy, Chandigarh

6. ICG Examination

The Indian Coast Guard exam is dedicated to recruiting personnel for different positions within the organization. The exam is held twice a year, following the pattern of the First Batch Cycle- Aug/Sep and the Second Batch Cycle-Dec/January.

The exam is held in four stages and a candidate is required to pass all the stages. Furthermore, a candidate needs to clear the medical standards set by ICG which you can check in detail here.

Exam Pattern and Syllabus

There are two sets of papers in the ICG exam which is divided into 60 marks each which isw followed by a physical fitness test, medical, and an interview. The computer-based exam is of 45 and 30 mins respectively which includes subjects like :

  • Maths
  • Science
  • Physics
  • GK
  • English
  • Reasoning

Eligibility Requirements

  • The student must pass 10+2 from any recognized board in India.
  • Passing in Maths and Physics is compulsory.
  • A student needs to be aged 18-25 to apply for the exam. However, you can check the age-specific relaxations here.

Top 5 ICG Coaching Institutes In India

  • National Defence Career Academy (NDCA) Pune.
  • Olive Greens Institute Chandigarh.
  • Elite IIT, Bangalore
  • Major Kalshi Classes (MKC), Allahabad
  • Cavalier India, Delhi, Bangalore, and Pune.

7. IB ACIO Exam

The IB ACIO exam is the group C level exam for recruiting the Assistant Central Intelligence Officer. It is conducted once a year and is a non-gazetted non-ministerial level exam. The job mainly is focused on national security. It is divided into three patterns, which consists of a paper I and paper II followed by an interview.

Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The written paper is divided into two parts mainly objective and descriptive and revolves around the following subjects:

  • General Studies
  • Current Affairs
  • General Intelligence
  • Aptitude
  • Number systems
  • Fundamental Arithmetical Operations
  • English
  • Reasoning

Eligibility Requirements

  • A student needs to be aged between 18-25 years.
  • They must have a Bachelor’s degree in order to sit for this exam.

Top IB ACIO Coaching Institutes In India

  • Vidya Guru, Delhi
  • ACE Engineering Academy, Delhi
  • Hyderabad Study Circle, Hyderabad

8. Agniveer Scheme

A candidate selected under the Agneepath scheme launched by the government is known as an Agniveer. It is a scheme launched by the government to let any motivated youth live out their patriotism by joining the Indian Army, Navy, or Airforce for four years. It is intended to motivate the willing youth in their prime to contribute to their nation’s well-being.

The scheme ensures that a package of 4.76 lakh is given to an individual opting for this scheme. Furthermore, the yearly package would rise to 6.9 lakh in the fourth year of their service.

The youth would receive a service fund worth 11.7 lakh rupees after completing four years of duty. There will be no taxes on this money at all. In addition, additional risk and hardship allowances will be provided.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Anyone unmarried between the ages of 17.5 years to 21 years can enroll in this scheme.
  • They will have to sit through a common entrance exam known as the CEE. Furthermore, there will be a physical fitness test and a medical test.

Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The exam has 50 questions revolving around the below topics.

  • General Reasoning
  • General Awareness
  • General Science
  • Mathematics

Top 5 Coaching Institutes In India for Agniveer Preparations

  • Major Kalshi Classes, Uttar Pradesh
  • Cavalier India, Lucknow
  • Centurion Defence Academy, Lucknow
  • Karni Defence Academy , Jaipur
  • Kargil Defence Academy, Jaipur

Preparation Tips

It can be overwhelming to sit for another exam after passing your boards. But it is an added advantage since you are already in sync with a routine. All you have to do is make some slight changes here and there. I have listed some tips below that might help you.

  • It is important to understand the exam pattern.
  • Make sure your basics are clear when it comes to math-related subjects.
  • You can make a study plan and assign a particular goal to a day, rather than trying to achieve everything at once.
  • Practice previous years’ papers.
  • Be updated with the Current Affairs.
  • Ensure that you practice consistently.
  • Lastly and most importantly, always remember to take adequate breaks in between for your mind to absorb it all.

SSB Interview Preparation Tips

The Service Selection Board (SSB) is a government body that looks after the interviews for recruiting army professionals. It is conducted by the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. It is held throughout India in various centers. The selection process involves multiple stages, including screening, psychological tests, group discussions, physical tasks, interviews, and conferences.

Once you have passed your written test, cracking the SSB interview will be your next step. Here are a few tips that can help you with the same.

  • The first thing you need to tell yourself is to be confident. To stand out among hundreds of candidates, it is of utmost importance to be confident. You will be entrusted with a duty to protect your country hence it must always show in your attitude that you are capable of doing so.
  • The second most important thing is to be updated with the latest happenings in India and the world to make sure you are ready for any question that comes your way. Hence, it is advisable to be updated with current affairs.
  • Watching mock interviews will help you understand what kind of questions are going to come your way. Not only that, you will be able to assess the attitude of a desired candidate.
  • The SSB interview mainly focuses on assessing your social adaptability, your leadership, quality, and your initiative to solve a problem. Hence, reflecting on these situations will give you an edge in the interview.
  • The interview situation will be very stressful and sometimes can be triggering, so it is of utmost importance that you stay calm in a situation like that to have an upper hand over all the candidates.
  • Developing and improving your communication skills is always going to be the best idea. Since communication is crucial, speaking clearly and confidently will always get you through.


I understand that you want to join the army since there is an undying love for your motherland. But at the same time, there must be a thousand different questions that hit you every day owing to the difficulty level.

But thousands of candidates crack this exam every year and make their dreams come true. All you need to do is make sure you are focused enough to make the right decision and join a coaching that is going to help you achieve your aim.

If you’re not comfortable joining any coaching or any institute, you can surely prepare by yourself. Make sure that you have all the available materials and required information with you to prepare accordingly.

There are thousands of resources available right now on the internet, which can help you in this journey. However, it is of critical importance to never lose hope. No matter how tough the journey is, once you have gone through all this, you will be able to serve your nation and pursue your love for your country.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can girls apply for defence exams after the 12th?

Yes girls can apply for defence exams expect a few which has certain criteria that is more suitable for a male candidate.

2. What are the physical fitness requirements for defence exams?

A candidate applying for the defence exam should be medically fit and be comfortable running, doing sit-ups, pushups, Pullups, and others.

3. Are there any specific medical standards required for defence exams?

Yes, and it includes set parameters for vision, hearing general health, height, weight, medical history

4. What is the syllabus for the NDA written exam?

The syllabus for the NDA is Mathematics and General Ability Test.

5. What are the career opportunities after clearing a defence exam?

After clearing the defence exam you can apply for Indian Army, Navy, Air force, Paramilitary, etc depending on your preference.

6. How often are the NDA and TES exams conducted?

The NDA and TES are conducted twice a year. You can sit for the NDA exam in April and September every year. However, for TES you need to be updated with any notification that comes online.

7. How can I improve my chances of clearing the defence exams on the first attempt?

Cracking the defence exam is like any other exam. The foremost thing is to create a study plan. Once you have a plan you can slowly break down the subject in hand by topics and proceed further. Lastly, it is always advisable to be updated with current affairs. However, most importantly, you should always make sure that you never lose confidence.

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