NDA 2016 Topper Interview: Ankur Kumar - ‘An Undying Hunger to Achieve your Goal is Imperative’
Supriya Kumari, 01 Feb 2019, #NDA

“If you take responsibility for yourself you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams,” Les Brown said once. Ankur Kumar, who cracked NDA 2016 exam in his 2nd attempt, had the similar kind of hunger to join the armed forces since childhood. However, whatever he wanted to achieve didn't just fall into his lap. It came as a result of some sleepless nights, dedicated study routine, mastering self-discipline, and effective time management. If one's concepts are fundamentally clear, then there is not much to worry about, believes the topper. The topper not only cracked NDA, but also qualified exams like JEE Main, JEE Advanced, BITSAT, Indian Statistical Institute and Indian Navy as a Sailor. The NDA topper shares his success story with Careers360. 

Excerpts from the interview:

Careers360: Tell us about your childhood and schooling. Who all are there in the family and what are their professions?

Ankur Kumar: I was born in Patna, Bihar. I did my 10th from St. Karen’s High School, Patna and 12th from DAV Public  School, BSEB Colony, Patna. I am a single child. My father is a businessman and my mother is a teacher.

Careers360: What was your All India Rank, score/marks in NDA? Which year did you qualify the exam and when were you currently working?

Ankur Kumar: I got 274 marks in written and 384 marks in SSB Interview by SSB Allahabad. I have qualified NDA exam in 2016.

Careers360:  What made you think that NDA is the career you want to pursue? Which all other exams did you appear in and which all have you been able to crack?

Ankur Kumar: It was my childhood dream to join NDA. Many of my family members are in Army. I used to see the uniform and gallantry medals and these motivated me to join the Defence. I gave JEE and got 10500 rank in JEE Advanced. I  had cracked BITSAT and Indian Statistical Institute. I was also selected in the Indian Navy as a Sailor.

Careers360: How much time did you prepare for the NDA? Did you crack it in the first attempt?

Ankur Kumar:  I used to study for 4 hours on a regular basis. I cleared NDA written exam in the first attempt but was screened out. Finally, I was recommended in the 2nd attempt.

Careers360: Tell us the challenges/difficulties you had to face during your preparation period?

Ankur Kumar: Initially when I had started my preparation, it was with great josh and enthusiasm but the things changed when I had started revising them again and again. It became boring which I had to overcome and this became a challenge for me while preparation.

Careers360: Did you take any coaching? If yes, from where and for how long?

Ankur Kumar:  Yes. I took coaching for SSB Interview in Major HS Kalsi Academy, Delhi. It was 14 days course.

Careers360: Tell us about your current role and responsibility? Please describe a typical day at work as your current work?

Ankur Kumar: I am presently under training in NDA. A normal daily routine is waking up at 4 am, doing PT, getting ready for the classes. The duration of the classes are between 6 am hours to 8 am. There is an interval for the breakfast whereas the classes resume at 9.20 am and continues till 1 pm. After lunch at 2 pm, the timing for PT and sports is till 6 pm. We are given time for self-study till 8.45 pm where we can have dinner. At last, we have PT between 9.30 to 11.30 pm.

Careers360: How should one prepare for NDA examination? Tell us the strategy you had applied for preparing.

Ankur Kumar: The written part is comparatively easier as compared to other exams like JEE etc. The strategy that helped me during preparation were as follows:

  • Just stick to the basics

  • Complete the NDA syllabus of Maths of class 11th and 12th from basic books.

  • Have a good command over English and GK 

  • For GK, read newspapers and subscribe to a monthly magazine

Careers360: Is coaching important for cracking the exam? 

Ankur Kumar: Coaching is helpful only in guiding. Ultimately, it is you who has to put in the efforts. Coaching can be taken for SSB Interview if you have a zero background about defence. Coachings like Olive Green and Baalnoi Academy are good for guidance.

Careers360: In case of self-study, how much is the probability of cracking the exam? What should be the preparation strategy for self-study?

Ankur Kumar: If you give your 100%, then there is a probability of cracking the 100%. It is important to study regularly and know the syllabus and pattern. It is important to solve the previous years’ question papers.  Also, taking mocks can be beneficial. 

Careers360: Can you refer some good books with Author names for all the sections of NDA exam?

Ankur Kumar: Yes, some of the books for NDA exam are -



Elementary Mathematics

R.S.  Aggarwal ( class 11th and 12th)


Arihant  Pathfinder



Also, read best books for NDA 2019

Careers360: While preparing for NDA written exam and SSB, what different strategies should one make? Which part one needs to focus more on and why for all the stages?

Ankur Kumar: Focus should be given on every part as you will go the next stage once you clear the previous stage. It is important to be yourself and be goal-oriented and focussed.

Careers360: Any online test series you suggest for NDA exam?

Ankur Kumar: I did not take any online test series.

Careers360: What are some of the major challenges that one must be ready to take when considering a career in NDA?

Ankur Kumar: While choosing NDA as a career, one must be mentally prepared for everything. You must train your mind in a way to be ready to face any challenge. 

Careers360: Tell us the complete selection procedure of NDA exam. Mention stages of exams and their weightage, salary, growth prospectus, etc.

Ankur Kumar: First, the written is being conducted by UPSC. One who clears the written exam is called for SSB Interview by Services Selection Board (SSB). After being recommended by the SSB, medical test and document verification are done. The finally selected candidates are sent for three years training and then one-year training at IMA Dehradun. After successful completion of training, you will be commissioned as Lieutenant. The stipend is also given as a cadet in NDA and IMA.  The starting salary of Lieutenant is approximately 80,000. 

Careers360: After which stage is the document verification done and what documents one should take with him/her?

Ankur Kumar: Document verification is done on the first day of SSB Interview. One must carry the original marksheet of class 10th and 12th for verification.

Careers360: What should one keep in mind while appearing for SSB Interview? On which areas do they test you on skills?

Ankur Kumar: While appearing for SSB Interview the most thing is the interview is conducted to test your personality. There are 15 OLQs (Officer Like Qualities) which one should possess. Some of them are -  to be honest, truthful and being original. If you have these qualities you will be selected in the interview.

Careers360: Any messages for the future aspirants?

Ankur Kumar: Be honest with yourself, prepare well, work hard, concentrate on the topics and be focused on your goals. Best of luck.  Jai Hind.

More like NDA

Questions related to NDA

Showing 1348 out of 1348 Questions

Is watch is allowed in NDA exam

Arya 14th Nov, 2019

Hi Mithun,

The National Defense Academy Examination is held twice a year for eligibility to join the Navy, Army and Air Force of India. It is held by UPSC.

According to the rules and regulations of the examination, all electronic devices like phones, calculators, digital watches, phones etc. are prohibited inside the examination hall. However, analog watches are allowed.


I want to crack nda and join armed forces.

Ashish pal Student Expert 14th Nov, 2019

Hello Hitesh.

NDA is among the top rank defence service of India.

If you are interested in NDA or armed forces then focus on three subjects maths physics and English. Maths and English are the primary requirements. And before starting preparation you have to ensure your physical and medical fitness else in the all hard will gone in vain. Once you are physically and medically fit then start your hard preparation you will surely succeed.

Good luck.


sir i have 30+3 marks in phy in std 12 and my all over result is 52%can i apper in nda exam and air force/nevy x-y group sir pls answer

Sharon Rose Student Expert 12th Nov, 2019
Hello Hardik,
The eligibility criteria for NDA is that a candidate must have passed 10+2 with Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and English as compulsory subjects from a recognised board.
The eligibility criteria for Indian Navy is that a candidate must have passed 10+2 with atleast 60% aggregate with Mathematics, Physics and any one of the Chemistry/biology/ computer science from a recognised board.
The eligibility criteria for Indian airforce/ airmen x-y group is that a candidate must have atleast 50% aggregate in Mathematics, Physics and English together and atleast 50% in English.

You are eligible for NDA and Airmen x-y group.

I hope this is helpful to you.


Payal 10th Nov, 2019

Hii dear

let me clear your doubt.

The Candidates must have to get a minimum sectional cut off of minimum 35% marks to qualify  for nda exam. for final cutoff marks which mean that candidate have to score minimum 105 marks in mathematics section & 210 marks in General Ability Section to be able to qualify for overall cut off for nda exam.

I hope my answer will be helpful for you

Good luck


are gat and maths different exams in nda can one give only gat?

Manidipa Kundu Student Expert 10th Nov, 2019


according to the notification you need to give mathematics and GAT (general ability test) both of the exam . the exam has two papers mathematics and general ability test. mathematics question will be on 10+2 level. in general ability test there will be questions from english, general awareness, physical , history, chemistry.

you may know more details from below link:


The question have been saved in answer later, you can access it from your profile anytime. Access now

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