How to Calculate Negative Marking in the NDA Exam?
The UPSC NDA exam has provisions for negative marking. As a result, onethird part of the marks assigned to a question are deducted whenever a candidate selects an incorrect option. The negative marking is applicable in both papers of the NDA written exam; the mathematics paper and the General Ability Test (GAT) paper. The concept of negative marking in the NDA written exam is a very crucial aspect and hence every NDA aspirant must understand so that they can plan their preparation strategy effectively. To help young defence aspirants, Centurion Defence Academy has come up with an article on how to calculate negative markings in the NDA exam. Read on to learn more about the NDA marking scheme and its important factors.
Marking Scheme in the NDA Written Exam
Particulars  Details of Papers  
Subjects  Paper 1 (Mathematics)  Paper 2 (GAT) 
Shift  First  Second 
No. of Questions  120  150 (English 50  GK 100) 
Maximum Marks  300  600 
Time Duration  2 ½ Hours  2 ½ Hours 
Positive Marking  2.5 Marks  4 Marks 
Negative Marking  0.83 Marks  1.33 Marks 
NDA Paper 1 – Mathematics:
NDA Paper 1 in Mathematics consists of 120 questions worth a total of 300 marks. Testtakers have 2 ½ hours to complete this paper. Each correct answer adds 2.5 marks, but for every wrong answer, 0.83 marks are deducted. This paper aims to evaluate math skills within the given time frame and penalize mistakes to encourage careful marking on the OMR sheet.
 Questions: 120
 Max Marks: 300
 Time: 2 ½ Hours
 Positive Marking: 2.5 marks for each correct answer
 Negative Marking: 0.83 marks deducted for each wrong answer
NDA Paper 2 – General Ability Test (GAT):
NDA Paper 2, the General Ability Test (GAT), consists of 150 questions, divided into 50 English and 100 General Knowledge (GK) questions, making a total of 600 marks. Candidates are provided with 2 ½ hours to complete this paper. Each correct answer is awarded 4 marks, while an incorrect response leads to a deduction of 1.33 marks. This test assesses language proficiency, general awareness, current affairs, etc.
 Questions: 150 (English 50  GK 100)
 Max Marks: 600
 Time: 2 ½ Hours
 Positive Marking: 4 marks for each correct answer
 Negative Marking: 1.33 marks are deducted for each wrong answer
Understand the NDA Marking Scheme with Examples:
Let’s consider a student, Rajeev, who is preparing to take the NDA written examination. Rajeev has diligently prepared for both the Mathematics and General Ability Test (GAT) papers of the NDA exam. Rajeev attempted 60 questions in the Mathematics paper of the NDA exam. Upon reviewing his answers, it was discovered that 12 of Rajeev’s responses were incorrect.
Calculation of Rajeev’s Marks in NDA Mathematics Paper:
Particulars  Details 
Total Questions in Math Paper  120 questions 
Total Marks in Math Paper  300 marks 
Positive Marks  2.5 marks 
Negative Mark  0.83 Marks 
Rajeev’s Attempts  60 questions 
Incorrect Attempts  12 questions 
Total Correct Attempts  60 – 12 = 48 correct attempts 
Marks Obtained from Correct Attempts  48 * 2.5 = 120 marks 
Negative Marks (due to wrong attempts)  12 * 0.83 = 9.96 marks (approx 10 marks) 
Final Marks Obtained by Rajeev  120 – 10 = 110 marks 
Final Marks Obtained by Rajeev in Mathematics:
Rajeev’s total marks obtained from correct attempts minus the negative marks for incorrect answers: 120 (marks from correct attempts) – 10 (negative marks) = 110 marks. Therefore, despite attempting 60 questions in the Mathematics paper, Rajeev secured 110 marks after the adjustment of negative marks due to the incorrect answers.
NDA GAT Paper Marking Scheme
Let’s consider another student, Priya, who is also preparing for the NDA exam. Out of a total of 150 questions, she attempted 110 questions in the GAT (General Ability Test) paper of the NDA exam. Later, it was discovered that Priya’s 35 responses were incorrect.
Calculation of Priya’s Marks in NDA GAT Paper:
Particulars  Details 
Total Questions in GAT Paper  150 questions 
Total Marks in GAT Paper  600 marks 
Positive Marks  4 marks 
Negative Mark  1.33 marks 
Total attempted questions  110 questions 
Incorrect Attempts  35 questions 
Total Correct Attempts  110 – 35 = 75 correct attempts 
Marks Obtained from Correct Attempts  75 * 4 = 300 marks 
Negative Marks (due to wrong attempts)  35 * 1.33 = 46.55 marks (approx 47 marks) 
Final Marks Obtained by Priya  300 – 47 = 253 marks 
Final Marks Obtained by Priya in GAT:
Priya’s total marks obtained from correct attempts minus the negative marks for incorrect answers: 300 (marks from correct attempts) – 47 (negative marks) = 253 marks. Therefore, Priya could score only 253 marks despite attempting 110 questions in the GAT paper. The reason was 35 incorrect answers and deduction due to negative marking.
NDA Marking Scheme for Both Math and GAT Papers:
Suppose there was a student named Mayank who attempted 68 questions in NDA Mathematics with 9 incorrect attempts and attempted 126 questions in GAT with 17 incorrect attempts. If the NDA written cutoff for that year in which Mayank gave the exam was 360, then calculate whether he would have been able to qualify for the cutoff. Let’s calculate Mayank’s scores in each paper and his aggregate marks in the NDA written exam.
Paper  Total Attempts  Incorrect Attempts  Marks for Correct Attempts  Deduction for Incorrect Attempts  Total Marks 
Math  68  9  147.5  7.47  140.03 
GAT  126  17  436  22.61  413.39 
Total  –  –  –  –  553.42 
As Mayank’s aggregate score is 553.42, which is higher than the cutoff of 360, he would qualify for the NDA written cutoff.
What is the meaning of 25% marks in each subject in the NDA cutoff?
In the context of the NDA cutoff, “25% marks in each subject” means that a candidate must secure at least 25% of the total marks allotted to each subject to qualify. This is a sectional cutoff criterion wherein apart from the overall cutoff, candidates are required to score a minimum of 25% marks in each subject (Mathematics and General Ability Test) individually.
Mathematics:
If the maximum mark for Mathematics is 300, candidates need to secure at least 75 marks (25% of 300) to meet the sectional cutoff for Mathematics.
General Ability Test (GAT):
If the maximum mark for the GAT is 600, candidates need to score a minimum of 150 marks (25% of 600) to fulfill the sectional cutoff for the GAT.
Understand NDA 25% Sectional Cutoff Marks with Example:
Let’s suppose, there was a student named Prateek who attempted 66 questions in NDA Mathematics with 32 incorrect attempts and attempted 118 questions in GAT with 21 incorrect attempts. If the NDA written cutoff for that year in which Prateek gave the exam was 360, then we have to calculate whether he would have been able to qualify for the cutoff. Also, there was a condition that there must be at least 25% marks in each subject as a sectional cutoff other than the overall cutoff. So, let us calculate whether Prateek would have been able to qualify the sectional cutoff in each paper and the overall cutoff.
Prateek’s Performance in the NDA Mathematics Paper:
Prateek attempted 66 questions in the NDA Mathematics paper, scoring 85 marks for correct answers but lost 26.56 marks due to 32 incorrect attempts, resulting in a total of 58.44 marks—below the Mathematics sectional cutoff of 75 marks, constituting 25% of the total 300 marks for the paper.
Prateek’s Performance in the NDA GAT Paper:
In the General Ability Test (GAT), he answered 118 questions, securing 388 marks for correct responses but lost 27.93 marks due to 21 incorrect answers. His total GAT marks were 360.07, surpassing the sectional cutoff of 150 marks, constituting 25% of the total 600 marks for the paper.
Though Prateek cleared the GAT sectional cutoff, his Mathematics score fell short of the sectional cutoff, preventing him from meeting the criteria required to crack the NDA written exam.
Conclusion:
In the context of the exam requirements stipulated, Prateek needed to meet both the sectional cutoff marks in each paper as well as the overall cutoff to progress to the next stage. If he failed to meet the sectional cutoff in any one of the papers—despite having an overall score surpassing the overall cutoff—Prateek would not qualify for the next stage.
Join Centurion Defence Academy for Complete NDA Preparation
If you want to join the National Defence Academy and wish to become an armed forces officer, then Centurion Defence Academy is the best institute for complete NDA preparation. Centurion does not only provide written exam guidance but also offers the right mentorship for SSB interview preparation. With the record selection in the NDA, Centurion Defence Academy stands as the best NDA coaching institute in India. In case you need assistance regarding admission or have further queries, you can contact our representatives at +91 9795977776.
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