For entry through this scheme one has to take an entry level exam conducted by UPSC to join the NDA, which is conducted twice a year in all major cities throughout India. The months of commencement of course are January and July. This mode of entry is only for boys between the ages of sixteen and a half to nineteen years. Announcements are made in all leading newspapers. Those who clear the written exam go through a five-day interview process with the State Selection Board (SSB). On completion of the NDA course, candidates are sent to the respective service academies for their pre-commission training: to the IMA (Dehradun) for Army, Naval Academy (Goa) for Indian Navy, Air Force Academy, Hyderabad for Air Force and the OTA Chennai (for those who get recruited on the Short Service Commission).
The UPSC also holds an all-India competitive examination, known as the Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE), twice a year for University graduates or equivalent. Successful candidates can join Indian Military Academy for their pre-commission training after they clear an interview conducted by the SSB and if finally selected, depending on their merit list ranking, are sent to Indian Military Academy. The age limit for this is between nineteen to twenty four years. The advertisement under this scheme is also given in all leading newspapers.